The Matzav Rant: Mother-Mother, Father-Father


chupahBy Shmuel Miskin,

I’ve been scratching my head so often these days about numerous matters that if I continue scratching, I might just penetrate my scalp.

I love people. I believe in the inherent goodness of people. I believe in the positive side of humanity. But sometimes you can’t help but shake your head in bewilderment.

Case in point: I recently learned of two mechutanim, whose children are engaged, who were (and are) embroiled in a machlokes of sorts. Over what? Over how they will be walking their children down to the chupah. You know, the old mother-mother/father father or mother-father/ mother-father discussion. One side wants the chosson to be accompanied by his father and the kallah‘s father, while the other side wants the chosson and kallah to each be walked down to the chupah by their respective parents.

I happen to be privy to details about why each side feels the way they do. Believe me, though, that it is nothing to make a stink about. It is sheer stupidity. I apologize for being so blunt, but the truth is the truth.

So why do people do these things? Why would otherwise normal people place their children’s shidduch in jeopardy – yes, in jeopardy – over an inconsequential thing like this?

Yes, in the larger scheme of things, this is inconsequential, especially when it can have immediate effects on the shidduch and long-term effects on the relationship between the young couple and their parents.

Unfortunately, people are often small-minded. They let their egos run the show, camouflaging their actions as being l’sheim Shomayim. What a joke! What an absolute joke. Fighting like children about how they should walk their children down to the chupah

And then these parents can’t understand why they have bred children who are selfish and self absorbed. Well, what do you expect when they observe their parents being worried only about their kavod? After all, say the parents, what will it look like if we cave in to the demands of the mechutanim? Can you imagine? We might be looked at as “weak.” We’ll show them. We’ll stand our ground for our “mesorah” (sic).

In the meantime, the shidduch hangs on a thread because these infants in adult clothing are caught up in a squabble that belongs in an elementary school dining room.

And don’t worry, with people like these, once they resolve the chupah issue (if they do), they’ll move on to some other naarishe hang-up that is as important as whether the band will play Eye of the Tiger as the intro to the second dance…

Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. What I have written here is so much more common than you might think. In many cases, it’s a lot worse. We have people who have zero perspective on things, and their children are the ones who suffer.

With regard to walking down to the chupah, it is said that, when marrying of his children, Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt”l remarked that his own minhag is “whatever the other side’s minhag is.”

How refreshing. Ah! A gadol like Rav Yaakov.

If only we had more people following that approach to things. If only.

{Shmuel Newscenter}


  1. How true, well said. Bravo.
    The reason this dispicable behavior is so prevalent is that the whole educational and shidduch system is rotten to the core. If you have krum hashkafos you will have krum behavior.

  2. The Debricener Rov has a Teshuva on the issue in which he writes that he discussed the issue with the Satmar Rebbeh who said as follows:He sees no Isser in having both parents walk down according to any opinion; if it is an issue of contention they should do what most of the attendees at the Chasunah would do by their childerns wedding.

  3. All true, but maybe it was the straw that broke the camel’s back! Maybe one side felt the other was always getting their way and they decided it high time to put their foot down?

  4. Hagaon Rav Yonesen Steif z”l, in his Chumash “Limudei Hashem”, brings a Zohar that clearly states that the “Father and Mother” (walk the kallah to the Chupah) bring the Kallah to the Choson under the Chupah.
    Therefore we can assume that this is not a modern custom nor is it against the spirit of Tznius.

  5. To the author of this article – Do you have children? Did you marry off any children? If the answer is no to either of those questions you have no right to offer your opinion on the matter since you cannot possibly relate to it.

    If you answered yes then I wonder why you decided this is a Narisha Zach? In many seforim it talks about the Minhagim and there are reasons brought down. There are even explanations as to why it should be a married couple escorting the Choson or Kalla and what to do if R”L a parent is not alive. So don’t belittle the Inyan with your rant and your personal opinions.

