Copyright
Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) online

. (page 85 of 169)
Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 85 of 169)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ing presented his friends and the brothers of tlie
bride with turbans; all then proceed, with dancing
and singing and with torches, to the house of the
bride. There the groom pronounces one blessing
over a cup of wine and the others over a second
cup; he takes a ring and coins of gold, copper, and
(chiefly) silver, and says to the bride, in Aramaic:

"Be hallowed and be betrothed unto me, , the

bridegroom, thou, bride and virgin [divorcee or
widow], by this cup of wine and by this coin; on
account of them thou shalt pass into my possession,
according to the law of IMosesand of Israel." After
having given her wine, he offers her the money and
the ring, before witnesses, and translates from the
Arabic the marriage certificate, which he also gives
her. The congregation sings the seven blessings
together with songs in honor of the couple, and the
choir-leader recites Ps. iii., the people responding
"Hallelujah." Then the groom says, "You have
blessed me, may God bless you ; you have made me
glad, may God make you glad," and drinks the wine.
On Friday evening there is a feast in the house of
the bride, at which the groom gives her the wed-
ding-gift. On the Sabbath she is taken to the house
of the groom, where the festivities last for seven
days, on each of which the seven blessings are re-
cited. During this time the groom sits daily for one
hour under the huppah.

In Bagdad the palms and the soles of the bride
and her friends are colored with henna the night be-
fore the wedding. The people make merry first in the
house of the biide, then in that of the groom. The
next day, about five hours before sunset, the "haka-
mim " accompany the groom and his relatives to the
house of the bride. The hakam lifts the bride's veil
in order to show her to the groom, but lets it fall




Marriage Processions Among German Jews, Eighteenth Century.

(From bodenschatz, " Kirchliche Verfassung," 1748.)



Marriage Ceremonies
Marriagre La'ws



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



346



again immediately. lu Bagdad also the celebration
lasts seven days.

Cliorny (I.e. p. 298) says that in the Caucasus the

ceremony is always performed on Wednesday. On

the preceding Thursday three or four girls, relatives

of the bride, put on her clothes and

In the invite other girls to sleep in a special

Caucasus, room with her. Toward evening the

groom sends meat and rice-flour to

the bride and her friends. The latter go out to

sprinkle the flour on the young people, who dance

while the boys and girls clap their hands. On

this evening also the groom spreads a feast for

his friends. On Sabbath morning the friends of the



song. She is clad in mourning to indicate her sor-
row at leaving her parents' house. The visitors
everywhere receive presents and refreshments. As
they approach the house of the groom, his com-
panions appear and pelt the procession with sand
and small stones. The groom is similarly led about
among his friends. If he is rich he is even obliged
to have silk wedding-garments made for the mem-
bers of his household.

On Tuesday evening the father of the groom
spreads a feast for the whole community. On
AVednesday the bride and groom fast. About noon
the rabbi, with a male relative of the groom and
some women, goes to the house of the bride in order




Marriagk Scene at Cracow.

(From " Oestvrrdchisch-UDgarische Monarchic in Wortund Bild.")



bride, among whom there must be at least five grown
persons, clad in the bride's garments, go from house
to liouse h-aving invitations to the feast and receiv-
ing wherever they may stop sugar, coffee, apples,
or eggs.

After the service, at which the groom is not called
up for the Torah, whir h is read only after the cere-
mony, the guests accompany tiie i)air to the house of
the groom for a feast, and then to tiie house of tljc
bride, where the men eat first and the women after-
ward, tiie girls furnisliing music witii harmonicas,
trumpets, etc. On the Sabbath, as well as on tiie fol-
lowing day, the bride spreailsa table for her friends;
on Sunday the groom for his friends. On .Monday
uuil Tuesday the bride visits the friends of lier liou.se-
hold with her girl comiiauious, who sing a Tatar



to inspect the clothing which she has had made
with the money of the groom. Quarrels often arise
on this occasion. If the father is wealthy he adds
a sum of money to that which has been provided
by the groom.

