4

I was at a wedding in Israel where the rabbi was religious (orthodox) and the couple wasn't. Towards the end of the ceremony, the Rav said that the bride also wanted to give a ring to the groom. The bride said a few nice words then handed a ring to her new husband. I was quite surprised since I thought giving such a ring might invalidate the wedding but didn't get a chance to ask the rabbi himself.

I see that this practice is known as a "double ring ceremony" and is frown upon, e.g., R Yosef Resnick of Chabad writes

The legal transaction implied by the groom giving the bride a ring has now been matched one for one, and thereby cancelled. Her status remains unchanged. It is as if the bride has not received anything at all, or as if she has given back the gift.

I also read here on MY that R Elyashiv said it could possibly invalidate the kiddushin.

What are halachic issues with such a double ring ceremony? Do poskim believe it does invalidate the kiddushin? Does it make a difference if the rabbi says something like "Now that the kiddushin is over the kalla wants to give a ring to the hatan"?

  • I thought we had this question already but cannot find it. – msh210 May 18 '18 at 8:04
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    @msh210 I did look quite extensively (was burned before :->) and if we do it is well hidden, not well tagged and carefully disguises its language ! – mbloch May 18 '18 at 8:04
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    How about if she gives him a cheaper ring? – Heshy May 18 '18 at 11:06
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This question was posed to R. Moshe Feinstein by R. Ephraim Greenblatt in 1969, and is recorded in Igros Moshe E.H. 3:18.

In the first paragraph he explains that the kiddushin is still effective even with a double-ring-ceremony:

בדבר אלו שאחר שהחתן קדש בטבעת את הכלה נתנה גם הכלה להחתן טבעת ואמרה הריני מקודשת לך או אתה מקודש לי ודאי לענין הקידושין מאחר שכבר נתקדשה כדין הם קידושין גמורים ומה שגם היא נתנה וגם אמרה מה שאמרה הם דברי הבל ושטות ואף שידעו מתחלה הם והעדים שיעשו כן שגם היא תתן טבעת ותאמר לא שייך לבטל הקידושין משום שנימא שהוא כאיגלאי מילתא שרוצים שהקידושין יהיו גם ע"י נתינתה ואמירתה דהרי אף אם היו מתנים כן בפירוש היה זה כמתנה ע"מ שכתוב בתורה שאינו כלום וכ"ש שלא מועיל גילוי מילתא לבד ואף אם יתנו בתנאי כפול כהלכות תנאי שיחולו קידושין רק באם תתן לו גם היא אח"כ טבעת ובאמירה נמי ודאי יחולו הקידושין כשיתקיים התנאי כתנאי דע"מ שתתן לי מאתים זוז וכל תנאי וזה פשוט

With regard to the matter of those who, after the groom performs kiddushin to the bride with a ring the bride also gives a ring to the groom and says "hareini mekudeshes lecha" or "atah mehudash li", certainly with regard to the kiddushin since it was already performed lawfully it is a complete kiddushin, and the fact that she gave [a ring] and said what she said is simply folly and stupidity. And even if they and the witnesses knew in advance that they would do this – that she would also give a ring and make a declaration – it is not possible to nullify the kiddushin on the basis that this is an indication that they want the kiddushin to be effected also through her giving and speaking. This is so, because even had they explicitly made this a condition, it would be like one who makes a condition about something written in the Torah, which is worthless, and certainly here where it is only an indication. And even if they made a double condition, in accordance with the rules of conditions, that the kiddushin should only take effect if she also gives him a ring afterwards and makes a declaration, the kiddushin certainly takes effect when the condition is fulfilled, just like a condition [that the kiddushin should only take effect] "if you give me 200 Zuz" or any condition, and this is obvious.

However, he spends the rest of the responsum arguing that it is forbidden to do it because it will lead people to think that a woman can perform kiddushin to a man, it will lead to laws of kiddushin being forgotten, and it might even be forbidden as a gentile practice:

