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1) HALACHAH: ON WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK SHOULD ONE GET MARRIED
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses at length the Mishnah (2a) concerning the day
of the week on which one should marry a Besulah or an Almanah. In practice,
on which day should one marry a Besulah?
(a) IKRUREI DA'ATA - The primary reason why the Mishnah says that a person
should marry a Besulah on Wednesday is because of "Ikrurei Da'ata;" if a man
finds that his wife is not a Besulah, we want him to come to Beis Din
immediately so that he does not "cool off" and decide that he prefers to live
with his wife (to whom he is Asur if she indeed was Mezanah while an Arusah).
By getting married on Wednesday, if he finds that his wife is not a Besulah,
he will come to Beis Din immediately the next morning. (The other two reasons
for getting married on Wednesday (5a) -- to receive the Berachah given to
fish and because of "Shakdu," can be circumvented: the reason of "Berachah"
is merely a suggestion and not an obligation, and "Shakdu" can be
accomplished by preparing for three days in advance of any day of the week on
which one wishes to get married (end of 3a).)
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (EH 64:3) writes that if Beis Din convenes on
Mondays and Thursdays, then a person is required to get married on Wednesday.
If Beis Din does not convene on those days, then one may get married on any
day of the week as long as he busies himself with preparing for the Se'udah
three days in advance. As far as the concern for "Ikrurei Da'ata," Friday is
considered the same as any other day.
The reason of "Ikrurei Da'ata" should not apply nowadays. The Gemara (3a)
says that when Beis Din convenes every day, then a person may get married on
any day, because he always has the opportunity to go to Beis Din immediately.
However, TOSFOS (3a, DH Iy Ika) points out that this would not seem to be
enough reason to permit a person to get married on Friday. If one performs
Be'ilas Mitzvah on Friday night, he will not be able to find a Beis Din on
Shabbos. (That is, even if Beis Din convenes every other day of the week, it
certainly does not convene on Shabbos.)
The Rishonim, however, give a number of reasons to permit marriage even on
1. Nowadays, there is no regular day on which Beis Din convenes. Instead,
whenever a person has the need for a court, he gathers together three
Talmidei Chachamim to air his claims before them. A person may do that even
on Shabbos if he needs to file a complaint about his newly married wife not
being a Besulah.
(b) SHEMA YISHCHOT BEN OF - Another reason to prohibit marrying on certain
days of the week is the Gezeirah prohibiting Be'ilas Mitzvah on Friday night
and on Motza'ei Shabbos. that is, although the Gemara here concludes that it
is permitted to perform the first Be'ilah on Shabbos, the Gemara earlier (4a)
cites a Beraisa that states that a person may *not* perform the first Be'ilah
on Friday night or Shabbos because of the reason of "Shema Yish'chot Ben Of"
-- one might slaughter a bird on Shabbos. It was customary to conduct a
festive Se'udah following the Be'ilas Mitzvah, and it was feared that if the
Be'ilas Mitzvah was performed on Shabbos, the preparation for the Se'udah
might take place on Shabbos. Accordingly, getting married on Friday should be
prohibited nowadays because of that Gezeirah!
2. Perhaps today the Takanah of "Ikrurei Da'ata" does not apply, due to the
reasoning of Rashi earlier (2a, DH b'Sheni). Rashi says that the purpose of
reporting in court that one's wife was not a Besulah is in order to publicize
the claim in case there are witnesses who can come to testify how she became
a Be'ulah. This does not apply nowadays. Since we do not have official courts
and the family disputes do not attract onlookers and crowds, the word does
not get out.
However, this reason applies only for the wife of a Yisrael, where it is
necessary for witnesses to come to testify about the woman's status. For the
wife of a Kohen, though, or for a wife who was betrothed when she was less
then three years old, it is still important for him to come to Beis Din,
because in those cases his wife is Asur to him out of doubt, even without
witnesses. Why, then, should a Kohen be permitted nowadays to get married on
any day other than Wednesday?
