At a meeting with Rabbi Yehoram Ulman and Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Harav Dovid Lau signed the certificates of over 75 shluchim and rabbonim who participated in Machon Smicha’s Chuppah v’Kiddushin course; and stressed the necessity for rabbis to be proficient in these matters.
Exploring from the Shulchan Aruch and commentaries all the way down to the practical halachos and customs of officiating at a wedding, participants of the Machon Smicha course from across the world spent three months over the summer delving deeply into the halachos of chuppah v’kiddushin, with a special focus on the areas of birur yahadus and birur yuchsin, (ascertaining Jewish identity and halachic marriage compatibility.)
Two experts in the field, Rabbi Yehoram Ulman of Sydney, and Rabbi Mordechai Farkash of Seattle, delivered shiurim throughout the course, drawing upon their wealth of knowledge and experience to enlighten and empower the course participants.
“We received tremendously positive feedback from the course,” said Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman, Machon Smicha Director, “from the shliach gearing up to perform his first wedding to the veteran rov who married off dozens of couples; everyone learnt, grew, and came away better equipped to deal with the various aspects of officiating a wedding.”
Last week, Rabbi Ulman and Rabbi Kesselman met with Israel’s Chief Rabbi Harav Dovid Lau in Yerushalayim for the signing of the certificates.
At the meeting, the chief rabbi expressed his approval for the course, and emphasized the pressing need for all shluchim and rabbonim involved in officiating or arranging weddings to become proficient in the relevant halachos. Particularly in places where there is no central authority or beis din that ascertains a couple’ eligibility to get married, it is the responsibility of every shliach and rabbi to be as knowledgeable as possible.
Rabbi Ulman spoke of his extensive experience dealing with matters of birur yahadus and yuchsin, and was pleased to report that because of the course, a heightened sense of awareness has already been raised amongst the shluchim, and that some potentially unfortunate situations have been avoided. The recent story involving a Muslim man who masqueraded a Jew and was married by a rabbi to a Jewish girl was discussed, driving home the importance taking these matters seriously.
“We want to empower as many shluchim and rabbonim as possible,” concluded Rabbi Kesselman, “and look forward to running the course again.”
The next Chuppah v’Kiddushin course starts right after Chanukah. To learn more, or to enroll, go to onlinemachon.com/chuppah.
Photos by Yehoshua Deston