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Orthodox Rabbi making requirements to mary us...

So my fiancee and I are not religious at all. We like the traditions and values of our religion but do not practice (i dont eat pork or shelfish and go to temple for the holidays) Our families are more observant and my Uncles and cousins are Lubavitch. We decided to ask my cousing to marry us but after discussing we are concerned that they are making to many requirements... The one that pushed us over the limit was not only does my fiancee have to go to a mikvah but he wants her to take mikvah lessons. Has your Rabbi  (orthodox one) made any demands on you?

Re: Orthodox Rabbi making requirements to mary us...

  • edited December 2011
    If you're not orthodox, then be careful of what the ceremony and ketubah includes.  A lot of the things that don't have the woman as an equal to the man.  Which, if you're orthodox is fine, but if you're not really practicing then it might make you and/or your fiancee uncomfortable.
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  • edited December 2011
    Yes I agree completely. In fact i had a big argument and issue with a one ring ceremony as i didnt like the idea of "purchasing my wife" But after much back and forth i have given in to the families to do it in a orthodox manner.
  • LBRM_NJLBRM_NJ member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    This might sound harsh, but, I really don't mean it that way!  I don't think it's about the rabbi making demands on you.  It's about him not compromising his beliefs.  As a rabbi, he should be taking his responsibilities very seriously.  He has to marry you the way he feels is most halachically correct, and I, personally, would have a hard time respecting a rabbi who was willing to compromise his beliefs at the request of a bride and groom.

    I think it's nice that you're choosing an orthodox rabbi out of respect for your families, however, if you feel strongly against the things being asked of you and can't come to terms with them, you might want to re-consider the rabbi choice.

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  • chavanolachavanola member
    edited December 2011
    I had an Orthodox rabbi marry us--granted I'm Orthodox so the dynamic was different.  a) the mikvah can actually be a really nice experience (and a particularly refreshing and relaxing one in the hectic final countdown to your marriage) and b) the mikvah lessons aren't that strenuous and are just preparation so your fiance knows what to do while she's at the mikvah and is informed about the Jewish laws of family purity--its not worth the fuss.  Pick your battles--if you've already decided to go the O route, this is so insignificant from a time and energy perspective its not worth giivng yourself a headache over.

    A lot of my friends who got married by R and C rabbis had to do some type of couples counseling or classes (not sure if that's standard) so its not completely off the wall that the rabbi ask you to do something, its not like he's requiring you to do it forever.  What kind of demands is he requiring? Nothing seems crazy out of the ordinary for an O rabbi--and trust me there are O rabbis who add all kinds of extraneous requirements based on their community standards.  I know you might think he's being stringent, but it sounds like he's taking who you are into consideration and just making you do the things that as an O rabbi he can't compromise on.

    For some perspective, our O rabbi does plenty of weddings for people are not remotely O and his requirements were a) that he review the ketubah to see that they met O requirements, b) that I go to the mikvah--I was already planning to, but I think he mentioned this as well, c) that the people reading the 7 blessings under the chuppah be Jewish (per O standards), I don't remember if he required they be male (ours were so I didn't ask) and d) that if I was wearing a sleeveless gown I wear something to cover my shoulders under the chuppah.  Oh and our ketubah signers had to be male and observant (I'm not sure he's made that a requirment for non-O couples though).

    There is a way to get around the double ring thing--but we're Sephardi so maybe our signing the ketubah under the chuppah facilitated that.  Hatzlacha! 
  • edited December 2011
    I dont want to be misunderstood here... I have no issues with my Rabbi at all, in fact quite the opposite. i respect his position fully and my intention is to keep his comfort level in mind. I dont want him to sacrifice or bend his feelings at all.  In fact i spoke to him today and explained our position and where we are coming from and he was very understanding and willing to work with us. He even said he would be willing to take responsibility for dealing with the expectations of the families and finding a way to have them compromise with our desires more. My question really is what are some of the prerequesites others faced, if any one has been in this situation.
    We already gave into one ring ceremony, all witnesses will observant males. We are doing a tisch bedekin first. We are not having a female singer or cd s playing music with female voices. We are going to have a seperate men and womans dancing for the first big dance. Now even we were told that is not enough but we have to have an actual mechitzah put in or the orthodox wont dance.  My fiancee is going to the mikvah. Of course it will be glatt kosher affair on a Sunday. So i think we are doing are part. And yes maybe its just a few hours but at some point its enough. There has to be a line drawn where we have to be realistic we are not religious and I dont want to force my fiancee to sit through 4-6 hours of lessons on something to be honest doesnt matter to her.
    I was just curious if there are any other surprises we didnt think of or havent gotten to...
  • tenofcups4metenofcups4me member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    It's hard for me to fathom being non-religious and agreeing to get married by an orthodox rabbi. I'm not at all religious and I couldn't do it. I don't think the rabbi is out of line with what he's requiring, but I can certainly see how it could all make you uncomfortable. I really think you only have 2 choices:

