Chaya and Schmeryl's Wedding Program
Welcome to Chaya and Schmeryl's wedding. We are delighted
that all of you could be here to gorge yourselves at Chaya's
parents' expense. We have prepared this booklet in order to
illustrate the beauty and deep meaning of the Jewish wedding
ceremony, as well as to provide a means to distract you
during the rabbi's endless dreying and deflect your
The day's festivities begin with kabbalat panim, an
opportunity to offer a joyous greeting to the bride, who
is escorted in by her friends and family. Chaya is seated
on a large, throne-like chair, where she receives greetings
from guests. At this point, it is customary for the men to
attack the smorgasbord like a pack of hungry refugees.
It is customary for women to comment aloud about how
beautiful the bride looks, while musing quietly about what
she'll look like after about ten years of childbirth and
Archaic and incomprehensible legal documents play a very
important role in Judaism. One of the most important such
documents is the ketubah, an ancient document that details
Schmeryl's monetary responsibilities and Chaya's claim to
all of his assets, including the shirt off his back, as
security for those obligations in the event of death or
divorce. It is customary to decorate this document with
pretty flowers and other colorful designs and hang it
from the wall of the couple's new home.
At this point in history, the role of the ketubah is
important, but largely symbolic, unlike the shtar tannaim,
which is completely useless. The shtar tannaim is an
agreement between the two families that their children
should get married. Duh. Like, if they didn't want them
to get married, why am I, like, wearing a gown?
THE CHOSSON'S TISCH
"Tisch" literally means table in Yiddish. At the
"chosson's tisch," the men gather around a table and
serenade Schmeryl with Hebrew drinking songs. The same
table is also used to sign the ketubah and tannaim. It
is considered a fortuitous sign to spill an entire glass
of scotch all over a $1,200 illuminated ketubah. If the
groom is a scholar, he delivers a torah lecture. While
he is speaking, it is customary for the men to discuss
the basketball or football game that they are missing in
order to be at the wedding.
An important part of the marriage ceremony is the
bedekin, wherein the bride and groom see each other for
the first time after a week of separation, and prepare
for the marriage ceremony. In order to make this process
as noisy and confusing as possible, Schmeryl is danced
in by a large crowd of smelly men. He then lowers the
veil down over Chaya's face, consummating an important
part of the marriage process. Many authorities insist
that Chaya's veil remain down from now until the wedding
ceremony. This is because it is funny to watch her
bump into things.
During the ceremony, Chaya and Schmeryl will stand
under the chuppah, or wedding canopy. The chuppah
is a symbol of the Jewish home, since most Jewish homes
are built to look like large white bedsheets.
Schmeryl is preceded by a procession of his close
friends and family: bubbe and zayde; his brothers,
Yonkie and Yitzie; sister Huvie and friends Chaim
Mukapuckapucka, Louis Friedsnickman and Dr. Steven
Putzamulla. Schmeryl will then enter, escorted by
his mother and father, who are carrying lit candles
in order to keep away the mosquitoes.
Chaya's family and friends are next: bubbe and
zayde; sisters Mali, Rachel and Latifa; brother Duvie
and friends Shani Grezputkinoff and Dani Rulbuggabug.
Chaya, together with her parents, will enter next, at
which point it is customary to stand up and take
flash pictures 8 inches from her face.
When Chaya has reached the chuppah, she will walk
around Schmeryl seven times. Seven is a very significant
number in Judaism, as it is the smallest positive number
that is the sum of a perfect square and an odd number
greater than one.
In ancient times, a man would betroth a woman by hitting
her over the head with a large rock or animal bone and
dragging her away. Judaism sought to bring reverence
and sancity to this relationship between man and woman.
We were therefore commanded at Sinai to recite a short
Hebrew formula before hitting the woman on the head
with a large rock or animal bone and dragging her away.
The essence of the wedding ceremony is "kiddushin,"
wherein Schmeryl buys Chaya for a nominal sum. Once
Schmeryl has bought Chaya, no one else is allowed to
either buy or borrow Chaya and Schmeryl may not sell
Chaya at any point. Any liens, easements or sale-
leaseback arrangements involving Chaya that pre-date
Schmeryl's purchase should not be discussed publicly,
except in low tones among cousins and family friends
during the wedding ceremony.
The second half of the wedding ceremony (which is
actually the first half; don't ask) is known as
nesuin. This act symbolizes the groom's removal
of the bride from her father's house and her placement
in his own domicile. There are several rituals that
are used to fulfill this obligation:
* Veiling the bride - performed during the bedekin
* Standing under the chupah together
* Yichud - Complete seclusion in a private room.
This is where the bride and groom traditionally
break their fast, and it affords Schmeryl his first
real opportunity to practice ignoring his wife
The marriage ceremony is accompanied by seven
blessings, praising the Almighty for creating
the joyous institution of marriage. Each blessing
is customarily given out as an honor to a different
individual. It is considered admirable to allocate
blessings to rabbis and Torah scholars with whom the
families enjoy close relationships. However, since few
families say more than three words to their rabbis
over the course of a lifetime, it is customary to
hire bearded men off the street to pretend to
BREAKING THE GLASS
At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, it is
customary to sing the verse from Psalms - "If I
forget thee, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget
its cunning." Shortly afterwards, Schmeryl will step
on a glass; the broken glass symbolizes the memory
of the destroyed Holy Temple and our people's
exile from Zion, which makes even the joy of a
wedding incomplete. After the glass has been
broken, the audience generally breaks out into
applause to demonstrate our joy that the Messiah
has not yet come, and we may therefore continue
to live in Teaneck.