    Yes Reb Yaakov is a gadol and his approach is wonderful. Did you know that Rav Pam held that the Choson and Kalla are to follow the Minhagim of their parents until the morning after the Chasuna and only then does the Kalla take on her husbands Minhagim. Where is this an issue? if the Kalla must put on a Sheitel or not after the Chupa. It happened to me and Rav Pam told my wife (then Kalla) that she should follow her fathers Minhag until the morning after the Chasuna and that I had no right to impose my Minhag on her. To Rav Pam the Choson and Kalla listen to their parents until the naxt day so the parents have the right to their Minhagim through the Chasuna. In this case if the Minhagim are different then it needs to be worked out – but don’t knock the concept the way you did.

    Parents raise their children. They go through the Tzar giddul Bonim they were Zoche to as they raised their child. Now they have a strong emothional attachment to wanting to walk this child who TOGETHER they raised down to the Chupa. They are not wrong for wanting that. I am not saying it is worth a fight but I certainly am saying they have every right to their strong feelings. At the Bris of their son the mother and father were given the Brocha to be Megadel Ltorah Ulichuppa – so now that the Brocho is Mekuyam at the Chupa they should be told they cannot walk him down?

    I know a lady who lost her husband when her son was young. She raised him alone and went through the Gehenom of being an Almono and having to raise her family alone. Should she be deprived the overwhelming feeling of gratitude she has to HKB”H that she can bring her son down to his Chupa by being told she cannot walk him down because it has to be father father mother mother? This boy has no father so let his mother walk him down!

    This whole article shows you the author to be a person who lacks in Middos and lacks in sensitivity tio the feelings of others. Your ego and dismissivness is repulsive.

    Shame on you.

    All that needed to be said was that if there are issues let’s try to work them out rather then letting then become a full blown Machlokes.

  6. Walking one’s child to the chupa takes only a few minutes, then your children hopefully will spend a happy lifetime together, so why make an issue of who is walking who down the aisle? My husband and I married off 7 children bli ayin horah and we defered to the minhag of the mechutonim, sometimes we both walked down together, other times it was the 2 fathers and the 2 mothers. There’s no reason to squabble over this issue.

  7. If you look in the Halachos of the Nine Days, the Kvaterin – wife of the Kvater – is allowed to wear Shabbos clothes, whereas the Kvater isn’t. The reason given is that this is the only Kibbud for the women.

    The original Minhag Ashkenaz was to have the Chuppah right after Davening. Thus, the Choson was already in Shul – along with the fathers. The Kalloh was brought to Shul after Davening by the mothers. This is the basis for the Minhag. This continued, even after weddings were made in wedding halls, rather than in Shul.

    This has nothing to do with Chassidim, Tznius or Frumkeit. Whoever says that this is only a Minhag & it may be overlooked, must be on the level of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, not a caterer, a wedding planner or a journalist.
    I’d rather not personally attack the writer of the article, but considering that each Minhag does have a basis in Halacha I must challenge all who call old Minhogim “egotistic”, “silly”, “stupid” or Naarish”: Are you smarter, wiser or more knowledgeable than the Gedolimn of previous generations who followed these Minhogim?

    BTW, I’ve made two weddings & I gave in to the other sides demands on this Minhag both times.

  8. You are 100% wrong. It is not about kovod, or a “naarishe hangup” as you call it. It is about following mesorah at that special moment when you are passing on to the next generation, when your children are on the threshold of beginning their own family al pi our mesorah.

    From my own observations, this issue doesn’t come up so strongly when there is a real minhag on one side to walk down father-mother (as is the case among those who come from a real Litvishe background). The issue comes up when one side wants to change their own minhag, and walk down father-mother because it is “nice” and “special” etc.

    I know that if I am put into this situation with my children (who are b’h still young), and the other side wants to walk down father-mother when it is not their true minhag, I would not budge one inch. If you are not going to follow your mesorah and minhag at your child’s chupah, when else?

  9. What a fantastic article. This is right on. And don’t tell me about mesorah. This has nothing to do with mesorah at all. If you think it does, you are ignorant of halacha.

