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Rabbi Rafi RankDear Cyber Rav,

My son lives out in New Mexico (is this a place for a nice Jewish boy?) and is getting married the first week in November.   I want to know if there is any customary rulings or ancient traditions about when to celebrate the Aufruf.  Getting the entire family together on Long Island is almost impossible, with one boy in New Hampshire, my daughter in Florida, cousins in California, and my future daughter’s-in-law family in Wisconsin.  For some strange reason, many of us will be together for the Fourth of July in New Mexico (don’t ask!), and there is a shul there (again, don’t ask!), but the thought occurred to my wife that we should do the Aufruf at that time in New Mexico.  I’m telling her—four months in advance of the wedding?  That’s crazy.  She says there’s crazier things in Judaism than that.  I don’t know if this is proper.  So am I crazy, is Judaism crazy, is my wife crazy…?  Throw a little wisdom our way, CyberRav.  My son and my future daughter-in-law (I love her to bits) deserve a proper blessing.

The Awful Aufruf Predicament


Dear The Awful Aufruf Predicament,

First of all,  Mazal Tov on your son's upcoming marriage.  Secondly, neither you nor your wife are crazy.  Your son found a nice girl to share life with so even without an Aufruf, already he and she are blessed!  As for customary rulings or ancient traditions about when to celebrate the Aufruf, I’ll tell you something interesting—the Ashkenazim bless the couple before the wedding and the Sefardim bless the couple after the wedding.  Already, we see, there are options here.  The fact is that there  are no hard and fast rules as to when you can have an Aufruf.  Aufruf is a minhag, a custom, and is not a matter of halakhah (Jewish law), though I have to tell you that your choice of the Fourth of July weekend is far more in advance of the wedding than is typical.  And yet, I understand your wife—the family is together so what would be so terrible about blessing this engaged couple? 

Here's my recommendation: do it twice.  Do it in New Mexico when so many of the family is together, and then do it again a week or two before the wedding on Long Island which would be more in line with the traditional Ashkenazik custom.

Can you have an aufruf twice?  Why not?  It's a blessing and you can never be blessed too many times! 

Rabbi Rafi Rank


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