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Wedding ceremony in Judaism
Marriage in Judaism is interpreted as the fulfillment of Divine destiny and the acquisition of integrity, since it is believed that the intended person is given from God. The wedding is one of the central events in a person's life, and the wedding ceremony reflects all the experience accumulated by the Jewish people over the millennia of its existence.
The Jewish engagement is called Tnoim, which literally means "conditions." An engagement marks the final agreement between the groom, the bride and their parents about the wedding. It is customary to formalize this agreement in writing. In this case, the groom performs a kinyan - a symbolic action (lifting something, for example, a handkerchief), indicating the finality of his decision. In addition, during the engagement, the share of material participation of the parents in holding the wedding and providing the newlyweds with everything necessary is discussed. As a rule, the approximate date of the wedding is also set. If the document is not written, then all these agreements are announced orally. After the registration of Tnoim and their announcement, the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride break the plate. This custom symbolizes the irreversibility of the decision. Despite the symbolic significance of Tnoim, the wedding arrangement is, in fact, an agreement of intent and does not impose any final obligations.
Preparing for the wedding
Before the wedding, the bride and groom should not see each other for some time. Depending on custom, this time varies from one week to one day. They meet already on the wedding day. Within a few days before the wedding, as well as the entire wedding week, the young couple is considered the "royal couple". Therefore, during all this time, the newlyweds should certainly be accompanied by someone. On the Saturday preceding the wedding, during the Morning Prayer, the groom is summoned to the Torah. In honor of him, those present in the synagogue sing a cheerful melody, and from the women's part they cover him with sweets so that the life of the newlyweds will be happy and sweet. The law requires the bride and groom to fast on their wedding day. The fasting of the bride and groom must continue until the end of the chuppah ceremony. Before the wedding, the bride should plunge into the mikvah - the ritual dipping pool - and become "clean".
Also, before the start of the wedding, they draw up and sign a Ktubu - a marriage contract. This is usually done shortly before the start of the wedding ceremony. The signing of the Ktuba is carried out by the rabbi in the presence of the groom and two wedding witnesses, who confirm this document with their signatures. The HupaKtuba is a document that lists the obligations of the groom and the rights of his future wife. First of all, Ktuba confirms the duties of a husband, prescribed to him by the Torah: «If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights...» The text of the Ktuba is compiled in Aramaic, the spoken language of Israel at the beginning of our era. Most of the text is standard, so the rabbi usually brings with him a standard, beautifully designed form with all the missing details.
As a rule, the wedding ceremony takes place in the synagogue. In the St. Petersburg synagogue there is a special room for this - the Chupa Hall.
Before the start of the wedding, they arrange a meeting of guests - Kabalat Panim. Set the table with light snacks and drinks. Since the young couple should not meet each other before the wedding ceremony begins, Kabalat Panim is held in two different places - separately for the groom and separately for the bride. Before the very beginning of the wedding ceremony, the groom, accompanied by relatives and friends, goes to the female half to perform the Badekenish ceremony - to cover the bride's face with a veil. The groom is led by his father and the bride's father. Each of them supports the groom's arm with one hand, and holds a lighted candle in the other. These candles must be lit until the end of the wedding. The bride sits in an armchair that is usually decorated with ribbons and flowers. On either side of the bride are her mother and the groom's mother. Approaching the bride, the groom takes the veil thrown back and covers the bride's face with it. Then the groom with his "retinue" goes to the chuppah and stands under it, surrounded by the attendants, and the bride comes there a little later. The bride is led under the arms of her mother and the mother of the groom, holding lighted candles in their hands. The bride, along with the attendants, walks around the groom seven times, then stands under the chuppah.
The chupa, a wedding baldachin, is a piece of fabric mounted on four poles. As a rule, Chupa is installed in the open air. Under this baldachin, in fact, the wedding ceremony takes place, therefore they say: "put the chuppah", "stand under the chuppah." Directly below the chuppah are the bride and groom, their parents and the rabbi conducting the wedding. The chupa symbolizes the groom's house into which he introduces the bride.
A second glass of wine is poured and sheva brakhot, the seven wedding blessings, is recited. After the last of the blessings, the bride and groom drink wine - already as husband and wife. After the seven wedding blessings have been read, at the end of the ceremony, under the chuppah, the groom breaks a glass goblet with his foot (which is usually wrapped in paper or put in a bag for safety). This is done in memory of the destroyed Jerusalem temple.
Immediately after the chuppah ceremony, witnesses walk the newlyweds to a room where they will retire for a while for the first time. There they eat a light dinner after fasting.
Then all those present go to the wedding banquet.
Jewish wedding in St. Petersburg
It should be borne in mind that, according to Jewish law, marriages are concluded only between Jews on the maternal side. If you want to organize a Jewish wedding, you need to make an appointment with Rabbi Pevzner. You should bring with you to the appointment documents confirming Jewishness: birth certificates of future spouses and their mothers. You will be offered to attend classes on the basics of the Jewish family and marriage, assist in choosing the date of the wedding and organize the chuppah, as well as advise on all issues.
Admission is conducted by appointment. Reception hours: Wednesday from 16.00 to 17.00. You can make an appointment with the rabbi's secretary by phone + 7-812-714-4428 or in the Information Department by phone + 7-812-713-8186.