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Is it permissible to chat with your future spouse during the week before the wedding when you are not supposed to see each other face to face? Are any, all, or none of the following permissible:

  • Text messages
  • Phone calls
  • Communication through a messenger
  • Facebook chat (what about even looking at their facebook page?)
  • Skype
  • Anything else of that sort you might think of?
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Why would it be forbidden? –  Double AA Jul 17 '12 at 5:00
    
@DoubleAA If the reason not to meet is to forestall the possibility of second thoughts due to somebody saying the wrong thing, that would apply to any form of communication (except through a messenger, which doesn't make sense to disallow). FWIW, I think the prevalent custom is to avoid phone calls during the week. –  Dave Jul 17 '12 at 5:46
    
@Dave Whoops I misread. I should have said: Why would seeing each other face to face be forbidden? (And in my limited experience non-oral communication is usually not avoided.) –  Double AA Jul 17 '12 at 6:03
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And Daniel, welcome to Mi Yodeya! I'll remind you that if this is a practical issue for you, you should be sure to speak to a qualified Rabbi before acting on anything you see here. And Mazel Tov!!! I look forward to seeing you around the site! –  Double AA Jul 17 '12 at 6:06
    
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1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Jewish Action, Summer 2005 edition, has a "What's the truth about..." column by Rabbi Dr. Ari Z. Zivotofsky on not meeting for the week preceding the wedding. His main point is the lack of old sources for this custom, but he does cite several newer sources and the reasons they give. See there for the details, but the reasons and post-facto rationales offered are:

  • to avoid dam chimud (which he cites strong arguments against as a reason for the custom, so I'll ignore it);
  • to prevent discussions that will lead to strife (Rabbi E.M.M. Shach; Rabbi Y.S. Elyashiv, who therefore bans communication by telephone also);
  • to allow the couple time apart for introspection (Rabbi Binyamin Forst);
  • to heighten excitement (unsourced); and
  • to prevent premarital relations (unsourced).

All the reasons except the last seem to me to apply equally to phone, text, or other conversation as well as to face-to-face conversation. (Perhaps not to communication via a messenger, however; see also the comments to this answer.) And as Rabbi Zivotofsky notes, the last reason should apply only to being alone together, not to simply meeting.

So if the custom exists at all — and see the article for reasons it does not and for rabbis quoted as saying it does not (but also some who defended it) — then my impression (only my impression!) is that all the means of communication asked about (again, possibly except communication via a messenger) have the same rule as face-to-face communication.

(Looking at the fiancé(e)'s Facebook page is not communication and seems not to IMO be cause for the above-listed concerns. Nor do we see that in years past a marrying couple were told not to read each other's publicly posted notices AFAIK.)

As always, consult your rabbi for a practical ruling.

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With regards to what you wrote a bout a messenger, from the article: Indeed, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is quoted as ruling that during the seven days before the wedding the bride and groom should neither see each other nor speak on the telephone. He is also opposed to the “new custom” of the groom sending the bride a letter via a messenger on the day of the wedding. -- see footnote 12 for sources –  Menachem Jul 17 '12 at 17:39
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Ari Zivotofsky is, as usual, the man. –  Double AA Jul 17 '12 at 17:59
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