Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shidduch Request - Seeking Havdalah Girl....... ;)

Nice Jewish Family seeks new "Havdalah Girl"......

Havdalah this past Motzoei Shabbos was much quieter than usual. Oh, sure! There were the usual "quick draw" games as to who can blow out the spare candle (that's a whole other post... Does anybody else out there have the minhag to light an extra candle during Havdalah?) first. But something, or rather someONE was obviously missing. Where was the laughter? Where were the exclamations of "cool" and "awesome!"?

Our dear friend and sometimes commenter Louisa got married in Berlin (!!!) this past Sunday. We were not able to attend her nuptuals but thanks to Eric we received hourly photo updates and it looked like a beautiful simcha.

The truth is, Louisa is completely irreplaceable. Her simchas chayim coupled with her devotion and respect for her adopted community was a joy to behold. Her new community is very lucky to have her join their ranks.

So to our dear Louisa and Jehoschua we say:
Zu Ihrer Hochzeit wünschen wir Ihnen von ganzem Herzen masel tow und alles Gute für eine glückliche Zeit zusammen. Mögen Sie ein vorbildliches und freudiges Haus aufbauen.

(On the occasion of your wedding we would like to wish you mazel tov and all the best for a happy life together. May you build an exemplary and happy home.)


ProfK said...

Judging from the height difference between Louisa and her husband, she held up that havadalah candle nice and high. Mazal Tov.

efrex said...

Mazal tov!

No "Havdalah Girls" available from our camp, although we do have a four year old boy who can occasionally be coaxed into doing a passable version of the Japhet "Shir Hama'alot" (albeit with Israeli-accented Hebrew).

Whence comest the "extra candle" minhag?

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

It may be a memorial to the time when only single wick candles were available or used? During the era of the Candle Tax in central Europe, the tax was based on the size & number of wicks in the candle.

BTW, is the Chosson wearing a Kitel? Tha was definitely NOT the custom in Germany!

Jehoschua said...

This is the then-Chosson speaking :D
No, I am of course not wearing a Sargenes!

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

Where is the Tallis?

BTW, though I am Chassidish - as Avrohom can verify, by my wedding & by the weddings of my sons the Chhosson & Kallah were under a Tallis.

G6 said...

Since the happy couple are still blissfully busy with Sheva Brochos, I will field YB's question for them.

Although the chosson's minhag is to use a tallis (though not all Yekkes do - check out the IRG weddings in Zurich), he also wished to get married in his Yeshiva. The Yeshiva puts certain restrictions/regulations of conformity on all weddings performed on their premises for reasons which may be too complicated to explain in this comment.
Suffice it to say, certain compromises were made on minhagim so as not to antagonize the Yeshiva, which does a wonderful thing by hosting weddings for their "boys".

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

FYI, my father O"bm saw a Tallis by a Chupah for the first time in FFam in 1938. He came from Munich where they didn't use a Tallis.

Rav Schwab Z"tl once told me that there were many standardizations done by Rav Breuer Z"tl & himself to Yekkishe Minhogim in the USA. The Tallis by the Chupa & NOT using the German Ksuboh (look in the Nachalas Shivo for the differences) are the most well known.

Though they are trying to bring back the Chupas Maain in Eretz Yisroel, I don't think it will happen here in the USA! Rav Schwab described his Chupas Main to me once, he sad that they through hops, wheat & gold coins at the Chosson & Kalloh. You'd need heavy security to do that here & have the Chosson & Kallah com out unharmed!

Daniel - YDL (Yekke Defense League :) said...

Actually, my understanding is that the Chupas Tallis is one of the oldest Minhagim in existence. The first source for it is in the Torah by Yitzchak and Rivka. The next is by Boaz and Rus. All Jews did Chupas Tallis regardless of were they where or lived. A proof to this - the Sephardim also do chupas tallis (they only started doing it differently fairly recently - but its still chupas tallis). The fact that some communities in Germany did not do it - from the time of Reform and on and specifically from WWI and on - many Minhagim were changed/lost. A great example is the German Minhag of Chupas Mein (which one day, B"H, I hope I can do). For a picture of a Chupas Mein here in America see Shorashei Minhag Ashkenaz (SMA), volume 4, page 531. For an exhaustive discussion of Chupas Tallis see SMA volume 3, page 418. Thanks for mentioning R' Schwab and his own Chupas Main...very interesting. He was, I understand, very much in favor of restoring the old Minhagim as they were prior to WWI.

Naftali said...

Daniel -
As you mentioned that Rav Schwab zt"l was so much in favor of restoring the old minhogim I was wondering if you happen to know why he discontinued the old minhog of the messader kiddushin wearing a tallis under the chupah. This was done by his predecessor and continues to be done today in the Yekkish kehillos in Zurich and London. I am told that Rav Gelley was willing to restart this minhag when he came to Washington Heights as he was used to it from England but out of respect for Rav Schwab he didn't.

YDL said...

