Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who Wears the Tallis in the Family?

Last night was the first time I ever attended a wedding where the Chosson was of Yekkish descent. The Chosson's father is very proud of his German-Jewish heritage (one of his favorite Sefarim is Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz). Last night was no exception to his upholding his family Minhagim. I had heard of the Minhag that the Chosson and Kallah go under a Tallis, but for some reason I pictured that as four people spreading the Tallis out above them like a canopy.
I was wrong. The Minhag is that the Chosson and Kallah have a Tallis draped over both of their heads (picture putting your Tallis over your own head, only doing that for two people together.)
Seeing this Minhag being maintained was a beautiful thing to behold. Not only was it, at least to my mind, a wonderful opportunity to see an age-old Minhag kept, a celebration of the diversity of Minhagim within Klal Yisrael, but it just seemed like a deeply meaningful expression of what the moment meant for the couple. To me, going under the Tallis was one of the highlights of what I would do as a child on Yom Tov during Bircas Kohanim. It was a special moment of bonding with my father, (OK, some horsing around with my brothers too), together accepting the Berachos of the Kohanim for our family's, and Klal Yisrael's, success.
Here, again, from my perspective, (I'm sure there's more to it than this) the Chosson takes the Kallah under his Tallis to jointly receive the Sheva Berachos, given B'Ahavah by Rabbanim and family,wishing them a life of Simchah and growth L'Netzach Netzachim.
The father of the Kallah quipped in his remarks at the Seudah: "After seeing that for the first time, I wonder who's going to wear the Tallis in this family...". I'm Mispalel that it will be the grandchildren, and beyond, of the newlywed couple, who will continue this awe-inspiring Minhag, Ad Bi'as Go'el Tzeddek.

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