Thursday, June 16, 2011

THE JEWISH WEDDING: The Seven Days of Celebration

The week following the wedding is a period dedicated to celebration and marked by specific Laws and customs. These seven days (shib'at yeme hamishte) are meant to making the newlywed couple happy.

The bride and the groom refrain from performing labor during the week following their wedding. This is not the same prohibition as Shabbat or festive days (Yom tob). Rather the couple should avoid activities that will distract them from rejoicing. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions where the couple would be allowed to perform certain works (a time-sensitive business, a public service, etc).

During these days they should wear festive clothing and hold festive meals. It is a very old custom for relatives and friends to prepare the meals for the couple and host them in different locations. In the times of the Talmud the families and friends of the bride and groom would come to celebrate at the new couple's home (bet chatanim).

The couple is not formally obligated to make from every meal during this week a festive celebration, they are permitted to eat normal, quiet meals as well. Indeed, there is no obligation to hold even one festive meal per day. But when the couple attends a meal which satisfies certain conditions (as we will explain later on) then the Sheba' Berakhot (the seven blessing of the bride and groom) should be recited at the end of Bircat haMazon (Grace after a meal).



(From: "The marriage covenant" by Rabbi Elyashiv Knohl)


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