In recent months I have received a flurry of wedding invitations. I have also been helping plan my sister’s wedding, which is in two weeks.
With this influx of invitations, I have started to pay closer attention to the Hebrew text which usually mirrors the English text on the invitation.
What I found was quite disturbing:
On the English side of the invitation it says “honored children” and then states the names of the man and woman who are getting married.Â On the Hebrew side of the invitation there are two extra statements.Â Above the woman’s name it states: “The virgin bride who is praised” or just simply “the virgin bride.” Above the man’s name it states “The young distinguished boy.”
When I pointed out these offensive words to people, many responded by stating that the woman is also referred to as a virgin bride in the marriage contract (ketubah). However, I believe that although it can be taken offensively in the marriage contract as well, I can understand it better, because, after all, it is a contract with both parties entering into the marriage under certain assumptions, in many cases the understanding that the bride is a virgin.
But on an invitation is it really necessary to have the phrase “the virgin bride” placed right on top of the woman’s name?
In my humble opinion, it is not only immodest and tasteless but it belittles the woman to nothing more than a sexual object that is being flaunted and bought by her “distinguished” husband.
It is surprising to me that in a culture that is so obsessed with modesty or tz’ni’ut such a phrase would be allowed on a document which is sent out to hundreds and sometimes a thousand people.
If you happen to be a woman making a wedding any time in the near future, keep in mind that you are more that just a virgin bride.