Why is an aufruf (Askenazim) before and a shabbat chatan (sefardim) after the wedding? I know there is an idea of a chaasan going to shul from the Pirkei d'Reb Eliezer 17 but how did it get split betweeen the Askenazim and Sefardim.

  • can you elaborate on how we learn out from the Pirkei D'Reb Eliezer that a chassan should go to shul? And how "going to shul" becomes "getting an aliyah"
    – Menachem
    Jun 29, 2012 at 7:10
  • article describing this practice and a source: jewishweddingnetwork.com/jewish-wedding-traditions/…
    – Menachem
    Jun 29, 2012 at 7:12
  • @menachem the source u linked is the pirkei.
    – sam
    Jun 29, 2012 at 20:26
  • @sam: The only reference to a groom I see in the pirkei talks about Jezebel giving honor to a bride.
    – Menachem
    Jun 29, 2012 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


The reason for the aufruf, the calling to the torah before the wedding, is unknown to most people and therefore not kept properly. The Toras Hashlomim on Yore Daioh 192:4 suggests the following reason which requires some background understanding.

A woman before marriage has to go to mikva even if she has already been recently and is not yet a niddah again, because of a rule called "dam chimud" where the gemara assumes a woman who is proposed to, will become a niddah due to the excitement. The Toras Hashlomim suggests that the aufruf is designed so that the woman will feel secure that the wedding is really going ahead, because since the husband invests effort and expense in a small party he will not afterwards jilt her. This way, she will feel secure during the week that the wedding will go ahead and not come to have the issue of "dam chimud" when the wedding actually does go through. This is undesirable as some Rishonim (notably the Rambam) hold that nissuin cannot take place if she is a niddah.

So according to this reasoning, one should:

  • invest a significant amount of time/money/effort into the aufruf.

  • have the aufruf (or at least invest some of the time/money/effort) at least 7 days before the wedding (so that the women has time to purify herself before the wedding). I note that many years ago, Friday afternoon weddings were common so as to only have to make one big meal, which makes the appropriate time for the Aufruf in those days to be the Shabbat immediately prior to that Friday since on the erev shabbos of the aufruf they prepared for it.

  • 2
    @DoubleAA's edit made this post much more comprehensible. People who previously didn't vote should take another look. (There are no downvotes.) May 6, 2013 at 15:34
  • Please remember I am only quoting an early posek. And the only one who gives a reason for aufruf that I am aware of. There is nothing at all of my own input. Its not even necessary since he says it all.
    – user2709
    May 6, 2013 at 15:38
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    This is interesting, but the question is asking why there's a split in custom between Ashk'nazim and S'faradim. I don't see how this (or either of the other answers) addresses the question. (See also comments on Shalom's answer.)
    – msh210
    May 6, 2013 at 15:44
  • Shalom brings no sources. Just saying its calling the banns! Part of the question is why is an aufruf (ashkenazim) before the wedding. For that I brought a source. No one else has done that. I suppose before you answer the whole question you have to know this as well. No one has brought any source for the sefardi minhag. Unless it is forthcoming we are unlikely to know why. In my area sefardim do make an aufruf and I am sure everywhere else as well. Maybe they took it from the ashkenazim. The ashkenaz minhag is mentioned in maharil that he can change his clothes even for shabbos chazon.
    – user2709
    May 6, 2013 at 16:51

The Biur Halacha (136) provides a list of individuals who take precedence for aliyot. Among them he lists a groom on the Shabbos before his wedding and a groom on the Shabbos after his wedding. Based on this, the standard practice is to call a groom up to the Torah on both the Shabbos before and after his wedding.

Among Ashkenazim the Shabbos before is celebrated as the Aufruf, seemingly because the Biur Halacha indicates that in order to create a real obligation for the groom to be called to the Torah the community should sing celebratory songs to the groom.

As for the Sfradic practice to celebrate the Shabbos following the wedding, this probably stems from the idea that a groom is like a king and should not be seen in public without an entourage.

For a more thorough treatment of this subject (with footnotes) see Aufruf by Rabbi Ari Enken

  • Yes but I explained the reason for the 'celebratory songs to the groom' to stop him changing his mind and keeping his brides mind at rest.
    – user2709
    May 2, 2013 at 17:49
  • In your first paragraph, are you saying that therefore both practices are available, or that it is standard practice for a chatan to be called for both Shabbatot? (Precedence might mean he didn't get one of them and fell back to the other, unless he's at the top of the precedence list.) May 2, 2013 at 20:17
  • My understanding of the Biur Halacha and the practice that I have observed is that a Chattan should be called up on both Shabbatot. The questions is only which one is accompanied by a "party".
    – Adam Simon
    May 2, 2013 at 21:48

It's not pleasant, but I've heard one scholar indicate there are sources that the original Ashkenazic custom was to make a big announcement of the wedding in advance to make sure this fellow doesn't already have a wife out there who's unaware of what he's doing.

  • This I've heard, but it doesn't answer the question. May 2, 2013 at 16:16
  • @CharlesKoppelman, well a] for whatever reason I guess that practice never started in the Sephardic world b] purely conjecture on my part - in some parts of the Sephardic world polygamy was allowed, so you probably wouldn't have the need for this. (Though I don't know at what point Sephardic ketubot started adding the "no additional wives without permission" clause.)
    – Shalom
    May 2, 2013 at 16:28
  • I think this should be added to the answer. I think some useful research to prove your theory would involve looking at when aufruf and shabbos chossons (see what I did there?) began, and, as you say, when Sephardim started listening to Rabbeinu Gershom's takana May 2, 2013 at 16:32
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    Makor? .........
    – Yehoshua
    May 2, 2013 at 18:47

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