1. Aufruf is a Yiddish term which means calling up. It refers to the calling up of the groom to the Torah prior to his wedding.
Chosson Needs Shmirah
2. A chosson should not walk alone and requires protection. Technically, however, the Shulchan Aruch rules (EH 64:1) that this applies only after the wedding itself takes place. The Eliyahu Rabbah (OC 669), however, writes that a chosson is considered a melech even before the wedding. The Bikkurei Yaakov indicates that it is from the beginning of the week of the wedding. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l suggests that it begins on the Motzei Shabbos before the wedding—even though the aufruf takes place earlier (Shalmei Simcha p. 121).
3. There are two reasons for the shmirah. In Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer (Chapter 16) the indication is that it is on account of kavod – honor – just as a king does not go out in the marketplace alone, so too a chosson does not go out alone. The Gemara in Brachos 54b, however, writes that there are three that require protection: a choleh, a chosson and a kallah. The Tosfos Ri writes that this is because the satan is mekatraig during a time of simcha.
4. Rav Shlomo Zalman ruled that if a chosson does not have anyone to accompany him to shul, he should go anyway, since nowadays there are many others on the road.
5. The Yaavetz in his Hagaos to Brachos 54b indicates that a chosson should not be alone in his house.
6. A child is sufficient to be considered a shomer if he or she has reached the age of instruction, according to many poskim. Some say that there is a minimum age of 9 years of age.
The Aliyah to the Torah (Aufruf)
7. It is the custom among Ashkenazim for the groom to be called to the Torah on the Shabbos before the wedding. This is called, “Shabbos sh’mezamrin lo, the Shabbos that they sing to him.” [It appears that the custom was that they sing to the groom at the time that he is called up to the Torah, after he has recited the bracha that comes after the reading].
When There Are Others to be Called
8. This obligation [of calling the groom up to the Torah] comes before the obligation to call up anyone else who has an obligation to receive an aliyah.
When There Is a Yahrzeit
9. Even if someone has a yartzeit that week, wherein there is an absolute obligation to be called to the Torah, even so a groom takes precedence on the Shabbos where he receives an aliyah.
When the Wedding Will Not Take Place That Week
10. The obligation to give an aliyah to the groom on the Shabbos prior to his wedding is even if the wedding will not take place that week—if, for instance, he is traveling to make the wedding in a different, distant city. However, this is only if on the Shabbos before the wedding he will be in transit. However, young men that are traveling from the yeshiva and on the Shabbos before the wedding there will be an aliyah to the Torah as is normal, and this will be their last Shabbos in yeshiva, this is not called “the Shabbos that they sing to him.” However, if they nonetheless give him the aliyah, this is considered “simchas hachosson, bringing joy to the chosson.”
Not a Regular at the Shul
11. If the groom does not regularly daven in this shul, he does not set aside those who regularly attend the shul. If he davens in this shul during the week but does not daven there on Shabbos, he is not considered a regular attendee, and he does not set aside others that are obligated in receiving an aliyah.
Father of the Groom
12. The custom is that the father of the groom also receives an aliyah to the Torah on this Shabbos. However, he does not set aside anyone else who is obligated in receiving an aliyah.
13. In Sefardic congregations, it is the custom for the groom to receive a aliyah on the Shabbos after the wedding.
14. It is permitted to throw candies on the groom. This is not considered degrading food items if they are wrapped.
15. If a groom receives his aliyah on Shabbos Chazon, everything is conducted as normal, even if it is the Shabbos upon which Tisha B’Av falls. One sings to him in the normal manner. Included in this is permission to sing to the groom on his way to shul, to those who have that custom.
The author can be reached at [email protected].
By Rabbi Yair Hoffman