Attending chuppahs in general seems to be a waste of time... Admittedly this may be a somewhat hashkafic question as opposed to halachic, but is it right, fitting or polite to learn from a pocket sefer during a chuppah?

Is there, for example, any quote that would imply that this is correct behaviour?

I think we have to consider יוהרא - religious arrogance and whether it is simply disrespectful to the marrying couple.

Advice on other, perhaps more polite ways of efficiently using chuppah time are also a solution to the issue...

  • Why not? Is there prohibitions – kouty Nov 26 '16 at 22:36
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    @kouty I dont think there is any explicit issur derabanan or deoraysa.... but is it the right thing to do? – Moshe Steinberg Nov 26 '16 at 22:38
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    I question your 1st sentence. There are numerous halachot as well as examples of rabbanim mentioned in the Talmud that went out of their way to gladden the chattan and kallah. I think that attending the chuppah is part of fulfilling that mitzvah. Can you explain why you belive this is a waste of time? – DanF Nov 27 '16 at 2:40
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    @DanF My personal attendance will probably make very little, if any, difference to the happiness of חתן וכלה. The gemara's examples are of those who did solo dances etc. I'm not going to be doing that... – Moshe Steinberg Nov 27 '16 at 8:52
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    @DanF How does focusing at the chuppah make them happy? The question is do you need to focus. I could care less who paid attention at my chuppah besides my wife and the witnesses. – Double AA Nov 27 '16 at 16:04

Rav Chaim Volozhiner quoted in Keser Rosh (16) quotes his Rebbe The Vilna Gaon that nowadays the prohibition of Yuharah does not apply nowadays. And that on the contrary, others should see you and learn from you. He only adds that this should be done lishma - for the sake of heaven with pure intentions. But that one should not be worried about others opinions of you.

Though the above Gr”a is not a unanimously agreed upon opinion. I personally have seen many great Scholars learning at the chuppa/other Smachot so as not to waste time, perhaps there actions were based on the Gr”a. The Gedolim that I have personally witnessed are:

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit”a

Rav Asher Arieli Shlit”a

Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl Shlit”a

Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz Shlit”a

Regarding the feelings of the chosson and kallah I think that is very subjective and one cannot presume their feelings. Some may appreciate that people are using their time wisely. Furthermore, it also depends on how conspicuous you are eg. is the book a pocket Sefer that may not be noticed? Or is it a large book that is noticeable to many? Are you standing in the back or in the front? Are you reading out loud or quietly reading? Maybe people will assume you are reading Tehillim, which is very common nowadays to give out parts of sefer tehillim to be said for the zchus of the chosson and kallah

Rav Henoch Leibowitz Zt"l, the Rosh Yeshiva of Chofetz Chaim, in a Hashkafa Shmuess in 1993 said that to learn from a sefer during the Chuppa would be a problem of Yuhara - Overt Haughtiness. Thus he suggests bringing a small inconspicuous sefer to learn from so as not to arouse attention. If this is not possible, one should try to think in learning.

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    Almost everyone doesn't agree that Yuhara doesn't apply anymore. – Double AA Nov 27 '16 at 16:11
  • First of all, I think that the chattan & kallah notice very little of what the audience is doing. (I would hope that they don't pay any attention, but who knows?) Secondly, many weddings that I have attended really are a "waste of time" with the flower girls and all the extra relative marching down, and the choirs / singers, etc. It makes sense to learn, IMO. – DanF Nov 29 '16 at 14:37
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    See Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Devorim 6 (7) who translates בשבתך בביתך as במותביכון בבתיכון, בזמן מיעסוקכון בחיתונכון when you sit in your house, when you are occupied with your marriage. – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 31 '16 at 22:56
  • @AvrohomYitzchok could you please elaborate what your kovona is by citing these sources. I'm missing what your trying to say – Shoel U'Meishiv Jan 5 '17 at 14:21
  • Devorim 6 (7): And you shall teach them (=the words of the Torah) to your sons and speak of them "when you sit in your house", and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates from the Hebrew for "when you sit in your house" as "when you sit in your house, when you are occupied with your marriages". So Targum Yonoson ben Uziel sees a need to study Torah at weddings. This cannot be when gladdening the bride and groom because he is then occupied with a mitzvah and free from any other mitzvah , so it can only mean at the chupah! – Avrohom Yitzchok Jan 5 '17 at 17:25

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