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Is it ok to make a wedding on any date?

by Rabbi Baruch Emanuel Erdstein

  

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Throughout the cycle of the Hebrew calendar, not every day is sanctioned for the momentous celebration of a Jewish marriage ceremony. As much as the importance of marriage is emphasized in Judaism, a few other considerations do take precedent. In addition, in order to properly affect the spiritual union of souls which a wedding is meant to be, the wisdom of the Torah dictates the parameters of our choice for a wedding date, as reflected in Jewish law.


At certain times, we are unable to perform weddings because they fall on Jewish holidays or Shabbat. At these times, an essential element of a valid wedding ceremony – making a contract (as well as writing) is forbidden. Also, each of these special days have their own unique and deep significance in and of themselves; the meaning and joy particular to each one must not be challenged, even by the awesome event of a Jewish wedding.


[Ed. note: also read "Are there any dates which are especially auspicious for getting married?"]


The following are the days when one should not schedule a wedding:


These special days have their own unique and deep significance in and of themselves; the meaning and joy particular to each one must not be challenged, even by the awesome event of a Jewish wedding
– Shabbat1
– Passover, the day beforehand, and its intermediate days (Nissan 15-22)
– Shavuot, and the day beforehand (Sivan 5-7)
– Rosh Hashanah, and the day beforehand (Elul 29-Tishrei 2)
– Yom Kippur, and the day beforehand (Tishrei 9-10)
– Sukkot, the day beforehand, and its intermediate days (Tishrei 14-21)
– Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah (Tishrei 22-23) 


Note: In Israel, where certain holidays are one day shorter, deduct the last day of Passover, Shavuot, and Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah.


Click here for a secular-to-Jewish date converter.



Also, at sad times in the Jewish calendar, even when contracts can be made, we refrain from making weddings in respect of the mournful tone of the particular time.


There are two such periods in the year:


– The Three Weeks, which is between the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av
– The Counting of the Omer, which is from after Passover until the holiday of Shavuout, 49 days later. However, not all of these days are days of mourning, see When exactly does the period of mourning of the Omer start, and when does is it end?



Also during minor fast days we cannot perform the marriage ceremony.2 They are:


– The Fast of Gedaliah (Tishrei 3)3
– The 10th of Tevet
– The Fast of Esther (Adar 13)4
–  [the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the 9th of Av5 are included in the Three Week period mentioned above.]



Strictly according to Jewish law it is permissible to get married during the Ten Days of Repentance (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), but it is a time old tradition not to; this may be due to the spiritual preparations we are all making during this intense time.


According to the Jewish mystical tradition, marriage is not only a life-long commitment made between husband and wife, it is the reunification of two halves of one soul-entity striving for completion. This incredible phenomenon can only properly take place when all the conditions are fulfilled according to Jewish law. Proper planning for your wedding must include consulting an up to date Jewish calendar!

Footnotes

  • 1. It is permitted to have the wedding ceremony on Friday afternoon, and the festive wedding meal and reception serves as the Friday night Shabbat meal. Although this was done quite frequently in previous generations in Europe, today it is a quite rare occurrence. It is also technically permitted to schedule a wedding for Saturday night, after the conclusion of Shabbat. Practically, however, it is quite difficult to do so, because no preparations for the wedding may begin until after nightfall of Saturday night.
  • 2. Weddings can be scheduled for the nighttime following the fast days. This is only practical during winter fast days when the fast ends relatively early.
  • 3. If the 3rd of Tishrei falls on Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Sunday, the 4th of Tishrei.
  • 4. If the 13th of Adar falls on Shabbat, the fast is observed on the Thursday beforehand, the 11th of Adar.
  • 5. If the 9th of Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Sunday, the 10th of Tishrei.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding
Miscellaneous » The Jewish Calendar
Life Cycle » Marriage » About

Shabbat
(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.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Tishrei
The seventh month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which arrives in early autumn, has more holidays than any other month: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Simchat Torah
An extremely joyous one-day autumn festival following the holiday of Sukkot. In Israel it is the eighth day of Sukkot, outside of Israel it is celebrated the next day, the day after Shmini Atzeret. Every Sabbath we read a portion of the Torah. On this holiday we celebrate the completion of the yearly cycle.
Esther
1. Jewish wife of Persian King Ahasuerus in the 4th century BCE. Foiled the plot of Haman, the prime minister, to exterminate all the Jews. The holiday of Purim commemorates this miraculous salvation. 2. One of the 24 Books of the Bible, which chronicles the abovementioned story.
Adar
The twelfth month on the Jewish calendar. This month (which falls out approx. February-March), is the most joyous month on the calendar due to the holiday of Purim which is on the 14th and 15th of this month.
Nissan
The first month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which falls out in early spring, is known for the holiday of Passover which starts on the 15th of Nissan.
Tevet
The tenth month on the Jewish calendar. Falls out in mid-winter.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
Shmini Atzeret
A joyous one-day autumn festival immediately following the holiday of Sukkot. Outside Israel this holiday is celebrated for two days, the second day is known as Simchat Torah.
Omer
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.]
Sivan
The third month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to May-June. This month features the holiday of Shavuot.
Elul
The 6th month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to August-September. This is the month which precedes Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, and is a month of introspection and repentance.
Av
The fifth month of the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to July-August. The saddest month of the year due to the destruction of the Temples, and the many other tragedies which befell the Jews in this month.
Tammuz
The fourth month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to June-July.