Then the groom and bride are taken to the sea for
the bath, after which they put on the wedding-gar-
ments. The groom is preceded by young men, and
tiie bride by girls, with drums and with hand-clap-
ping and Tatar songs. Wliile the hair of the weep-
ing bride is lieing combed, the girls light the lamps;
then the bride, kneeling, receives her mother's bless-
ing. Tlie brothers of tiie Inide, if she has any, other-
wise an uncle, lead her to the ceremony in the court
of the synagogue, the girls following with lights,
generally white candles ornamented with blossoms.



347



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



ItLarriag-e Ceremonies
Marriagre Laws



The groom also is brought with songs from the
sea ; girls go to meet him in festive train, with dishes
of confectionery, and with a branch hung with
silken kerchiefs and coins. Arrived at home, he is
kissed on the forehead by all the women; then, after
having been blessed by his relatives, he is led with
music to the court of the synagogue, where, under
the huppah, the rabbi with two pupils awaits the
pair. The music ceasing, the groom goes under
the huppah, while the bride's parents are mourn-
ing at home for their child and those of the groom
are preparing for the ceremony. The bride is led
a few times around the groom, the bridesmaids and
the others carrying lights. The ritual is that
of the Sephardim; the rabbi sits during the cere-
mony, and both he and the groom hold a glass
of wine during the blessings, drinking after each
of them.

After the ceremony, guns and rockets are dis-
charged; the bride, closely veiled by her attendants,
is put on a horse, which a relative of the groom
leads while another holds a mirror before her face ;
and with shouting and music the couple are led
home, showered on the way with rice. Arrived
at the house of the bride, the girls dance, and as soon
as she crosses the sill the door-posts are smeared
with honey, while a light burns over the door;
at the same time the young men again discharge
pistols. The musicians are then paid, and the
wedding procession is ended.

Afterward the groom goes walking with his
friends until the evening, when the men and the
women eat in separate rooms without music. After
the meal is tinished the gifts, of gold only, are pre-
sented, the rabbi blessing each giver. Tiie bride
keeps with her in the room of the women only a
sister and an aunt, if she has any, and a few
friends. Late in the evening, after the guests have
departed, the groom is led to the bride. After a
time the young men call him out, discharging guns.
Tlie bride's mother must prepare for them a cock
and a hen, or all her chickens will be stolen and
killed. The bride and groom receive also money
and fruit, the latter being eaten in the bride's room.
The bride herself remains for twelve days behind
a curtain, guarded by girls who demand pay from
the groom.

In Grusia (Georgia ; Chorny, I.e. p. 129) the groom

and bride are led in festive train from their homes to

the synagogue, where they take their places beside

the bemah. The hakam recites some

In piyyutim, translating them into Gru-

Grusia. sian, tlie ketubah also being written
in Hebrew and Grusian. After a
blessing upon the czar the groom covers himself
and the bride with a tallit. "While the hakam pro-
nounces the first blessings the groom holds a
ring and an earthen vessel containing wine. Then
handing the ring to the bride, he breaks the vessel ;
covered by a cloth, the ends of which both hold,
the bride and groom circle around the bemah, kiss
the curtain of the Ark of the Law, and leave the

synagogue.

A. ^I. Gr.

MARRIAGE LAWS : The first positive com-
mandment of the Bible, according to rabbinic inter-



pretation (Maimonides, "Minyan ha-Mizwot," 212),
is that concerning the propagation of the human
species (Gen. i. 28). It is thus considered the duty
of every Israelite to marry as early in life as pos-
sible. Eighteen years is the age set by the Rabbis
(Ab. v. 24) ; and any one remaining unmarried after
his twentieth year is said to be cursed by God Him-
self (Kid. 29b). Some urge that children should
marry as soon as they reach the age of puberty,
i.e., the fourteenth year (Sanh. 76b); and R. Hisda
attributed his mental superiority to the fact that
he was married when he was but sixteen years old
(Kid. I.e.). It was, however, strictly forbidden for
parents to give their children in marriage before
they had reached the age of puberty (Sanh. 76b).
A man who, without any reason, refused to marry
after he had passed his twentieth year was fre-
quently compelled to do so by the court. To be
occupied with the study of the Torah was regarded
as a plausible reason for delaying mar-
Age for riage; but only in very rare instances
Marriage, was a man permitted to remain in celi-
bacy all his life (Ycb. 63b ; Maimon-
ides, "Yad," Ishut, xv. 2, 3; Shulhan 'Aruk, Eben
ha-'Ezer, 1, 1-4; see Celibacy).