The answer might be that according to Rashi, the Chachamim did not institute
that a person should get married on Wednesday because a person might be a
Kohen and need to go to Beis Din the next day. They made the Takanah in the
first place only because it benefits, to some measure, everyone (see Tosfos
2a DH she'Im). Once it no longer benefits everyone, the Takanah no longer
applies at all, even for a Kohen.
3. The RAN (1b in the pages of the Rif) writes that nowadays, Kidushin and
Nesu'in are done together, one right after the other (with no gap of time
between the two). As such, it is not possible for the woman to be Mezanah as
an Arusah, because there is no point between the Kidushin and Nesu'in at
which she could have been Mezanah without her Chasan seeing her. Since there
is no fear that she is Asur to him, we do not need him to come to Beis Din if
he finds that she is not a Besulah, and he may get married on any day of the
week. (The Gemara later, 12a, presents a similar logic "she'Kidesh u'Ba'al
The Rishonim discuss this question and some Rishonim maintain that the Isur
will not prohibit marrying on Friday:
1. TOSFOS (7a, DH v'Hilchasa), the RAN and the ROSH point out that the Gemara
rules that it is permitted for the first Be'ilah to be performed on Shabbos,
and the Gemara makes no mention of the Isur lest one slaughter a bird on
Shabbos. It seems that the Gemara rejects the earlier Beraisa that taught
that there is an Isur to perform Be'ilas Mitzvah on Shabbos because of the
Gezeirah lest one slaughter a bird on Shabbos.
The RIF does not mention the reason of "perhaps one might slaughter a young
bird on Shabbos" at all. The RAMAH, quoted by the SHITAH MEKUBETZES (5a, DH
Hashta), writes that according to the Rif, our Gemara rejects the Beraisa's
reason of prohibiting Be'ilas Mitzvah on Friday night, and Kol she'Ken it
rejects it with regard to Motza'ei Shabbos (since he is not actually involved
in the Se'udah on Shabbos).
The RAMBAN (5a) adds another reason not to worry about slaughtering a bird.
Nowadays, it is not the practice to make a Se'udah for the Be'ilas Mitzvah,
and therefore there is no fear that one might slaughter on Shabbos.
2. The TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH cited by the SHITAH MEKUBETZES (5a, ibid.)
argue that this logic will only permit marrying on Erev Shabbos, but not on
Motza'ei Shabbos. They explain that it is possible that the Gezeirah
prohibiting getting married because of the fear that one might slaughter a
bird on Shabbos will apply on Motza'ei Shabbos, because one prepares for a
nighttime Se'udah during the preceding day. Hence, one prepares on Friday for
the Se'udah conducted on Friday night, and thus there is no fear that one
will slaughter on Shabbos.
However, for the Se'udah conducted on Motza'ei Shabbos, one does not prepare
entirely on Friday, because he assumes that he will have time to finish the
preparations on Motza'ei Shabbos. Therefore we are afraid that he might
slaughter on Shabbos when he sees that there will not be enough time to
prepare on Motza'ei Shabbos.
3. However, the RAMBAM (Hilchos Ishus 10:14) rules that a person "may *not*
get married on Friday or on Sunday, because one might desecrate Shabbos by
preparing for the Se'udah."
Even though the Gemara here says that it is permitted to perform Be'ilas
Mitzvah on Shabbos, the RAN (2a in the pages of the Rif) explains that there
is a difference between performing Be'ilas Mitzvah on Shabbos and *getting
married* on Shabbos. That is, the Rambam maintains that the Isur of Be'ilah
Rishonah on Friday or Sunday lest one slaughter a bird on Shabbos is a
prohibition of *getting married* on Friday or Sunday, and not a prohibition
of *Be'ilas Mitzvah* on those days. The Se'udah for which one might prepare
on Shabbos is the Se'udas Nesu'in.
