Our1 Sages2 interpret the verse3 “and walk humbly with your G‑d,” to mean that “this refers to ‘bringing the bride’ (Hachnosas Kallah) to the chuppah.”

Truly, this matter must be understood. Our Sages have spoken glowingly in many places with regard to the “joy of chassan and kallah”; so much so, that “He who causes joy to chassan and kallah merits the Torah that was given with ‘five voices.’”4 Moreover, causing this joy is considered “as if he received the Torah.”5

This being so, why is “‘bringing the bride’ (Hachnosas Kallah) to the chuppah” to be accomplished in a modest and humble fashion?

We may say that these superior qualities are, indeed, the very reason for modesty. This will be better understood with the following introduction:

All matters in this world descend from their spiritual counterparts above. This is surely so with regard to building a home in Israel. The construction of this edifice is the spiritual counterpart of the wedding of G‑d with the Jewish people, who are called “man and wife.”

At the time of Mattan Torah, the “betrothal” (kiddushin) between G‑d and the Jewish people took place. This is to be understood as well from the text of the blessing over mitzvosAsher kidishanu b’mitzvosov (from the term “Kiddushin”).

This is not merely a derashah, as this matter has practical applications in Halachah as well:

The Tashbatz writes6 in the name of the MaHaram m’Rotenberg: “Remember well the following principle. All the customs of chassan and kallah are derived from Mattan Torah, where G‑d revealed Himself as a chassan in relation to the kallah,the Jewish people.”

[Indeed, we find that the Tashbatz specifically mentions a number of prevailing customs in Jewish marriages that memorialize Mattan Torah.]

In light of the saying of our Sages on the verse,7 “He relates His words to Yaakov, His statutes and ordinances to Israel,” that G‑d fulfills the same commandments that He has commanded us,8 it follows that G‑d’s wedding with the Jewish people finds expression in all matters.

Which is to say, that the customs associated with the Divine wedding of G‑d and the Jewish people relate not only to the actual wedding day itself, but also with regard to all the details and particulars both before and after the wedding.

Surely, it also finds expression in all aspects regarding marriage, including that of “remaining free for his family for one year, when he can rejoice [with his bride].”9

In fact, Rabbeinu Bachya10 writes that such was G‑d’s conduct, in that “We find that G‑d remained at Sinai with Israel, similar to a groom and bride, as the Divine Presence remained on the mount until the second of Iyar of the second year [after the Exodus].”

With regard to Mattan Torah the Midrash states:11 “The original set of Luchos were destroyed because they were transmitted in a very public manner — they were affected by an ayin hara. Here [with regard to the second set of Luchos,] G‑d said to Moshe, ‘There is nothing better (“Ein lach yafah”) [and more appropriate] than tznius’ [a modest demeanor; i.e., that the second set of Luchos be given without fanfare.]”

The Midrash concludes [with the additional comment]: “As the verse states,12 ‘What does G‑d demand of you? Nothing but that you act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with your G‑d.’”

It is to be understood from all the above, that when a Jewish man and woman set about to build an eternal edifice through marriage, their preparations for this momentous event, as well as the event itself — also their actions subsequent to this significant occasion — are to be in a manner of, “There is nothing better [and more appropriate] than tznius.”

This will serve to assure that all matters relating to the marriage shall be in a manner similar to the second LuchosLuchos that endured forever.

It is necessary, however, to forewarn the following:

a) Publicizing an impending marriage (and prior to the marriage date, publicizing (etc.) that chassan and kallah have both decided to “build an edifice in Israel,” (or as commonly expressed “have become engaged”)) is something that Torah sanctions and even calls for.

