Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Seating Arrangements at Weddings
R. Yehuda Henkin, Bnei Banim vol. 4 - $10  buy it now

R. Yehuda Henkin wrote a lengthy analysis of seating practices at weddings in the first volume of Bnei Banim (no. 35; dated 2 Adar 5737 [1977]). In it, he concluded that while the practice of mixed seating can be halakhically defended, it is proper to seat single men and women separately even if married couples are seated together. He also stated that those who seat even married men and women at separate tables "are called holy," and noted that his grandfather (R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin zt"l) "and other great [scholars] of his generation" had separate tables for men and women at the weddings of their children.

In the most recent volume of Bnei Banim, in a footnote to a responsum on an unrelated topic (no. 19, p. 72; date 27 Adar 5762 [2002]), R. Henkin partially retracts his earlier ruling and advises that single men and women who are "in the parashah," i.e. looking for a spouse, should be seated together. He writes:

And with this I retract what I wrote... that at weddings it is proper to seat single men and single women separately even if the married couples sit together. This is [still] so with young men and women who are not yet ready to get married. However, regarding those who have reached that stage, to the opposite, it is a mitzvah so that they get to know each other in a place where there is no concern for yihud and each couple is not alone on a "date," as is done today...

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