The duty of marriage is discharged after the birth
of a son and a daughter (Yeb. 61a). Still no man
may live without a wife even after he has many
children {ib.). Women are exempted from the duty
of marriage, although, to avoid suspicion, they are
advised not to remain single {ib. 65b; "Yad," I.e.
2, 16; ib. Issure Biah, xxi. 26; Eben ha-'Ezer, 1, 13;
see Woman).

The consent of parents is not essential to the valid-
ity of a marriage (Shulhan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 240,
25, Isserles' gloss). The Rabbis, however, urge
great care in the choice of a wife. He who marries
a woman unworthy of him is bound by Elijah and
chastised by God; and concerning him Elijah writes,
over the signature of God, " Wo unto him who pro-
fanes his children and degrades his family " (Kid.
70a; Derek Erez R. i.). According to R. Akiba, he
who marries a wife that is unworthy of him trans-
gresses five Biblical commandments (Ab. R. N.
xxvi. 4). AVhile all families are presumptively pure
and respectable, those that arc at constant warfare
with one another, or whose members are accustomed
to call one another shameful names, or are known for
their acts of cruelty and uncharitableness, are under
suspicion of being of impure descent (Kid. 71b, 76b).
The families most desirable for matrimonial alliances,
according to the Rabbis, were classified in the fol-
lowing order : those of the scholar ; the most promi-
nent man of the community ; the head of the con-
gregation; the collector for charity; and the teacher
of children. The family of the ignoramus ("'am
ha-arez ") is to be avoided, and one should not give
his daughter in marriage to such a person (Pes. 49b ;
"Yad," Issure Biah, xxi. 32; Eben ha-'Ezer, 2;
see 'Am iia-Arez).

To the degrees of prohibited marriages enumer-
ated in the Bible (Lev. xviii. 6-18, xx. 11-21), the
Rabbis added some new degrees, besides extending
those mentioned in the ascending and the descendmg
line. These additions are known in the Talmud by
the name of "sheniyyot," i.e., secondary, such as



Marriag-e Laws
Marseilles



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



348



are given on the authority of the Soferim (" Scribes").
SeeHALizAii; Incest; Levikate Marriage.

Prohibitions of marriage on grounds other than

lliose of consanguinity refer to the following: (1)

Mamzers, persons born of incest or of adultery ; they

are not permitted to marry Israelites

Prohibi- (see Bastard; FouNDi.f.vG ; Illegiti-
tions of .macy; Incest). (3) Aninionites or

Marriage. Moabites; they may not marry Israel-
itish women. (3) Egyptians or Idu-
means to the third generation. (4) Netiiinim or
Gibeonites. The Rabbis declare: "Now all prose-
lytes are permitted to marry Israelites; and we do
not suspect that they are descendants of any of
the nations forbidden in the Bible" ("Yad," Issure
Biah, .\ii. 25; Tosef., Kid. v. 6; Yad. iv. 4; Ber. 28a;
see iNTEKMARRiACiK; Proselytes). (o) Slaves. (6)
Spadones, i.e., persons forcibly emasculated, but not
tho.se that are born so. When the defect is the
result of a disease, there is a difference of opinion
among the authorities (Eben ha-'Ezer, 5).