אבל אסור לעשות זה לא מבעיא אם מנהג הנכרים הוא כן שהוא איסור מדאורייתא אפילו אם אינו חק לע"ז אלא חק הבל ושטות שכתבו התוס' בע"ז דף י"א דבלא כתיבא באורייתא אף שאינו היפוך דין התורה נמי אסור וכ"ש בזה שהוא נגד דין התורה ובדיני הנכרים צריכה גם היא לקדש שנמצא שעושין כחק שלהם שודאי הוא באיסור הלאו אלא אף אם אינו כלל חק הנכרים נמי נראה דאסור לעשות כן בשעת החופה אף בלא אמירה ובאמירה אף אח"כ אם הוא סמוך להחופה דיש לדמות זה להגזירה דהבא ראשו ורובו במים שאובין דא"ר ביבי א"ר אסי בשבת דף י"ד שהוא משום דבתחלה היו טובלין במי מערות מכונסין וסרוחין והיו נותנין עליהן מים שאובין להעביר הסירחון ומ"מ בא מזה שאמרו לא אלו מטהרין אלא אלו מטהרין אף שהיה ידוע שנתנו המים שאובין להעביר סירחון וכ"ש הכא שמה שגם היא נותנת טבעת הוא לקידושין שיש לחוש שיבא מזה שיאמרו שגם האשה יכולה לקדש את האיש ואף שעדיין לא נמנו ב"ד לגזור ואין זה ממילא איסור ממש מ"מ ודאי זה עצמו שעושין דבר שיכול לבא לזה הוא ודאי ענין איסור

ובעצם נראה לע"ד שהוא איסור גדול שהרי עי"ז עושין שישכח מהרבה דין קידושין ושכחת דין אף שלא יבא לשום קלקול הוא איסור לאו דהא אמר ר"ל במנחות דף צ"ט כל המשכח דבר אחד מתלמודו עובר בלאו ולרבינא בשני לאוין ולרנב"י בג' לאוין וגם עיין ביש"ש ב"ק פ"ד סימן ט' דלשנות הדין אף לצורך גדול ואף כשיש חשש פקוח נפש אסור משום דהוא ככופר בתורת משה והתם איירי בליכא חשש קלקול ומכשול דהא איירי שם בשור של ישראל שנגח שור של עכו"ם שברור שב"ד רשאין לחייב להישראל לשלם להעכו"ם כשיש חשש פ"נ ומ"מ לומר שהדין הוא כן אסור אף במקום פ"נ וא"כ הוא רק מצד שינוי דין התורה לבד בלא קלקול למעשה מזה ולכן בעושין מעשה שיגרום שישכחו דין האמת ולשנותו לדין אחר עוברין על איסורין אלו ואין להקשות מהא דהקשה אבא על טעם אביי שהטעות היה שאמרו אלו ואלו מטהרין מאי נ"מ הא קא טבלי בהנך אף דאיכא בזה שכחה ושינוי הדין דהתם הא עשו זה להעביר הסירחון ולא היה להם לחוש שיגרום זה לטעות ולכן אף אחר שראו שגרם זה לשכחת הדין היה זה מגרם רחוק שאין לאסור וגם אולי בכלל אין לאסור לאדם לעשות דבר לצורכו בשביל חשש רחוק כזה מצד איסור דשכחת הדין שהוא ודאי פשיעתם שלא רצו ללמוד ולהשים אל לבם כלל עשה הטעות והוצרך רבא לומר שרק משום שבא ממש קלקול להרבה אנשים לעבור על איסור כרת דנדה וטומאת קדשים גזרו אבל הכא כשירגילו שגם היא תתן טבעת ותקדש שהוא בלא טעם כלל רק לשנות הדין יש לאסור מצד זה עצמו אף אם לא יבא לידי קלקול כלל שלא יטעו לומר שסגי רק בקידושין שלה אלא יאמרו דהדין הוא שצריך שתרוייהו יקדשו נמי הוא איסור גמור וברור מצד שכחת הדין ושינוי הדין

Interestingly, R. Aaron Rakeffet mentioned in a recent lecture (about 36 minutes in) that he once turned down an offer to officiate at a wedding because they wanted a double-ring ceremony. One of the people attending the lecture asked what would be wrong with such a ceremony, and said that R. Joseph Lookstein allowed it. R. Rakeffet said:

The Rav [R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik] is gonna walk in and chop your head off in one minute.

The questioner then clarified that he was talking about giving the second ring not as part of the kiddushin/chuppah but afterwards, and R. Rakeffet seemed to agree that that would be okay.