  10. Actually, you would have a bigger issue if both sides adopt Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky zatsal’s “minhag” than if both sides fight it out.

    It reminds of the time I stood behind two people at the door of shul each one insisted that the other go in first. I and they would have all missed Barchu if I had not ordered one of them to go in and stop the narishkeit.

    In secular terms, altruistic systems do not reach equilibrium.

  11. Yes, it is easy to preach Shalom. And I agree, we should aspire to Rav Yaakov’s model. But as a (still young) parent, (my oldest is just 8 years old), I would definitely want to walk my own children down to the chuppah, not their future spouses, whom I am sure I will love as well.
    This is a very emotional and significant milestone, hence the phrase “walk my children to the chuppah”, and you can not blame anyone for refusing to give up that right.

  12. If you stick to your own kreizen, this would never happen. And this is only the beginning:Nusach, gebrokts, chinuch etc. etc.

  13. While it’s true that R’ Yaakov’s attitude shows his greatness for respecting other people’s minhagim, please bear in mind that many Rabbonim (yes, chashuva Rabbonim in our communities) are of the opinion that couples accompanying their children is not permitted.

    People ask their shailos, and have to live with the p’sak given. Yes, it sometimes seems that we are dealing with different religions when different p’saks oppose each other so strongly. But when we ask, we must abide. And it’s true that this is often made more difficult by the specific, often emotional, circumstances that lead one side or the other to have such a strong opinion.

    Often the only thing left to do is to put aside the emotions involved (easier said than done), and discuss the total picture with your Rav/Rabbonim to come to an agreeable decision.

    And don’t forget that this is a Simcha to enjoy, not eat your heart out. Mazel Tov!

  14. Your point is so so true. I have seen (and am still seeing) how several families have unfortunatly been destroyed, with young children of course, due to stupidities of the parents for their pride… (and not wanting to “give up” their children..)

    It may be time we start telling these parent how feel of their destructive behavior!

  15. It’s sad that there needs to be a “Fight” over it. It should be worked out and let the children see how their parents work out disagreements! Let the parents teach by example! BUT, dear writer, pleae do NOT poke fun at minhagim. As for the minhag of father/mother etc., it’s a clear Zohar that that’s the way it ought be! It’s in Parashs B’reshis.

  16. #12 – your ignorance in Sifrei Kedoshim speaks volumes. It is brought down in many places, there are Tshuvos from previous and heintiga Poskim and it most certainly is about Mesorah.

    A Yodeiah (your screen name) you are not!

  17. your grandparents and greatgrandparents were killed because they fought to keep minhagim, torah and mitzvos, and now you think that you can just throw minhagim and tradition aside and go with the “feeling” that you need to walk your “favorite” son or daughter down the aisle, ignoring hundreds of years of mesorah

  18. #22 —

    So, you think that this is something worth scuttling the shidduch over?

    Or should two people with different minhagim in this matter not get married?

    The Wolf

  19. Reb Yaakov ZT”L did what the other side WANTED not only what was their minhag.
    He did not try to justify the other side, he did not just be mevater, he just asked what they wanted and followed along.
    That’s a whole lotta Gadlus.
    (Yes, I heard it from him first hand).

  20. I asked Reb Yaakov Kamencki OB”M this question. He responded that by his children half were done one way & half the other way. I asked what was the deciding factor? Reb Yaakov said “whatever the other sided wanted”.

  21. Do you allow this Americanah minhag of the small children “walking down” after the choson & before the kalah? That’s against all yidishe minhagim.

  22. #23 – not fair. 22 is not saying to fight. All he is saying is there is a Mesorah and there are minhagim and we should not just push them aside as meaningless.

  23. usually its much deeper than just walking down. It has to do if one side does not keep their word on anything, and just use that as an excuse.

  24. i think that people should respect tradition. I also think that people should honor their word. If this was a big issue, it must have been discussed, an agreement must have occurred, and one party or the other reneged on it.

