A Wedding Is to Be Suffused With Joy And Expansiveness

A wedding is to be suffused with joy, and joy breaks through all boundaries and limitations, attaining the ultimate degree of expansiveness. This is the very antithesis of frugality.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 306)

A Tzedakah Pushkeh on the Head Tables

A tzedakah pushkeh is placed on the head tables of the chassan and kallah.

(Hisvaaduyos 5749, Vol. I, p. 286)

Wedding Music

Once, during a chuppah that was being held in front of “770,” the Rebbe became aware that there was no music. Upon ascertaining that the lack of music was because of a lack of funds, the Rebbe told Rabbi Leibel Groner to “tell the mechutanim to prepare music, and I will pay for it.”

(Heard from Rabbi Groner)

Dancing

Marriage is an extremely lofty matter, for which reason it is to be celebrated with dancing.

(Sefer HaMaamarim Basi LeGani, Vol. I, p. 64)1

No “Mitzvah Dance”

To an individual who asked the Rebbe why the Chabad custom is not to have a “Mitzvah Tantz,” the Rebbe responded:

1) Although we must understand the reason for this [i.e., for not engaging in this dance,] it does not change the fact [that we don’t do so].

2) ... He who observes what has actually transpired in our days and during many, many weddings [as a result of “Mitzvah Dances”] understands the reason [it is not done in Chabad circles].

(Binyan Adei Ad, p. 44)

Mixed Dancing

Kiddushin and marriage consists of “You are consecrated unto me” — that the husband and wife are coupled only to each other. When the assembled express their joy and blessings to the couple, it is to be in a similar manner — at least, not in a conflicting manner.

The theme of mixed dancing is the following:

That someone who is married to one individual dances with another, or an unmarried young man dances with an unmarried young lady — thereby indicating that the institution of marriage is entirely superfluous. And all this is done publicly and with a clamor!!

The “arousal from above” is similar to the “arousal from below” [that precedes it]. When one below indicates that the joy of marriage leads to such behavior of joyous illicit closeness, then, Heaven forfend what can result from such behavior.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 305)

A Proper Mechitzah

In relation to the various rumors that have been reaching me — causing me great astonishment — I am writing you the following lines, notwithstanding the fact that I am extremely occupied.

According to my information (which will prove, hopefully, to be inaccurate) your family is in opposition to your daughter’s wedding with ... being held in accordance with the demands of Jewish law, i.e., that there be a mechitzah, a partition, between the men and the women.

I, therefore, would like to explain to you the situation from my perspective:

When a wedding is made with a partition, in accordance with the demands of our sacred Torah, then the Torah rules that one is to say [in the introduction to the Grace After the Meal, “Blessed be our G‑d] in Whose abode there is joy.” [When men and women are together in one room, however, we do not recite “in Whose abode there is joy,” for “there is no joy when the evil inclination reigns.”2 ]

This is to say, that when mention is made of G‑d, we associate it with the aspect of joy — that G‑dly joy permeate the world as a whole, but primarily that the joy permeate the chassan and kallah.

I surely need not write to you what has happened during recent years to the world as a whole and to Jews in particular. If during all times it was necessary to entreat G‑d that He provide us with blessings and success, and more significantly, that He provide us with healthy and happy lives, how much more so in our present generation. The only entity that can assure the above is that entity Who is Master of the entire world — G‑d.

From the time you began inquiring of me about the shidduch for your daughter, it was my obligation and privilege to assure that when your daughter and her chassan, Rabbi ... began their lives together, they would do so in a manner where one could hope for and anticipate the greatest degree of Divine blessing possible.

[It was my fondest wish] that they have a happy and healthy home, a home that is in accord with our sacred Torah — a dwelling that is such that one can recite at the time of the wedding, “in Whose abode there is joy.”

When Torah rules in a certain way, it is impossible for anyone to change this ruling. I was therefore astonished by the fact that parents — who do everything they possibly can for their children to have fortunate and advantageous lives (provided it is in their hands to do so) — should expend effort in preventing their daughter’s wedding from being suffused with joy. Moreover, this leads — G‑d forbid — that to a certain degree, joy may be lacking in their future lives, Heaven forfend.

