Monday, June 25, 2012

JEWISH WEDDING: The Tallit under the Chupa

The custom in our community, and in many other Jewish communities as well, is that the groom (Chatan) wears a Talit (a prayer shawl) under the Chupa. The tradition is to use a brand new Talit, which is given as a gift to the groom by his bride.
The groom wears the Talit immediately after the ceremony of the giving of the ring (Kiddushin).  If it is still daylight time, he pronounces two blessings: Lehit'atef BeTzitzit and Shehecheyanu. If its already nighttime, he recites only the blessingShehecheyanu.  He has to keep in mind that Shehecheyanu, which is a blessing of praise to the Almighty for having the privilege of being able to experience a particular new happy occasion, should include also his thoughts of gratitude to haShem for his wedding, which inaugurates for him and his wife a new (and B'H happier!) life.
Many reasons were given for the wearing of the Talit under the Chupa.
One of them is that the Talit is given to the groom by the bride, as a token of reciprocity for receiving a ring from him. "Just as the wedding ring symbolizes that she is bound to him to the exclusion of all other men, the Talit symbolizes that he is bound to her to the exclusion of all other women"  (Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, 'Made in heaven').
It is interesting to notice that whereas in Sephardic and German Jewish communities the custom is that a Jewish boy wears the Talit once he becomes Bar-Mitzva or before, in many Eastern European communities it is customary for the Jewish man to begin wearing a Talit only after he gets married.  The base of this custom is that the Tora mentions the Mitzva of Tzitzit, followed by the Mitvza of marriage (See Debarim 22:12-13).

Click here to read  "Matchmaking for everyone" Practical ways to help your friends find the right one  by  Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, J.D., M.Sc.  from