At a wedding [or by the engagement], a plate is customarily broken at the "tena'im." This has already been discussed over here.

As I have seen at weddings, and as is brought over here the custom is for the couple's mothers to break the plate.

What I'm wondering is why it is that the mothers are the ones to break the plate? Can't anyone just break the plate? Are there any sources that explain the reasons that it is specifically the mothers?

2 Answers 2


Nitei Gavriel - Shiduchim V'Tanaim - page 360 - 32:4 actually brings a few different Minhagim.

1 - The mothers break the plate

2 - The fathers break the plate

3 - The Chassan and the two fathers break one plate and the Kallah and the two mothers break a second plate.

He does not give any reason as to why those that do it in any particular fashion, do it just so. I do agree that most people that I am aware of the two mothers are the ones doing it.

On page 359 column 3 he mentions in the name of the Shefa Chaim that the reason dishes are broken by the Tenaim and the wedding based on Braishis 30:23 where Rachel said "Osaf Elokim Es Cherposi" the Medrash in Braishis Rabbah 73:5 explains that so long a woman does not have a child there is no one to blame for anything that broke. Once a lady has a child she can always say the kid did it. Therefore we break them to show that from this Shidduch will come many children and she will have whom to blame for the broken things in the home.

My own thoughts: Perhaps based on this reason traditionally the mothers are the ones that break it, since it is indicating something specific for the woman.


Rav Heinemann (Shidduchim through Sheva Berachos 5:19) writes

It doesn’t matter who breaks it. The chosson or kallah can break the plate if either one wants. One of the guests can break it if they want. The minhag is that the mothers of the chosson and kallah break it together, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If the mothers aren’t living then anyone can break it. The mothers normally receive the plate to break because they have nothing to do at this point of the simcha.

Rav Belsky z"tl mentioned in a shiur that the mothers break the plate to show the chosson that broken plates happen in a happy home (rather than kids cowering in fear of breaking something in a museum-like house) - and the experienced mothers are the ones to highlight that point.

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