  25. Gushy feelings do not go before Mesorah. Don’t tell me “Of course I would want to walk my child down” If that is what your Bobbes and Zeides did, fine. But if not, you should be Machnea your desires to your minhagim. At a time when your ancestors are present (their neshamos come down to the chuppah) wouldn’t you want them to recognize their derech of doing things. I am not saying to make a big stink over it; but don’t treat your minhag asa a convenience to be gotten rid of when you arent’ dinterested.

  26. While I believe machatonim should not “fight” over anything, I cannot imagine how you consider both sides trying to maintain longstanding minhagim “stupid”, nor can I understand why you would say objecting to secular music (and yes, “Eye of the Tiger” is secular music, from a movie) is a “naarishe hang-up”. Do traditional Jewish values mean nothing to you? Of course, things should be worked out amicably, but you treat these issues as though they were as trivial as the colors of the tablecloths.

  27. If this is what yoddishkeit has come down to, this petty immature shtus, I have nothing to say to anyone who chooses to intermarry and leaev. We are truly pathetic both to ourselves and any half sane observer. Ask youselves who walked Avraham and Sarah to the chuppah, and the point is who cares? get lives people there are more pressing things in the world to address than this nonsense.

  28. It is always upsetting to see people talk others down. How much more so when it comes from missunderstanding. It seems the author of the above article was questioning the arguing and stubborness to reach a compromise (via a competent posek who can judge considering both sides, of course). Most definitely mesorah is not something easily waved aside nor is a parents desire to walk there own child down the aisile. However what most responses above failed to address was that each set of parents have the same legitimate concerns and when each individually insist on their own minhag, as right as try may be, they obviously cannot both keep their mesorah. Who’s mesorah do we follow? Can we dare say one is more important than the other? It is clear that a compromise or a deferment to the other side is the only way to solve the problem. Where each side to stick to their respective minhag albeit L’shem Shamayim, there would be no way settle the dissagrement. A posek should be consulted they should agree to abide by his ruling. The narish keit is the adamant refusal to budge at the risk of the shidduch the couples happiness and the future relationships. The author is not belittling the mesorah or a parents feelings on the matter. It is obvious that the mesorah allows for compromise in a case that cannot be reconsiled by insisting on following their own mesorah to the letter.

  29. to #22:
    Your grandparents probably also worked hard for sholom. Our mesorah is also that a person should do all that it takes to keep the peace!
    When you make a wedding, if sholom is your top priority then it will remain so! I just married off my daughter, and it was our priority and that of my mechutanim and it was terrific! But it didn’t come from nothing- both of us were mevater on different things throughout the simcha, and the happiness and calm that resulted in all those decisions outweighed by far, anything else.
    so what if the flowers weren’t perfect, or they forgot to purchase the shnops for the wedding, or other incidentals?
    What was more important was that we became very close with them and had no arguments!

    My husband’s rosh yeshiva, a true gadol, allowed one of his children to have a mitzvah tanz even though he is a real litvak- for peace.
    It doesn’t mean we all have to throw away our minhagim, but if there is a choice of sholom or minhagim, ask a shaila, and try to work things out, but getting into an argument can’t ever me the mesoradik way of conducting business.

  30. Being mevater is the number one rule when dealing with new mechutanim, and with all other people for that matter. Be mevater on the location of the wedding, the color of the flowers, the amount spent on photography, etc etc. Minhagim and Mesorah are not the place to be mevater. If your minhagim are truly different try to work things out; consult your respective poskim for guidance if necessary. The phenomenon of couples whose family Mesorah is clearly to walk down “father father, mother mother” and for sentimental reasons they have decided to change Minhag Avoseihem, is a big problem in our generation. To be mevater to the mesorah of the other side which differs from your own is one thing, to be mevater to the narishkeit(belashon n’kiya) of those who wish to change their own minhagim is quite another.

  31. When I married off my first daughter, she had one request, only one request to ask of her parents. She said, the details don’t matter to my chosen and myself, the only thing that matters is “shalom Bayes”.

