The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 2 May 2009 / 7 Iyyar 5769

The Marital "Transplant"

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

When the couple came before Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Rosh Hayeshiva of "Yeshivat Me’or Hatalmud" in Rechovot, to complain about their relationship, he was shocked to discover that they had never had a proper halachic wedding.

"But we did make a financial arrangement between us," declared the couple, "so what is wrong with that?"

The Rosh Hayeshiva explained the difference between their arrangement and a proper wedding by comparing the chupah to a transplant operation performed in a hospital. Just as the Creator took one of Adam's ribs to create the first woman, so too does a "transplant" take place every time man and woman are united in marriage when they stand beneath the chupah.

He also added that just as there is an atmosphere of awe surrounding a hospital transplant with the participation of a large medical staff, so too should there be an aura of respect surrounding the guests witnessing the chupah. This explains why it is a custom among many people to stand in respect while the chupah ceremony takes place.

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