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Decking the bride
The terms used to describe the veiling of the bride is most often spelled bedeken, but also occasionally spelled badeken, badecken, or even badekin, as there are no hard and fast rules about the English spelling of Yiddish words. The Ashkenazic custom is for the groom, accompanied by friends and relatives who sing and dance around him, to approach the bride and pull the veil down over her face. This is one of the key moments that any Jewish wedding photographer knows is a must-have shot. Remember, the bride and groom have not seen each other for some time now. They are usually quite happy to meet up, and their joy is reflected in their faces. The veiling is traditionally followed by the bride getting blessed by her father, mother, and, possibly, grandparents who lay their hands over her head -- another great picture moment.
The question is: why go through this public veiling, and why make the groom responsible for it? The practice goes back to really ancient history. Brides would cover their faces out of modesty. We see that in the Bible when Rivka [Rebecca] is brought over to her groom, Yitzchak [Issac], she covers her face.
In the next generation, the cover of the bridal veil prevented Yaakov [Jacob] from realizing that he was, in fact, marrying Rachel, for his duplicitous father-in-law put her sister, Leah, in her place. To avoid such bridal switches, the groom ascertains that the woman behind the veil is the woman he means to marry by putting it on himself. Some also suggest that putting on the veil points to the groom's obligation to provide for his wife's clothing and other essentials, as stipulated in the kethuba.
In his book Beyom Chasunaso: An Explanation and Analysis of of the Laws and Customs of a Jewish Wedding(2007), Rabbi Zev Cinamon gives another reason for the groom's role in the veiling. According to some opinions, the bedeken, in spreading a covering over the bride constitutes the chuppah. Consequently, they would suggest that the groom be the one who owns the veil that he spreads over his bride. Some would even designate witnesses for the bedeken as an actual act of marriage (Cinamon 37).
In Megillas Ruth, the heroine of the story tells Boaz, "uparashta knafecha al amatecha" [you should spread your wings over your handmaiden] (3:9) Rashi elucidates that term to mean, spreading the wings of the garment, that is to cover her in a tallith in the terms of nesuin - marriage.
Some people like to ascribe further meaning to the veil, by declaring it a symbol of the fact that what's inside is the real measure of a person rather than physical beauty. But I haven't seen that reason in historical written sources. It also does not completely fit the custom of declaring the bride to beautiful and kind. According to the ruling of Hillel, which trumped the ruling of Shamai, the proper thing to say at a wedding is, "kallah na'ah vechasuda," regardless of the objective assessment of the bride in question. We literally sing the bride's praises by declaring her to be beautiful, as well as good.
As everyone watches the bride walk down the aisle, the veil gives her some small measure of privacy. Nevertheless, at a standard Orthodox Jewish wedding, the wedding veil will be made of the standard tulle or illusion fabric, which is very close to sheer. Hasidic brides, on the other hand, do wear opaque veils that completely obscure their faces. Happily, the bride is not left to make her way on her own, so her blocked vision should not result in any missteps.
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There is, indeed a perception that Jewish men are good husband material. It certainly seems to be assumed by nonJewish women who actually seek out romantic attachment to Jewish men. What do they have to say for themselves?
In her autobiography, Crossing Ocean Parkway, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick, an Italian-American who became an English professor identifies her selecting a Jewish husband as one of the keys out of the locked environment she found in her own ethnic group. That is not to say that she married for money or even status, but for someone from a culture that would foster her academic aspirations. I am not sure if a WASP would have been perceived as beyond reach, while the Jewish man -- still rooted in an ethnic group -- was considered more attainable. But she clearly found a Jewish husband to be more compatible with where she wanted to go than a fellow Italian-American.
But, on the flip side, my husband recently declared that his coworkers put him to shame (just don…
At the end of her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain puts in "A Note on the Dedication" that explains why she selected her grandfather for that honor because he "spoke so eloquently the language of quiet." She doesn't identify him by name but drops a number of hints, like "Brooklyn neighborhood where he served as a rabbi," "as a widower he'd lived alone for decades," "when she spoke the congregation swelled to standing- room-only," and "he died at the age of ninety-four, after sixty-two years at the pulpit."
She also gives a couple of clues to her family by identifying her father as "a dedicated physician" and the size of her family, which included one sister and one brother. So these were what I had to go on to make the connection. Well, actually my husband took over the Google search when he arrived at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/18/nyregion/rabbi-is…
If I were giving the advice, I''d keep it much simpler: Be a mensch. As Hillel told the prospective convert who wanted to know all of Torah on one foot -- what is hateful to you, don't do to another.(see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-you-need-is.html) The rest is all commentary. The same holds true in this case. For example, isn't it obvious, if a guy gives you options, that he wants you to respond with what you would prefer?
Anyway here's the list of tips.
Preparing for the Date: If the male has called twice with no response and left a voicemail, then at that point the female should be courteous, and either return the call, or text the male to let them know when they will be available to speak. If th…