Second Wedding Halachos


    By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

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    It may be a bit shocking, but the Marriage Foundation has studied the issue extensively and has determined that, statistically, 31% of second marriages fail. That is not what is surprising, however. The surprising statistic is that 45% of first marriages end in divorce. Thus, second marriages are actually more stable and successful than first marriages.
    This comes as a surprise to most people. This is not the only thing that is not so well known about second marriages. Many people are also unfamiliar with their halachos as well. With this in mind, it mind be prudent to study the halachos of the second wedding. 


    It is forbidden for a man to remain single, even if he has already performed the Mitzvah of Pru urvu. This Halacha is based upon the Gemorah in Yevamos 61b and is codified in Shulchan Aruch (EH 1:8). The Gemorah tells us of an additional Mitzvah to the one of being fruitful and multiplying. It is based on the verse, “In the evening do not let your hand rest.”
    Ideally, if it is feasible, a man should marry a woman who is still capable of having children (SA EH 1:8 and Yevamos 62b). If he himself is aware, however, that he is incapable of fathering children, he should look to marry a woman who is not capable of having children as well (Ramah EH 1:8).


    There are four exceptions to this Halacha, however.
    1] If he has already fulfilled the Mitzvah of Pru urvu (one boy and one girl), and he is studying Torah and is concerned that remarriage would take away from his study he may remain single. This is only true, however, if his Yetzer HaRah does not overtake him (Chochmas Adam 123:4).
    2] If a person is older and is certain that his Yetzer HaRah no longer controls him (AH 1:7).
    3] If a person has physical or medical conditions that would prevent him from marriage (AH 1:7).
    4] If a person does not have the means to support a wife (AH 1:7)


    There is also a Mitzvah upon a woman to be married as well (Ramah EH 1:10). The Mitzvah is not as strong as it is for a man, however. Indeed, the Mitzvah for a woman to marry is even if she has a son and daughter already (TaZ 1:2).


    Generally speaking there is an obligation for a parent to marry off his son and daughter. For a second marriage, however, there is no such obligation (Aizer MiKodesh Siman 1). The financial costs are borne by the couple themselves. If they cannot afford it, the community should donate, particularly if the bride is an orphan.


    The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ksuvos 1:1) states that Moshe Rabbeinu enacted that there should be seven days of rejoicing whenever a wedding takes place. For a second wedding the rejoicing is for three days (SA EH 64:2). If, however, the groom was never married, there is a debate whether the rejoicing is for three days or for seven days. The Chasam Sofer EH 123 rules that it should be done for seven days.


    Generally speaking, in order to cheer a bride and groom we even cease the learning of Torah study. What about ceasing Torah study for a second marriage? Rav Shimon Sopher in his Sefer Hisorerus Teshuvah (Vol. III #72) is uncertain in regard to the matter.
    The laws of Shana Rishona — that a husband must strive to make his wife especially happy during the first year of marriage – apply to a second marriage as well (Sefer HaChinuch #582 and Gemorah Sotah 44a). Thus, the husband should try to stay home with his wife during the first year.

    Whenever the groom is present at shul, the Tachanun is not recited for the entire seven days following the wedding (MB 131:26).


    There is no obligation for the husband to get an Aliyah on the Shabbos prior to his wedding (Biur Halacha 137), nor after his wedding. Nonetheless, it is proper to do so as long as he does not set aside other chiyuvim (Shaarei Ephraim 2:6). Candy is not thrown at a groom at the Aufruf of a second wedding (Maharil Hilchos Nissuin).


    A bride and groom on the day of their second wedding do fast, and the groom wears a kittel (NG p. 312).


    With the exception of someone who is remarrying his ex-wife, the same restrictions on when one may not marry for a first wedding apply to a second marriage as well. When re-marrying an ex-wife, the ceremony may transpire during Chol HaMoed (SA 546:2), Sfira , and during the Three Weeks.

    Rav Elyashiv zt”l ruled that one may never hold a wedding on Isru Chag after Pesach and even if plans were made they should be cancelled (Beyadcha Itosai p. 105).

    Ideally, the woman should be in a state of taharah when the second marriage is performed. The reason is because what effects the marriage in a second wedding is the Yichud, the seclusion that occurs after the Chuppah itself. The Chuppah ceremony is not what effects the marriage in a second wedding (SA EH 64:5). Nonetheless, a blessing can still be recited even though the actual yichud will only take place after several days.

    Some have the custom not to print invitations to a second wedding, but rather to perform the wedding in a small and quiet manner, similar to the manner in which the second set of Luchos were given (Nitei Gavriel Nissuin,volume I page 311)


    There is a debate as to whether the Tnaim document is used in a second wedding. The Chsam Sopher did use a Tnaim document just like at a first wedding. The Tshuras Shai (Vol. II Siman 150) holds that it is not used, rather just a mere Kabals Kinyan is done.

    The Kesuvah of a widow and divorcee is slightly different than that of a first time bride. For a second wedding the amount filled in the Kesuvah is 100 zuz, as opposed to the 200 zuz in a first time wedding.


    At the Bedekin, the custom is that others place the veil upon the face of the bride and not the groom (Shulchan HaAizer page 26). Others are of the opinion that the veil is not placed over the Kallah at all (AH 55:24).

    The Chuppah ceremony is performed indoors and not under the sky or under a skylight (Pischei Teshuvah EH 62:1) as in a first wedding. A Chuppah must be used, however.  However, if the groom was never married, the ceremony is performed under the sky.

    It is the custom for sons and daughters of either the groom or the bride not to attend the wedding (Minhage Wormes p. 51). It is questionable what the Halacha is in regard to grandchildren.

    Rice is not thrown, nor are the Chosson and Kallah accompanied with live music. There is no obligation to dance before the bride as well.

    There is a debate as to whether the Kesuvah is read aloud under the Chupah when a widower or widow is involved (Zechor L’Avrohom #2 discourages it, Shulchan Aizer Vol. II p.45 states that it should be read). The Minhag is to read it however.  

    The dancing at a second wedding should not be as exhuberant as at a first wedding (see inference in Rashi, Ksuvos 16b “Sh’rakdu lefaneha”).

    It should be noted, however, that the Mitzvah fo v’ahavta l’rayacha kamocha applies equally to a second wedding and everything should be done to make them feel happy and to help them recognize the miracles of how Hashem is mezaveg zivugim.

    The author can be reached at [email protected]

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    Conservative Carl
    Conservative Carl
    1 month ago

    Divorce and marriage failure are not the same thing.

    1 month ago

    This is great! One can can just skip the entire dating and relationship and only need to just follow halacha.

    1 month ago

    Never knew the הלכה about the prohibition of having the חופה outside.Even for ספרדים?

    1 month ago

    Even if you’re ashkenaz yeshivish, the word is ITOSAI. Beyadcha itosai. The phrase is from Tehillim and seeing it written incorrectly can make people mispronounce the word when they’re saying Tehillim.