• Auspicious Days of the Week
• Special Times of the Month
• Postponing a Wedding
Jewish weddings are not held on
Shabbat or major Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashannah (Weddings are celebrated on
minor holidays like Channukah or Tu B’Shvat.) Joy is out of place on days of
national mourning, so weddings are not held on Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust
remembrance day, or on the Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of Av when the ancient Holy
Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and a time of recurring tragedies in Jewish
history. (In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand signed the decree expelling
Jews from Spain on the 9th of Av.)
Yom Hashoah is on the 27th of Nissan, twelve days after the first day of
Passover. Tisha B’Av generally falls out sometime in July or August.
Auspicious Days of the Week
What’s a good day for a wedding?
Jewish traditions has both lofty and practical answers. First, the lofty. On the
third day of creation, the Torah reports “and God saw it was good” (check
source) twice. All other days have a single Godly “good” attached to them.
Jewish time begins in the evening, so a Monday night wedding or a wedding whose
ceremony was held on Tuesday before sunset became a customary way to tap into
this good omen. Later on, Fridays became wedding days.
In the Talmudic era, virgin brides wed on Wednesday, widows on Thursday. Later
on, Fridays became wedding days. This way poor Jews did not have the expense of
paying for a wedding feast and a separate Shabbat dinner. Ceremonies were held
by day and a Shabbat dinner celebrated the marriage at night.
Moroccan Jews had a custom to marry on the fifth day of the week (Wednesday night through Thursday before sunset), because being called up for the fifth aliyah, Torah reading honor, was supremely prestigious.
Special Times of the Month
Just as the moon waxes and wanes, Jews have fared the ups and downs of history. Each Jewish month begins when the new slivered moon appears in the sky and waxes to a full moon by the fifteenth of the Jewish month. With the hope a new couple would see their happiness and good fortune increase throughout their married life, weddings are customarily held toward the beginning of the Jewish month, as the moon gains in size. Never adopted as a hard and fast rule, this tradition does not apply to the generally blessed months of Elul, Tishrei and Adar.
Syrian Jews put special emphasis on weddings in the month of Elul. This month’s name can be interpreted as an acronym standing for the verse “Ani L’Dodi, V’Dodi Li,” “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Songs 7:11, 2:16)
Postponing a Wedding
Marriages are treasured and every effort is made to keep them the ceremony on schedule. Postponements because of a death in the family should be done in consultation with a rabbi who can guide you through the ins and outs of Jewish mourning customs.