Naftali -

True, it is the Minhag that the Messader kiddushin wears a Tallis. There are pictures of R' Breuer zt"l wearing a Tallis while being messader kiddushin, and it’s in the Minhag books (see Maharil and Minhagim of Worms)...I was unaware that R' Schwab discontinued the Minhag and have no idea why. The reason it’s done is for kavod tzibur. Give me a couple of days and I'll attempt to find out.

If you would like to see one place were R' Schwab zt"l discusses the chashivus of the old Minhagim, see his approbation to SMA 4.

Maidel said...

My family lights two candles for Havdallah (like two white Shabbos Candles) and then we hold them together so that there is one flame. Then after Havdallah, my father dunks one candle in the wine and we put the other candle, still lit, in a candelabra.

YDL said...

I asked R' Yisroel Strauss who answerd as follows:

"True. I asked a Yedid of Rav Schwab and he told me that already in Baltimore, where Rav Schwab was Rav of Shearith Israel for 22 years when it was still a German shul, he did not wear a Tallis as he thought it was not necessary and consequently when he came to KAJ he told Rav Breuer that he would not be comfortable wearing one and apparently Rav Breuer did not press the issue."

Still, one can clearly see that it is the German custom and is in the Minhagim books, and it was practiced and still is...I'm at a loss, especially after reading and hearing how R' Schwab fought for our Minhagim. If anybody has anymore information as to a motive (I can guess but I'd rather not), I would very much like to know.

But, what does that have to do with R' Gelley starting again? If this reason is true, it does not, (to me at least), sound like an issue of respect - just a personal hanhogah of R' Schwab. Any thoughts?

Yehudah said...


Rav Schwab famously had "issues" with certain aspects of German Orthodoxy. I'm guessing that the minhag to wear a tallis was fairly late and was only instituted in the 1800s in reaction to people (maskilim, reformers, non-Jews)claiming that Orthodoxy was not aesthetically pleasing and proper.

The minhag to have weddings in shul, the minhag of choirs, the minhag of rabbis and chazzanim wearing special garb that bore a close resemblace to that worn by the Christian clergy, the minhag for the rabbi to address the bride and groom under the chuppah, the minhag of sermons, the minhag of strict decorum in shul, and many other minhagim only started in the 1800s in reaction to the times. Rav Schwab possibly assumed that wearing a tallis under the chuppah was one of these minhagim, which he didn't care to uphold.

BLD said...

Weddings are in public, there is always another "side" that may not have the same German Minhag,or maybe from an entirely different world (Lakewood?), therefore RSS z'l might not have wanted to advertise/insist on this issue. Rav Breuer z'l was not so attuned/interested in what everybody else was doing.

Naftali said...


You seem to be very misinformed. For your information both Rav Breuer and Rav Schwab would not be messader keddushin unless they used their own eidim (usually the chazonim of the kehilla), a tallis was placed over the chosson and kallah, the chosson and kallah faced away from the audience and there was a speech. Just the opposite, they were extremely adamant on keeping the minhogim of the kehilla. If this was not acceptable to either party then they were perfectly willing to let someone else be messader. To say that "Rav Breuer was not so attuned/interested in what everybody else was doing" shows how little you know about him. He was extremely aware of what everybody else was doing. Yet he felt as rav of the kehilla it was his duty to uphold its minhogim. Rav Schwab felt the same way which is why this one issue of his not wearing a tallis while being messader kedushin stands out and begs explanation. It's not as if sometimes he wore a tallis and sometimes he didn't. He never did and yet he was so makpid on keeping the other minhogim.

YDL said...

Yehudah -

“Rav Schwab famously had "issues" with certain aspects of German Orthodoxy. I'm guessing that the minhag to wear a tallis was fairly late and was only instituted in the 1800s in reaction to people (maskilim, reformers, non-Jews) claiming that Orthodoxy was not aesthetically pleasing and proper.”

The minhag to wear a tallis, although it was stopped for a period of time in Germany and its outlying areas, was reinstituted by the Chasam Sofer and R’ Hirsch. But, the source for the Minhag is very old, and is in many of the old Minhag books – well before the 1800’s. (Again, notice the similarity of the two groups that have always kept their minhagim, Yekkes and Sephardim. They also wear a tallis from a young age).

“The minhag to have weddings in shul, the minhag of choirs, the minhag of rabbis and chazzanim wearing special garb that bore a close resemblace to that worn by the Christian clergy, the minhag for the rabbi to address the bride and groom under the chuppah, the minhag of sermons, the minhag of strict decorum in shul, and many other minhagim only started in the 1800s in reaction to the times.”

