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What is the "Yichud Room", and what happens in there?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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• Immediately after the Chupah, the bride and groom proceed to the “yichud (seclusion) room,” where they spend a few minutes alone. Jewish marriage is comprised of two stages, and there are certain Halachic authorities who maintain that the final stage, the nisu’in, is not finalized until the groom takes his bride to a private area where they spend some personal time together.

• Chabad custom is to place a sterling silver spoon on the threshold of the yichud room. The groom and then the bride step over it, with their right feet, into the room.

• The couple is traditionally escorted into the room by their parents. After a few moments, the in-laws slip out, leaving the couple alone. The door is then locked from the inside.

• The couple remains secluded in the room for at least eight minutes. [If they are very pressed for time – the program is running late and the guests are getting antsy… – the yichud room time can be shortened to five minutes.]

It is customary for the bride to bless the groom. She says: May you merit to have a long life, and may you unite [with me] in love from now until eternity. May I merit to dwell with you forever.”
• The chupah witnesses must ascertain that there is no one in the room besides for the bride and groom, and observe the door being shut and locked. They then wait outside the room for the aforementioned amount of time.

• Inside the room, the couple breaks their wedding day fast. (Arrangement for some light food to be brought to this room should be made with the caterer beforehand.) It is also a time when the bride and groom can exchange gifts. Many grooms use this time to present the bride with an exquisite ring (since the wedding band used under the chupah is a very plain gold ring).

The bride also dons all her jewelry which she removed before the chupah.

• While sitting in the yichud room, it is customary for the bride to bless the groom. She says: May you merit to have a long life, and may you unite [with me] in love from now until eternity. May I merit to dwell with you forever.”

• By Sephardi weddings, the newlywed couple customarily waits until after the wedding meal before entering the yichud room. Additionally, witnesses are not asked to observe the couple’s entry into the room.

• In the event that the bride is a Niddah – in which case the couple cannot be secluded together until the bride immerses in the Mikvah – the presiding rabbi will give the couple special instructions with regards to their yichud room procedure.


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Halachic
Pertaining to Jewish Law.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Sephardi
(pl.) A Jew whose ancestors stem from Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, North Africa or the Arabian countries. (singular: Sephardi).
Chupah
Wedding canopy. Under this canopy, the groom betroths the bride with the customary ring, and the traditional marriage benedictions are recited.
Niddah
A menstruating woman. A niddah may not have intimate relations with her husband until she immerses in a ritual pool of water.