Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Book on Weddings

Now, with the passing of Tisha B'Av and the three week period, we now enter the wedding season. Appropriately, there is a new book on the laws and customs of weddings. The book, Beyom Chasunaso, by R. Zev Cinamon, is in English with Hebrew footnotes. The book is highly readable and covers just about every practical aspect of a modern Jewish wedding. There is a discussion about untying knots, the recent emphasis on praying under the Chuppah, removing jewelry and the list goes on. The book does a very good job of distinguishing which customs and laws are obligatory and well-accepted and which are not. Thus, for example, the custom of praying under the Chuppah with long lists of names or having singles go under the chuppah after the ceremony, R. Cinamon notes that this is a new custom and carries with it some possible halakhic problems. Or he discusses the custom some have of singling out the wedding witnesses to the exclusion of all others and why one would do that.

The footnotes are all in Hebrew as has become common in a growing number of English Judaica books. The notes, while not comprehensive do provide ample basis for one to look further into a particular topic. The English written in a very clear fashion which makes this accessible for almost anyone. It is also nice that each time a person is quoted, his birth and death dates are included which enables one to put the comments in perspective. Included are the opinions and customs of modern day rabbis including R. Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, and R. Yisrael Chait of Far Rockaway.

The book can be purchased directly from R. Cinamon's Yeshiva, Yeshiva Gedolah of West Hempstead by calling 516-882-3765 or emailing and indicating you want the book. The book is $12.

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