Badeken, a word of Yiddish origin, is one of the important preparations for a Jewish wedding ceremony called the veiling of the bride. A summary of this ceremony is as follows.
The groom approaches the bride, sometimes amidst dancing and rejoicing by the groom’s friends, and places the veil over the bride’s face. In certain traditions, he is accompanied by his father and the Rabbi. Rashi, one of the greatest Torah commentator, writes that the curtain over the Mishkan (Tabernacle) hung like a bride’s veil in Shemos 26:9.
The reasons for badeken are varied. As a sign of modesty (tznius), the bride being the center of attention, covers her face so that no one other than her husband will gaze at her beauty. This is also to indicate that the groom is not primarily interested in her physical beauty but her spiritual qualities.
This custom has its source in the Torah where just before Rivka met Yitzchak, she took a veil and covered herself (Bereishis 24:65). This is a sign of modesty that brides keep to this very day. Yitzchak’s marriage to Rivka signify the beginning of the Jewish people and the bride emulates Rivka in the hope that she will be equally worthy of setting up a trusted and faithful household with her husband.
In the Talmud, there is discussion of the chupah consisting of the groom placing the veil on the bride and that the husband places his garment on the bride as an integral part of the marriage process. Similarly, when Ruth wanted Boaz to marry here, she asked him to place his garment over her (Ruth 3:9).
In some circles, a totally opaque veil is used so that the bride can neither see nor be seen. Other authorities maintain that the groom and witnesses mst be able to see the bride at the time of the ceremony, hence, the veil should be somewhat sheer or be lifted so that the bride can be seen briefly.
Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, zt”l
Our handmade veils are available in various opacity and texture in two-tiers ideal for the badeken ceremony.