Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Kind of Chuppah?

I have frequently been asked what the requirements of a chuppah's construction are. There is a very simple answer, there really aren't any requirements. The only people who absolutely have to be under the chuppah are the couple. There are authorities who also require the officiant to be under the chuppah as well. The officiant is defined in this context as someone knowledgeable in the laws of Jewish marriage and who "performs" the ceremony. Therefore, the minimal size of a chuppah is big enough to be over the couple and the officiant. In many traditions, a tallit is used as a chuppah. A chuppah can be as large as to cover the entire wedding party as well. It can be made of any type of cloth and should be open on all four sides. A chuppah made entirely of flowers is not considered a chuppah. One of the major concerns of Jewish art is to beautify and enhance the performance of a mitzvah. As a result, beautifully decorated chuppahs rising to the standard of pieces of art have been used throughout history.

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