    I cannot tell you how many times I bit my tongue and held back my comments.

    Every time there was a disagreement between the parents, I simply asked the kids which way they wanted to handle the issue. They decided, with the help of THEIR Rov, and that was that.

    Since I was taking care of the simcha, once I had my answer from the kids I went forward. No more discussion.

    And for the record, we have maintained a very cordial relationship with our machatunim.

    Sometimes, we can learn from our children.

  32. “If this is what yoddishkeit has come down to, this petty immature shtus, I have nothing to say to anyone who chooses to intermarry and leaev. We are truly pathetic both to ourselves and any half sane observer. Ask youselves who walked Avraham and Sarah to the chuppah, and the point is who cares? get lives people there are more pressing things in the world to address than this nonsense.”

    Perhaps you could show a bit more respect for other people’s minhagim?

  33. Where was there ever a so-called minhug or mesorah that the parents (father and mother) each walk down with the choson (and kallah) — as opposed to f/f w/the choson and m/m w/the kallah?

  34. Had this article been written saying, “nothing is worth fighting about; when there is conflict, ask a Rav”, the point would have been made without belittling anyone’s beliefs. However, to refer to people’s longstanding minhagim, and their desires to limit their simchas to Jewish music, as “naarish” and “stupid”, demeans people’s legitimate concerns.

  35. i just want to point out, the side that asks a shailah from a well respected rabbi, and gets an answer to stick with a minhag has every right to argue with someone who doesnt even feel the need to ask anybody and does whatever they want

  36. I had this same problem. I asked HaRav Hagaon E. Greenblatt formerly of Memphis TN. what to do? He responded that both sides need to respect each others minhogim. Until the Kallah enters the home of the Chossan she needs to follow the customs of her father’s home, after which all of the minhogim follow the Chosson.

  37. #42: I agree with you, except that sometimes a person has to take the ‘high road’. If a person has a mechutan who insists on something against their minhag (not wishing that on anybody- since most people are accommodating) then you would have to present the WHOLE story to the rav, including the part that it might cause machlokes. If that is the case, perhaps the outcome of the shailah might be different. (I guess the case would be if two families have opposing minhagim, or if one is vehemently against a mitzvah tanz, whereas the other side insists on one- with the whole shebang…)

    That is one of the reasons why people like to marry their own type- to avoid machlokes, but sometimes it’s still unavoidable, and remember you are not marrying your mechutan- it’s their child and yours who are getting married, so keep it in perspective.

  38. for all of you the proper thing to do when a dispute comes up is ask your LOR. what ever he says goes and there are legitimate reason for both sides of the argument

  39. seems that there are two sides to this issue. On one side we have the old fashion (tzirikgablibene) Minhag/traditionalists, mesorah, etc. of which, by the way, I am. And on the other side we have the forward thinking, up to date, touchy, feely, emotional, close to the child type, keep up with the Jones, progressive thinking, modern, fashionistas etc.
    For us old fashioned folks, we need to at least equally respect the other sides minhag if it is different, and to them I say as Reb Yakov would, that the one who acquiesces, is the better one. When the conflict arises with one side being a traditionalist, and the other a modern (or call it what you want)asking das Torah is NOT the answer, because for the modern side it is not a question of minhag etc. it IS a matter of the heart, and for that you don’t need a Shulchan Aruch, and a Shulchan Aruch doesn’t help. I would strongly question the shidduch of two such disparate families. In such a case there may be no other choice but to fight it out, because honestly they are both right

  40. People should keep in mind that is such a bracha to have to “worry” about this type of thing. Just a generation ago, how many people went to the chuppah without any parents? Lo aleinu. Everyone should just daven that they be zoche to see their child’s chuppah. Lo aleinu, my sister was missing a parent at her chuppah (my husband and I walked her along with the remaining parent, she wanted that parent alone to walk her, but the mesader kedushin said she needed to have a married couple,in addition to the remaining parent) and my brother was mammash a yosom at his chasunah, NO PARENTS (his Rav and wife walked him). I know of someone who is a chasunah musician for many many years. I have heard that there is machlokes of one sort or another before every chasunah, but everyone smiles and somehow it all works out. It is really very ugly when it it not worked out in a menschlach fashion. Nebach, even fistfights and brawling at a chasunah once. B”H the couple is married many many years with einiklach already, but this kind of behavior is not a siman tov. Focus on the brocha and be mevater.

