Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Advice to People Making Brachos under the Chuppah

The Ritva in Kesuvos (7b d'h Venahagu) says that the brachos under the chuppa are like kiddush Friday night, and this is why they are made over a cup of wine. Thus, the idea of the wine is akin to giving a toast to fete an honoree or an occassion. That being the case, my habit is that when I get one of the last two brachos under the chuppah, I make sure that when I say the words Chassan and Kallah at the end of the brachos, I look at the Chassan and the Kallah, respectively, and raise the glass to them. Just make sure you don't mix up the ends of the last two brachos: Samei'ach ends with "Chassan ve'challah," while Asher Bara ends with "Chassan Im ha'Kallah. (It does make a difference. Rashi (Kesuvos 8a d'h Mesamei'ach) says that the sixth bracha is a blessing that the chassan and kallah should have lives of success and fulfillment, while the seventh and last bracha praises Hashem for granting mankind, and specifically this bride and groom, the wonderful opportunity to create a loving and joyous marital bond. It's very romantic.)

Now, in Shulchan Aruch OC 184:4 and OC 271, it says that when you make a bracha on wine after bentching, or when you make kiddush on wine, you should look at the cup of wine during the bracha. But this is where you made a borei pri hagafen, and so it is important that you not be distracted (meisi'ach da'as) from the words and purpose of the bracha. Here, on the other hand, certainly according to the Ritva, logic dictates that where the object of the bracha is the young couple, you should be looking at them, not the wine. But besides that, I find that, at least in the case of Chassanim whose rational faculties are functioning to some extent, they appreciate it, and it gives emotional import to what otherwise might be seen as a droning halachic formalism. Just don't make it into a circus by lifting the cup three tefachim or the kallah's veil so you can have more kavanah on the cheftzah shel mitzvah. We're fohrt not Irish. A glance and a little gesture are just as meaningful.

And since I'm giving advice to Rabbi and honorees, here are some halachos that are not as well known as they should be:

Until when can you say the Sheva Brachos?  Until seven days have passed.  Day one is the day of the Chuppah, even if the Chuppa is five minutes before Shkiah.

Furthermore, Sheva Brachos depends on when you're saying the Sheva Brachos.  If you bentch after the seventh day is over, you do not make the brachos.  It is possible that if the last day was Shabbos, extending the Shabbos also extends the simcha of the seven days of nisuin, but most people don't hold like that.  Still, if your wife is going to kill you for speaking too long and ruining the whole Sheva Brachos, you can rely on the meikilim.  (Pischei Teshuva EH 62, Shevet Halevi 1:39.)


  1. And for "Shehakol Bara LiChvodo", one should turn around and look at the zibbur...

    In any case, this is an excellent suggestion. It would be nice if the mevorchim were paying more attention to the intent of the bracha than to the fact that they got a kibbud.

    As long as we're on the topic, Reb Moshe writes that the cup must be full at each bracha.

  2. The difference is that by she'hakol bara lichvodo the object of the bracha is Hashem Who allows us to gather to praise Him, while the last bracha thanks Hashem for granting brachos to the C and K and joining Him in doing so.

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