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What are "sheva brachot"?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Life Cycle » Marriage » Sheva Brachot | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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There is a special Mitzvah for a bride and groom to rejoice together for the week following their wedding1 -- the “sheva Brachot week” -- during which time the newlyweds are treated like a royal couple. They don't go to work and are even supposed to be escorted everywhere by an "honor-guard"! When the groom goes to the synagogue, the Tachanun is not recited by anyone present.2

For the week following their wedding -- the “sheva brachot week” -- the newlyweds are treated like a royal couple
During this week, a series of small festive get-togethers are held in honor of the couple, and they are called “sheva brachot3 (“seven benedictions”), referring to the seven blessings recited following the Grace After Meals. These seven blessings are the same ones recited under the Chupah; mainly consisting of requests for G-d’s blessing for the newlywed couple. The first sheva brachot follows the wedding meal.

See also "What are the actual 7 blessings of Sheva Brachot?"

Footnotes

  • 1. Shulchan Aruch Even Ha'ezer 64:1
  • 2. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 131:4
  • 3. There is no singular form of Sheva Brachot. “Sheva bracha” would mean “seven blessing,” a term as incorrect in the English as in the Hebrew.

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Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Tachanun
Sections of the prayers involving confession and asking for forgiveness. Tachanun is omitted from the prayers on the festive days of the Jewish calendar.
Grace After Meals
Biblically mandated prayer, consisting of four blessings, recited after eating more than an ounce of bread.
Brachot
(Plural form of "bracha.") Blessings. A Jew is required to recite a bracha before gaining any sort of benefit or pleasure such as eating or drinking (and usually afterwards as well); or before fulfilling a Mitzvah (commandment).
Chupah
Wedding canopy. Under this canopy, the groom betroths the bride with the customary ring, and the traditional marriage benedictions are recited.
G-d
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.
sheva brachot
1. The seven benedictions recited in honor of a bride and groom beneath the wedding canopy and at subsequent celebrations. 2. The celebratory week following a wedding (during which time the aforementioned blessings are recited.)