Author Archives: Rabbi Dov Linzer

Rabbi Dov Linzer

About Rabbi Dov Linzer

Rabbi Dov Linzer is the Rosh HaYeshiva and Head of Academics of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York. Rabbi Linzer lectures widely at synagogues and conferences on topics relating to halakhah, Orthodoxy, and modernity.

Double Ring Ceremonies

In the traditional wedding ceremony, known as kiddushin, the groom gives a ring to the bride, who accepts it but does not offer a ring in return. Today, a growing number of couples would like to have an actual exchange of rings under the huppah [wedding canopy].


In response to such a query in 1970, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein–one of the 20th century’s most eminent rabbinic authorities–ruled that a bride’s giving of a ring to the groom would not invalidate the groom’s properly executed kiddushin, even if done immediately afterwards (Iggrot Moshe, Even Ha’Ezer, 3:18). Nevertheless, he held that it was still impermissible to perform such a ceremony. Rabbi Feinstein’s primary concern was that to do so would be misrepresentative and mislead people as to what constitutes halakhic [legal] kiddushin.

As a result of this ruling, most Orthodox rabbis will not do a two-ring ceremony at all. Those rabbis who do agree to perform two-ring ceremonies insist that the bride give her ring to the groom in a way that makes it clear that it is not part of the kiddushin. Thus, the bride will not Double ring ceremonies for Jewish allowed to say any kiddushin-like language, such as “Vearastikh li l’olam“–“I have betrothed you to me forever.” 

In most cases, rabbis will also insist that the ring be given after sheva berakhot, the seven blessings toward the end of the wedding ceremony, so as to be performed well after the kiddushin has been completed.

Some rabbis will allow the ring to be given immediately after the kiddushin, but will make a clear declaration beforehand, along the lines of, “Now that the kiddushin has been completed, Rivka will give Yitzhak a ring as a symbol of her love and affection.” (See Joel Wolowelsky, Women, Jewish Law, and Modernity, p.68.)


I share Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s concerns, and insist on similar parameters. However, this continues to marginalize the bride’s giving of the ring. One solution is for the bride and groom to exchange rings after the sheva berakhot and make mutual statements of love and commitment, in addition to the ring that the groom gives the bride as the act of kiddushin.

Toward a More Balanced Wedding Ceremony

In the traditional wedding ceremony, men play a more prominent role than women. This can be troubling for couples who, while wishing to be respectful of tradition and community, are also looking for ways to have a ceremony that reflects their vision of marriage as an equal partnership. In this article, I will discuss some opportunities that exist within halakhah [Jewish law] for creating a more balanced wedding ceremony.

As with any area of halakhah, there is a range of opinions, and these issues need to be discussed with the couple’s officiating rabbi. Beyond halakhah, tradition plays an important role in linking an individual to his or her community and to previous generations. Couples should work to achieve not only an appropriate balance between the sexes, but also the appropriate balance between tradition and innovation as well.

Tisch (Reception)

The wedding ceremony usually begins with a chatan’s tisch, the groom’s reception, at which certain documents are signed and the groom generally offers a d’var Torah. To create greater balance, the kallah [bride] can hold a tisch of her own. The kallah’s tisch can be as simple as the kallah and her friends and family singing and sharing good wishes. It can also be an opportunity for the kallah or a friend to deliver a d’var Torah. In addition, some of the wedding documents can be signed at the kallah’s tisch. The marriage license can be filled out there, although it usually cannot be signed until after the ceremony.

More significantly, the kallah can sign her part of the prenuptial agreement and have it witnessed and notarized by female friends or relatives. To avoid last-minute complications, when I officiate at a wedding, I always require that the couple draft a prenuptial agreement and have it signed and notarized at least a week prior to the wedding. In such a case, there can be a reading of the prenuptial agreement at the kallah’s tisch.

The Bedeken

The tisch is followed by the chatan walking amidst dancing and singing to the kallah, where he performs the act of bedeken, or lowering the veil over the kallah’s face. Couples who would like to make this ceremony more reciprocal may choose to incorporate a parallel act in which the kallah places a new tallit [prayer shawl] on the chatan.