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Jewish Wedding: The Days Before
An Orthodox Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

 • Shmira: Guarding the Bride and Groom
 • Royal Treatment: Why are Grooms likened to Kings?

Distractions from the true essence of a wedding abound. Florists and photography decisions; Shower gift thank-you-note-induced writer’s cramp; Seating chart horrors; Beef, Chicken, or would a Vegan menu be more impressive. Jewish traditions help refocus brides and grooms and reconnect them with the spiritual leap they are about to take.

An old custom designated the pre-wedding week as the Golden Week. Without a wife, a man is said to be lacking access to the inner depths of Torah, which is likened to gold. In some communities, friends and relatives send food to the bride and groom; a practice known as mestvach.

Some couples choose to not see each other during the week before their wedding. It’s a custom that may be ignored if not seeing each other is a problem. Keeping the couple apart heightens the delight and anticipation of the wedding day, when the bride and groom finally get to see each other after what seems like an eternity. It may also be a practical measure. Pre-wedding tension taxes even the calmest of brides and grooms. The stressed out newlyweds-to-be may inadvertently lash out at each other, so maintaining some distance until the ceremony may help the couple avoid the petty fights premarital jitters engender.

Shmira – Guarding the Bride and Groom
Many wedding customs, majestic in nature, stem from perceiving the bride and groom as king and queen for a day. Just like a royal couple, the groom and the bride, appear in public during the week of their nuptials, always escorted.

Since it is difficult to secure the services of an early morning “shomer” (guard), it is customary or at least accepted for groom to pray at home during week before his wedding rather than venture on his own to the synagogue for morning or other services.

Why are grooms likened to kings?
Wedded bliss brings a man to a new peak of happiness. Joy opens minds to greater understanding, and the happiness of his impending matrimony elevates a groom’s capacity to a deeper understanding of Torah. The groom, then, joins the royal ranks of those who thrive on the dedication to the King of all kings, and therefore is afforded the royal treatment. (Rabbi Yehudah Prero, Lifecycles, Project Genesis)


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Forbidden Marriages and the Issue of Mamzerut
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Marriage: A Jewish Perspective
Setting a Date for the Celebration of a Jewish Wedding
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Jewish Wedding A Second Time Around
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The Ketubah: The Jewish Marriage Contract
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• Prenuptial Agreement: An Halachic View
• Summary of the Orthodox Wedding Ceremony
• Summary of Honors at Jewish Wedding Ceremony
• The Bride's Reception and the Bedeken Ceremony

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• Chuppah: The Inner Meaning

• The Processional and the Chuppah Ceremony
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part I: The "Erusin" - the Engagement
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part II: The Ring and Its Significance
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part III: The Ketubah Reading
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part IV: Nesuin, the Marriage Ceremony
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part V: Breaking the Glass
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• Yichud: Bride and Groom Retreat from Crowd for Alone-Time
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