We get many questions about ketubahs each month. Since we’re all home-bound, this is a perfect opportunity to answer some of these common ketubah questions. If you’ve ever wondered about ketubahs, this post is for you!
Why is the Ketubah Written in Aramaic?
The traditional text for ketubahs is in Aramaic because this was the language of the time. The earliest surviving ketubah is from 440 B.C.E. and is written in Aramaic. Around 140 B.C.E., the Sanhedrin formalized the language and format of the document. Find the whole story here!
What Makes a Ketubah Strictly Kosher?
The determining factors for a kosher ketubah is that the language be Aramaic, since that is the Talmudic language of the law. The shape of the text is also important, primarily the spacing, which should be tight so that it cannot be altered. Find out why a halachically kosher ketubah will have no English on it, and other important kosher points in this post from 2018.
Who Can Sign the Ketubah?
Who can sign depends on what kind of wedding you are having. For an Orthodox wedding, witnesses who can sign are strictly defined by the law and tradition, as is the text and content. For non-Orthodox weddings, the text and content are more negotiable—as are the witnesses! If you want to add more lines for witnesses, we can always provide them! We actually covered the fine points and text of the ketubah years ago in this post.
Who Owns the Ketubah?
It’s commonly understood that the couple owns the ketubah together. Traditionally, however, the groom gives the ketubah to the bride under the chuppah, then she accepts it to continue the ceremony and accept the marriage—it must remain in her possession. According to orthodox law, if the ketubah is lost the couple can’t live together!
How Long Does the Ketubah Ceremony Take?
The ketubah ceremony can take 20-30 minutes, and is completed before the start of the chuppah ceremony. During the ceremony the ketubah is reviewed and filled in at the groom’s reception, or Chatan’s tisch, where the witnesses will also sign. Once it has been handed to the bride under the chuppah and seen by witnesses it is handed to a family member. You can find all the details of the ketubah ceremony on MyJewishLearning.
We hope this has enlightened you about the wonderful world of ketubahs! We strongly believe the ketubah is an important part of our rich tradition, one worth protecting and understanding. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us!