Religion Magazine

Interesting Psak: Double-Ring Ceremony is Invalid

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Kooker and Rotter are reporting on an interesting psak given by Rav Efraim Mendelovitz, rav of Mazkeret Batya.
Rav Mendelovitz was booked to officiate at the wedding of a secular couple. Several days prior to the wedding, the bride informed the rav that she insists on having a "double ring" ceremony and that she would be saying "Harei Ata Mekudash Lee b'tabaat zu" - with this ring you are betrothed to me..
I have heard of double ring ceremonies. Rav Moshe Feinstein was against double ring ceremonies under the chupa, but as far as I know he said a double ring ceremony would not invalidate a wedding. As well, some double ring ceremonies have the woman making a different statement - not the gender-altered version of the "harei at" that this bride wanted to say, but a more symbolic statement of the ring representing the love and commitment between the couple. Such a symbolic statement would be less of a problem than the altered "harei at".
Interesting Psak: Double-Ring ceremony is invalid
Rav Mendelovitz however refused to officiate at the wedding of this couple after hearing her insistence.on the double ceremony. Rav Mendelovitz's rationale, which he explained to the bride, was that the chupa ceremony is based on the male partner being the giver and the female partner being the recipient. That is the reality, that is what is built into our natures and the woman giving a ring cannot change the situation determined by the higher power.
The marriage ceremony, the rav explained, is set to consist of the bringing the woman under the chupa, giving the ring, writing and giving the ketuba. That is it. What she wants to do is prohibited. Even though her giving the ring is prohibited, that on it's own is a meaningless act does not ruin the ceremony, Rav Moshe Feinstein  says it is prohibited for two reasons :
1. it is what the non-Jews do
2. the chupa must be in according with the halachos of Moshe and the Jewish people, and this is not a Jewish act in any way.
As well, there is a concern that even though the double ring does not on it's own invalidate the ceremony, someone viewing it as one of the guests might misunderstand what took place, and it could lead to problems elsewhere. People will see it and will say that the woman also has the power to initiate the marriage with the man, or they might say that both the man and woman are required to initiate the marriage. Thsi would cause, God forbid, people to forget the actual law of what should be at the wedding ceremony, or maybe even to change the halacha.
Therefore, the rav decided to refuse to officiate at such a ceremony.
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