It is ture that TOSFOS (5b, DH Mahu) says a similar logic regarding why
performing the first Be'ilah on Friday night is not a contradiction to our
Mishnah. The Mishnah discusses the day for having the *wedding*, but there is
no requirement to perform the first *Be'ilah* on the same day. However, the
Beraisa (4a) which teaches the Gezeirah of "Shema Yishchot Ben Of" says that
"one should not *do Be'ilah* on Friday night and Motza'ei Shabbos." How,
then, can we say that it is teaching a Halachah about the marriage and not
about the Be'ilah?
The answer is that the Rambam apparently learned that the Beraisa says that
"one should not do Be'ilah" simply because the Beraisa until now was
discussing Be'ilah Rishonah. The Rambam did not want to explain the Beraisa
literally, because he maintained that there is no source for making a Se'udah
on the occasion of the first Be'ilah (on the contrary, it seems to be a lack
Regarding the Isur of "Shema Yish'chot Ben Of," the Shulchan Aruch cites the
view of the Rambam that one should not get married on Friday or Sunday, and
he also cites the view of Tosfos and the other Rishonim who permit getting
married on Friday or Sunday.
The Shulchan Aruch adds that it has become customary to get married on
Friday. This is based on the RA'AVYAH (quoted by the MORDECHAI here and by
the HAGAHOS MAIMONIYOS in Hilchos Ishus 10:50), who writes that it became
customary to get married on Friday to benefit the poor people who could not
afford to make a separate Se'udah for both their wedding and for Shabbos, and
by getting married on Friday, they were able to combine both Se'udos into
The Ra'avyah adds that nowadays it is customary that even an Almanah gets
married on Friday, even though this will mean that the husband will not have
his three day vacation with his wife. The Chachamim of the generations
determined that it is more beneficial to marry on Friday for the sake of the
poor people than to ensure the three day vacation. The Shulchan Aruch,
though, writes that an Almanah *should* get married on Thursday, like the
The PNEI YEHOSHUA (in Kuntrus Acharon) points out that l'Chatchilah a person
should still get married, if possible, on Wednesday or Thursday because of
the Berachah to fish, since one should not take lightly the Berachah
mentioned by the Gemara.
2) "BIRKAS ERUSIN" -- THE BLESSING FOR KIDUSHIN
QUESTION: The Gemara describes the Berachah of Birkas Erusin recited at the
time that the Erusin is performed. The Berachah mentions that Hashem
prohibited us to the Arayos, and that He prohibited us to the Arusos, and
that He permitted us to Nesu'os, when they become our full-fledged wives when
the Chupah is performed.
3) "PANIM CHADASHOS"
There are a number of questions concerning this Berachah.
First, why does the Berachah make mention of the Isur of Arayos? The Berachah
was instituted for the Mitzvah of Kidushin, and not for the Isur of Arayos!
Second, why do we mention the Chupah (the procedure of Nesu'in) in the
Berachah for *Kidushin*? Moreover, why do we mention the Chupah in the
Berachah *before* the Kidushin ("Chupah v'Kidushin"), when, in practice, the
Kidushin precedes the Chupah?
(a) RASHI seems to learn that Birkas Erusin is not a Berachah on the Mitzvah
of Erusin, but rather it is a Berachah on the Mitzvah d'Rabanan of
"Perishah," separating ourselves from unmarried women. Although we usually do
not recite a Berachah on a Mitzvah that involves *refraining* from an action,
perhaps the Chachamim saw fit to institute a Berachah for separating from an
Arusah because this "inaction" is more evident than most actions and thus it
warrants a Berachah. After the betrothal, everyone expect the woman to move
in with her husband, and yet they continue to stay apart. Therefore, at the
time that they do Kidushin, it is appropriate to recite a Berachah on this
conspicuous inaction of separation that they are practicing.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (EH 34:1) writes that Birkas Erusin should be
recited before the act of Kidushin, implying that it is a Birkas ha'Mitzvah
(see Beis Shmuel #4 and Chelkas Mechokek #3 there). (The Poskim do not
mention the Berachah of "Al Mitzvas Kidushin," which Rabeinu Yechiel
mentions, but some do bring a special Berachah for the Be'ilas Mitzvah, which
is recorded in the Ge'onim, writing that it should be said without "Shem
Rashi explains that the Arayos mentioned in the Berachah refer to the Isur of
living with a Penuyah, an unmarried woman. The reason we mention the Chupah
in the Berachah is to express that until the Chupah, the Penuyah is Asur to
him. The reason we mention the Chupah before mentioning the Kidushin seems to
be because the Heter to be with a woman comes at the time of the Chupah. The
Berachah, which is focusing on the Heter to be with his wife only after the
Chupah, metions the Kidushin only as a prerequisite to the Chupah.