Marriage exists for the purpose of building an abode for many decades. In this instance, [the] parents are ready to endanger that which will endure for decades so as to curry favor — for the several hours of the wedding celebration — in the eyes of those who don’t know the laws of the Shulchan Aruch or who don’t care about these laws.

I am thoroughly perplexed: Who is so thoroughly broad-shouldered that they can take upon themselves risking their children’s happiness for decades to come, all for a fleeting, imaginary pleasure.

It is not my function to force others to follow my wishes; it is not my function to force my opinion on others; and it is not my nature to speak harsh words. I therefore wish to conclude my letter with the positive and good:

When I gave my consent to the shidduch, I was absolutely positive that on their part, the parents would do all they could to assure a happy and joyous future for their children.

It is self-understood that it should be wholly immaterial whether the girlfriends of the mother or the kallah would or would not be satisfied [with a partition] — as long as the holy Torah is satisfied with the conduct of the wedding.

As I stated above: If you truly desire the fulfillment of the Torah ruling, that at this wedding one may recite “in Whose abode there is joy” and thereby assure that joy will reign throughout the entire lives of chassan and kallah, then one must follow the dictates of the Shulchan Aruch3 — [that] the wedding must be celebrated with a partition.

P.S. I am aware that many weddings, including weddings of religious people, are celebrated — to our distress — without partitions. However, I am also aware of the travails that come later on. May G‑d bless you that you be able to relate only glad tidings, both materially and spiritually.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 1)

Bringing Joy to Chassan and Kallah

At a wedding attended by the Rebbe before his Nesius, there was a rather lengthy pause in the dancing. The Rebbe called over one of the yeshivah students and told him to ask the yeshivah students and young men in attendance whether they came only to partake in the meal, or to bring gladness and joy to chassan and kallah.

(From a Teshurah)

Chassan and Kallah Are Not to Serve Others

We verily observe that chassan and kallah are prevented from serving others during their wedding; it is a mitzvah for others to do everything for them, gladdening and rejoicing their hearts, since it is the chassan and kallah who are the celebrants (baalei hasimchah).

(Hisvaaduyos 5747, Vol. III, p. 464)

The Wedding — A Time for Inspiration In Matters of Torah and Mitzvos

According to Jewish custom, the time of the wedding is utilized for arousal in matters of Torah and mitzvos, and words of Torah and Chassidus are then spoken.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 307)


Blessings for Chassan and Kallah


Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov”

Chassan and kallah are customarily blessed at their wedding with a twofold mazal tov —Mazal tov, mazal tov.” This corresponds to the two mazalos of Notzer and Nakei that unite [specifically] at the time of marriage (but not during eirusinYevamos 62b), for at the time of marriage, the two mazalos of chassan and kallah unite.4

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XX, p. 576)

“Binyan Adei Ad”

Chassan and kallah are also customarily blessed at their wedding with the blessing of “Binyan adei ad,” that their marriage be an “eternal edifice.”

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 307)

A Wedding Should Be Utilized as a Venue For a Chassidic Farbrengen

.. Weddings should celebrated as in times past. Then, chassidim would utilize a Chassidishe simchah for the truly appropriate (far dem richtigen) Chassidishe farbrengen, in order to revitalize the spirit of Chassidus in all aspects.

This revitalization would occur ... especially during a farbrengen that took place during a time of a simchah, at which time people are exultant and the timing is suitable [for spiritual arousal and reawakening].

(To Reb Nissan Nemanov, during a Yechidus)

Text of Zimun

.. We say in [the introduction to] Bircas HaMazon (Grace After the Meal) “in Whose abode there is joy, of Whose bounty we have eaten,” rather than “ ‘and’ of Whose bounty we have eaten.” So is it written in all Chabad siddurim.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 24)

Blessing of Chassan and Kallah
Should Be Accompanied by Tzedakah and Torah

It is a Jewish custom that when blessing a Jew (making a Mi Shebeirach and the like), the blessing is connected to giving tzedakah for the merit of the person receiving the blessing. It is also worthwhile that the person giving the blessing connect his blessing with some aspect of Torah.

