Skip to main content

Hakhnasat Kallah

HAKHNASAT KALLAH

HAKHNASAT KALLAH (Heb. הַכְנָסַת כַּלָּה; "bringing in the bride," i.e., under the wedding canopy), a rabbinic commandment to provide a dowry for brides and to rejoice at their weddings (Maim. Yad., Avelim 14:1). The term is popularly applied to the provision of dowry for the poor brides. The precept is of such importance that it is permissible to interrupt even the (public) study of Torah in order to fulfill it (Meg. 3b and Tos. ad loc.). It is reckoned in the prayer book as among those deeds "for which a man enjoys the fruits in this world, while the stock remains for him for the world to come." (Hertz, Prayer, 17, version of Pe'ah 1:1 and Shab. 127a). A man who raises an orphan and enables her to marry is considered as continually doing acts of righteousness and justice (Ps. 106:3; Ket. 50a).

Communal charity collectors are permitted to use the funds they collected for other purposes for the dowry of poor brides (Sh. Ar., yd 249:15, and Siftei Kohen ad loc.). The Mishnah specified the minimum sum of 50 zuz to be given to a bride, but "if there was more in the poor funds they should provide for her according to the honor due to her" (Ket. 6:5). This minimal sum of "50 zuz" must be reassessed in every generation in accordance with its own economic conditions (Turei Zahav to Sh. Ar. yd 250:2). As in other aspects of communal Jewish charity, specific organizations were formed to supervise the collection and distribution of funds for the dowries and trousseaux of poor girls and orphans. These groups were often called Hakhnasat Kallah societies. In the ghetto of Rome, during the 17th century, for example such a society functioned actively (Roth, Italy, 364). Samuel Portaleone, an Italian preacher, in his description of seven charity boxes which existed in Mantua, Italy, in 1630, lists among them hakhnasat kallah (jqr, 5 (1893), 510). Hakhnasat Kallah societies have continued to function throughout the Jewish world.

In addition to aiding poor brides, the precept also demands that a person attend and rejoice at the marriage of any bride. It was considered meritorious to accompany the bride from her father's home to where the wedding ceremony was to take place (Rashi to Meg. 29a). This aspect of hakhnasat kallah may also be fulfilled by accompanying the bridegroom to the bedekin ("covering" the face) of the bride (Beit Shemu'el to Sh. Ar. eh 65:1). While it is also customary to dance before the bride and to praise her, Bet Shammai held that the virtues of the bride are not to be exaggerated, and that she is only to be praised "as she truly is." Bet Hillel, on the other hand, ruled that every bride should be regarded and praised as "beautiful and graceful" (Ket. 16b–17a).

The fulfillment of the precept of hakhnasat kallah should be performed humbly, modestly and in privacy, thus complying with the dictum "to walk humbly with thy God" (Micah 6:8; Suk. 49b).

bibliography:

et, 9 (1959), 136–43; Baron, Community, 1 (1942), 362ff., 2 (1942), 332f., 3 (1942), 212f.; I. Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages (1920), 326; I. Levitats, Jewish Community in Russia (1943), 252; H.H. Ben-Sasson, Hagut ve-Hanhagah (1959), index.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hakhnasat Kallah." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Jul. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hakhnasat Kallah." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hakhnasat-kallah

"Hakhnasat Kallah." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved July 19, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hakhnasat-kallah

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.