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What customs are observed by the bride and groom on their wedding day?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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– Our Sages teach us1 that on their wedding day a bride and groom are forgiven for all their prior sins. Consequently, the day of their wedding is considered a “minor Yom Kippur” and it is customary for them to fast on this day.2

The fast begins at dawn and concludes when the bride and groom sip from the wine beneath the Chupah; thus the fast is quite short in the event of a morning or afternoon chupah. Even if the chupah is scheduled for after nightfall, it is preferable for the bride and groom to abstain from eating or drinking until the chupah.

– The bride and groom do not fast if the wedding is on one of the following festive days: Rosh Chodesh (except Rosh Chodesh Nissan); Chanukah; Tu b’Shevat; the 15th of Av; the day following Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot and Yom Kippur; and Purim Kattan and Shushan Purim Kattan (the 14th and 15th of Adar I).3

on their wedding day a bride and groom are forgiven for all their prior sins. Consequently, the day of their wedding is considered a “minor Yom Kippur”
– If the wedding is on a day when the Torah is read in the synagogue, the groom receives an Aliyah—and he takes precedence over all others, even a bar Mitzvah boy or someone who is observing a yahrtzeit on that day.4

– The Minchah prayer preceding the wedding is recited by the bride and groom with great intensity and concentration. It is common custom that even the groom prays this minchah privately – not with a Minyan – in order to heighten his ability to focus and concentrate. If the bride and groom are fasting (even if they will be breaking their fast at an afternoon chupah) the aneinu prayer is inserted in the Amidah. Before stepping backwards at the conclusion of the amidah, the bride and groom recite the viduy (confession) which is normally recited on Yom Kippur (even if they are not fasting). If the chupah will be held in the morning, the viduy can be recited after the Shacharit amidah.5

The minchah prayer preceding the wedding is recited by the bride and groom with great intensity and concentration
The Lubavitcher Rebbe would personally give his very own prayer-book to grooms who wished to use this holy Siddur for this special prayer. This prayer-book is still available today for all interested grooms who are willing to make the trip to New York to avail themselves of this special and holy opportunity. (If necessary, this can be done several days before the wedding.)

– It is customary for the bride and groom to recite the entire Book of Psalms on the day of the wedding. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch instructed that “every free moment of the day should be used for reciting Psalms.”6

– Before her wedding a bride must immerse in a Mikvah; ideally this should be done on the night before the wedding.7 In some circles it is also customary for a groom to go to the Mikvah on his wedding day.8

Footnotes

  • 1. See Rashi Genesis 36:3
  • 2. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 146:1
  • 3. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 146:2
  • 4. Nitei Gavriel laws of Marriage 7:6
  • 5. ibid chapter 8
  • 6. ibid 9:4
  • 7. ibid 11:2
  • 8. ibid 9:7

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
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.
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.
Shevat
The eleventh month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to January-February.
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.
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.
Purim
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Lubavitcher
One who follows the teachings of the Chassidic group which was formerly based in the Belarus village of Lubavitch. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York with branches worldwide. The Lubavitch movement is also widely known as "Chabad."
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.
Amidah
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Aliyah
Literally means to rise up. Has two popular meanings: 1. Being called up to the Torah scroll and recite the blessings when the Torah is being read. 2. To emigrate to the Holy Land.
Rosh Chodesh
The "Head of the Month," Rosh Chodesh is observed the first day of every Jewish month. If the previous month had 30 days, then the last day of the previous month is also observed; hence a two-day Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is a semi-holiday, marked by Torah-reading and special prayers.
Shacharit
Morning prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
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.
Psalms
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
Siddur
Prayer book.
Chupah
Wedding canopy. Under this canopy, the groom betroths the bride with the customary ring, and the traditional marriage benedictions are recited.
Minchah
Afternoon prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Lubavitch
Also known as “Chabad,” Lubavitch is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. “Lubavitch” is the name of the Belarusian city where four of the Chabad Rebbes (leaders) were based. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York, with branches worldwide. 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.
Minyan
A quorum consisting of ten adult male Jews. A minyan is necessary to recite the kaddish or to publicly read from the Torah scroll.
yahrtzeit
The (Jewish calendar) anniversary of a person's death.