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Jewish Bachelor Party?

Jewish Bachelor Party?

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Detail from ''Young Couple'' by Chassidic artist Shoshannah Brombacher
Detail from "Young Couple" by Chassidic artist Shoshannah Brombacher

Question:

My friends want to organize a bachelor party for me before my wedding. We have no idea what they are planning, which makes my fiancée all nervous about it. I'm not so excited about it myself. But everyone has a bachelor party so I feel silly refusing. Is there a Jewish approach to bachelor parties?

Answer:

The bachelor party is your friends' way of telling you, "You're getting married, the fun is over." Guys get together to drink, have a few cheap thrills, and make corny and predictable jokes about how marriage is the end of your life. It is as if this is the last chance for the groom to enjoy himself as a free man, before he takes on the ball and chain of married life. The message: marriage means giving up your freedom.

You don't lose your freedom when you marry. It's when you first taste what it means to be free Nothing could be further from the truth. You don't lose your freedom when you marry; that's when you first taste what it means to be free. Marriage is not a one-way thing, it is a relationship. You are choosing someone to be your one and only partner for the rest of your life. But you are not doing that alone. Your partner is also saying, "You are my one and only man. I have chosen you out of all the men in the world. I am entirely and exclusively yours."

Think about it: She has chosen you. Not because you're perfect (because you aren't), and not because she first checked out every other man in the world (because she hasn't); she chose you because you are you--as you are. She is giving you the gift of freedom. You are completely free to be yourself, because someone has chose you--all of you--to be theirs.

Unlike all other friendships and family bonds, marriage is exclusive. Your friends have other friends; your family members have lives of their own. But to your spouse you are number one - you are her life. I was born for my spouse, and my spouse for me. What could be more freeing than the knowledge that there is someone out there who thinks I am number one? Who is more liberated than the man who can say that someone chose me out of all the men in the world?

Marriage is the best move you can make. But your decision needs to be supported, and the typical bachelor party doesn't help anyone's marriage. Be brave, and go against the tide. Instead of a party that perpetuates an immature view of marriage, do it the Jewish way: get together with your friends, have a few drinks, and give each other blessings. Your friends should bless you that your marriage should be liberating for both you and your wife; and you should bless your single friends that they should find that special someone who will give up the whole world to be theirs.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Image: Detail from a work by chassidic artist Shoshannah Brombacher. To view or purchase Ms Brombacher's art, click here
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Anonymous MI May 30, 2007

Why not do something not so "traditional"? A couple months ago my new husband went camping for a couple days with his friends, went hiking, had bonfires, cooked, and had a very good time. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY May 28, 2007

Bachelors parties the Jewish way? I for one had this experience with my husband, he spent the night before our wedding with no bachelor party, but going on a shopping Spree with a buddy of his who was getting married two weeks later than us. What they bought was ties, shoes shirts, socks, and other accessories for their wedding suit! Also they each helped one another to fix up the apartments that they would share with their future wives. After these tasks were done, the Grooms called their Brides on the phone, to tell us what they were doing and to reassure us that no bachelor parities were taking place.
They asked how we brides were doing, and if we had any jitters etc.
This was the best way to celebrate the night before our weddings. Reply

Chayim Stern Los Angeles, CA May 27, 2007

my brother's party Both my brother and I got married in the last year and had a semblance of a bachelor party

My brother is not frum yet, but did not want the raunchy party which includes dancers. What happened at my brother's party was a little beer pong, a beer tasting (19 beers from 13 countries), followed by poker. It was a nice group of 1-15 guys a week before the wedding and nothing outrageous.

For my bachelor party, if it is to be called that, I went to dinner for a melave malka with my brother and four friends and that was it.

A bachelor party doesn't need to be something outrageous that will worry the girl. That is the last thing you want as you know that they will be neurotic anyway for the two weeks prior to the wedding hammering out every last detail.

Simplier is better. A meal at a restaurant is ideal. If it is within the week of separation, just make sure she doesn't want to go there with her friends. Reply

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