It therefore would be appropriate and fitting and entirely proper that the following be established: Whenever people gather together to give their blessings, whether it be [to offer their blessings to] a chassan and kallah, or whether it be a bar mitzvah and the like, they should link their blessings to tzedakah and Torah.

Giving gifts is all right (m’heiche teiseh), as long as one doesn’t enter into debt [by doing so].

But that which is related to tzedakah [is entirely different, for here the person does not become indebted, as this comes under the heading of] “Tithe — so that you may become wealthy.”

Moreover, as the Alter Rebbe writes in Iggeres HaKodesh,5 “‘He who is gracious unto the poor [lends unto G‑d, and He will repay him his good deed’6 twofold, in this world”].

(Sichos Kodesh 5729, Vol. I, pp. 208-209)

Reciting Grace Prior to Sheva Berachos

Regarding the question that was asked of you:7 When partaking of a wedding meal, it is customary for the participants to sit at different tables and for waiters to attend to their needs (thereby halachicly combining) the different tables [as if they were all eating at one table].

When the meal drags on, many of these groups say Grace among themselves, without waiting for Bircas HaMazon to be recited at the head table at which sit chassan and kallah, and without waiting for the recitation of the Sheva Berachos. Nor do they say “in Whose abode there is joy.”

You ask me whether it is proper to do so, i.e., whether one can release oneself from [the obligation of] Sheva Berachos.

It would seem that the reason for this manner of conduct is the following:

a) Not everyone can stay for the duration of a lengthy meal (either because they are busy; for reasons of health; they treasure their time, and so on — especially, since there are occasions when the lengthy duration of the meal is a result of contrary events).

b) To recite Sheva Berachos before they are recited at the head table of the chassan and kallah would rouse the ire of the mechutanim.

Thus to change the custom whereby: a) all would have to remain until the end of the meal — this would bring about that many would not attend [the festive meal] in the first place, something that would minimize the joy of chassan and kallah. This, in addition to the hard feelings this would engender by the mechutanim toward those who did not attend the wedding, as we verily observe.

[Secondly, to change the custom whereby:] b) at those tables [where people desire to leave early]they would say Grace with Sheva Berachos, over two goblets [as is done for a Sheva Berachos], honoring different individuals [with the recitation of the Sheva Berachos], might well give rise — as mentioned above — to the intense displeasure of the mechutanim, and those who do not want this ire directed at them will refrain from attending the wedding.

Since either one of these two manners of conduct is a mitzvah [i.e., either to remain to the end, or to say Grace with Sheva Berachos], and concurrently the custom of [not remaining, as well as the custom of not reciting Sheva Berachos] has become extremely prevalent, it is appropriate to explain this custom:

We may say that [the prevailing custom] is based on three points:

a) Shulchan Aruch [Orach Chaim], Chapter 193:1 — it is permitted for ten [diners] to split up in order to prevent rousing the ire of the householder.

b) There [in Shulchan Aruch],end of sub-section 3, [it is stated:] — even if this [argument of not arousing ire] would not be a sufficient reason; however, when they have already conducted themselves so, then it is as if they were not established as one unit from the very beginning [of the meal]. See also Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah, 88:2.

c) In accordance with the statement in Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer, Chapter 62, Taz sub-section 7, and the Aruch HaShulchan (Chapter 138, quoted by you as well in your letter), the obligation of Sheva Berachos depends on whether one’s dining is also for the purpose of the rejoicing of chassan and kallah.

Accordingly, we may say that if, from the very beginning [of the meal], the intent of the assembled was that if the meal drags on they will say Grace without Sheva Berachos, this averts establishing their meal for the sake of chassan and kallah, for which reason, the obligation of Sheva Berachos never transpired [for them] in the first place.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 215)

Sheva Berachos

If there are two chassanim, then Sheva Berachos is recited twice — providing there are two minyanim who have washed [netilas yadayim for the meal].

