Wedding customs done in commemoration of the Churban-Ash on forehead; Breaking cup; Wedding Attire

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Wedding customs during exile:

Placing ash on forehead:[1] In commemoration for the destruction, when a Chasan gets married [under the Chuppah] he is to place ash on his forehead by the area where he dons his head Tefillin. [This custom is no longer practiced today by most segments of Jewry, not by Sephardim and not by many Ashkenazim. Rather, a cup is broken under the Chuppah in commemoration of the destruction, as explained next.[2] Nonetheless, there are many Ashkenazi communities who follow this custom even today, in addition to breaking the glass.[3]]

Breaking a cup:[4] Some communities are accustomed to break a [glass[5]] cup during the time of the Chuppah. Others place a black cloth, or other symbol of mourning, on the head of the Chasan. Practically, the widespread custom today is to break a glass cup.[6] [The cup should be whole and complete, and one should not choose a chipped or damaged vessel for this purpose.[7]] The cup is customarily broken after the Sheva Brachos.[8] [It is also customary of Ashkenazi Jewry to break a plate by the Tanaim/Vort.[9]] Some are accustomed to recite the verse of Im Eshkacheich Yerushalayim, and have the Chasan repeat after him word after word. This is a good custom.[10] [Some Rabbanim have come out against the customary shout of Mazal Tov, as the glass is broken, as it uproots the entire purpose of the breaking of the glass as a sign of mourning.[11]]

The dress of the Chasan and Kallah:[12] The Sages decreed that a Chasan and Kallah should not wear the accustomed head apparel that would be worn by weddings. The Chasan may not wear his crown, or turben, and the Kallah may not wear and the Kallah may not wear her silver crown. [It is no longer customary to wear these head apparels by weddings, and its law is hence no longer relevant.[13]]


[1] Michaber O.C. 560:2; E.H. 65:3; Bava Basra 60b; Derech Hachaim 4; Kitzur SHU”A 147:4; Siddur Yaavetz “There is no telling how many marriages were unsuccessful due to them not paying attention to Yerushalayim during the wedding ceremony.”

[2] Shulchan Gavoa 560:5; Kaf Hachaim 560:21; Aruch Hashulchan 560:2; Chayeh Adam 137:2; M”B in Biur Halacha 560:2 “Vichein Hiskinu”; Yalkut Yosef Sova Semachos p. 86; Rav Yaakov Yosef; See however Or Letziyon 3:277 who protests the fact the Sefaradim do not keep this custom

The reason: Rav Yaakov Yosef suggests that the reason for this is because the custom was only really established when people would wear Tefillin all day, including by the Chuppah. Today that we no longer wear Tefillin by the Chuppah, there is no need to place ash by the forehead, and rather we perform a different custom.

[3] Piskeiy Teshuvos 560:8

[4] Rama O.C. 560:2; E.H. 65:3; Tosafos Brachos 31a

[5] Avnei Shoham 51; P”M 560 M”Z 4; Shaareiy Teshuvah 560:3; Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:96; Kaf Hachaim 560:21

The reason: We break glass material as a sign that just as glass can be reformed, so too the Temple will be rebuilt. [P”M ibid]

[6] Rama E.H. ibid that so is the Ashkenazi custom; Shulchan Gavoa 560:5 and Kaf Hachaim 560:21 that so is custom of all; Aruch Hashulchan 560:2; Yalkut Yosef Sova Semachos p. 86; Rav Yaakov Yosef; See however Or Letziyon 3:277 who protests the fact the Sefaradim do not keep this custom

[7] P”M 560 M”Z 4; Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:96; Kaf Hachaim 560:21

[8] Rama E.H. 65:3

[9] Elya Raba 560:7; P”M 560 M”Z 4; Shaareiy Teshuvah 560:3; This is not practiced by Sefaradi Jewry. [Rav Yaakov Yosef]

[10] Taz 560:4

[11] Rav Ovadia Yosef, and his son Rav Yaakov Yosef

[12] Michaber 560:4; Mishneh Sotah 49a

[13] Aruch Hashulchan 560:8

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