Sefarim Are Meant to Be Used

It is an established custom in many places for the kallah topurchase a Shas for her chassan; the Chassidic custom is that the chassan receive Chassidic sefarim as well.

The intent of all the above is that one should continuously study Torah.

.. The chassan and also the kallahshould increase their Torah study, both Scriptural and Oral Torah. For “... also women are obligated to study and to know the laws that pertain to them.”

This is especially so regarding those laws connected with marriage and family purity, laws that are mainly contingent on the woman.

Thus, observance [of these laws], care [in keeping these laws], “taharah,” and holiness, that is to say, all the particulars that are part and parcel of the laws of marriage and family purity, depend on them. They, in turn, are expected to encourage their husbands in this area as well.

There should also be an increase in prayer. This, too, has a special connection with women, as their emotions are moredeveloped than men’s. Prayer is termed “service of the heart,” and therefore women can apply themselves to prayer with greater intensity and strength than can their male counterparts.

Similarly there should be an increase in tzedakah, especially on the wedding day. They should take a percentage of their money, with which they could have purchased the necessities of life, and donate it to tzedakah. In this way it is considered as if they were giving their very soul and life to G‑d.

These coins of tzedakah are then transformed into “coins of [heavenly] fire,” irradiating and illuminating their homes with the light and glow of Torah and mitzvos.

All the above is to be done with enthusiasm, fervor and radiance — with the fire of Yiddishkeit and Chassidus.

(From a general Yechidus to chassanim and kallos, 17 Shevat, 5745)

The More Sefarim the Better

.. So, too, with regard to a chassan and kallah who are preparing to build a Jewish home: In concert with their efforts to obtain furnishings for their home — “a bed, chair, table and lamp”1 — they are to exert themselves (indeed, this should be their primary effort) that the house contain sacred books, which they will use for Torah study.

So much so [will the house be influenced by these sacred volumes], that the house verily becomes a “house filled with sefarim2 — included in which is the interpretation that the entire physical edifice and all its accoutrements are permeated with the content and substance of the sefarim. In the words of the Rabbis,3 the house itself becomes “an assembly place for Sages.”

It is an established custom in many places that the chassan receivea gift of a Shas and the kallah receive a Siddur Korban Minchah, a Siddur with a simplistic Yiddish translation (ivreh teitch), wherein are cited — in the lingua franca — many laws that relate to Jewish women.

Presently, since women study [much] Torah, are knowledgeable, and so on, they do not need a simplistic Yiddish translation — in fact, receiving such a gift may even cause them embarrassment. Instead, they should receive books of Jewish law that relate to conducting one’s home [in the proper Jewish way].

[These gifts of books should consist of books that are written] in a clear and concise manner. They may be either in Lashon HaKodesh, or translated into the local language, etc.

And the more books given, the better.

(Sefer HaSichos 5748,Vol. I, p. 191)

Purchase of a Pushkeh

There is the established Jewish custom that the chassan receivea gift of sefarim — here, in this country, the custom is that he receivea Shas and the like.

It should also be established that in the “new home” a gift that is connected to tzedakah be brought— a tzedakah pushkeh, a “charity box.”

.. This will serve as a reminder both “below,” [i.e., to the inhabitants of this world] and “above” [those who inhabit the spiritual realms] that this is a home built on Torah and mitzvos.

On Torah — inasmuch as it is “a home filled with sefarim”; on mitzvos — by means of the tzedakah pushkeh, as tzedakah represents the general aspect of mitzvos.

(Sichahs Kodesh 5739, Vol. I, p. 364)

The Kallah Should Not Receive a Ring as a Gift
Prior to Her Marriage

In my opinion it is advisable, for obvious reasons,4 that a ring not be among the gifts that are given to the kallah.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 510)

Other Gifts but Not a Ring

I have already spoken very forcefully about the unfortunate custom wherein the chassan gives the kallah a ring [in honor of their engagement]. [How can this possibly be done, when] this can lead to a great pitfall, since this is similar to the ring the chassan gives his kallah under the chuppah.

There were those who responded with the argument that the intent [in giving the ring] is not an act of marriage, and so on.

However, this is a specious argument, for the whole intent and purpose of presenting the kallah with a gift of a ring is to stimulate thoughts about marriage.

Why, then, give a gift that leads to many [halachic] questions if, G‑d forbid, chassan and kallah should break off the engagement — questions that are so severe that they are of a capital nature.

Even when they stay together, [the chassan’s giving the kallah a ring for their engagement results in] questions with regard to the marriage blessings.

[This being so, why give a ring as a gift] when one can give a gift that avoids all questions and problems?!

This leads to an even greater snare: when the chassan conducts himself in the manner that it is specifically he who places the ring on the finger of his kallah.

This is done, of course, in order to bring about a degree of closeness between chassan and kallah — so that it should not be said that the chassan’s presentation of the ring to his kallah is being done without sincerity, etc.

[When this is done in such a manner, then] this results in the obvious question of why this should not be considered [a prohibited] “affectionate closeness” (kirvah shel chibah)!5

If this were not enough, the Rav or Rabbi is invited [to the ring-placing ceremony] so that he may give a sermon — something that he happily does, without offering the slightest murmur of protest that concurrent with his sermon the chassan is placing a ring on the kallah’s finger!

Why enter this quagmire by giving a ring?! To be sure, the chassan is not being compelled to give [his kallah] a Siddur Korban Minchah, so that he not be thought of as a batlan [other worldly] — but neither should he give a ring. If one insists on giving precious gems and pearls — then do not give a ring, give another piece of jewelry.

It is a mitzvah to publicize the above.

(Sichos Kodesh 5741, Vol. II, p. 512)