It is also self-understood, that since one does not intermingle one simchah with another, they should do this [recite the second Sheva Berachos] after some time has passed [since the first recitation of Sheva Berachos].

(Hisvaaduyos 5742, Vol. I, p. 165)

Gifts to Chassan and Kallah

You are surely aware of that which is stated in Likkutei Torah, conclusion of Portion Nasso (29b), that presents are given [to, and] in honor of, chassan and kallah.

.. Accompanying my letter is the Sefer Likkutei Torah, which I ask that you accept as a wedding present (derashah geshank).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 268)


Weddings and Mashiach


Every Marriage Is Connected to the Ultimate Marriage

“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.”

(Sefer HaSichos 5751, Vol. II, p. 807)

Rejoicing at a Wedding Precipitates The Ultimate Rejoicing

The rejoicing of a chassan and kallah is one of the greatest expressions of Jewish happiness. This rejoicing heralds and precipitates the ultimate rejoicing as expressed in the prophecy:8 “There will be heard ... in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem ... the sound of happiness and the sound of rejoicing ... the sound of a chassan and the sound of a kallah.”

Therefore, everyone, and particularly the members of the family, should participate in this celebration as a preparation for the “eternal rejoicing”9 which will characterize the Era of the Redemption.

(Hisvaaduyos 5744, Vol. III, p. 1,965)

Increased Joy During a Wedding Hastens
The Wedding Celebration of G‑d and the Jewish People

At every wedding of a chassan and kallah we recite the wedding blessings, beginning with “Who sanctifies His people Israel through Chuppah and Kiddushin” and concluding with “let there speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of happiness....” These blessings are recited before a multitude, who respond with Amen.

When an actual wedding takes place, whereby one can clearly indicate that here stand the chassan and kallah who were just blessed with these blessings, this serves to hasten and accelerate to an even greater degree the completed state of marriage of the Jewish people [with G‑d] — “Who sanctifies His people Israel through Chuppah and Kiddushin.”

Then we will truly merit that “there shall speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a chassan and the sound of a kallah,” in our Holy Land, and in Jerusalem our holy city, and within all the cities of Judah.

All this is particularly accomplished by increasing the measure of joy during a wedding, which is the greatest degree of joy of all, joy that knows no boundaries or limitations.

(Hisvaaduyos 5749, Vol. IV, p. 295)

“The Sound of Joy and the Sound of Happiness
The Sound of Chassan and the Sound of Kallah”

The final and concluding blessing of the Sheva Berachos quotes a prophetic passage10 regarding the Era of Redemption — “...there shall speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a chassan and the sound of a kallah.”

All the previous marriage blessings are related to the theme of marriage. This is true even of the blessing “Who sanctifies His people Israel through Chuppah and Kiddushin.”

Although it speaks of the marriage of G‑d and the Jewish people, it nonetheless also relates to the actual wedding of a chassan and kallah. The reason this is so is, that inasmuch as G‑d’s attribute is “measure for measure,” therefore, marriage in this material world also brings about our marriage, [i.e., the marriage of the Jewish people] to G‑d.

However, regarding the final blessing, “...there shall speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem...” which refers to the future Redemption, we must understand how it is connected to marriage. [And evidently not only is there a connection to marriage, but a very strong connection, by witness of the fact that] during all seven days of festivity we conclude the Sheva Berachos with this blessing.

The explanation is as follows: Marriage draws down G‑d’s infinite power, the infinite energy of Ein Sof into this world. The fully complete and revealed state of G‑d’s infinite revelation within this world will take place during the Era of Redemption.

We therefore conclude and bring to a close the marriage blessings with the blessing, “...there shall speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a chassan and the sound of a kallah.”

For this is a blessing that is also an expression of supplication and prayer, as well as a firm assurance, that this shall indeed speedily be so, that “there shall speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a chassan and the sound of a kallah.”

This shall take place in the course of the true and complete Redemption, through Mashiach Tzidkeinu.

(Hisvaaduyos 5745, Vol. V, pp. 2,883-4)