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 The Bedeking Ceremony: The Veiling of the Bride
A Conservative Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

After the ketubah is signed, the groom may choose to lower the veil over his bride’s face. This recalls the biblical nuptial episode. Jacob’s father-in-law Laban put his daughter, Leah, in place of Jacob’s chosen bride, Rachel. The deception was possible because of the heavy veil brides wore. When the groom personally veils the bride, it’s a kind of insurance policy against bridal surprises.

As a groom lowers the veil over his bride’s face, he affects a lovely symbolism. Just as his bride's face is enveloped by the veil, so will love envelope the couple. This covering is known as the bedeking (or bedecken or bedekung). In many Conservative weddings, this is a private ceremony performed where the ketubah is signed.

Witnesses to the bedeking chant the words said to Rebecca as she left her father’s home to marry Isaac. “Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands and tens of thousands” (Genesis 24:60)

Parents, parents-in-law, and others approach the bride and bless her with personal words and wishes or the traditional blessing: “May the L-rd make you as Sara, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.”


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