One who is suspected of having committed adul-
tery with another man's wife is not permitted to
marry her after she has been divorced or after she
has become a widow (Sotah 25a; Yeb. 24b; sec
Adultery). The Biblical prohibition
Prohibited forbidding one to remarry his divorced

Degrees, wife after she has been married to an-
other (Deut. xxiv. 4) is extended by
the Rabbis to the following cases: No one may re-
marry his divorced wife if he divorced her on sus-
picion of adultery, or because she had subjected
herself to certain vows, or on account of her bar-
renness (see Divorce). Those who assist at a
div'onx' proceeding, or the witnesses who testify to
the death of an absent husband, may not marr}-
the woman thus released (Yeb. 25a; Git. 45a;
"Yad," Gerushin, x. 13; Eben ha-'Ezer. 10,' 3;
12, 1-2).

Besides the proselyte and the profane (Halalah)
or tlie divorced woman (Lev. xxi. 17 [A. V. 14J), the
descendants of Aaron were forbidden to marry also
the "haluzah," the woman who performed the cer-
emony of Haijzaii (" loosening th(; shoe") upon her
deceased husband's brother (Yeb. 24a). A priest's
wife who had bec^n criminally assaulted had to be
divorced by her husband {ib. 5Gb). A wonian cap-
tured l)y an enemy in time of war was under suspi-
cion of having been assaulted by her cajjtors, and
hence priests w(;re forbidden to marry her, unless wit-
nesses who were with her during the whole time of
licr capt i vity testified tliat she had not been assaulted
(Ivet. 22a, 27a). Tlic Hal)bis insisted on the ftdtil-
nient of these laws even after the Temple liad been
destroyed and the priestly ollice abolished; and tlicy
compelled an Aaronite, under i)enalty of excom-
nninif iition or other nieans, to divorce the woman
that he had married contrary to the Law ("Yad,"
Issure Biah, xvii.-xx. ; f:i)en ha'Ezer, 6, 7; see
P|!TI.STI.Y Codk),

There arc .some prohibitions which relate speeific-
ally to tlic woman's remarriage. A woman who
was twice widowed, if both husbands died natural
deaths, might not marry again (Yeb. 64b; "Yad,"
I.e. xxi. 31 ; Eben ha-'Ezer, 9). A widow oradivorced
woman might not remarry before the expiration of



ninet}' days from her husband's death or from the
time when the bill of divorce was handed to her.
This provision was made in order to
Remar- ascertain whether she was pregnant,
riage. and that in the event of her being so
the paternity of her child might be es-
tablished. For the sake of uniformity the Rabbis
required the woman to wait that length of time
even when there could be no suspicion of pregnancy.
If she was visibly pregnant, she might not remarry
until after her delivery, and even then, if the child
lived, she was required to wait until it was twenty-
four months old. A woman who had an un weaned
child was required to wait the same period. If the
child died during the interval, she might remarry
immediately (Yeb. 41a, 42a; "Yad," Gerushin, xi.
18-28; Eben ha-'Ezer, 13; see Divorce; Widow).

There are certain times during which marriage is
forbidden. During the first thirty days of mourn-
ing after the death of a near relative no marriage
may be entered upon. A widower may not remarry
until three festivals have passed after the death
of his wife. If, however, she left him with lit-
tle children needing the care of a mother, or if he
had not yet discharged his duty of propagating the
species, i.e., if he had no children (see above), he
might remarry after a lapse of seven days (M. K.
23a; "Yad," Ebel, vi. 5; Yoreh De'ah, 392). No
marriage might be entered upon on Sabbaths, holy
days, or the week-days of the holy days, except in
very urgent cases (Bezah 36b; "Yad," Shabbat,
xxiii. 14; ib. Ishut, x. 14; Eben ha-'Ezer, 64, 5;
Orah Hayyiin, 339, 4, 5'24, 1, Lsserles' gloss). The
first nine days of the month of Ab were regarded as
days of mourning and no marriage might then be
performed. Some extended this piohibition to the
three weeks intervening between the fast of the
Seventeenth of Tammuz and that of the Ninth of
Ab (Orah Hayyim, 551, 2, 10, lsserles' gloss, and
commentaries). The period between Passover and
Shabu'ot ("Sefirat ha-'Omer") was al.so regarded as
one of mourning; and no marriage might be per-
formed during this time, except on a few specified
days. In some places it was customary to refrain
from marriage only until the thirty-third day of the
Omer {ib. 493, 1, lsserles' gloss; .see jMoikmnm;;
Omer).

