Friday, August 12, 2011

What is the Ketuba? (Part 1)

The Ketubah is the document that states the obligations of the husband toward his wife. These obligations are divided into two categories.

1. The duties of the husband while married to his wife and

2. The financial rights of the wife in case, chas veshalom, they get divorced or the husband dies first. The Ketubah stipulates the compensation the wife will receive in either case.

This compensation 'package' comprises three elements:

'iqar ketubah: The minimum amount that every husband will leave to his wife in those cases (in this sense, the Ketubah should be seen as a "marriage insurance"). In the times of the Talmud that amount of money was established as 200 silver coins (zuzim) which was the equivalent of a year's salary. This is still the minimal amount written in every Ketubah.

nedunia: This point includes the assets and gifts that the wife brings into the new capital of the groom. In case of divorce or death of the husband those assets or their monetary value, would be restituted to the wife.

tosefet ketubah: The husband, according to his financial situation, adds from his own will over the mandatory amount of 200 silver coins whatever he wishes to leave for this wife (this part of the Ketubah is similar to a "Life insurance" or a 'unilateral' prenup).

The sum of these three elements ifs the total amount of the Ketubah, which would be given to the wife in the above mentioned cases.

In the next HOTD on this subject we will explain the duties of the husband, written in the Ketubah.

Click HERE to listen:
"The Art of Being Happy"
by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, an OU presentation.