From the Desk - the Bride and the Veil
Shalom Friends! I hope you are all well. Last week in synagogue, I spoke about our anxiety about the direction of the world which so often brings us to the brink of despair. But the story of the Jewish People gives us hope that goodness and holiness prevails against the odds. You can see more on this idea here. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbat, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal With...the Bride and the Veil? This week, we are delighted to be celebrating the wedding of David Morris and Gillian Steinberg. Before the chuppah, the groom approaches the bride and places the veil over her face. Popular assumption is that this is based on the story that our matriarch Leah wore a veil and that is why Jacob did not realize that it was Leah, not Rachel, under the chuppah. An actual source for this explanation is difficult to find and, in fact, some halachic authorities object to the bride wearing a veil, based on what happened with Jacob and Leah! So, why does the bride have a veil? Here are some explanations based on Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's book, Made in Heaven:
It is a sign of modesty. The bride is the center of attention at the ceremony. She covers her face so that no one other than her husband will gaze at her beauty. On this day, her beauty is for her husband alone.
Another reason the groom covers the bride's face is to indicate that he is not primarily interested in her physical beauty. Beauty is something that will fade in time, but if the groom is attached to the girl's spiritual qualities, he is attached to something that she will never lose.
Just before our matriarch Rebecca met Isaac, she covered her face with a veil. Isaac's marriage to Rebecca marked the beginning of the Jewish People. The bride emulates Rebecca in the hope that she will be equally worthy in her marriage.
According to some authorities, the groom's placing the veil on the bride is actually an integral part of the marriage process. This is because one of the things that a husband must provide for his wife is clothing. In placing a veil over her face, the groom is symbolically doing one of those things he must do as a husband. This, in itself, is an act of setting up a household together.