After the ceremony, the couple is taken to a private yichud room for a few moments of quiet time. Yichud means "alone together" in Hebrew, and no one may disturb the pair while they're in this room. The newlyweds are allowed to break their fast during this time and rest after their busy (and often stressful) wedding day [source: Jewish Wedding Network].
A common misconception is that during their stay in the yichud room, the couple consummates their marriage, but that's largely inaccurate. We're sure it happens sometimes (we are talking about newlyweds, after all), but the purpose of the yichud is not overtly sexual. Traditionally, unmarried men and women were forbidden from spending time together alone, so this period marks the first opportunity for the couple to enjoy each other's private company. Therefore, it's a figurative, not literal, consummation. Yichud is one of the simplest traditions in Jewish weddings, but it's often the most remembered and cherished by the married couple.
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More Great Links
- American Museum of Natural History. "Diamond Love and Betrothal Rings." (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/diamonds/love.html
- Chabad. "Homepage." 2011. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.chabad.org/
- Diamant, Anita. "Tenaim: The Conditions of Marriage." My Jewish Learning. (Aug. 14, 2011) http://www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Life_Events/Weddings/Liturgy_Ritual_and_Custom/Tenaim.shtml
- Hillel. "Yom Kippur." 2005. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.hillel.org/jewish/holidays/yomkippur/default
- Housman, Mordechai. "Jewish Weddings." Being Jewish. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.beingjewish.com/cycle/wedding.html
- Gruen, Judy. "Here Comes the Bride, No Stress in Sight." Aish. (2011). (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.aish.com/jl/l/m/48959581.html
- Jewish Wedding Network. "Jewish Wedding Traditions." 2009. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.jewishweddingnetwork.com/jewish-wedding-traditions
- Jewish Virtual Library. "Homepage." American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. 2011. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/index.html
- Shulman, Shlomo, Chaplain. "Guide to the Jewish Wedding." Aish. 2011. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://www.aish.com/jl/l/m/48969841.html
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