There are so many details couples need to double and triple check when planning a traditional Orthodox Jewish Wedding – including your ketubah. The Aramaic text is fairly standardized but like everything else, you need to make sure that it is correct and kosher. Ketubah.com has worked on thousands of ketubahs over the past 21 years and worked with hundreds of different rabbis. Let us help you answer some of the most common questions we get regarding Orthodox Jewish Ketubahs.
Let’s start with two of the most important things that make an Orthodox Ketubah “Kosher”:
The text for an Orthodox, traditional, Jewish wedding is the standard Aramaic Ketubah text. Now this can differ for Sephardi weddings (Read more for this in our post 5 Things To Know About Sephardic Ketubah Texts) and Israeli weddings. For pretty much all Orthodox traditional weddings, the most halachically kosher, English would not be included. If this is something you want, we highly recommend you speak to your rabbi before ordering the ketubah.
According to Chabad.org “It is not a ceremonial document of scripture or prayer. That is why it is written in Aramaic, the technical legal language of Talmudic law, rather than in Hebrew, the language of the “Song of Songs.””
Ketubahs can be written in a variety of shapes; circular, arched, square, however there are exceptions. It is very important to Orthodox rabbis that the ketubah text not be broken up in spaces and that there be no extra room for anyone to (G-d forbid, chas v’shalom) add in any wording.
After the 2 witnesses sign the ketubah, often, the rabbi will write in a line to the end of the signature line. Just like you do when you write a check for the same reason!
One of the most common requests we get from rabbis is to leave out the regel of kuf in the word קנינה at the end of the ketubah. This is because some rabbis prefer to complete the ketubah text by hand on the day of the wedding. Don’t worry! We get this all the time and can easily be accommodated.
Unlike other ketubahs, the Orthodox ketubah is only signed by 2 male, “kosher” witnesses. The requirements for choosing these witness is the following;
A traditional ketubah isn’t even signed by the rabbi or the bride and groom. That is because it is actually a halachic contract outlining the groom’s commitment to the bride which is then signed by two deemed witnesses. By them signing the ketubah they are stating that they have read (heard) the agreement and have seen the groom hand the contract to the bride. By the groom giving the ketubah to the bride that is their understanding that they agree to the terms of the ketubah.
Some people choose not to display their ketubah, as they do not want the husband to steal it and claim he never gave one (again, 2 witnesses help combat this). Some couples feel the ketubah is strictly a contract rather than art.
For decades though we have seen art ketubahs from all over the world dating back as far as the 1600’s. Our Jewish Museum Collection is an extraordinary example of ketubahs that can be used today. Today, many couples choose an art ketubah in a variety of styles from intricate papercuts to modern designs, that are displayed in their home. This way they always know where their ketubah is and it reminds them of their wedding day and commitment to one another.
Still have questions about Orthodox and traditional ketubahs? Please leave them in the comments below and we will be happy to address them!