The Rebbe Wanted Chosson and Kalla to Be Private

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From the Inbox: The Rebbe advised against couples taking pictures together during the engagement photo. The Rebbe’s advice isn’t just about following rules; it’s about valuing privacy, especially in today’s times.

By Yosef F.

In the Lubavitch community, the words of the Rebbe carry a lot of weight. One thing he advised against was taking engagement pictures. The Rebbe believed it was important for couples to keep their relationship private and modest, especially before marriage.

Yet despite this advice, some people today ignore it and go ahead with elaborate engagement photoshoots and social media posts. As some might not realize they’re going against the Rebbe’s teachings, prioritizing showing off over respecting the Rebbe.

Altogether the Rebbe’s advice isn’t just about following rules; it’s about valuing privacy, and especially in today’s times. Knowing that in a world where social media often dictates what’s normal, it’s tough to resist sharing every moment online.

One time, Rabbi Leibel Groner related that the Rebbe also asked him to publicize his displeasure with the following, “It recently has become endemic that Chossan and Kallah come together after their engagement party for pictures. Even more, they take pictures together in a photo studio…”

Lastly, the Rebbe once told an individual during yechidus, “In heaven they’re ashamed of the fact that Chossan and Kallah are photographed together before their wedding.”

I might add that engagement pictures might seem harmless, but they represent a bigger struggle. It’s not about being old-fashioned; it’s about finding strength and beauty in values that stand the test of time.

As an aside, there is also no need for the bombardment of photos when people go to the Ohel for personal time. Respecting other people is highly important. Outwardly it might not seem a big deal but it can affect more than you think.

We should all merit to make many many simchas and Mazel Tovs.

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  1. This is all the more concerning, considering the recent trend to take picture immediately after the Chosson and Kallah emerge from the Ohel.
    הגם לכבוש את המלכה עמי בבית?!

    1. Please post what year this was, as when I became a kallah (1980s) , there was no such issue. We took a few pictures at our “vort”, it was not a no-no, or we never would have even thought to do so

      1. In the Sefer ‘mazel tov’ it speaks about dating and engagement/wedding according to The Rebbe with sources, I’ve read in there not to take pictures before the wedding together. Also… Not to wish the chossid and kallah mazel tov till after they wash negel vasser from the ohel

  2. Families should not be going to the ohel to pounce on the chosson and kallah and party while others are trying to have their holy experience. Its so accepted no one thinks twice, but how much nicer would it be if the chassan kallah and parents go to the ohel themselves, have a proper intimate time, without pressure of answering calls and being on show and the family and friends could wait for them in crown heights and party there. Would save the embarrassing croc photos.

    1. Are there any sources for this, other than people saying things.

      As well, in a age where literally every moment of every person’s life is photographed on phones, the context of our times should be considered.

      Just some things to consider.

  3. The Rebbe’s issue with the picture wasn’t the photo per se, it was about the chosson and kalla spending unnecessary time together before they are married.

    The Rebbe said the more closeness before the chassuna, the less there will be after. And the Rebbe attributed certain issues to too much closeness before. Ask R’ Shlomo Zarchi, he knows many stories from the Rebbe about that.

    I know that people think it’s crazy, but so is getting engaged after meeting a handful of times. We don’t go by the goyishe way in dating and marriage. We are building a home al yesodei haorah vehamitzva as the Rebbe writes.

    What is ironic is that some people are very frum about not having any photo taken of them together, but they will spend time together between the engagement and the chassuna, exactly what the Rebbe didn’t want.

  4. Concerning Chossonim and Kallahs after the vort until the wedding:

    First of all, as mentioned above the Rebbe said that they should not take pictures together and especially not at any photo shop.

    Secondly, the Rebbe objected to an engaged Chossan and Kallah even flying on the same plane together – to the extent that because of it the Rebbe refused to be the mesader kiddushin at their wedding despite their claim to the Rebbe that they didn’t know it was unacceptable.

    Thirdly, the Rebbe opposed any meeting between them altogether.
    Despite the story when Rabbi Leible Groner was a chooson where the Rebbe told him that he could meet not more than once a week – that was back then in 1954 when the situation was half normal and people were more decent. However, already in 1962 apparently when the Rebbe saw what was happening with all the hefkerus and breeches in tznius/yichud by engaged couples the Rebbe took off all the customary wedding date restrictions of not getting married the second half of every month, (except Adar,Elul & Kislev where the whole month was mazaldik) Lag Ba’omer, shloshes yemey hagbala before Shavuos – and said that it’s not proper for Jews and especially not for chossidim to meet before the wedding; they should concise the time in between as much as possible and just get married asap.
    See the Rebbe’s letter printed in Shaarey Halacha uminhog chelek daled page 92

    Here is another story furthering the issue.

    Reb Yeshaya Hertzel relates:
    As a choson, I was aware of the Rebbe’s directive not to meet the kallah during the engagement period, so we never met. However, when Purim came my family managed to convince me that it’s alright if she joins us in a family setting for the seudah since she will sit at a separate table. Since I conceded regarding Purim, as Pesach approached I was pressured again to have my kallah come for a yom tov meal. I wrote in to the Rebbe asking what to do and received the following response: “Al horishonim onu mitzta’arim vechulu v’ata ba l’hosif aleihem?!” [“We are still pained over the earlier ones, and now you want to add to them” – Rashi on Shemos 18:2], meaning that the Rebbe was still pained from the Purim incident, and it was obviously out of the question.
    (Bakodesh Chazisicha, page 85)

  5. People of all walks of life are coming to daven for a yeshua for whatever it is that they need in their life and they are subject to the chaos of shrieking and jumping (of females as well!). What other rude disturbance.

    Not just from a ruchniyus position, but basic normal manners.

    Why would anyone other than the parents come to the Ohel.

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