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Would a Rabbi officate at a wedding on Shabbat and during Sefirat HaOmer?

by Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow


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



I have a cousin who is getting married during the Omer and on Shabbat  - would there be a Rabbi who would officiate such a wedding? ---Jonathan L.


Jewish thought views marriage as the sanctification of a relationship. In marriage we summon G-d into our relationship and ask for His blessing. Before the marriage it was a partnership of two. The marriage ceremony introduces a third partner, namely G-d.

Geometrically a three point triangle is the strongest structure. Introducing a third point that husband and wife can look to in mutual devotion introduces a new measure of strength and consistency. Indeed, our sages taught that a thrice threaded rope is not easily undone.

On a deeper level, marriage binds man and woman on a dimension that was not accessible to them earlier. A man and woman can pledge undying commitment to each other before marriage, they can connect intellectually and emotionally before marriage, but their souls cannot connect until they invoke G-d's name and channel His blessing into their relationship.

Indeed man and woman may even experience a spiritual connection before marriage. This is because they may be potential soul mates, but this connection cannot be consummated until the moment of marriage. Shared interest, uniform response to issues, identical personalities and easy rapport, are only external indications of spiritual connection. The inner connection is formed when the souls are bound together, and that occurs at the moment of marriage.

Once we view marriage as an invitation to G-d to join the relationship it becomes obvious that marriage is only possible and desirable under circumstances sanctioned by G-d. A member of the clergy who officiates at a wedding can at most invite G-d to join a relationship, but he cannot force G-d to join.

Marriage is not accomplished by the performance of the ceremony but by the presence of G-d. In marriage, we hope to welcome G-d into the relationship at a time when He will be pleased to do so. Therefore, it would be wise for the couple to get married at a time when the Jewish calendar permits marriages.1 This way G-d can be happy to be there, too.


  • 1. Needless to say, a marriage performed on an inappropriate day or date is still legally binding. As such, a Jewish divorce ('get') would be necessary if the couple wished to end the marriage.


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Life Cycle » Marriage
Intimacy » Marriage

(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Starting from the second day of Passover, we count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot. This is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple, and we count forty-nine days from this offering. [Literally, "Omer" is a certain weight measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.