Five hundred years ago, the Minhag in Poland was for the wedding guests,
especially the תלמידי חכמים and חשובים to dance holding hands
with the כלה.
The היתר for this practice was given that it was done כדי לחבבה
על בעלה so that her new husband would be proud to be marrying
a חשובע כלה and also מפני כבוד אביה - for the כבוד of
There was no concern for the guests having illicit thoughts, being
it wasn't done as דרך חיבה (affection) and also because they
were dancing in public, while others observed them.
The מהרש"ל and others opposed this מנהג. They
tried to abolish it.
They held this to be a מצוה הבא בעבירה. (Aveirah dance)
The מצוה לשמח חתן וכלה by holding hands of an אשת איש
About fifty years later, the ב"ח wrote that in his
neighborhood this Minhag was still practiced. He didn't condemn
it. However, he did condemn this practice in those areas where
there was no such Minhag.
Some would hold hands with the כלה but would have a kerchief
separating their hands so as not to have skin touching skin.
The תורת חיים writes that holding hands is אסור even
when a kerchief is used between the hands.
At a later date, dancing with the כלה without holding hands was
introduced. The כלה would hold on to one corner of a kerchief
and the guest to the other corner of the kerchief.
This dance finally became known as the Mitzvah Tanz, as opposed to the
original Aveirah dance.
accomplish כדי לחבבה על בעלה and מפני כבוד אביה, the תלמידי
חכמים and חשובים danced with lots of concentration; hence we have
today the Rebbes, etc, dancing with holy כוונות imitating
the original concentration of dancing with the כלה.
Since there never was a problem of having the father
and the grandfathers holding hands with the כלה, that was left
intact as the original Minhag of holding hands with the כלה.
פתחי תשובה אהע"ז
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