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Is the typical "vort" that is celebrated in many Orthodox communities when a couple gets engaged of any actual significance from a Jewish perspective (Halachic / Hashkafic) or is it just a way of making an engagement party that has some sort of Jewish name to it?

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  • well in our parties they do the kabbalas kinyan and the breaking of the plate by the vort (which we call a l'chaim)
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 22:06
  • ...oh, and the chosson says a vort (duh)
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 22:13

3 Answers 3

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Basically, an engagement party.

(There are some communities, mostly Hassidic, that will still sign a binding tenaim -- basically, a commitment-to-wed, at either the vort or the l'chaim -- that's a bit stronger.)

I was told by one rabbi that it's called a vort (word) because you're not signing any agreement-to-wed, but you are giving your word that you are seriously planning on marching down the aisle.

There are those who prefer a written "forgiveness agreement" if an engagement is broken off, but as long as no agreement was signed, it wouldn't matter if there was or wasn't an engagement party.

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  • Even if there is no written commitment, every one I have been to has a Kinyan.
    – Yishai
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 15:02
  • @yishai a kinyan of what?
    – Orion
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 3:42
  • @orion verbal agreement to pay for the wedding.
    – Yishai
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 12:31
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Interestingly enough, I heard in a shiur from Rav Heinemann that a vort refers to ‘something being said.’ Meaning at a true 'vort', both sides write in a contractual agreement that if one side breaks the engagement, then they would owe a certain amount of money. This was different than the tenaim which deals with what each side promises to give the חתן and כלה.

From my limited experience, people generally use both "vort" and "engagement party" in the same vein, without tangible or contractual differences.

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    So to clarify, in a word, the answer to the question would be: 'no', right?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 5:29
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Adding to Shalom's answer, among poorer families, the vort is used as a means for the new couple to receive gifts and money. Perhaps, this sounds "petty" but there is some practically to this.

When both parents have limited funds for the wedding, they cannot invite everyone they would like. The vort, which would typically, be held in the bride or groom's parents' home, is a cheap means to invite those extra people and they bring gifts that the new couple can use to start their marriage (hopefully!) Occasionally, parents may actually request that guests bring only cash so that they can offset some of the wedding costs.

Source: One o fmy wife's friends is doing, pretty much, what I have just described. Her daughter is getting married, IY"H, Or Leyom Hashishi Beshabbat.)

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