Erusin and Nesuin
I recently became engaged, and in preparing for our wedding I wanted to become more familiar with the traditional Jewish ceremony. I understand that the giving of the ring is the central component. Can you explain?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
First of all, mazel tov on your upcoming marriage!
A Jewish marriage actually takes place in two stages:
ERUSIN: When a couple decides to get married, they formalize this commitment with a ceremony called Erusin. This is done today with a man giving a woman a gift of value, usually a gold ring. After this the couple is considered legally married – but they are still not permitted to live together.
NESUIN: The second stage of marriage involves the husband and wife entering their new home together. In practice, this is accomplished by having the man and woman stand together under a chuppah (marriage canopy), which symbolizes their new home. Afterwards, they also go to a “yichud (seclusion) room” for a few minutes, which cements their new domestic relationship.
In Talmudic times, following the first stage of Erusin, the man and woman would return to their family homes and live separately for a year. During this time, the bride and groom would prepare themselves for married life. They would then return for the wedding feast and the wedding night.
Today, these two stages of Erusin and Nesuin still apply, but they are done in succession, with no break in between.
For more, see Aish.com’s Guide to the Jewish Wedding: www.aish.com/jl/l/m/48969841.html