Attending a Wedding
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Making the Bride and Groom Happy
- It is a great mitzvah to rejoice with the bride and groom at their wedding
- The poskim discuss different ways of being able to enhance the simcha of the chattan and kallah:
- Some poskim say that one should be sure to dance with the chattan or kallah.
- Some poskim say that in order to fulfill one's obligation, he should make sure to say Mazel Tov.
- Others argue that simply showing up at the wedding is enough because it makes the chattan and kallah happy that more people attended their wedding.
- Others say that one fulfills his obligation by giving a gift.
- Many times, weddings go very late, and people want to leave early. There are two potential halachik problems that must be addressed:
- Rav Moshe Feinstein says that you can explicitly say when you wash that you do not want to join together, and then you are not obligated in zimun or Sheva Brachos.
- Of course, it would be better if one can get three men together and make a zimmun. However, one must be very careful to do this discreetly and in such a way that those who are making the simcha are not offended.
- Shulchan Aruch EH 65:1. see Rambam Hilchot Avel 14:1 and Sdei Chemed Chatan viKallah 13.
Pirkei Direbbi Eliezer 12 states that Hashem Himself rejoiced with Adam and Chava at their wedding in Gan Eden. Rabbenu Yona writes in Shaare Teshuva 4:11 adds that performing this mitzvah protects one from pain
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Sefer Shalmei Simcha page 310) rules that rabbis, dignitaries, and close friends of the chattan fulfill their obligation merely by attending the wedding but others should dance until they feel that the chattan is made happy by their actions
- Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Yismach Lev 251)
- Rav Elyashiv (Yismach Lev 251)
- Shulchan Haezer (vol. 2 page 72)
- There are two reasons that this might not be an issue at all. First, the Minchas Yitzchak 2:43 suggests that Sheva Brachos isn’t an issue as the obligation only begins at the conclusion of the meal. Therefore, people who leave early never become obligated in Sheva Brachos. He brings a proof from Rav Shlomo Kluger (HaElef Lecha Shlomo EH Siman 107) that by the Sheva Brachos on the last day that goes past sunset we do not say Sheva Brachos, as the obligation of Sheva Brachos doesn’t start until Birchas Hamazon. Nonetheless, Rav Shternbuch (Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 1:742) argues that the obligation starts at the beginning of the meal as even if you switch to a different room, you are still obligated in Sheva Brachos. Second, Rav Yonasan Shtief (Siman 7) suggests that the obligation is on everyone just to assure that there will be a minyan at the end of the meal, so that Sheva Brachos can take place. Nowadays, it is safe to assume there will be a minyan left at the end of the wedding.
- This is based on the Mishna Berachot 7:1 which says that three people who sat down to eat together are obligated to make a zimun. The Rama (193:3) paskins this, but says that if a group sat down and they all had in mind from the beginning that they would not make a zimmun together they are not obligated to do so.
- Igros Moshe OC 1:56. Also see Piskei Tshuvos 2: pg. 737 and Tzitz Eliezer 11:84
- Rav Moshe Feinstein extends the previously quoted Rama (193:3) to our case and says that even if an individual does not intend to make a zimmun from the very beginning he is not obligated to do so. Similarly, Birkat Hashem 2:6:12 writes that if someone has in mind not to join for zimmun or washes and starts to eat after everyone else he doesn’t need to join into their zimmun. Rav Hershel Schachter (see Kiddushin Packet) argued with some of Rav Moshe’s proofs since one could distinguish between where there is an obvious reason why everyone agrees not to join to make a zimmun, in which case there is no establishment of the group, as opposed to a wedding where no such assumption can be made (see Orchot Chaim Sapinka 193:2 who cites some who make this distinction).
- Just like Rama 193:3 that we don’t do zimmun in house of non-Jew as it is as if there is no permanence (to avoid saying harachaman hu yivorech es ba’al habayis). Rav Moshe Feinstein applies a similar logic to Sheva Brachos and argues that if one is not obligated in zimun (as in the case where he has intent to avoid this) then he will also not be obligated in Sheva Brachos.