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Badeken: Is it what it appears to be or is it only a cover-up!

 Boruch Hashem, we’ve all been to simchos in our lives. No matter how old or young, whether as an honored guest or as the guest of honor. Ranging from a Bris to an upsherin to a Bar Mitzvah to a wedding – although my wife still insists that I wasn’t really “all there” by our wedding! Correspondingly, at every level of celebration that we experience in a lifetime, is an increasing amount of happiness and joy that we relate to in added increments. A bris is a wonderfully joyous event – for the parents, relatives and friends; I think I’m not going too far out on a limb here when I say that you won’t be hearing any eight-day old babies telling you what a pleasant and satisfying experience he had any time soon! However, as a child grows and eventually becomes an adult, that child can recognize and understand newer levels of gratification and happiness in personal and familial celebrations. At a boy’s upsherin, he licks the honey and this makes him happy. By his Bar- Mitzvah, he truly feels the proud and joyous feelings of adulthood, and his ability to perform mitzvos “for real” increases his simcha and satisfaction with his new situation. That – and the new Borsalino! We musn’t forget the new Borsalino! But by all accounts, the “Mother of all Simchos,” the one celebration that rises above all others is that of a choson and kallah. It’s not for naught that an engagement period lasts for an extended period of time, allowing for preparation after preparation to be seen to and, not coincidentally, dollar after dollar to be spent! There are seven days of celebration (some refer to it as seven days of indigestion) that serve as a mandatory postscript for any wedding celebration. The custom in every circle and sect of Judaism is to break a glass under the chupah. This stems from the immortal words of Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim, “My lips shall be forgotten if I do not recall it, if I do not go up to Jerusalem at the height of my celebration.” Thus, at the height, the absolute pinnacle of joy, happiness and celebration – when a man and woman effectively become husband and wife – we break a glass to remind us, in some small way, of our neverending loss of the Bais Hamikdosh and Yerushalayim of old.

 It would make sense to say that the chupah ceremony, including the badeken – when the groom is being led by his father and relatives in a procession of perspiring, whirling dancers, off-beat singing and, of course, a trumpet player, to his soon-to-be bride, whereby he utters a posuk and puts the veil over her head – should contain obvious amounts of elation. The groom, on his way to the chupah (note how the usage of the word “chupah” and “slaughter” in this sentence can be interchangeable!) should be beaming with a smile from ear to ear, happily humming his merry tune as he begins the process of what is to be the most joyous celebration that he will ever experience. And in some cases it is like that. Yet, by many other chasanim who have been taught and understand the special significance of this profound ceremony, an austere and serious countenance is all one sees. Deep in concentration, They unseeingly stare right through the merriness that is unfolding in front of them as they tightly clutch the supporting arms of, in most cases, their father and father-in-law. I, for one, was excited and elated, and as I began to walk from the “choson’s tish” out towards the main hall where my kallah awaited me, I was laughing and joking heartily with my friends, smiling good-naturedly at the inevitable comment of, “It’s not too late to change your mind!” All this came to an abrupt stop – as did the entire procession – when my grandfather, Reb Alter Kurz, of blessed memory, grabbed my arm and spoke right into my face, “This is the most important and serious time. Yetz, kenst du baiten ales vus di vilst – Now, you can ask for anything that you want!” My smile faded. I began to feel the seriousness of the moment and it obviously showed. A friend of mine later came over and asked me how come my demeanor changed so drastically and was so serious by the badeken.

