Friday, August 19, 2005

"Chosson will be forbidden to the Callah in the Yichud Room."

I did a bad thing... Well, maybe I did a good thing, but I know that I will have upset the chosson and callah (bride and groom, in reversed order) the Shabbos before their wedding day which is a bad thing.

My best friend is getting married, and he made the executive decision to get a rent-a-rabbi from Monsey who is not doing his job in trying to get them to do the things they need to do before the wedding. These are the kinds of rabbis who show up at the weddings with their beards and black coats looking all holy and just sign off on everything and accept money for weddings saying that everything was done properly, not caring whether the people getting married are following halacha (Jewish law) or not.

My friend's wedding was what prompted me to start writing this blog in February. I have my first few articles with them getting engaged as the initial subject of my blog.

However, since then my friend has excluded me from all the halachic decisions, and has decided unilaterally to do whatever he wanted to do.
Specifically, he decided that he didn't need his callah (wife-to-be) to go to the mikveh (a purifying process that the woman immerses in certain waters before her wedding) before their wedding. He is also not separating himself from her before the wedding, and he has dispensed with the need for shomerim (people who stay with the chosson (groom) before the wedding). This makes sense to him because he feels they are not necessary since he has already slept with her and already lives with her.

My opinion is that just because they were living in sin and were forbidden to eachother before the marriage doesn't mean that they should live in sin and be forbidden to eachother after the marriage. I feel that they should at least be permitted to eachother after the marriage, regardless of what they have already done beforehand. What also concerns me is that he wants me to be a witness in the yichud room (the room Jewish people go into after the wedding to be alone). However, the problem is that the husband and wife are forbidden to be alone together ("in yichud") until she has gone to the mikveh . Despite my objections, he just doesn't seem to care about it; in fact, he's driving to the hotel on Saturday afternoon -- SHABBOS!! -- so that he'll be on time for his wedding.

I think that a marriage ceremony is a joke if it is not done properly. What is worse is that they are expecting me to verbally sign off on everything that it is kosher and I didn't and they are going forward with it anyway.

As a last resort, I sent this e-mail below to the bride and the groom, hoping that this will nudge them one last time to do what they need to do before the wedding.

Dear [Yehuda and Chava],

It is Friday morning and everything here seems to be in order.

Even though it is likely too late to do this, perhaps Chava can find a way to do this TODAY before Shabbos or on SATURDAY NIGHT or SUNDAY the morning of the wedding to go to the mikveh. This won't be a crazy thing because most mikvahs are used to people going at weird hours and at the last minute. Going to the mikveh is an imporant thing becuase it is part of the purification process that should happen before a man and woman get married. It is also important because if she didn't go, you two would be forbidden to be alone together in the yichud room, and relations after the marriage would also be forbidden. Nobody will stop you from going into the room or doing what you want to do, except that it just seems silly to have that whammy on your wedding day, especially after all the time and money and effort that you guys have spent to make the wedding what I'm guessing will be a beautiful ceremony. Also, both witnesses in the yichud room need to be Shomer Shabbos.

Anyway, I'm sure you guys will do what you feel is best, and I trust your judgment. I am looking forward to seeing you guys married.

Warm regards,


Anonymous said...

"He is also not separating himself from her before the wedding"

There is *no* halachic basis for any sort of separation before the wedding. None.

Rowan said...

I don't know really, but I am wondering if he has thrown his jewish "laws" out the window lately. Maybe he really no longer cares about those things? Sound liek he has been living in sin in more ways than one. Just guessing.

Zoe Strickman said...

Anonymous: If you're talking about sex and yichud before marriage, I disagree. If you are talking about fasting, I also think I disagree. As for physically separating [meaning not physically seeing each other], I thought that was part of it because that's what I see in weddings all the time. Must be minhag (custom).

Otherwise, thank you for the correction. Sometimes the borders between minhag and halacha get blurred by me because I'm around it so much. I'm working on learning the distinctions.