In Germany there was never a hakpodah on having a wedding in Schul. It was not deemed a response to reform. R’ Hirsch has several teshuvos on this in Shemesh Marpe. He holds there is no problem. Other areas, such as Pressburg, they were very makpid not to have weddings in shul, as it was deemed a reform. This may have depended on the location one came from. I am curious if it was done before R’ Hirsch…(got to go through the teshuvos again).
R’ Breuer did not go for the ‘choir is a Christian thing approach’. He writes strongly that the choir is based on the choir we had in the mikdash and has nothing to do with reform.
The garb – you’re correct. R’ Hirsch felt it was mutar, others felt not.
The minhag of the rav speaking by the chupah, again, R’ Breuer writes strongly that this needs to be, as who ever heard of a seudas mitzvah without divrei torah? Besides, according to some, it is better for a separate reason – to separate between the two parts of marriage.
Sermons – I have no idea. I do know that European rabbanim were famous that when they did speak, they would speak for many hours at once. Strict decorum in schul – again R’ Breuer points out that is from the Shulchan Aruch. The question would be on the rest of the world – how can you not have strict decorum. I don’t believe that has much to do with Reform.

“Rav Schwab possibly assumed that wearing a tallis under the chuppah was one of these minhagim, which he didn't care to uphold.”

Perhaps you are correct, but I’m not sure that it can be applied to this situation. My point is, just because a minhag started late, does not mean (at least according to R’ Breuer) that it lacks chashivus, or that it can be tacked to Reform. But, you are correct that to make it more “palatable,” that may be why it was instituted. I can’t see how this specific thing (tallis by messader kiddushin), could be understood in such a manner. The Maharil predates Reform by many years.

YDL said...

Naftali, BDL -

Please see "Rav Breuer - His Life and His Legacy," Page 185, the paragraph "To be sure..."
Perhaps you both refer to this distinction between the two of them?

Yehudah said...


1) Thank you for the info about talleisim under the chuppah. I guess I was wrong about that one (although you're right that Rav Schwab might have been equally misinformed).

2) I don't disagree with you that there are very good reasons for having music, choirs, sermons (in the vernacular) and decorum in shul and addressing the chosson and kallah under the chupah. I am simply saying that these customs only developed in the 1800s in Germany because of the Reform and Maskilic movements.

None of these customs would have (re)developed otherwise. It is extremely, if not impossible, to argue otherwise from a historical perspective.

Louisa said...

I would like to say that I like that the blog post about our wedding has become a site for spirited argument on the subject of yekkish minhagim, which is exactly what our wedding was, as well. However, ultimately, I would like to say, despite the numerous minhagim we were unable to perform and others which we were impelled to do out of respect for our yeshiva community, there was an internal spirit of restraint in the events that *felt* like something from the b'nei ashkenaz, even to me, someone who is not at all yekkish by heritage, and who has at times found those tendencies somewhat foreign and even difficult to relate to. Afterwards, one person said to me "I am shocked, you had a really yekkish chassene," and I reflected that while the extremely punktlich start time of the chuppah (against all odds - we were told "it can't be done") and the amazing contributions of our own chazzan Cantor Eric Freeman, a Washington Heights import, did much to give this impression, in the end, the spirit infusing our wedding was internal, something we both shared with family and/or community prior to that moment. And that was, in the end, what made it so powerful. Like all liturgy, the whole is by far greater than the sum of its parts.

BLD said...

Louisa, go enjoy your chasan !

Dont worry about us fighting about some arcane issue of little importance!

Mazel Tov!!

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

The Chabad Shliach in Frankfurt told my brother something very interesting. Before leaving to FFaM, the Lubavitcher Rebbe O"bm told him the following.

Of course you will follow Minhogei Chabad, but if someone comes & tells you that we did this differently before WWII - do it his way! Their Mesorah is much older than ours.

I find it interesting that Rav Gurary - father of the Chabad Shliach in Berlin - did an excellent job in hs Sefer on the Minhogim of Berlin, whereas the Yeshiva doesn't keep the old Minhogei Berlin.

Louisa said...

BLD, trust me, I am enjoying him. Very, very, very, very much. :-)

Anonymous said...

Also, were I not enjoying him so much, I might have noticed that you just referred to this argument as an arcane issue of no importance. However, I think my comment was about how this "arcane" issue is actually of very great importance - I merely wished to report my astonishment and pleasure that despite our inability to do full justice to the heritage that Jehoschua was born to and that I took on through my community back in the US, we nevertheless had a chuppah which reflected our spirit and values and which gave, despite our handicaps vis a vis minhagim, an impression to others of the kind of community and home we would like, iy"H, to build.

Sophie Golden said...

Mazal tov!!!
I actually was at Louisa and Yehoshua's wedding in Berlin :) They are amazing couple.
It was so cool, we danced a lot and had so much fun there.
I am so glad to find this blog.
Have a Kosher Pesach and all the best to you!!!

G6 said...

Welcome to the blog Sophie!
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Please give Louisa a big {{hug}} from us. We miss her a lot - especially on Shabbos and around the Yomim Tovim.
Have a Chag Kasher V'sameach.

YW said...

I wasn't sure whether the couple here for Shabbos was them but after looking at the picture I've concluded it is them.