1. Fasting on the Wedding Day. [At the reception held in honor of a certain bridegroom1 immediately before his wedding, the discussion turned to the custom of fasting on the day of a wedding that was to take place, as in the present case, on Purim Katan. The Rebbe of Kopishnitz remarked that the custom in his chassidic community was not to fast at such a time,2 but since the Rebbe had directed the present bridegroom to fast, he had remained silent. The Rebbe then said:] It was the custom of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], to fast on the wedding day of his daughters and to continue fasting until evening.3

At the wedding of his youngest daughter,4 the chuppah was held very late (because of the late arrival of one of the guests whom the Rebbe [Rayatz] was waiting for), yet he continued fasting until after the ceremony.


2. Interrupting a Maamar. [At the above reception the Rebbe said:] At the bar-mitzvah celebration of the grandson of my revered father-in-law, the bar-mitzvah boy was not interrupted [playfully, by a boisterous song,] while he was reciting the traditional chassidic maamar. When it came to an end, my revered father-in-law said that since the custom in Polish communities is to make such an interruption, the bar-mitzvah boy should start reciting again from the beginning — and then be interrupted, in keeping with the Polish tradition.5


3. The Wedding Ring. According to some authorities,6 a wedding ring should resemble both the letter samach and the final letter mem — round (like a samach) within, and square (like the final letter mem) outside. Also, according to the Kabbalah, the betrothal7 should be effected with a ring of silver. In practice, however, the custom is to use a ring that is round, outside as well as inside, and made specifically of gold.8


4. Marriage as a Metaphor. The parallel between marriage and the Giving of the Torah is cited in twoways:9 (a) The Holy One, blessed be He, is called the Bridegroom and the House of Israel is called the bride — by virtue of the Torah which the Jewish people elicit and G‑d bestows;10 (b) the Jewish people are called the bridegroom and the Torah is called the bride — because when Jews study Torah they enrich and augment it.

Both models are valid, because initially (a) the Torah bestows its influence on the Jewish people, and then (b) the Jewish people augment the Torah.

It may be suggested that these two thrusts correspond (respectively) to acquiring mastery of the Torah (a) by receiving it as a gift, or (b) by exerting oneself.11 On the one hand we find the Torah described as a gift12 that requires no toil; on the other hand, we are taught that the Torah can be acquired only by means of toil.13

In resolution: The Torah is first presented to a Jew as a gift that is ready for him to accept, beginning with what a mother teaches her young child. The following stage demands exerted study, which enables one to grasp matters that could never have been previously grasped as a gift.14