The Jewish Wedding Contract is the mutual agreement between man and woman – the Ketubah.
“It is not good that Man should be alone; I will make a helpmate for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Helpmate in the Talmud defines the purpose of husband and wife is to help each other.
Before the Jewish people received the Torah, there was no known legislation that protected a woman’s rights. Women were treated as property and local customs in each of the lands governed how a woman would be treated.
And thus, the Ketubah took form with laws in place for marriage and divorce and for the protection of all women. It spelled out the financial, emotional, physical and social obligations by the husband and if he abandoned his wife. You can say that basically it put men in their place on how women are not to be taken lightly in the union of marriage. Women were no longer a piece of property.
The Ketubah is a legal document, also seen as a pre-nuptial agreement. Today, Ketubot (plural) had transformed with time and various texts conform to the couples offering them options of the written text. The Jewish artist created the Ketubah into a masterpiece as a painting. We are taught to display our Judaica in our homes. Notice how pieces of Jewish pieces sparkle, shine, impress and standout when you see them either on the internet or displayed in a store.
The Jewish Wedding Rabbi states the following, “A Marriage License is a requirement of secular law and the Ketubah is the requirement of Jewish law.” One difference, the Ketubah is also a piece of art. Most likely it will be the first piece of art the couple will own together when married.
The traditional text for a Ketubah is in Aramaic, the original text from the time the Torah was given. First read the traditional text (provided below in English), the context of this historical document. Then use the guide below the Aramaic text translation which explains the available formations and variations that are available for a couple today for their upcoming marriage.
Ketubah Choice with
Other Brides-to-Be…What Design, Artist, and Text Did You Choose? Where Do You Have It Displayed In Your Home?
This guide will assist each couple when it is time to purchase a Ketubah for their wedding.
After making the decision on the text, the next step is the artwork by various artists. Examples are provided on the Ketubah samples page . Click on the Ketubah and go directly to the artist page for more information. MP Artworks is well known for their Ketubah Gallery. As long as you choose the appropriate text and the artwork, all will go smoothly. See the newest and most popular, the
paper cut Ketubah.
Personalization is Available
What this means, is your Ketubah will have the important information that you provide with your wedding date, both secular and English, Hebrew names, location of wedding ceremony, blended in with the artistically written text. All that will be needed on the day of the wedding are the all important signatures. A rabbi can assist you with the bride and groom’s Hebrew names, Hebrew day and month. If not, you may contact Rabbi Frank for assistance.
The Aramaic Text Translated
The following is a translated example of the Aramaic text which is normally written in Hebrew text.On the ____ day of the week, the ____ day of the month ____ in the year ____ since the creation of the world, in the city of ____, ____ son of _____ said to this maiden ____ daughter of ____, “Be my wife according to the laws of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully. And I here present you with the settlement of two hundred silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according to the law of Moses and Israel, and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities, and live with you as husband and wife according to the universal custom.” And the maiden _____ consented and became his wife. The trousseau that she brought to him from her father’s house, in silver, gold, valuables, clothing, furniture and bedclothes, all this _______, said bridegroom, accepted in the sum of one hundred silver zuzim, and _____, the bridegroom, agreed to increase this amount from his own property with the sum of one hundred silver zuzim, making in all two hundred silver zuzim.
And thus said ____, the bridegroom: “The responsibility of this marriage contract, of this trousseau, and of this additional sum, I take upon myself and my heirs after me, so that they shall be paid from the best part of my property and possessions that I have beneath the whole heaven that which I now possess or that which I may hereafter acquire. All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of this trousseau and the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death, from the present day and forever.” _____, the bridegroom, has taken upon himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, of the trousseau and of the addition made to it, according to the restrictive usages of all marriage contracts and the adjoins to them made for the daughters of Israel, according to the institutions of our sages of blessed memory. It is not to be regarded as a mere forfeiture without consideration or as a mere formula of a document.
Text Options & Explanations
This text is a prenuptial agreement between the groom and the bride wherein the husband undertakes to honor, support and maintain his wife. In the document he states that she will receive a certain sum of money in the event of divorce or of his death. It is a very formal contract written in Aramaic over 2000 years ago. There is no English on this text.
Traditional Aramaic with English
This text is the same Aramaic document as above. The traditional English portion is NOT a translation of the Aramaic, rather a brief paraphrase.
Lieberman Clause with English (Conservative)
This text is almost the same text as the Traditional Aramaic. A new clause was added essentially stating that in the case of a civil divorce, either the husband or wife can appear before the conservative Bet Din (rabbinic court) to request a “Get” (a Jewish divorce document). According to Jewish law, without this document, a woman is still legally married to her husband. Some Conservative Rabbis require the Lieberman Clause text to protect the woman in the unlikely event that a man refuses to grant her a “Get”. The English portion is NOT a translation of the Aramaic, but rather a contemporary text.
Egalitarian with Hebrew and English – Reform
This text is suitable for reform and at times, conservative marriages. This is the text I highly advise couples to use, including interfaith couples choosing Judaism. The text reflects an egalitarian view of marriage and the equal roles of a husband and wife in our contemporary Jewish society.
This text is designed for couples from different heritages. The language is gender neutral, so as to accommodate both Judaism and the other religion. It contains the specific information as to names, place and date of wedding, etc. and contains mutual vows of love and commitment.
Note: If your an interfaith couple, and you have chosen Judaism as your one faith, I highly advise to review the Egalitarian text with Hebrew and English-Reform.
This text is designed for couples celebrating an anniversary from 2 years to 70 or more years. It records the bride and groom’s original wedding and does not need to be signed. Since the tradition of using an illuminated ketubah has been re-introduced into the ceremony only 10 to 15 years ago, many couples who have been married for more than 10 years never had a beautiful ketubah. They are now either deciding to purchase a ketubah for themselves in order to renew their vows, or they can receive one as a gift (often from their children).
Alternative Egalitarian (Gender Neutral)
This text is suitable for reform, humanistic, different heritages and special partnerships. The Hebrew is a direct translation of the English. Most couples opt for the standard signature lines; Witnesses (2), Couple (2) and Rabbi (1).
Note: A Judaica artist can personalize your wedding Ketubah and most of the time can edit to your liking. Upon request and possibly an additional cost.
View Samples of Ketubot and their vibrant colors!
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agreement between a bride and groom”