What is Yichud? Why do Yichud?
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
Yichud means “singularity” or “consolidation.” In the context of the Jewish wedding, however, yichud means “seclusion” and refers to 10 to 15 special minutes immediately after the ceremony. As you make your way out of the room where the ceremony took place, Jewish tradition dictates that you scamper off to a private room—usually where the bride got dressed and primped prior to the ceremony. There you’ll remain in yichud—undisturbed seclusion, for a short time. In yichud, the two of you will revel in your new union and enjoy each other’s company without concern or regard for any of your family or guests.
Why yichud? Yichud affords you some tender and loving time together before the avalanche of merriment awaiting you. It’s your time, and you’ll have plenty of time to be with everyone else, so why not take full advantage?! As is, you’ve paid for the bridal chamber, why not hold hands and reflect on the ceremony, just the two of you! To make it even more special, ask a close friend to arrange, in advance of the wedding, a special music playlist so you’ll have some personalized background music to enjoy. And with advance notice, your caterer can arrange for some hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the yichud room; this might be the only thing you get to eat at your own party, so indulge!
Two trusted friends can serve as shomerim—“guards”, who will ensure that no one disturbs you while your smile, relax and eat a little something. And when you’re ready to come out and greet the loving and enthusiastic crowd, you’ll feel refreshed and be better able to experience the loving energy in the room. (See my blog post "Who Gets an Honor” if you need to assign "jobs" to a few additional people.)
Isn’t it interesting that the word used to describe “togetherness”—yichud, is rooted in the word “single”? We’re all so anxious to “escape” being single and become part of newly married couple... Yet, in the Jewish tradition, when you are married, you are single—together!