What is the Mitzvah -- to make the Kalah rejoice or to make the Chasan
rejoice? (KOVETZ SHI'URIM #46)
(a) RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN, Hy'd, in Kovetz Shi'urim explains that the
Mitzvah is to make the *Chasan* rejoice, as the Gemara in Berachos says.
This is logical, he explains, because the Mitzvah to get married is part of
the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah, an obligation of the man
and not of the woman (Yevamos 61a). That might be why Rashi (DH Keitzad)
explains that the Gemara here is discussing, "Mah Omrim Lefaneha" -- "what
do we *say* before the Kalah," implying that our objective is not to make
the Kalah rejoice, but rather to say her praises in front of her, so that
the Chasan will here and will rejoice in his wife.
The DIVREI SHALOM (5:22) finds support for this explanation in the words of
Rashi in Berachos (6b), where the Gemara says that the reward received for
attending a wedding is "the words [that are spoken]." Rashi there says that
this refers to "the words that we say to make the Chasan rejoice." When he
praise the Kalah, we cause the Chasan to rejoice. This is also how the
MENORAS HA'ME'OR (3:8:1:2) understands the Gemara. This is also the
implication of the TESHUVOS BE'ER SHEVA (#50).
The Divrei Shalom brings further support from Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer (ch.
16), which states that a Chasan is similar to a king; just like a king is
praised by all, so, too, a Chasan is praised by all. Furthermore, it says
there (ch. 17) that Izevel was rewarded for her act of walking in front of
every Chasan who passed by and clapping her hands and verbally praising.
From here, too, we see that the Mitzvah is to make the Chasan rejoice.
(b) The TUR (EH 65), however, writes that "it is a Mitzvah to make the
Chasan *and* the Kalah rejoice." When the Tur quotes the Midrash about
Izevel, he writes that she used to clap before the Chasan *and* the Kalah.
The RADAL (Rav David Luriah) in his commentary to Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer
also concludes that the Tur's rendering of the text of the Midrash is more
accurate, and that the main point of praise is to praise the Kalah, and the
Mitzvah to make them rejoice is for both the Chasan and the Kalah.
According to this, why does the Gemara in Berachos mention only making the
Chasan rejoice? The reason might be as follows. The HAMIKNEH (in Kuntrus
Acharon, beginning of EH 65) points out that when the Gemara in Berachos
says that "one who benefits from the Se'udah of a Chasan but does not make
him rejoice" punished, it specifically means that the person *benefits* from
the Se'udah. If the person does not benefit from the Se'udah, he is not
punished for not making the Chasan rejoice. (The logic for this is that if
one is partaking of the Se'udah, he is expected to pay the Chasan back by
making him rejoice. Thus, if he does not pay back by making the Chasan
rejoice, it is as if he ate someone's food without paying for it. Moreover,
his presence there is taking the place of someone else who would have caused
more Simchah, and thus he is causing less Simchah at teh wedding.) We see
from our Gemara (2a) that it is the Chasan who prepared the Se'udah, and
therefore the obligation to reciprocate for the Se'udah is to pay back to
the Chasan. Certainly, though, as far as the Mitzvah to make them rejoice is
concerned, the Mitzvah requires that we make both the Chasan and the Kalah
When Rashi here interprets the Beraisa's question, "Keitzad Merakdim Lifnei
ha'Kalah" to mean "what do we say before the Kalah," he does not mean to
exclude making her rejoice. Rather, he means that in addition to the dance
that we do in order to make her rejoice, what words should one say to help
When Rashi in Berachos writes that the words for which one receives reward
are the words that one says for the Chasan to cause him to rejoice, it could
be that he focuses on the Chasan only because the men coming to the wedding
should not be talking with the Kalah, as we find in Avos that it is
prohibited to speak abundantly with a woman. Hence, it is the Chasan to whom
one should speak, and not the Kalah.
According to the reasoning of Rav Elchanan, we can also understand this
view. According to Rav Elchanan, the main point is to cause more joy for the
Chasan, and by causing joy for the Kalah, one also causes joy for the
Chasan. As a result of the mutual joy, they become closer to each other.
However, the men, of course, must be Mesame'ach the Chasan, and the women
must be Mesame'ach the Kalah.