Four Things Rabbis Should Stop Saying at Weddings

Here we are, in the grip of another Wedding Season. Perhaps you’re a perpetual bridesmaid, or the one getting married, or you’re not particularly into marriage as a life choice for yourself.

Maybe you’re going to a wedding every weekend until the end of time (or Labor Day). As we descend further into the madness of tulle, plus-ones, and open bars, let’s review some things you’re basically guaranteed to find at Jewish weddings: aggressive dancing (ask me about incurring my stiletto related injury), which usually involves the couple being hoisted into the air on chairs while they pretend not to be afraid of falling, people shouting “Mazel Tov!,” and of course, a rabbi.

5 comments on “Four Things Rabbis Should Stop Saying at Weddings

  1. MarisaH on

    I was once at a wedding on Lag B’Omer where the rabbi described being single as “wandering in the desert” and getting married as “entering the promised land.” NOPE. That reinforced ideas about single people being less than / incomplete that I found really offensive.

  2. Rabbi Denise Eger on

    While this rabbi agrees with the author that those officiating should refrain from sexist comments the author gets several things wrong about what a Jewish wedding is about. The couple is important after all it is their day and he holy moment of transition that marks the beginning of the family. And every officiant should spend time with the couple getting to know them and this is why a rabbi or cantor is critical not Aunt Sally or my friend from business school officiating: premarital counseling. A rabbi or cantor ought to require each couple to engage in thoughtful reflection about issues that will confront them as they enter into married life: how they argue; how they handle finances; sexual compatibility issues, if children are in their future, in laws, the religious and spiritual life of their home and family;their dreams and expectations which surprisingly many couples haven’t talked about.

    But what this author really gets wrong is that the wedding in a Jewish context has other aims than the couple. And that is a religious and holy transformation of their family. It is also about God and the Jewish people. And a wedding homily or message is a chance to learn Torah and to relate it to the Torah of their lives together. The Jewish wedding traditions of chupah and Ketubah and breaking the glass have profound religious and spiritual meanings and the rabbi and cantor have an obligation to our tradition to help all attending understand and most especially the couple understand their radical and profound meanings in our day and time.

  3. Tamtzit on

    I agree. It would be nice, in articles of this kind, to write about what, ideally, a rabbi can bring to the occasion.

  4. Bobby5000 on

    There is a chef who asked to make a dish different than that on the menu, said if you don’t like my food don’t come to my restaurant. The same with religious marriage. Consistent with Jewish tradition, the Rabbi is entitled to speak about the virtues of marriage and having children.

    I do agree with other criticism. There are off-handed comments made, sometimes in poor taste. Jewish marriage celebrates equality so comments about women are appropriately made.

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