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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Acharei Mot – The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – Weddings During the Omer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on May 1, 2024)
Topics: Acharei Mot, Rosh Yeshiva Responds, Sefer Vayikra, Torah

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QUESTION—New York, NY

I have been invited to a wedding which will take place the last week in May, before Lag ba’Omer. This is both after Nissan is over and before Lag ba’Omer, so regardless of one’s Sefirah practices, it is forbidden to go to a wedding at this time. But this is family and it would be hard for me to say no. What can I do?

ANSWER

This question was addressed many years ago by Rav Moshe Feinstein. In Iggrot Moshe (OH 1:159), Rav Moshe reviews all the various minhagim related to the timing of the Sefirah practices. He first states that in metropolitan cities such as New York, where people have emigrated to from all places, and where a multiplicity of practices is present, there need not be a single practice for the entire city. He then goes on to enumerate 6 (!) different Sefirah practices, and identifies the conceptual model that underlies each one, coming to the shocking conclusion that a person may switch—from year to year!—between practices that are based on the same underlying model. This allows for great flexibility when it comes to scheduling weddings during this period.

Rav Moshe ends with two additional innovative rulings. First, he states that there is simply no evidence that the restriction of getting married during this time applies to anyone other than the bride and groom, and that the guests may attend weddings that are scheduled at a time that they themselves, due to their Sefirah practices, would not be allowed to get married. This would mean that if the wedding were in Nissan, and the bride and groom only began their Sefirah observance after Nissan was over, you would be permitted to attend the wedding, regardless of when you began or ended your Sefirah practice.

Finally, he argues that even if the wedding takes place during a time that goes against all the different customs, the guests may still attend, since to not attend would be to punish the bride and groom for their violation, something that, according to Shulkhan Arukh, we may not do. Thus, even in a case such as yours, where the timing of the wedding is not consistent with any Sefirah practice, you are permitted to attend the wedding as an invited guest.

Mazal Tov!