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What happens at the wedding reception which precedes the chupah?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Before the Chupah it is customary for the bride and groom to host separate receptions; one for the men and one for the women. Hors d'oeuvres, light refreshments, and l’chaims are served by both receptions.

The bride sits on a distinctive, ornate throne-like chair. Her friends and family approach her, wish her mazal tov and offer words of encouragement.

On the groom’s side, songs are sung and often the groom – or another present – delivers some words of Torah. In Chabad circles, it is customary for the groom to recite a Chassidic discourse which discusses the mystical implications of marriage. The particular discourse contains ideas from all the Chabad Rebbes, and also serves as an official “invitation” for these holy Tzaddikim to join the wedding ceremony. [Considering that the bride and groom are both fasting, it isn’t considerate to approach them at this time while munching on a pastry or a frank in a blanket!]

The bride sits on a distinctive, ornate throne-like chair. Her friends and family approach her, wish her mazal tov and offer words of encouragement
At the groom’s reception, a friend, relative, or rabbi is honored with reading the tenaim. (This honor must be given to someone who can read Aramaic fluently.) The tenaim (literally: conditions) is a document which lists the various obligations of the bride’s and groom’s families towards the couple, such as the wedding expenses. This document, which was written and signed beforehand, is read at this occasion.

At the conclusion of this reading, the mothers of the bride and groom break a plate. In the absence of one or both of them, the female(s) who will escort the bride or groom to the chupah does the honors.

After the breaking of the plate, the bedekenish ceremony commences. See What is the procedure for the "bedekenish" ceremony?


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding

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.
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.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Tzaddikim
Plural form of Tzaddik. A Tzaddik is a saint, or righteous person.
Rebbes
Plural form of Rebbe. A Rebbe is a Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Chupah
Wedding canopy. Under this canopy, the groom betroths the bride with the customary ring, and the traditional marriage benedictions are recited.