Project Genesis

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The Ancient Jewish Wedding

Question: What was the courting and betrothal procedure in time of the Roman empire, ca. 100 to 300 AD? What was the waiting time?

Answer: The Jewish wedding has two parts: the Eirusin, or engagement, followed by the Nesuin, the actual marriage. In Biblical times these were two separate ceremonies, as much as a year apart from each other. Today they are combined into a single ceremony on the same day. In olden days the couple were effectively married after the engagement but lived separately, without any physical contact. During that time a home would be prepared, after which the marriage ceremony would be held and the bride would be brought into her new accommodations. Today what we call “engagement” is not a wedding in the sense of Eirusin, but the effective relationship is established almost simultaneously at the end.

Eliahu Levenson

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