    1. Stick with the orthodox rabbi and respect that he's going to require things of you that you're probably not going to like. 


    2.  Get an officiant more in keeping with your own values and beliefs.

    I'd strongly recommend 2, but if you stick with 1, I think you need to expect and understand that there are probably a lot more things that are going to come up that you won't like but will have to do. It's really not up to the rabbi to compromise his beliefs for your wedding.
  • edited December 2011
    we actually wanted to do that exact same thing...but no luck.  i was under the impression it wasnt going to happen with an orthodox rabbi.  thats cool that you found rabbis progressive enough to do it
  • edited December 2011
    I had an orthodox wedding by an orthodox Rabbi and it was awesome. He worked with us so we were comfortable. We did a double ring ceremony, no tisch, a bedeken, our wittnesses were two shomer shabbat men, I did mikveh which I loved (I didn't need classes since I am already familar with the laws from my education and upbringing), our dancing was mixed and we had a woman singer, it was a Sunday glatt kosher wedding. I would maybe find a different rabbi who makes you comfortable. I am all for shalom bayet, but it should be your day too. 
  • edited December 2011
    if i may ask how did you do a 2 ring ceremony...did u exchange at the same time or at another point during the wedding?
  • edited December 2011
    My husband did the traditional line and put my ring on me (we used non-ornamented rings) and then my Rabbi gave me his to put on and I said ani li dodi vey dodi li. It was quick and very nice and I put his rings on his normal ring finger. My rabbi is very progressive and actually told me on day 1 that he does a double ring ceremony. I also had 2 other rabbis involved, all Orthodox, and everyone was supportive. 
  • chavanolachavanola member
    edited December 2011
    Ok, the tisch bedekin thing is not actually halacha, if you don't want to do it --as long as the ketubah gets signed you're ok. 

    For me this:

    We are not having a female singer or cd s playing music with female voices. We are going to have a seperate men and womans dancing for the first big dance. Now even we were told that is not enough but we have to have an actual mechitzah put in or the orthodox wont dance. 

    Implies something other than the rabbi making restrictions for a halachically acceptable wedding.  Yes, these things are halacha, but don't affect the validity of the wedding.  These go to how comfortable your Orthodox family will be in participating in your wedding.  If not for your family circumstances I would say the above could be nixed.  However, he's correct with saying your O relatives are not going to dance without the presence of a mechitza.  At this point this is less about the rabbi making demands and more him trying to find a balance between you and your family.  You need to decide how much you care about their particiapation v, your happiness. Where's your comfort level, find it and stick to it?
  • edited December 2011
    I just wanted to second what chavanola said about the mechitzah.  I think you need to figure out what the rabbi requires for the wedding, and separate that from familial pressure to incorporate more Orthodox practices that are not necessary for the (halachic) validity of your marriage.  I think you said that the Orthodox rabbi officiating is actually your cousin?  I could see that making it difficult to separate various demands, and unfortunately I am not sure what to say.  Could you find an Orthodox rabbi that is more progressive, if your cousin is not, and maybe have him as a compromise?  That way you still get married by an Orthodox rabbi, but you might have more flexibility with things like the ring ceremony, and the rabbi shouldn't pressure you to make the wedding and reception more religious than you are comfortable with.  

  • masteralephmasteraleph member
    edited December 2011
    "if i may ask how did you do a 2 ring ceremony...did u exchange at the same time or at another point during the wedding?"

    We didn't do it, but there are some Orthodox rabbis who will do a two ring ceremony in which the husband does the normal line.  The wife, on the other hand, uses the ring she's giving the husband to acquire the ketubah (usually this is done at the tisch, with the rabbi as her agent, and the acquisition is done through a ceremonial exchange of possession rather than anything else).
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