Marriage, being regarded also as a civil transac-
tion, refjuired the consent of the contracting parties
in order to make it valid (see Consent). Hence
idiots or imbeciles were considered incapable of con-
tracting a legal marriage (see Insanity). The deaf-
mute was also debarred from entering
Conditions, a legal mairiage for the .same rea-
son, but the Rabbis .sanct ione( 1 1 he mar-
riage of a deaf-mute if contracted by means of signs
(see Deaf and Df.Mn in Jkwish Law). Minors
(/.('., such as have not reached the; age of puberty,
which was held to begin at thirteen years in males,
and twelve in females), are also piccludcd from
contracting marriages (sec Ma-iohitv). A daugh-
ter who was a minor could be given in marriage l)y
her father; and such a marriage was valid. In the
case of her father's death, her mother or her brothers
could give iier in marriage, subject to lier confirma-
tion or annnlmcnt on Iicr n acliing the age of puberty



349



THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA



Marriagre Laws
Marseilles



(see Mi'un). A marriage contracted under certain
conditions was valid when tlie conditions were ful-
filled. The conditions had to be formulated in ac-
cordance with the general laws governing conditions
(see Conditions).

In rabbinic times there were two distinct stages
in the marriage ceremony : (1) its initiation or the
Betrothal ("erusin "), and (2) its completion or the
marriage proper (" nissu'in "). These might or might
not have been preceded by an engagement ("shiddu-
kin "), although the prevailing custom was to have
a formal engagement before marriage, when a con-
tract ("tena'im") was drawn up in which the par-
ties promised, under the penalty of a fine (" kcnas "),
to be married at an appointed time (see Bueach of
Promise op Marriage). The Rabbis regarded it
as improper to marry without a previous engage-
ment, and would punish one who did so, although
the act itself was considered valid (Kid. 12b:
"Yad," Ishut, ii. 22; Eben ha-'Ezer, 26, 4).

The betrothal was effected in any of the three
following ways: (1) by the man handing a coin (a
perutah, the smallest Palestinian coin, was sufficient
for the purpose) or its equivalent to the woman in
the presence of two competent witnesses, and pro-
nouncing the words "Be thou consecrated tome,"
or any other phrase conveying the same idea; (2) by
the man handing a contract ("shetar") to the woman
containing the same formula ; (3) by actual cohabi-
tation between groom and bride. This last form
of betrothal was discouraged by the Rabbis; and
sometimes such a procedure met with severe punish-
ment at the hands of the authorities. The manner
of betrothal first mentioned seems to have been the
most common, but later this was modified, so that in-
stead of money the man gave his bride a ring, plain,
and made of gold, the value of which was constant
and well known (Tos., Kid. 9a, s.v. "Wehilketa";
Eben ha-'Ezer, 27, 1; 31, 2, Isserles' gloss; see Be-
TROTHAi,). The act of betrothal might be performed
also by proxies appointed either by the bride or
by the groom or by both ; but it was recommended
that the contracting parties be present at the cere-
mony ("Yad," Ishut, iii. 19; Eben ha-'Ezer, 35, 36).
After betrothal the parties were regarded as man
and wife; and the act could be dissolved only by
death or by a formal bill of divorce. If the woman
proved unfaithful during the period of betrothal she
was treated as an adulteress, and her punishment
(that of stoning; Deut. xxii. 23, 24; Sanh. 66b) was
considered to be much more severe than that (stran-
gulation) inflicted upon the unfaithful married
woman (Deut. xxii. 22 ; Sanh. 52b). The parties were
not, however, entitled to conjugal rights, nor were
tiiey bound by the obligations of married life (see
Husband and Wife).