Rowan: I think you might be guessing correctly. Funny how things come out at times like this.

Anonymous said...

I was talking about physically separating and thus not seeing each other. For that so called minhag, there is not basis.

Of course I wasn't talking about sex before marriage. I assumed you weren't either.

Zoe Strickman said...

By the way anonymous, what is your problem with minhagim (customs)? 1) Why do you hate them so much, and 2) why do you feel that it is so important to do just the minimum of halacha (Jewish law)? [Minhagim are chumras (stringencies) on the halachot (laws). In halacha (Jewish law), you are supposed to follow the minhagim (customs) of your father. Why don't you?]

On a personal level, you seem to find minhagim appalling; I find them admirable and well-meaning.]

...and while we're at it, 3) why have I always sensed from you such a slithering hatred for those who follow yiddishkeit (Judaism) stricter than you do? What happened to you when you were younger to cause such a hatred for others of your own kind?

Lastly, 4) why don't you get your own user name so you can be accountable for your comments?? I'm considering changing my settings so that only blogger users can comment on my site. -Zoe

D said...

Zoe, the custom of separating (ie not seeing each other) the week or so before marriage is tied up in mikvah usage, so if they're skipping the latter, there's little point in observing the former.

Basically it's from the time she makes a hefsek taharah (confirmation of succession of bleeding) 7 days before going to mikvah, and barring that, it's from the time she actually goes... the point being that they don't come to "sin" while she's already tahor (pure) for the wedding but not actually married to him yet.

You don't seem to have all the details on mikvah, which is fine, since you aren't female and aren't married... but randomly going to mikvah without doing the week of preparation and daily internal checks won't actually make her tahor, so it was a case of "too little too late" to try to make her go right before the chassanah.

Come read, or send her there. (Believe it or not, among the Orthodox women there are plenty of non-Orthodox women observing some aspect of Taharah HaMishpacha and even posting about it!) Maybe we can convince her to go at least once, even after the wedding... it's a mitzvah that can have spiritual dividends retroactively.

I hope your friend will understand that you didn't mean anything personal. Your understanding of religion does seem to be very, umm, how can I say this, Ba'al Teshuvah. (I'm one too... it's not a bad thing, but it's easy to miss details and get confused, and especially to sound high and mighty when you don't intend to at all, and are just trying to get others to do things "right.")

D said...

I should say, won't make her tahor al pi the highest standard of halacha... there are women who do things this way, and we don't bar them from mikvah usage... better something than nothing! But your point seemed to be that you were trying to make it kosher to your standards, and at your level of observance, that wouldn't have done it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Where did that scathing attack come from, Zoe? I think you have me mixed up with another anon.

Firstly, who said I was opposed to minhagim? I am opposed to phony minhagim which have no real basis whatsoever (and in fact probably derive from goyish customs). Many minhagim are beautiful expressions of Jews' desire to serve G-d faithfully, based in our established law.

But I certainly never implied (2) that one should do the minimum required by halacha. Nor did I ever express (3) a "slithering hatred" for those frummer than me. And I don't get a blog (4) because I rarely comment on them; in fact today was my first comment on your site.

Zoe Strickman said...

I didn't realize it was so complex. I did what I could by having multiple "mikveh talks" a few months back. This e-mail was kind of a last stand. Now I wish I hadn't said anything because I might have made matters worse since now she can't go. Beforehand, she wouldn't go. -Zoe

Zoe Strickman said...

Anonymous, I did have you mixed up with another anonymous blogger who has been annoying me about minhagim lately. I confess that your words "so called" made me think you were him. Sorry. (How's that for a warm welcome to my site?)

Lyss said...

Dude, it's their wedding, their way. Let is go. No one likes a lecture, espcially such a self rightous one. No wonder he stopped asking for your advice.
It's an odd way to show that you care.

Anonymous said...

This is like BlogginHora, wish your friends Simchas, Nachas, and the best warmest and pure wishes from your heart.