(b) The ROSH (1:12) explains that there is no Mitzvah d'Oraisa fulfilled when
one performs Erusin. The Mitzvah is not necessarily to get married, but
rather to have children, "Piryah v'Rivyah." The Mitzvah of having children
could be fulfilled with a Pilegesh, without Kidushin. Kidushin is just an
option which the Torah gives if a person wants to have a wife and fulfill the
Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah with her.
On the one hand, this Mitzvah seems to be similar to the Shechitah, for which
we do recite a Berachah even though there is no obligation to do Shechitah
(but rather if one *wants* to eat meat he must first perform Shechitah).
However, Shechitah is different because there is no other way to eat meat
without doing Shechitah, and thus Shechitah is a necessity for one who wants
to eat meat. In contrast, one who wants to have children does not necessarily
have to be Mekadesh a woman to do so, but instead can take a Pilegesh. The
Rosh gives additional reasons why the Chachamim did not institute a Birkas
ha'Mitzvah for Erusin.
What, then, is the purpose of the Berachah according to the Rosh? It is a
Berachah of praise to Hashem for giving Kedushah to the Jewish people. We
praise Hashem for giving us laws of Kidushin, which include the fact that it
can only be effected with certain women and not with others. The concept of
Kidushin does not exist by other nations, and they lend us Kedushah. For this
reason, we mention the prohibition of Arayos in the Berachah -- to praise
Hashem for giving us Kedushah through the laws of Arayos.
The reason we mention that an Arusah becomes Mutar at the Chupah is so that
people should not mistakenly think that the purpose of the Berachah of
Kidushin is to permit the Arusah to her husband. Hence, we specifically
mention in the Berachah that she becomes Mutar to him only at the Chupah.
That is also why we mention the Chupah before mentioning the Kidushin. The
main point that we want to express is that only at the time of the Chupah,
which follows the Kidushin, does she become Mutar to her husband. (This last
point is similar to what we wrote for Rashi.)
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ishus 2:23) rules that Birkas Erusin is a Birkas
ha'Mitzvah for the Mitzvah of Kidushin. Like any other Berachah recited for
the performance of a Mitzvah, it must be recited before the Mitzvah of
Kidushin is performed. The RA'AVAD there and the RAMBAN and RASHBA here seem
to agree that the Berachah is a Birkas ha'Mitzvah.
The Rambam and Rashba appear to be following their opinion elsewhere,
regarding their opinion of the Pilegesh. The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 4:4;
see also Ramban in Bereishis 25:6) and Rashba (Teshuvah 4:314) both write
that it is not normally permitted to take a Pilegesh, and thus there is no
way to fulfill the Mitzvah of having children without Kidushin, and thus the
Kidushin is a Mitzvah just like Shechitah, which warrants a Berachah.