After the lapse of a certain period from the time
of betrothal (twelve months if the bride was a virgin
and a minor, and thirty days if she was an adult or
a widow ; Ket. 57b), during which the bride could
prepare her trousseau, the marriage proper was cele-
brated. This was attended with the ceremony of
home-taking (" likkuhin " or " nissu'in ") and isolation
of the bridal pair in tiie bridal chamber("huppali ").
From that time they became husband and wife, even
if there was no cohabitation. Various ceremonies



attended the act of marriage (see Marriage Cere-
mony). An important feature was the handing over
of the marriage contract (" ketubah ") to the bride.
In later times the two stages of marriage were com-
bined, a custom universally followed at the present
time.

Besides the cross-references cited above see Con-
ferences; Dowry; Ketubah; Pilegesh ; Polyq-

A.MY.

Bibliography : Hamburger, R. B. T. 1., s.v. Ehe ; il., s.v.Traw-
M?i£f; Mayer, Rechte der IsracUten, Athener, und ROmer,
ii., sections 207-231, Leipsic, 1866 ; Saalsohiitz, Das Mosaliche
RechU ch. cil.-cv., Berlin, 1853; Weill, ia Femme Juive,
Paris, 1874; Buchholz, Die Familie, Breslau, 1867; Duschak,
Dm Mosaiscti-Tainnidische Eherecht, Vienna, 1864 ; Fran-
kel. Das JUdische Eherecht, Munich, 1891 ; Bergel, Die Ehe-
verhaitnisse der Alien Juden, Leipsic, 1881 ; Mielziner, The
Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce. Cincinnati, 1884;
Bloch, Der Vertrag. sections 96-103, Budapest, 1893 ; Amram,
The Jewish Law of Divorce, Philadelphia, 1896 ; Graszl, Ehe-
recht der Juden in Oesterreich, Vienna, 1849 ; Fassel, Das
Mosaisch-Talmudische Civilrecht, i., §§ 44-121, Vienna, 1852 ;
Lichtenstein, Die Ehe nach Mosaisch-Talmudischer Auffas-
simg, Leipsic, 1879; Frankel, Grundlinien des Mosaisch-
Talmudischen Eherechts, Breslau, 1860.

s. 6. J- H. G.

MAimiAGE SETTLEMENT. See Ketubah.

MARRIED WOMAN. See Woman.

MARSEILLES (n"'^^'K'-iO or K>^'D1D) : Sea-
port of southern France with about 5,000 Jews in a
population (1896) of 420,300. It had a .Jewish col-
ony as early as the fifth century, and in 567 a num-
ber of exiles from Clermont, Auvergne, sought
refuge there from the intolerance of Bishop Avitus.
Pope Gregory intervened in their behalf in 591, re-
proaching Theodore, Bishop of Marseilles, for hav-
ing attempted to convert them by force and not by
suasion. Benjamin of Tudela says (" Itinerary," i.6)
that when he passed through the city, about 1165,
the Jewish community numbered 300 members,
who worshiped in two synagogues. In the thir-
teenth century the Jews carried on an extensive com-
merce and had considerable relations with the East.
While they are called "citizens of Marseilles" ("cives
Massiliae "), as appears from the compact made in
1219 between the city and the bishop in regard to
the municipal franchises, and from the agreement be-
tween the inhabitants of Marseilles and the Duke of
Avignon in 1257, this does not seem to denote that
they had equal rights with their Christian fellow
citizens. Their condition, which seems to have been
favorable during the earlier parts of the Middle Ages,
underwent a change in 1262, when the city was
obliged to capitulate in sonsequence of an insurrec-
tion against the Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence,
to whom the Jews were surrendered as property
which he might tax at pleasure. The count, on
the other hand, was well disposed toward the Jews,
and in Maich, 1276, issued a severe edict against the
inquisitors who had compelled them to wear a
badge of greater size than the one worn by them
since the Lateran Council of 1215, and extorted
large sums from them under the pretext of fines.

Still, although tlieoretieally the Jews were citi-
zens, certain passages of the laws make it clear that
they were not treated as such. After

Disabili- the" age of seven they were obliged to
ties. have on their breasts a disk of some



Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 85 of 169)