This is in keeping with the expression of our Sages, of blessed memory, that these — the knowledge of engagement and marriage — are considered among those “matters that are done publicly.” Moreover, this has Halachic import with regard to many laws as well,13 (not the least of which are the “Laws of Witnesses” and the like).14

b) It is self-understood that — similar to all other aspects of Torah and mitzvos — the concept of “at no cost” [i.e., making a wedding in a parsimonious and miserly manner] should not be entertained; it is a mitzvah to take part in the funding and financing of a wedding (as is to be understood from the fact that our Sages speak at length about the greatness of Hachnosas Kallah).

Furthermore, this is to be accomplished in a manner that both parties (both of the side of the chassan and the side of the kallah) participate in the funding — according to the conditions at which they have arrived among themselves (in line with the expression of our Rebbeim-Nesi’im: “as has been spoken about and agreed ... [by] both sides).”15

[Though these above-mentioned two matters are to be accomplished,] nevertheless, this ought to be done in the manner of Rashis commentary on “walk humbly”:16 “(To feast in a refined manner, and to rejoice) in a refined manner, not conducting oneself frivolously.”

However, the “tumult” and “hype” that is made of trifling and peripheral matters leads to turmoil and lack of tranquillity of body and soul; especially so, when one seeks to be “mehader” in worldly matters (and quite often alarmingly so).

Quite possibly, this is one of the fundamental reasons for the various enactments and the like established by Gedolei Yisrael regarding the lessening of wedding expenses. This is in addition to the general principles that, “The Torah has compassion on the money of Israel,”17 as well as that of “Not embarrassing he who is lacking,”18 etc.

I have already mentioned on a number of occasions that the greater the “hiddur” in extraneous and nonessential matters (the antithesis of “To feast in a refined manner”), the greater the deficiency in internal and spiritual matters.

This also causes there to be a lack of true joy — “to rejoice in a refined manner” — in things that are most vital in establishing a house in Israel that is founded on the pillars of Torah and mitzvos, especially as they are illumined by the luminary of Torah, that being Toras HaChassidus.

Lubavitch never embraced the notion of “decrees”.... But for the benefit and merit of chassan and kallah, it would be very worthwhile to reduce expenses, especially those expenses that come under the heading of sheer extravagance.

The matter of “walking humbly” should be carried out in each and every location according to the conditions of that particular place, etc.

Nevertheless, the profligacy that of late surrounds weddings in general and in America in particular — and this begins already in the preparations prior to the wedding, on the day of the wedding itself, as well as after the wedding — are in many instances opposite that of “walking humbly” and that “There is nothing better [and more appropriate] than tznius.”

As stated above, it is not my point of view to minimize the joy of Jews, and I have no desire to limit and decree the amount of participants [at a wedding, etc.].

(It is also worth noting that with regard to Yaakov’s wedding — Yaakov being the “select of the Patriarchs,” he who served in Lavan’s house and specifically he who completed his mission in its entirety, establishing there the foundation of the Jewish people, i.e., the twelve tribes — the Torah specifically states,19 “He assembled ... all the inhabitants of the place and made a feast.”

If this is so regarding the nations of the world, those who do not come under the category of an “assemblage” and “congregation,” surely then this is so with regard to the wedding and joy of a Jewish bride and groom — it is a joy of all the Jewish people throughout the entire world — although it is self-understood that they do not all physically participate in the wedding.)

Seemingly, it would be best to follow the “middle path” [not veering too much to the “left” or the “right”], as the Rambam states with regard to all matters of man, that they be done in a manner of derech mitzu’a, in an “intermediate manner.”

In any event, with regard to actual practice: It is my considered opinion that a Jewish-Chassidic wedding must be as abundant as possible with regard to all spiritual matters, which in itself is related to a reduced amount of money spent on material matters.

Also, and of equal importance: Obviously all the above is to be done on the condition that it can be achieved in a “pleasant manner,” without leading to quarreling.

It is my hope that, at least by Anash and those who obey me, these words be received favorably and in an acceptable manner, and as the Alter Rebbe states (at the conclusion of his introduction to Tanya): “May it be pleasant for those who comply, and may they be blessed with good.”