Kabbalat Panim

Found In: Weddings & Commitment Ceremonies

Tags: LGBTIQ, bedecken, handwashing

Rabbis Rachel Weiss, Roni Handler, & Isabel de Koninck | Complete Ceremony

Bride 1 is escorted to the room by her bridal party and mother.  Once they are assembled, Bride 2 is escorted to just outside the room with her mother and bridal party.

It is a tradition for parents to offer blessings to their children during a bedecken.  Before Bride 2 enters the room, both mothers offer blessings to their daughters on their wedding day.

Both brides close their eyes awaiting their first glimpse of each other.  Bride 2 is escorted into the room and arranged back-to-back with Bride 1 while the bridal parties form a circle around the brides.

The rabbi or officiant shares background and ancient context of a bedecken, and then speaks the following words to the brides:

The goal of this ceremony is to really see each other, as if for the first time. See who she is and who she is not – recognize that you accept and welcome her as your beloved just as she is, and believe in your heart that she accepts and welcomes you just as you are.

Take a moment to think of all that she has given you up to this moment

  • Imagine the first moment you saw each other
  • Imagine the first moment you decided to get married
  • Imagine her face the last time you saw her
  • Envision yourselves under the chuppah, and in your lives beyond

Turn around to see your partner as she is in this moment.

(Brides turn around to face each other)


HANDWASHING – NETILAT YADAIM

Rabbi or officiant:

Mikveh is a private ritual of water, which is concealed, private, and for the self. This ritual is a public ritual of water, which is about being revealed, for each other.

I now invite you to perform a ritual handwashing for each other --  the last time without the wedding rings you will soon exchange.

As you each wash the hands of your beloved, be aware of water as an agent for blessing and purification, its symbolic power for freedom and purity.  Sanctify the hands of each other -- preparing to receive the gift of your wedding ring, a public symbol of your marriage, and the new status in Jewish tradition as a married couple.