Monday, January 7, 2013

KETUBA: The financial obligations of the Jewish husband (Part 3)

Previously, we mentioned that the monetary compensation established in the Ketuba includes the main capital or iqar ketuba, i.e., the indemnification or marriage insurance (see this ),  and  the dowry or nedunya i.e., the wife's valuables which must be restituted to her in case of dissolution of the marriage (see this). 

Today we will describe the third component of the monetary compensation: the tosafot or increments.  

There are two increments which are normally added in the Ketuba. First, the increment to the dowry, which is traditionally the equivalent of the dowry itself.  In other words, the dowry is normally set at one hundred pieces of silver (100 zequqim dekesef), the tosefet or increment, then, consist of an additional one hundred pieces of silver.  Second, there is an increment to the main Ketuba that the husband promises his wife.  In some communities they would specify the amount of this increment. In other communities the tradition is to state that the husband adds an increment to the main Ketuba without specifying any amount. 

To summarize, the bridegroom undertakes in the Ketuba to pay the main Ketuba and the dowry, together with their increments, in case of divorce or death of the husband.

Finally, the Ketuba also states that if the husband does not have the actual money to compensate his wife in case of divorce, or if he did not leave enough money to cover the Ketuba in case of death, his assets will be seized by the Bet Din (the Rabbinical court of Law) to pay for the Ketuba. This last rule was established by Shimon ben Shatah (120-40 BCE) when he saw that many women were hesitant to get married for fear of being abandoned by their husband with no means. His ruling served as an additional  deterrent to frivolous men, who in a moment of anger or weakness might make a rash decision to divorce their wives (TB, Ketubot 82b).

What kind of man does a woman really want?  Hint: It's not Homer Simpson.
by Elliot Katz, from Aish.