Beit Midrash

  • Family and Society
  • Wedding and Sheva Berachot
To dedicate this lesson

Is It a Jewish Custom to Wear White at a Wedding?


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Sivan 22 5781
As far back as the 14th century, the Orchot Chaim (Rav Ahron ben Yakov HaKohen) writes that is appropriate for both the bride & groom to wear white; the Radbaz (b. 1479) notes that it was an "ancient custom" in Egyptian Jewish society to wear white. A number of reasons are given: Of course, white is a sign of purity, & chatan & kalla are forgiven of their sins on their wedding day, which is a "Yom Kippur katan." White clothes signify forgiveness, as Yeshayahu 1:18 says, "Even if your sins are like crimson, they will become white as snow." Others link 2 p’sukim from Kohelet (9:8-9): "At all times, let your clothes be white;" & "Enjoy life with the wife whom you love." Others say white clothes connect to tachrichim (burial shrouds), which spur us on to repentance but are also a good omen that the couple will remain married together until the day they die. Some kallot choose to wear off-white, so as not to directly imitate non-Jewish custom, but this is not required (per Rav Ovadia), as we had the custom first.
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