  41. I know this will probably sound very ignorant, but logically I cant imagine how often the situation arises. People generally (of course there are always yotzei min haklal) marry within their own circles. Someone litvish who learned in yeshiva X and who has sons learning there, will likely look for a son in law from yeshiva X, and he would have the same minhagim as he… (originally from the same place etc)

    On the other hand, is it worth possibly risking the shidduch (C”V) because one side wants this and the other wants that? So many times in Davening we ask for Shalom. Sim Shalom, Oseh Shalom… I know Minhagim are very important to uphold but after 120, would you like to say this situation arose and you made sure to keep Minhagim at any cost or say that you gave in?

  42. to number 47 the problem is in torah law there is no such thing as a matter of the heart , every case and situation in life is written in the torah or gemara etc. one cant decide for themselves to do what they “feel” is right. maybe i decided capital punishment doesn’t sit well with me should i just ban beis din from doing so? im not saying not to have feelings but one should not make up misguided feelings and do whatever makes themselves happy. and if there is a shaila about what to do in any situation

  43. …one should always have a rov or rebbe that they can ask a shaila what to do. many feel that they do not need a rov because they are smarter and more with the program and the rabbis are from the olden days, personally i think that is the problem to begin with..

  44. Totally agree with 52. Instead of belittling the issues of minhagim and mesorah as the author of the article and many commenters seem to do, keep focused on marrying off your children bederech avoseinu hakdoshim. This is the perfect recipe for ensuring that they are truly zoche to a bayis neeman. As for being mevater, Shalom is always of utmost importance, but our own emotions have no bearing on observance of Halacha and Minhagim. If those issues are unclear ask a Shaila from a Rav, don’t start arguing with machatonim!

  45. I have an idea. Dor Yeshorim should also collect data on non-negotiable wedding minhagim. When a shiduch is proposed that will involve clashes over minhagim, the shadchan/families should be told that the shiduch should no go through. Prblem solved.

  46. The idea of asking a rav a shaila concerning who should walk who down the aisle is ridiculous. There are no halachos here so there is no halachic decision to be made. Stop with the Pavlovian “ask a shaila” response. Grow up and deal with it on a normal and menschlichkeit level. If you can’t solve such a na’arishe issue then you’re in for some nasty surprises when real life hits you.

  47. maybe i decided capital punishment doesn’t sit well with me should i just ban beis din from doing so? Did not Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon take exactly that position in the Mishna?

    If parents cannot resolve this matters in a peaceful and friendly fashion, I propose we return to the minhag at the time of the gemara where the bride’s family did not even show up for the chupah but just sent the girl along to the Chosson’s house via shlichim.

    If we would return to the minhag of having weddings on Friday afternoon with a home cooked shabbos meal to follow, we could both uphold an old minhag and save a lot of money.

  48. I B’H have married children.
    I and my husband raised our children (with Hashem’s constant help!), to the wonderful people they are today B’H. We took our children to the chupa. Our children layed under my heart for 9 months and I feel very strongly about this matter. I was there for the good and the bad, i.e., when they were sick and sat all night on a chair in their room etc, I kept two jobs to help pay for their tuition on time to their Yeshivas and believe we should have the “kavod” of taking our children to the chupa. And, unfortunately R’L my beloved Parnts Z’TL were orphans without parents or siblings from the war and had to have married friends take them to their chupa.
    Comment #7 was correct in his opinion and put very well.
    Wishing the young couple to build a bait neeman b’Yisrael with an abundance of HAGEFEN!