Jan 292012

The day before my wedding I kept practicing how to tie my wedding tie. A year later, when my friend Alex got married, I realized there are more lofty preparations to make for a Jewish wedding. He stayed at my apartment the night before the wedding, and at 11:30 p.m. his biggest concern was finding someone to adjust the straps on his new set of tefillin.

Of course you don’t need to buy a new set of tefillin for the wedding, but I think a lot of young Jewish men getting ready for their wedding sort of have a sense it’s time to get serious, and if their tefillin are a bit questionable, they want to upgrade.

So there we were, just before midnight, knocking on the door of a Chassidic rav in Betar Illit who kept late hours. In fact, we had to wait, because someone else was already there in his living room.

Likewise, about a year ago, a kallah from New Jersey ordered a handwoven tallit from me. She chose the colors very carefully, because she wanted them to go well with her wedding dress and the chuppah.

Her chassan was more concerned about the tzitzit. He wanted Ptil Tekhelet with Rambam tying, and he wanted to do the tying himself. (Tying Ptil Tekhelet tzitzit according to the Rambam is not for the uninitiated.) I was very impressed and emailed her a note saying I couldn’t imagine a better way for a Jewish groom to prepare for his wedding than to tie the tzitzit he would be wearing under the chuppah.

It may be that this idea of spiritual preparation for a Jewish wedding is implicit in the custom of a kallah buying a tallit for her chassan. Buying him a tie is nice, but somehow it’s not quite the same…

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