77. Once the engagement has been announced, it is customary to organize a Vort1 — a celebration to which relatives and friends are invited to come and say Lechaim and wish Mazal Tov to the chosson and kallah. Care should be taken that the men and women are separated by a proper mechitzah. The Rebbe writes that it is incorrect to spend large sums of money on a Vort.2 The Rebbe was not in favor of the chosson and kallah being photographed together.3 The chosson and kallah should not travel together on a flight to or from the Vort, or on any other occasions before their wedding.4

78. It is customary that the chosson or his family buys the kallah a gift of jewelry for the Vort. Today many buy a necklace. However we do not buy an engagement ring.5 (If a ring wants to be given then an ideal time would be after the chuppah in the Yichud room.) Thekallah or her family also buys the chosson a gift — e.g. a watch, seforim.

79. At the Vort a Kinyan should be made, and one invites a Rav to the Vort to make sure that this is done properly as follows: Two Kosher witnesses are designated by the Rav. These witnesses may not be relatives of each other or of the chosson and kallah. A garment belonging to one of the witnesses6 such as a Yarmulke or handkerchief/cloth napkin7 (that is at least the size of 3 fingers by 3 fingers) should be taken by the witnesses and given to the chosson who lifts it up at least 3 tefochim (24cm) in front of the two witnesses.8 The chosson then returns the garment to the witnesses who then go to the kallah and make the kinyan with her. The kinyan that they make is a formal act at which they both undertake to marry each other under a chuppah as per the details and circumstances that will yet be agreed upon by both parties.

80. After the kinyan has been made, the mothers of the chosson and kallah (or their representatives) together break an earthenware plate (usually wrapped in a cloth or in a paper bag to avoid any harm) and everyone exclaims Mazal Tov! 9

81. The chosson should say a Maamar Chassidus by the Vort.10 There is no standard Maamar for this occasion, and each chosson chooses a Maamar that is appropriate to the time of the year or to the occasion.

82. Some have a custom of reading the text of the Rebbe’s letter sent on notification of an engagement.

83. The custom in Chabad nowadays is that Tenaim are written on the day of the wedding and not at the engagement.11

84. It is correct that a fee should be paid to the shadchan — shadchonus gelt.12