With heartfelt gratitude to G‑d, we hereby present the second volume of Eternal Joy, A Guide To Shidduchim & Marriage, based on the Rebbe’s teachings. The present volume encompasses the Rebbe’s directives and advice concerning matters from the time of engagement through the wedding day.

The Rebbe has spoken about the issues of engagement and marriage at numerous farbrengens and has responded to the questions asked of him by many hundreds of individuals in his Igros Kodesh, as well as in personal responses during Yechidus and through his secretariat.

Through the study of these sources, it is possible to gain understanding of and valuable insight into the fundamental elements of the Rebbe’s approach to engagement and marriage.

In addition, the Rebbe transmitted to us numerous customs of the Rebbeim concerning engagement and particularly marriage, customs that are of vital importance to our lives and in affirming our connection to the Rebbe.

As the Rebbe writes:

“The customs that relate to a wedding in particular are relevant to everyone, for in a marriage the infinite power of the Ein Sof is revealed. This is drawn down by the leader of the generation. Therefore it is appropriate to follow the customs of the Rebbeim.”1

In this volume, as in the first, we have collected2 and translated selections from a variety of the Rebbe’s letters, sichos, and personal responses regarding the period of engagement to wedding.

It is worth reiterating that there are a number of difficulties with such a collection.

Firstly, the collection and translation are our own; this is not a guide to the time of engagement and marriage authored or edited by the Rebbe.

Secondly, it is not all-encompassing. There is considerably more material from the Rebbe on these subjects than that which has been collected here.

And finally, while the customs and public directives “are relevant to everyone,” it is entirely possible that the personal advice the Rebbe gave one individual may be inappropriate for another. Moreover, some of the responses to individuals are not necessarily the Rebbe’s final word on the matter.

In an attempt to try to resolve this latter difficulty we have quoted a wide array of letters and sichos, even though some may appear different from others. The dates or sources cited may be of benefit in discerning the Rebbe’s later responses. So, too, by noting that numerous answers are in the same vein, we have an indication of the Rebbe’s general approach to a specific issue.

Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that the Rebbe’s answer to one individual does not necessarily apply at all to another, as the Rebbe has pointed out on a number of occasions. To quote but two:

“I have already expressed — and have done so numerous times: My answer to one individual does not constitute a directive — it doesn’t even constitute a response — to a second individual.”3

On another occasion the Rebbe writes:

“It is patently obvious that a directive to an individual does not serve at all as a directive to the multitude, even when the issues are the same. Particularly so, when this is written as a private letter to him.

“For most often this depends on the conditions of the life of that individual, his personality and temperament, the possibilities that exist for him concerning that which he wrote [to me about] in his letter, and more, and more [reasons, not enumerated here].”4

In instances of doubt, one would therefore do well to remember the Rebbe’s exhortation to “ask one’s mashpia or rav....” We are then assured that not only will the Rebbe’s holy blessings accompany every chassan and kallah, but his instructions on these matters will be followed as well.

May the marriages that are currently taking place, and are soon to take place, herald and hasten the coming of the ultimate marriage celebration, the marriage and union of G‑d and His people.

As the Rebbe states: “The marriage of every couple ... is connected to the ultimate marriage between G‑d and the Jewish people that will be consummated in the Era of Redemption.”5

And at that time, “we will again meet with the Rebbe on this earthly plane, and he shall redeem us.”6

Sholom B. Wineberg
Overland Park, Kansas

Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5760
Jubilee Year of the Leadership
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe