I have seen some Orthodox weddings in which the groom steps on the bride's foot. What is the source for this strange custom?

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Brian. – ezra Dec 19 '17 at 17:42
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    I have never heard of this custom. There is a universal custom for the groom to crush a glass with his foot after the wedding ceremony; is this what you saw? – ezra Dec 19 '17 at 17:45
  • Brian Conway, I've re-formatted the question. If I've messed anything up, feel free to edit it back. – ezra Dec 19 '17 at 17:53
  • Yeah, pretty sure this is done for the reason @Oliver brings. (I've seen it discussed in some books) – SAH Dec 19 '17 at 18:29
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    You mean like this? greekweddingtraditions.com/step-on-your-foot – Joel K Dec 19 '17 at 18:37

R. Avraham Azulai (Hesed LeAvraham, Nahar 48 bot. of pg.) describes this custom as a symbol of dominion.

He relates as follows (trans. by Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, pg. 203 fn. 4):

If the bridegroom places his right foot over the left foot of the bride when the seven blessings are being said, he will rule over her all her days, she will be obedient to him, and will hearken to all his words. If the bride is careful to set her left foot over the bridegroom's right, she will rule over him all her days. Now it happened that the bridegroom put his right foot over the left foot of the bride during the seven blessings, to gain dominion over her, and when the bride told her father what had occurred, he advised her that when the marriage was about to be consummated, she should ask her husband for a glass of water. This gave her the dominion all her days, and the expedient is an excellent antidote for overcoming the influence of the placing of the foot by the bridegroom, and the bride can thereby obtain mastery.

  • "As a symbol of dominion" meaning to show that man rules over his wife? (Gen. 3:16) – ezra Dec 19 '17 at 18:41
  • @ezra Yep, in a general connubial sense (if that's how you interpret the ref. verse) – Oliver Dec 19 '17 at 18:53
  • ...and the next page – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 19 '17 at 19:08
  • @AvrohomYitzchok Indeed, the exact quote is actually on the next pg., but the exordium on the page I referenced I thought important to point to. I take it you've seen it too (and prob. concur). – Oliver Dec 19 '17 at 19:22

Midrash Talpiyot of Rabbi Eliyahu HaCohen of İzmir (d.1729) also quotes the Chesed Le'Avraham here. The Nitei Gavriel here adds that authorities such as Rabbi Shaul Rosenberg objected to the custom as a lack of faith in God, and also some point out that if the bride would be a Niddah at the time of the chuppah this would be halachically problematic.

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