Currently, the prevailing custom among Anash is to celebrate the engagement of chassan and kallah with a celebration known as a Vort — “giving one’s word” — or a LeChayim.

In the course of this celebration, non-written assurances are received — primarily in the form of a kabbalaskinyan — from the parties, in which they pledge to go through with the marriage.

The more formal written agreement regarding the marriage and the conditions attached thereto, known as the Tena’im, or “Conditions,” are formalized on the day of the wedding itself.

Quite often, the Rebbe would issue the following blessing in honor of the Vort:1 “May it be in a good and auspicious hour. Mazal Tov.Azkir al haTziyun.”

The Rebbe would urge that the Vort be celebrated with the recitation of a maamar, a Chassidic discourse, preferably by the chassan himself, if not by others.

Additionally, during the Vort, an earthenware plate is broken [generally by the mothers of chassan and kallah], and a Chassidic farbrengen is conducted.

The Rebbe very much favored2 that the Vort be celebrated in a modest and non-ostentatious manner.3

The Rebbe was also quite emphatic that the engagement period not be termed “eirusin,” “betrothal.”

Tena’im or Kinyan

In reply to your undated letter in which you inquire whether to celebrate the engagement with a tena’im or a kinyan, [i.e., a vort]:

It really does not make too much of a difference in which manner you choose to celebrate it. Inquire among your local Anash as to the current prevailing custom and conduct yourself in this manner.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 255)

Reciting a Maamar

Surely you recited a maamar at the time of your kishurei hatena’im...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 134)

Singing the Alter Rebbe’s Niggun

The Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn, of blessed memory, writes the following with regard to when it is appropriate for the Alter Rebbe’s Niggun to be sung:4

“This song was sung in Lubavitch only on recognized occasions — from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Simchas Torah, Yud-Tes Kislev, Purim, during the festive meals of a tena’im, or a wedding....”

Someone asked the Rebbe whether the Alter Rebbe’s Niggun may be sung during a vort, as there is no formal writing of the tena’im at the vort.

The Rebbe responded: “The answer to this question is within the province of a Rav who regularly rules on matters of Jewish law.”5

(From a Teshurah)

It’s Perfectly Fine Not to Immediately Write the Tena’im

.. You write in your letter that you are planning to write the tena’im on the day of the wedding.

There is absolutely no room for doubt [that this may be done]; indeed, it is proper to do so. May the tena’im as well [as the wedding to follow] be celebrated in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 19)

“Engaged” — Not “Betrothed”

Neither Verbalize nor Write “Eirusin” Until the Proper Time

.. It is my considered opinion that the term “eirusin” (“betrothal”) neither be verbalized nor written [in describing the engaged couple] until the actual [ceremony] of eirusin takes place [on the wedding day].

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 5 Sivan, 5729)

Denoting the Engagement Period as “Eirusin” Bespeaks Ignorance

There are those who, when desiring to notify others about the engagement of a chassan and kallah,write and publicize that “so and so” and “so and so” were betrothed (nisarsu).

The use of this terminology is a matter of sheer ignorance, since the state of eirusin means that the woman is considered an “eishes ish” (“wife of her husband”) with regard to all matters [relating to her relationship with others]. This state [of eirusin] possesses implication with regard to capital matters as well.

Here, however, [when they are simply engaged to be married], we are speaking merely of that which is termed “kishurei tena’im” — “bound by the pledge that they will be getting married.” This term [as it relates to the engagement of a chassan and kallah] is found in the codes of Jewish law.

(Shaarei Halachah U’Minhag, Vol. IV, p. 90)6