Bedeken (Veiling of the Kallah)

    After the ketubah is signed, the chatan approaches the kallah and lifts the veil over her face. The custom of bedeken recalls the predicament of Jacob, our forefather, who thought he was marrying Rachel only to discover, after the ceremony, that he had married Leah. The tradition now is that a chatan and kallah see each other before the ceremony thereby avoiding such confusion.

    The veiling of the kallah makes her hekdesh (literally, set apart in holiness) and symbolizes what the chatan values most in the kallah. Beauty may fade with time but the woman's spiritual qualities are something she will never lose. The veil, which physically separates chatan and kallah, also serves to remind them that they remain distinct individuals even as they unite in marriage.