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    Many thanks, this is very helpful. I had seen the reference but hadn't found the tshuva from RMF. – mbloch May 18 '18 at 13:27
  • Lol ,I just listened to that R Rakeffet shuir a few days ago. I think he said he lost $50 for that wedding. – sam May 31 '18 at 2:14
  • @sam Yes, $50 it was. – Alex May 31 '18 at 2:16
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Kiddushin is fundamentally the act of the groom taking the bride, not the other way around or both ways. Hence, a double ring ceremony under the Chuppah would undermine the very mechanics of Kiddushin and is prohibited. Doing so is also a violation of the Torah’s mandate not to imitate non-Jewish practices. (Iggerot Moshe (Even HaEzer vol. 3 Siman 18 and 25, vol. 4 Siman 32:2) and Shu”t HaRishon LeTzion (vol. 1 Even HaEzer 18))

Depending on who’s officiating (such as a Reform or Conservative rabbi) and how they perform the Kiddushin (how the double ring ceremony is understood and presented), Rav Moshe Feinstein holds it could even be null and void. See Gray Matter (vol. 1 page 73) for a full discussion of the effectiveness, not the permissibility of the ceremony, as well as Minchat Asher (vol. 1 Siman 72, vol. 2 Siman 98).

  • "Hence, a double ring ceremony under the Chuppah would undermine the very mechanics of Kiddushin" That doesn't follow.... If she owns a goat and he owns a cow and she wants the cow, he can take the bride by giving her the cow for the goat. No one said anything about her taking him by giving him a goat. (If you meant something different your answer is too vague to be useful with your sweeping generalizations and ambiguous terminology .) – Double AA May 18 '18 at 15:02
  • I meant as I wrote. The issue is imitating non Jewish practices, not an ineffective Kinyan. Yes, your situation would effect a Kiddushin, but Rav Moshe claimed that a double ring ceremony with is aimed to imitate non Jewish practices would be prohibited due to intention. Additionally, if she thinks that she has to speak and give him a ring because that's how Kiddushin works, then it would also be invalid, because a stipulation against what the Torah mandates renders the acquisition ineffective. This is what Rav Moshe writes. Kindly point out if you feel I misunderstood him. – MDjava May 18 '18 at 15:16
  • Thank you for this. I added a link to the book which I have but now realize is available online. Note that R Jachter brings a number of opinions showing that, despite being prohibited, a double ring ceremony does not invalidate the marriage – mbloch May 18 '18 at 15:46
  • I meant as I wrote too that what you wrote is in part wrong, particularly "Hence, a double ring ceremony under the Chuppah would undermine the very mechanics of Kiddushin and is prohibited." I'm not disagreeing about the non-Jewish practices part so no need to repeat that. Note her thinking she has to give him a ring and/or say something is no less mistaken than his thinking he has to give her a ring and/or say something. Neither is required. He need not say anything and need not give her anything physical, let alone a ring. We don't censure a groom for thinking "Harei At" is obligatory. – Double AA May 18 '18 at 16:33
0

The main issue with the double ring ceremony is if the participants consider this to be an 'exchange' of rings, leading to there have been no kiddushin. This can be the case even if one ring is given later; if at the time the woman expected to get back the ring as an exchange. However if we knew for sure that that was not the intention, there would be no problem.

Thus the later form stated clearly does greatly reduce the chances of a problematic kiddushin, but note: the people involved may still not understand that this is not an exchange and have the intention for one; this means that many people would argue to avoid it completely even before any hashkafic issues are taken into account

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    Thanks. Is this from you or have you seen it somewhere? – mbloch May 18 '18 at 13:28
  • Why would an 'exchange' lead to no Kiddushin? If the women wants to do the exchange and benefits one shaveh prutah worth from the exchange (which is definitely true in satisfaction if not monetarily), then that should be fine, no? A man can even say "Be betrothed to me with the satisfaction you'll get by my wearing this ring at your request" and that would work. – Double AA May 18 '18 at 13:37
  • @mbloch it's partially referenced in your question ->"The legal transaction implied by the groom giving the bride a ring has now been matched one for one, and thereby cancelled. " which is poorly expressed, as matching it post-facto will not cause any problems. (see other answer) also from your link 'R' Elyashiv understood that a two-ring ceremony is not a "gift" from one to the other, but is rather an exchange.' – Orangesandlemons May 18 '18 at 14:25
  • This seems to just be a misunderstanding of the Gemara (Kiddushin 3a) which excludes Chalipin for Kiddushin. The issue there is where the woman is the object being exchanged, not that he can't acquire her by giving her something that she acquires via Chalipin. – Double AA May 18 '18 at 14:31
  • @DoubleAA no, its a case of needing the value to be given for the purpose of kiddushin rather than exchanged for something else. Chalippin has nothing to do with it. – Orangesandlemons May 18 '18 at 15:57

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