In my youth it was a great business. A wholesome, straightforward, and honorable business. It put a lot of food on my plate and it still does, to some extent. But, aside from it being a kosher lucrative business, it was also a cheerful business.
This is because there is a long standing tradition for a groom to present his bride with a diamond ring in the early stages of the engagement. This is a custom that seems to be shared by many cultures so it is practiced by Jew and non-Jew alike, which suits us in the diamond business just fine.
For the young Jewish grooms of our little village of
Actually, in the times before formal Chassan guidance courses became commonplace, Dad (LOY"T) was always happy to fill in the role at no extra charge. Okay, he didn't mix in to the intimate aspects but he is certainly a "mumcheh" in the Halachos of Kiddushin and Nissuin. This means what kind of ring to use for what and when and how to deliver it. Obviously, it all comes with the territory.
A big problem in the American scene is that, although there is a Jewish way of doing things, we are all enraptured by the chukos hagoyim. The goyish way always seems more "romantic". So even Jews get down on one knee to "pop the question" and carry the bride across the threshold.
These may seem like innocuous "romanticisms", but, if misunderstood, they can make problems. We frum Jews in the diamond business know the rules. What you should do, and what you shouldn't do. And one of the rules is that when you give the diamond engagement ring to the new Kallah, you give it to her in private. If there are people around, some rabbanim even advise to mention that this ring is "shelo l'shem kiddushin" (not for the purpose of betrothal). What you don't do is what you see here.
Now isn't that an adorable couple? They do indeed look very tzugepass'd and I wish them a long life of bracha and happiness and true Yiddish nachas. May they build a bayis neeman b'Yisrael. Mazel Tov on their engagement.
But---are they merely engaged? I am not so sure. He asked her to marry her in front of a lot of witnesses, some of whom are Mitzva observant adult men. She accepted in front of all those witnesses and he put a valuable ring on her finger in front of all those witnesses (and captured on video). Could it be that this constitutes a Halachic betrothal (erussin) and she is actually already mekudeshet and an eishet ish?
I think it can. And, if so, it may be a little late for Rabbi Fass to officiate (Tzippi Livni beat him to it). No, I am not a posek but I do think that one should be consulted.
Now, assuming this radiant couple follows through to a typical marriage ceremony in the near future - and there is every indication from their enthusiasm that they will, IY"H, there are not many major ramifications to this question. The main issue is: should they conduct the erussin at the wedding with reciting the Birkat Erussin or not. If the erussin already took effect, it would be a bracha l'vatala. Another ramification is that according to many authorities (not all) the requirement for a married woman to cover her hair may already be in effect.
Obviously, the bigger question would be in the unfortunate scenario that (chas v'shalom) one of the parties may reconsider going through with the match.
Would she require a get?
I certainly hope that this negative scenario is unthinkable because the get question is not.
For all you singles (particularly the remaining 80 from the Nefesh b'Nefesh flight) out there. There is a Jewish way to do things and a non-Jewish way. And when you do something the non-Jewish way, you may actually be doing something else the Jewish way.
It pays to know what you are doing.
I do not know if my concern of a valid Keddushin is correct (I discussed the matter with a few colleagues in the Kehilat Bnei Torah Beis Midrash without resolving the question), but it is worth checking out. And if it is:
Mazel Tov Mrs. Nechama Dina Taylor (and Zach)!!