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Marriage (Hasdic View)

The Hasdic Anthology page 24

Rabbi Isaiah Kalman Halberstadt said: “We read in the Talmud (Taanith 30b): Said Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel: ‘There were no holidays in Israel Like Yom Kippur and the Fifteenth of Ab.’ On the latter day (Midsummer Day) the maidens were privileged to ask young men in marriage. They would arrange an open air dance in the vineyards; all were dressed in pure white garments, and when youths would approach, the maidens would divide into three groups. The handsome girls would say: ‘Observe beauty for it is fitting a wife should be of comely appearance’. Those of noble family would say: ‘Observe or high-born, lineage for this forebodies good children’. Those of unpreposseing countenance would say: ‘Take to yourselves wives for the sake of the will of God, and adorn us with gold’.


“The phrases of the handsom maidens and the last words spoken by the unhandsome may seem frivolous. But they will not appear thus on closer scrutiny and explanation.


“When a man wishes to donate a Scroll of the Torah, he usually, desires to do so in a generous fashion. He may either spend additional money to obtain excellent parchment and fine script. This may be accounted ‘beauty of the body’. Orhe may seek fpr a scroll written by a man of rare piety and holiness. This may be accounted associations. Or he may strive to obtain a beautiful coverlet, or a fine pair of holder, or decorative adorments for the Scroll. This may be accounted as ‘beauty of exterior’. In each instance the man endeavors to perform the Mitzvah in a beautiful manner.”


“So it is with the maidens. The first group says: ‘When you seek to perform the Mitzvah of taking a wife to youself in a fitting manner, consider ‘beauty of the body’.
The second group says: ‘Consider the beauty of noble decent’.
The third group says: ‘We have neither beauty of the body or noble decent. But if you wish to marry soley for the sake of the Mitzvah and not for the ulterior motives, then demonstrate this by marring us. As for the beauty you may wish to add to the Mitzvah, it will be sufficient to adorn us with costly garments and jewels.” Tif. Haz., pp 66-67

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