Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Trouble with Double

For some sisters who are particularly close, the idea of a double wedding may seem a romantic dream. Indeed, parents of such brides might contemplate such a wedding as an excellent means of reducing wedding costs. However, it is interesting to note that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Abridged Code of Jewish Law) states: “It is forbidden to perform the marriage ceremony for two brothers or two sisters on one and the same day because one festive event should not be joined with another. Some authorities hold that is even forbidden to do so in one week and they infer it from Jacob our ancestor, for it is written (Genesis 29:27): ‘Fulfill the week of this one’” (Kitzur 145:26).

The Biblical reference is to Jacob’s weddings, the first one to Leah and the second to Rachel. Jacob was supposed to marry Rachel but, at the very last moment, her father (Laban) insisted that her older sister Leah needed to wed first, so he switched the brides. After Jacob and Leah were married, Laban insisted that there be a week’s delay before Jacob could wed Rachel (with a commitment of seven years labor).

A more significant reason for prohibiting simultaneous weddings, is the desire to respect the need for individual rejoicing. On the day of their wedding, a chatan (groom) and a kallah (bride) are like a king and a queen. Enhancing their joy is the priority, and nothing is meant to take away.

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