The Rashba writes that there is a different reason why we do not make a
Berachah on the Mitzvah of Kidushin, even though it is necessary for the
Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah. Since Kidushin is only the beginning of the
Mitzvah and does not complete it, it does not warrant saying a Birkas
However, the Rishonim quote a Yerushalmi that says clearly that a Birkas
ha'Mitzvah is recited for Kidushin. (The Yerushalmi says that the Berachah on
Kidushei Be'ilah is said *after* the Kidushin and not before.) It is clear
from the Yerushalmi that Kidushin is considered a separate Mitzvah. This is
the view of the RABEINU YECHIEL of Paris as quoted by the RITVA, who says
that since Kidushin is a separate Mitzvah apart from the Nesu'in, for it
accomplishes entirely different purposes than the Nesu'in (it creates an Isur
l'Olam, while the Nesu'in gives the husband a certain degree of Kinyan over
her), it warrants its own Berachah. (The Rashba holds that the Bavli must be
arguing with the Yerushalmi since it does not mention that Berachah.)
It is not clear from the Yerushalmi exactly what the text of the Birkas
Erusin should be. The Yerushalmi, when it mentions the Berachah, might be
referring to the Berachah of our Sugya (as the Ramban implies), but it might
be referring to a separate Berachah entirely (such as "... Asher Kidshanu
b'Mitzvosav v'Tzivanu Al Mitzvas Kidushin"), as Rabeinu Yechiel seems to
According to this approach, that Birkas Erusin is a Berachah on the Mitzvah
of Kidushin, it is not clear why we mention the Isur of Arayos and the
Chupah. Perhaps these Rishonim agree to the Rosh (above, (b)), who said that
the point was to remind people that Erusin does not permit the Arusah to her
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that all of the seven Berachos of "Birkas Chasanim"
are recited each of the seven days after the wedding only when there are
"Panim Chadashos" present. If no "Panim Chadashos" are present, then only one
Berachah ("Asher Bara") is recited (along with "Borei Pri ha'Gafen").
Why is it necessary to have "Panim Chadashos" in order to recite all seven
(a) TOSFOS (DH v'Hu) says that when there are "Panim Chadashos" present, the
Simchah is increased. The seven Berachos are recited for that added Simchah
that the "Panim Chadashos" provide.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 10:2) writes that we repeat the seven
Berachos only when there are "Panim Chadashos" present, because the new
person did not yet hear the Berachos, and since he is taking part in the
Simchah, he has an obligation to say (or hear) the Berachos for the Simchah.
Therefore, we recite the seven Berachos because of the new person's
obligation to hear them.
The Rishonim and Acharonim point out that there are a number of practical
differences between these two ways of understanding the role of "Panim
1. Tosfos, based on a Midrash, writes that on Shabbos it is not necessary to
have "Panim Chadashos," because Shabbos itself is called "Panim Chadashos."
Tosfos says that this means that since Shabbos itself causes extra Simchah,
the Sheva Berachos may be recited even when there are no new persons present.
According to the Rambam, though, Shabbos is not a reason to say the seven
Berachos, because Shabbos is not a person and has no Chiyuv to recite
Berachos. (The RITVA, who requires a person obligated in Berachos for Panim
Chadasho, suggests another reason why the practice was not to require Panim
Chadashos for the Sheva Berachos of Shabbos.)
Similarly, if the presence of a woman or a child provides more Simchah to the
wedding party, then the seven Berachos would be recited according to Tosfos,
even though these persons are not obligated to recite the Berachos
themselves. According to the Rambam they would not, and this is indeed how
the Ritva rules. (Incidentally, the Ritva seems to represent a third opinion
that requires *both* a person that increases the joy of the occasion, *and* a
person who is required to make a Berachah.)
2. The RAMACH and the ROSH write that even if all the people at the Se'udas
Nesu'in attended the Chupah and heard the seven Berachos, they can still
recite the seven Berachos at the Se'udah, because there is a separate
obligation for reciting the seven Berachos at the Se'udah.
The Rambam and Ritva write, though, that the seven Berachos may be recited
only if someone is present who did not hear the Berachos at all, including
the Berachos at the Chupah. He is apparently following his above-stated
opinion in this matter.
3. If a person was not present during the meal but only by the Sheva
Berachos, the Ritva considers him Panim Chadashos, and the Rambam presumably
would also, whereas Tosfos might not -- and vice versa if the person was
there during the meal but did not remain for the Sheva Berachos.