The Mitzvah Tantz (Part 2)

(This should not be relied upon for practical halacha. When a question arises a Rabbi should be consulted.)

Who Dances

1. Father- The Sefer Mor V’Ohalos (page 82b) maintains that the father of the kallah may dance with his daughter without using the gartel. He explains that many poskim rule that a father may have physical contact with his daughter and so the use of the gartel is rendered unnecessary.

This was also the view of Harav Moshe Stern zt”l. He adds that many great rabbis also followed this practice (shu”t Beer Moshe 4:132). Harav Gavriel Zinner shlit”a (Netai Gavriel Nisuin page 272) writes that the author of the Sefer Kol Aryeh, the Minchas Elazar of Munkatch, the Vayaged Moshe of Pupa, the Rebbe of Kasson, the Imrei Chaim of Vizhnitz, and the Ahavas Yisroel of Vizhnitz all danced with their daughters without a gartel.

2. Harav Zinner shlit”a continues that the leaders of Chernobyl, Nadvorna and Bobov all had the custom to dance with their daughters using a gartel.

3. Harav Yosef Greenwald zt”l and Harav Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam zt”l would dance before their daughters without holding a gartel.

4. The father of the chosson is not allowed to have physical contact with his daughter in law and must, at the very least, use a gartel.

5. Grandfather- The Beis Shmuel (Even Haezer 21:14) cites the Chelkas Mechokek and the Bach who both permit a grandfather to have physical contact with his granddaughter. He does note, however, that the Ran seems to rule stringently. While the Beis Shmuel attempts to find a source for the lenient view, it is unclear whether he rules leniently for normative halacha.

Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe Even Haezer 4:63) writes that it appears to him that the Beis Shmuel also allows for a grandfather to have contact with his granddaughter. One can argue that according to the Bach, Beis Shmuel, and the Chelkas Mechokek a grandfather can perform the mitzvah tantz without the use of a gartel.

6. Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, in his first volume of Igros Moshe Even Haezer (60), explains that there may be a distinction between a paternal granddaughter (his son’s daughter) and a maternal granddaughter (his daughter’s daughter). There is more room to be lenient with a maternal granddaughter, than a paternal granddaughter. He explains that the daughter is an extension of her mother and any contact with the daughter will remind the person of her mother. Therefore, physical contact with a maternal granddaughter is permitted because it will only remind the father of his daughter, who he is also permitted to touch. However, a paternal granddaughter will remind him of his daughter in law, a woman with whom he may not have any contact. He concludes that while one should be machmir and not have contact with his paternal granddaughter, one should not rebuke those who rule leniently. Yet, in the fourth volume of Even Haezer (ibid.) he notes that the common custom is to permit contact with both forms of granddaughters. (see also Shevet Halevi 5:198)

7. Harav Moshe Stern zt”l (shu”t Beer Moshe 4:133) was asked whether a grandfather may perform the mitzvah tantz with his granddaughter. He writes that one would only be permitted to do so with the use of a gartel. He explains that the aforementioned poskim, who permit physical contact between a granddaughter and grandfather, only allowed this in private. In public one should refrain from all physical contact so as to not lead others to become lenient in these areas of halacha.

8. All other relatives of the kallah may not dance with the kallah without the use of the gartel.

9. The chosson- Harav Gavriel Zinner shlit”a writes that many have the custom that the chosson dances with the kallah without the use of a gartel. He continues to cite the custom among Nadvorna Chassidim that the chosson uses a gartel when dancing with the kallah. The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l told Harav Zinner that he has never heard of the custom of the chosson and kallah dancing together without the use of a gartel.

10. Harav Dovid Harfenes (Vayivarech David page 279) warns that care should be taken that no one else dance with the chosson and kallah. In addition, no men should watch them dance.

11. The custom among many Chassidic sects, (Belz, Sanz, Square, Vizhnitz and Amshinov), is that single men are not present during the mitzvah tantz. It goes without saying that a single man should not participate in the mitzvah tantz (Netai Gavriel ibid. See also shu”t Mishneh Halachos 7:249).

Assorted Hallachos

12. It is customary for badchanim to rejoice with the chosson and kallah during the mitzvah tantz. The badchan also calls up each person to dance with the kallah (Hanisuin Kesidram chapter 21).

13. Some give charity before dancing with the kallah (Netai Gavriel chapter 45:8).

14. During the dance there is a custom to announce the words “Shabbos Shabbos.” (Sefer Mataamim Chosson V’Kallah 115)

15. Harav Dovid Harfenes rules that there is a need for a mechitzah during the mitzvah tantz. This way no other men can see the kallah dance. He explains that while in earlier seforim it says that there is no need for a mechitzah due to the immense holiness of the mitzvah tantz, unfortunately, the times have changed and there is a need to place boundaries to protect those present from sin (Vayivarech David Nisuin 96).

Harav Meir Brandosdorfer zt”l and Harav Yitzchak Weiss zt”l also feel that there should be a mechitzah separating the men and the women during the mitzvah tantz. The mechitzah should be placed in such a way that the men cannot see the women but the women can still see the kallah dancing (see shu”t Koneh Bosem 2:108).

16. The Tzaddikim of Nadvorna, Vizhnitz and Square all had the custom for the kallah to wear her veil during the mitzvah tantz (Netai Gavriel ibid.).

17. The chosson does not perform the mitzvah tantz with the kallah when she is a nidah (Taharas Yisroel 192:35), even with the use of a gartel (Netai Gavriel page 283).

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