Susan Barth
Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

Extremely Auspicious Days for Weddings

On these days after Yom Kippur, we as Jews could be experiencing many different sentiments – from great relief or in the case of the observant, there is immediate attention to the upcoming holiday of Sukkot.

But a little known fact is according to an article Approved Dates for a Wedding, the four days after Yom Kippur, the 11th to the 14th of Tishri are in fact identified as Extremely Auspicious Days for a Wedding.  What this says is that a commitment to the future by a couple via a wedding is a wonderful response to Yom Kippur.

Special Connection between a Wedding and Minor Yom Kippur

Historically, there is a special connection between the day of the wedding and Yom Kippur. As elaborated in an article entitled The Wedding Day, “The Talmud teaches that bride and groom on their wedding day are forgiven for all their prior sins. Consequently, the day of their wedding is considered a “minor Yom Kippur” and it is customary for them to fast on this day.”  In fact the custom is for the couple to respectively pray the Mincha prayer of the Yom Kippur service on the day of their wedding and the groom to wear a kittel under the chupah as men often wear on Yom Kippur.

The Natural Extension from Yom Kippur and the Days After

There are a number of parallels between Yom Kippur and a Wedding Commemoration.

During Neilah, I reflected on our leader Moses and how he managed without food or water and begged Hashem for forgiveness for the Jews. His pleas were accepted and forgiveness granted on Yom Kippur as symbolized by his receiving the second tablets in replacement for the first ones destroyed following the episode of the Golden Calf. Moses consistently makes illusions to Hashem as the groom and the Jewish people as the Bride.

In Yom Kippur as a Festive Wedding Day, the author Rabbi Yisroel Altein discusses the parallels and how Yom Kippur is in fact like our wedding anniversary. He cites the Talmud in Taanis 26b and a verse from Song of Songs, byom  chatunato – “on the day of His wedding” – and says this refers to the day of the giving of Torah. Rashi, the commentator, comments that this is referring to Yom Kippur as our wedding anniversary. And the Torah is often referred to as our Marriage Contract.

In fact one could say that Yom Kippur is the greatest example of a couple committing themselves to a future together and exhibiting forgiveness as one essential component of a healthy and happy marriage.

From Tragedy to Joy

And speaking of weddings, one of the most poignant stories from the Yom Kippur war was related in a Spielberg Jewish Film Archive entitled “As Always Hadassah” about a twenty four year old male kibbutznik named David who was to be married that week and instead was transported to Hadassah Hospital among the first war wounded casualties with a diagnosis of shattered leg and procedure – amputation.

His story continues in the archive, that Hadassah gave David that wedding in their own synagogue and the celebration included hospital staff and workers and other patients and family and friends. And what better story from tragedy to joy – the wedding said it all.

Weddings in the Days of Corona

Among the industries that have been seriously impacted by Corona is the “wedding industry” as the size and nature of the wedding has been left as variable to the Health Ministry rules of the week. However, in most cases, the weddings have proceeded masks and all and each one is a real testimony to the building of a foundation for the future.

How the Village can Help Support the New Couple

Taking these days as ones which are Extremely Auspicious Days for a Wedding, we the Village of fellow Jews can also support a couple getting married on one of these days.

We can encourage the couple to complement their new fresh slate with the tools and skills that will help support them as the most loving couple possible. This is where marriage education is so critical for providing the roadmap for understanding the stages and behaviors of married life. It is distinctive from therapy by being skill and preventative based.

However, for a couple “in love”, undertaking a marriage education course does not seem very romantic nor necessary. When you are in “love” you do not foresee the potential for the arguments that arise, and hence you are not equipped with the tools to deal with them effectively when they do arise.

And this is where the Village of stakeholders comes into play- the parents, the chatan and kallah teachers, the Rabbis officiating at the weddings – those who have the ears of the couple and can provide the most encouragement for their futures together.

An Example of Marriage Education that is Proven

My nonprofit Together in Happiness is commencing a campaign after the chagim on October 19 offering for free to engaged and newly married couples (up to two years) an online marriage education course (developed under the auspices of Professor Howard Markman and Dr. Scott Stanley who are considered the experts in the field of marriage education) named ePREP. Details will be forthcoming.

One of the couples who have taken the course provided comments that address the question of why marriage education is of such critical importance in general and advantages of the course in particular:

The fountain that keeps on giving!

The tools we gained in the E-prep course improve our everyday. Learning how to listen to one another and turn a disagreement into a relationship building discussion. We constantly find ourselves using E-prep tools subconsciously, and it makes us both feel comfortable, open, and healthy in our relationship.

It’s easy to take this course for granted and assume you can enact all it has to offer without its help, but the structure and tools are ones you must bring to the forefront and review. It’s also easy to forget your relationship is a dominant part of your life, therefore it influences your everyday attitude and it has for us in the best of ways, much to the credit of E-prep!

The Joy that Keeps Going

These days after Yom Kippur represent an opportunity for the Village stakeholders to undertake the encouragement of even one couple.  By encouraging the couple to invest time in learning marriage education skills, you are giving the couple the best wedding gifts possible.

And by doing so, we can make each day a positive reflection of why Hashem selected us as his sole mates.

Chag sameah

About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education
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