Thinking About the Couple

So, I’m at a wedding, sitting at the chupah. There are these tehillim cards on the seats so you can engage your mouth in a productive way during the ceremonies. The first three folds are tehillim, and after that are a string of personal prayers: for successful children, for a spouse, for health, for long life, for sustenance…

Don’t get me wrong. On an ordinary day I would go straight through all of those from beginning to end without compunction. But not at a chupah. When I’m at a chupah I want to be davening for the couple. They’re about to set out on a perilous journey (etc etc), and a new marriage is, in many ways, scarier than eternal spinsterhood. At their own chupah, would it be too much to ask for a few prayers?

And yet, at their own chupah even the couple aren’t davening for themselves. They prepare these long lists of friends to daven for, for all the items listed above. I’m sure it’s wonderful for them to be so selfless at this pivotal moment in their life, but is it really the best use of their time?

But what the bride and groom do is their own business. As a perennial member of the audience, though, I’d like to request a Prayer for a Couple Getting Married to be written and published in these pamphlets. Is anyone up for the job?

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16 thoughts on “Thinking About the Couple

  1. I never really understood the whole tehillim at the chuppah thing anyway (for the audience). Shouldn’t they just be sitting respectfully and then focused on being mesameach the new couple? I don’t recall ever learning about it being a shas tefillah for the other people there – their only responsibility is to be mesameach the couple.

    But yeah, if you are going to sit there and daven for anyone, do it for the people getting married – it seems weird to focus on yourself when you’re there for someone else.

  2. I actually know some of the people who started one of the chuppa cards gemachs and the organization behind it. Yes, ideally everyone should be quiet. But since we live in a world that people can’t be silent for an extended period of time, at least they should be dong something spiritual with their mouths at that time (instead of for example speaking about others).
    Also, originally, I believe they wanted to only include the tehillim so that it should be for The Couple. However, the Rov thought that people are going to be focusing on themselves. He said that he used to see singles crying their eyes out at the chuppa. Thats why they (the organization that I specifically have in mind)put kapitilach of tehilim- for the couple and the bakashos- for the people, being that people want and are going to be davening for themselves.
    Sorry if the post is a little incoherent, i need to catch up on some sleep 😉

  3. The chuppa is long enough to daven sincerely for every bracha imaginable for the couple, and then go though all the tehillim and tefillos on the card.

  4. Whats with all the Anonymous today!! I normally deface the cards when I see them (at least one in that hopes that someone will think about what I wrote, if they are reused) and add the words “for the couple and ” to the line please daven for X, Y, Z”. Though in reality this is no more of an issue than the focus on getting berachos from the chosson and kallah, crying at the wedding, davening for oneself, the kallah (or choson) bawling under the chuppa etc. I would really like to understand the mindset of such things… I hope that someone can explain them… Or for that matter people going in order to get the brachos that come along with being misamech the choson and kallah, though I guess it is better than if they don’t show up.

  5. The couple doesn’t daven for others under the chupah, only earlier in the day. I was told explicitly that the chupah was a special time to daven for me and my (then future) husband – and I should focus on ourselves then, not others.

  6. The time of the chupah is the time of yichud Kudshebrichu u’Shchintei, a time of unbelievable holiness, which must be utilized fully. As a Jewish people, we are one soul and one body. A brain cell does not only ask for its own health; it asks for the health of all the cells in the body, even the skin cells at the bottom of one’s feet.

  7. Any kind of tfila and focusing on the seriousness of the moment, even davening for what’s best for oneself, is preferable to sharing photos, texting, speaking lashon hara and checking out everyone else’s outfits to make sure yours is superior. I’m not one to say that one tfila is so superior. Sometimes when you are in a low situation you can’t help but think of yourself, even when at the same time you’re thinking about the new couple too.

  8. Ida know. I was always under the impression that the time at the chuppah was supposed to be spent discussing with the person sitting next to you what was the music used for the previous relative’s Walking Down, noticing the cuteness of the nieces and nephews in the procession, counting the spiderweb-binding-hakafot, and other important tasks.

    Or at least, you know, paying attention. I find it bizarre that a whole custom has sprung up that basically allows for/organizes the audience to IGNORE what is going on in the front of the room. I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in who has the sheva brachos, in watching the chosson’s face light up when the kalla comes in, in seeing there are different minhagim being utilized. Do we put pocket mishnayos on seats in auditoriums where shiurim are going to be delivered? After all, there are some ppl who are going to let their minds wander, and we don’t them to be mevatel zman!

    I also feel that it is offensive to (as it were) stuff a Tehillim in my face and insist that I recite it. Sure, it’s done politely, but we never see that elsewhere. I’m not a solo-“Tehillim reciter” and just doing it now b/c you told me to seems a little phony.

    Heh. I have also seen once where the Tehillims had a sticker inside saying “Ploni and Almonis would love for the entire Tehillim to be completed at their chuppah. Please say kapitlach XX-YY. Thanks ” and you kow what?? The couple didn’t even know about it. (Or so they told me when I asked.)

  9. The audience saying tehillim at the chuppah is a relatively recent custom. My guess is that people just can’t sit still anymore and getting them to recite tehillim is the only way to prevent them from talking or texting on their phones. But it is nice for the ones getting married to daven for others (that doesn’t have to be for shidduchim but could be refua shleima) b/c they achieve perfectly clean slates on their wedding days, according to Chazal, and so should have extra spiritual ability to tap into. I don’t think that one has to say chayecha kodmin in such a situation; on the contrary, altruistic actions bode well for a marriage’s success.

  10. Agree with Been There- I was told to daven for my friends before or during the Kabalat Panim, and to only daven for my husband and I under the Chuppah.

    Many pamphlets, including the one at my wedding, were generalized Tehillim, with prayers at the back if one so wishes. One can interpret them how one wishes.

  11. The morning of my wedding, my shomer and I received a ride from a very nice fellow who drove us back from the mikvah to the YU side of the heights and upon asking him for advice he said to make sure I take the time to daven for ASoG and I – since most people seem to forget about that. I definitely took the lesson to heart, and added a few tefillos for others in attendance as well – especially since we tried to have a shidduch system for the guests at the wedding (though it didn’t really produce much, sadly).

    Aish.com has this WONDERFUL article here that Chassanim and Kallos should print out, read and re-read during the day of their wedding: http://www.aish.com/sp/pr/90070712.html perhaps the guests should add these as well if they’re davening for the couple.

  12. ” I normally deface the cards when I see them (at least one in that hopes that someone will think about what I wrote, if they are reused) and add the words “for the couple and ” to the line please daven for X, Y, Z”. ”

    You might want to think about not defacing other people’s property. The family of the chossona and/or kallah put those cards out, at their simcha. If they had wanted to get cards that say that, they would have. Leave your agenda at home when you go to someone else’s simcha.

  13. I’m personally against the distributing of such cards at weddings. Firstly, do you know what usually happens to those cards? They get stepped on, folded over, forgotten. Very often they have Hashem’s name on it, and no one wants to get stuck with them. Plain baltshchis. If someone wants to daven at another’s wedding, they’ll remember to bring along their own tehillim.

    Secondly, the wedding is a special time for the prayers of the chosson and kallah. I don’t think that applies to everyone else in the room who happened to attend. The everyday tefillos with proper kavana have more impact.

    Thirdly, I attended a wedding to rejoice with the happy couple, to give them my undivided attention, not to focus all of my energies on ME and my wants. I’m here for them, not for me (okay, it is for me when they have a good shmorg).

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