JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen weekdays permissible for weddings #general


Judith Romney Wegner
 

Herbert Lazerow wrote:

I have been told that the
Talmud declares that virgins are married on Wednesday, widows on Thursday.
Either these injunctions were not strictly followed in Ukraine, or there is
some third category, because I have found weddings taking place on other days
of the week. Saturday night and Sunday seem to be the days of choice in the
U.S., regardless of previous marital status.
Actually, your informant was in error: he/she has misunderstood the
force of the relevant mishnaic rule. It was and is perfectly O.K. to get
married on other days of the week (except Friday and Shabbat).

Your informant mistranslated -- and therefore misunderstood -- the force of
the preposition "LE-" which can have many meanings. In this particular
case, the text of Mishnah Ketubbot 1:1 ("LE-yom ha-revi'i" and "LE-yom
ha-hamishi") does not mean ON Wednesday or ON Thursday respectively
(depending whether virgin or widow) but only BY the specified days. The
purpose of this rule (as discussed at p. 21 of my book Chattel or
Person? The Status of Women in the Mishnah, Oxford Univ Press 1992,
paperback) is that virgins must be married BY Wednesday of the particular
week (the week begins on Sunday) because this will still allow time for a
bridegroom aggrieved by the discovery that the bride was not a virgin to
rush around to the Thursday court session ( as the Mishnah itself points
out, the rabbinic court convened on Mondays and Thursdays) with his
complaint while the evidence -- or lack thereof! -- was still "fresh."
(If he was lying, her parents could bring the bloodstained sheets to refute
his claim, so that they would not have to return the bride-price of virgins
that had been paid to the bride's father!)

In the case of a widow, this was obviously not an issue (as the groom
was not entitled to expect a widow to be a virgin -- and in any case had
paid only the brideprice of widows, which was half that of virgins!).
Therefore, a widow could get married as late as Thursday -- but should be
married BY Thursday, because Friday and Shabbat were "out" due to
religious requirements of preparing for Shabbat and of Shabbat observance
itself.

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@...

MODERATOR'S NOTE: Let's not go any farther down this road-while the days of
the week maybe genealogically relevant, it seems to this observer that
nothing more on this topic can be added that is. End of thread.

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