A CHUPPAH (
In a more general sense, chupah refers to the method by which nesuin, the second stage of a Jewish marriage, is accomplished. According to some opinions, it is accomplished by the couple standing under the canopy; however, there are other views.
* 1 Customs * 2 History and legal aspects * 3 Symbolism * 4 Modern trends * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading
Chuppa at a synagogue in Toronto, Canada
A traditional chuppah, especially within Orthodox Judaism , recommends that there be open sky exactly above the chuppah, although this is not mandatory among Sephardic communities. If the wedding ceremony is held indoors in a hall, sometimes a special opening is built to be opened during the ceremony. Many Hasidim prefer to conduct the entire ceremony outdoors. It is said that the couple's ancestors are present at the chuppah ceremony.
In Yemen, the Jewish practice was not for the groom and his bride to be secluded in a canopy (chuppah) hung on four poles, as is widely practised today in Jewish weddings, but rather in a bridal chamber that was, in effect, a highly decorated room in the house of the groom. This room was traditionally decorated with large hanging sheets of colored, patterned cloth, replete with wall cushions and short-length mattresses for reclining. Their marriage is consummated when they have been left together alone in this room. This ancient practice finds expression in the writings of Isaac ben Abba Mari (c. 1122 – c. 1193), author of Sefer ha-'Ittur, concerning the Benediction of the Bridegroom: "Now the chuppah is when her father delivers her unto her husband, bringing her into that house wherein is some new innovation, such as the sheets… surrounding the walls, etc. For we recite in the Jerusalem Talmud, Sotah 46a (Sotah 9:15), 'Those bridal chambers, (chuppoth hathanim), they hang within them patterned sheets and gold-embroidered ribbons,' etc."
HISTORY AND LEGAL ASPECTS
The word chuppah appears in the
Hebrew Bible (e.g., Joel 2:16; Psalms
There were for centuries regional differences in what constituted a
Solomon Freehof finds that the wedding canopy was
unknown before the 16th century.
Alfred J. Kolatch notes that it was
Middle Ages that the 'chupa ... in use today' became
Daniel Sperber notes that for many communities prior to
the 16th century, the huppah consisted of a veil worn by the bride.
In others, it was a cloth spread over the shoulders of the bride and
groom. Numerous illustrations of Jewish weddings in medieval Europe,
North Africa and Italy show no evidence of a huppah as it is known
In Biblical times, a couple consummated their marriage in a room or tent. In Talmudic times, the room where the marriage was consummated was called the chuppah. There is however a reference of a wedding canopy in the Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 57a: "It was the custom when a boy was born to plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born to plant a pine tree, and when they married, the tree was cut down and a canopy made of the branches".
Jewish weddings consist of two separate parts: the betrothal ceremony, known as erusin or kiddushin, and the actual wedding ceremony, known as nisuin. The first ceremony (the betrothal, which is today accomplished when the groom gives a wedding ring to the bride) prohibits the bride to all other men and cannot be dissolved without a religious divorce (get ). The second ceremony permits the bride to her husband. Originally, the two ceremonies usually took place separately. After the initial betrothal, the bride lived with her parents until the day the actual marriage ceremony arrived; the wedding ceremony would then take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her. After the ceremony the bride and groom would spend an hour together in an ordinary room, and then the bride would enter the chuppah and, after gaining her permission, the groom would join her.
In the Middle Ages these two stages were increasingly combined into a single ceremony (which, from the 16th century, became the 'all but universal Jewish custom' ) and the chuppah lost its original meaning, with various other customs replacing it. Indeed, in post-talmudic times the use of the chuppa chamber ceased; the custom that became most common instead was to 'perform the whole combined ceremony under a canopy, to which the term chuppah was then applied, and to regard the bride's entry under the canopy as a symbol of the consummation of the marriage'. The canopy 'created the semblance of a room'.
There are legal varying opinions as to how the chuppah ceremony is to be performed today. Major opinions include standing under the canopy, and secluding the couple together in a room (yichud ). The bethothal and chuppah ceremonies are separated by the reading of the ketubah .
This chuppah ceremony is connected to the seven blessings which are recited over a cup of wine at the conclusion of the ceremony (birchat nisuin or sheva brachot ).
The chuppah represents a Jewish home symbolized by the cloth canopy
and the four poles. Just as a chuppah is open on all four sides, so
was the tent of
In Ashkenazic communities, before going under the chuppah the groom
covers the bride's face with a veil , known as the badeken (in Yiddish
) or hinuma (in
The groom enters the chuppah first to represent his ownership of the home on behalf of the couple. When the bride then enters the chuppah it is as though the groom is providing her with shelter or clothing, and he thus publicly demonstrates his new responsibilities toward her.
A chuppah can be made of any material. A tallit or embroidered velvet cloth are commonly used. Silk or quilted chuppot are increasingly common, and can often be customized or personalized to suit the couple's unique interests and occupations.
* ^ A B C Kaplan, Rabbi Aryeh (1983). Made in Heaven, A Jewish
Wedding Guide. New York / Jerusalem: Moznaim Publishers. , Chapter 18
* ^ Aside from Chuppah, it can also be accomplished by
consummation; however, this is discouraged (Kaplan, Ibid.).
* ^ The Chupah -- Marriage Canopy on Chabad.org
* ^ Bar-Yochai, Rabi Shimon (2nd Century A.D.). Zohar (III).
Israel. pp. Page 219B. Check date values in: date= (help )
Yosef Qafih , Halikhot Teiman (Jewish Life in Sana) , Ben-Zvi
Institute – Jerusalem 1982, pp. 143 and 148 (Hebrew); Yehuda Levi
Nahum, Miṣefunot Yehudei Teman', Tel-Aviv 1962, p. 149 (Hebrew)
* ^ Isaac ben Abba Mari, Sefer ha'Ittur, Lwów, Ukraine 1860
* v * t * e
Marital life in Judaism
PROHIBITIONS AND HALAKHOT
* Cunnilingus in Halacha * Fellatio in Halacha * Forbidden relationships in Judaism * Jewish views on incest * Negiah * Prohibition of extracting semen in vain (Judaism) * Rabbi Zeira\'s stringency * Sheitel * Yichud * You shall not commit adultery * Tzniut
WOMEN FORBIDDEN TO THEIR HUSBANDS
PURITY OF A WOMAN TO HER HUSBAND
* v * t * e
BIRTH AND INFANCY
COMING OF AGE
* Ritual washing * Prayers and blessings * Prayer services * Grace after Meals * Honorifics