So what is it about this pre-ceremony, if you will, that is so special and important? The commentators do speak about it but in limited verse. The basic understanding of the badeken is that the choson approaches his bride-to-be and initiates the first act of acquisition – in this case, the acquisition of a new bride. He gazes at her so as to fulfill the dictum of chazal that one is not permitted to marry a woman without first seeing her. He recites a posuk which is a form of blessing and encouragement to her, as they begin their new life together. Then, he places the veil over her head as a form of kinyan and she remains covered – badeked – until the end of the chupah, as a show of tznius and modesty. This custom stems from our matriarch, Rivkah, who, after seeing her future husband Yitzchok for the very first time, immediately covered herself up. The process of the badeken is to emulate her holy action. The choson is surrounded by joyous well-wishers who escort him towards his kallah. This minhag is based on a gemara in eruvin (54) where the term “Hilula” – Celebration, is used to describe the procession. The Sefer HaAruch translates this word as “Hoich Zeit”, or “(Spiritually) High time.” Thus, we find that these moments are not made for frivolity and light-headedness but rather, it is a time for introspection and tefillah. The hope for a life filled with health, children, happiness and wealth – all with his beautiful and adoring bride, is ever-present on the lips and in the recesses of every choson’s mind.

Rather than being directly related to order generic cialis, these studies are most probably due to an addition in a man’s common interest in sexual activity, which is contributed on by their cialis-assisted reliable erections. This article is tadalafil cialis india no different when it comes to the matter of sex. In this way they can intensify their lovemaking sessions and have a stimulating cheap professional viagra time in the bed. These drugs were designed to overcome physically-induced male impotence, which is more common and harder tadalafil india cialis to overcome. There is also another explanation which serves to underscore the significance of the badeken. The Netziv, R’ Naftoli Tzvi Yehuda Berlin ZT”L, writes in Parshas Chayei Sarah, that the reason why Rivkah covered herself with a veil when she saw Yitzchok that first time, was out of fear and awe. The “Pachad Yitzchok” was obviously evident on his holy face and from that exact moment when she saw him, Rivkah was totally consumed by an awe-inspiring fear of her husband. Not in a bad way, of course, writes the Netziv, but her relationship with Yitzchok was never one of easy, casual co-existence. Whereas Sarah could and would talk to her husband, Avrohom Avinu, and advise him on how she thought matters should be dealt with; likewise, Rochel and Leah were always able to converse with Yaakov Avinu regarding issues between them and their children. Rivkah, however, did not have that same kind of conversational relationship with Yitzchok Avinu. This stems from that first encounter when she pervasively felt a tremor of fear from the holiness of Yitzchok and immediately covered herself up out of embarrassment. Thus, continues the Netziv, the situation that arose between Yaakov and Esav and the entire story of the Bechorah, Yaakov’s trick to get the blessings, his eventual escape to Lavan where he met and married and fathered the shevatim, who ultimately created the Jewish Nation, the Bnei Yisroel, all this indirectly came about due to that first “badeken”, when Rivkah felt the fear and awe-inspiring respect of Yitzchok and covered herself up. Who knows what might have happened differently had Rivkah been able to discuss family matters, the character and upbringing of their children etc., with her husband. But since this was the clear and obvious will of Hashem, things turned out the way they did and we, as a nation, are what we are today because of it.

The badeken ceremony at a wedding, in emulation of the act of Rivkah, teaches us an important lesson in emunah and bitachon. A choson and kallah stand on the threshold of their new life together. Many plans will be made and changed. Many goals and ideals will be dreamed of and some may never come to fruition. Health and sickness, wealth and poverty, respect and disgrace – all these come and go and make up a family and its station in life. One thing, however, remains constant: Hashem has the final say and makes the final decision. What we may think is the proper course on which to steer our family may, in fact, be the exact opposite of what is really good for us. Hindsight may be 20/20 but the only one with pure, unadulterated and true foresight is Hashem. This concept is clearly seen from the words of the Netziv regarding Rivkah’s cover-up. Things may have very well been different, but only Hashem knew the real reason and purpose for the way things turned out. And it was definitely for the good, as is everything that Hashem does. Thus, when a choson starts his trek from the “choson’s tish” and embarks on the voyage that is his life, he should remember that all he needs to do is put his trust and faith in the Ribono Shel Olam. As the kallah looks up and sees her future groom gently lay the veil over her head, she should think and understand that her future rests in the hands of Hashem. What is in store for her and her husband will be the will of Hashem. The powerful lesson of the badeken is one that escapes many brides and grooms, but it should be the focus of their prayers as they stand under the chupah and become husband and wife.


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