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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ketubah

I was asked to write a hand written Ketubah for someone who is getting married in the summer. I then found out there are several Nushachim. The groom is Yemenite, and I would like to know if there is some knowledge between the users here.

What is the best option regardless of family backround?
For a Yemenite, is there one option or more? What is best? Thanks to all in advance.

7 comments:

  1. Forgot to ask... any tips/experiences will be also appreciated. Thanks

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  2. Whatever you do, don't mix yourself into determining any aspect of the text of the Kesuba! Tell them to have the Rav who will be Mesader Kedushin give you the final version of the Kesuba printed on paper with the names, dates, locations etc spelled out exactly as he wants it. Then have the customers sign on it as the final draft of what you will write. You will write an exact copy of this.

    This is not just a matter of Nuschaos, there are so many possible places you could go wrong and end up rendering the Ketuba useless. There is the spelling of the location, the amount of the nedunia etc. Many communities add 'tosafot' to the ketuba as well.

    Also keep in mind that a Kesuba is different than Sta"m. It is a Shtar. This means that if you make mistakes and erase it it is possible that the Kesuba will not be valid since an erased area in a Shtar makes it a safek mezuyaf. If you do end up needing to erase, you must consult a rov whether the kesuba is still valid.

    Also, when you give a price for doing this, I would recommend that you charge AT LEAST double what you you would charge to do the same amount of text on a Sefer Torah, Mezuzah Etc. Because since you cannot erase, you may end up having to do this two or three times till you get it right.

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  3. As a sofer and a Mesader Kiddushin, I second what R' Shaffier says. Consult with the Mesader Kiddushin as to what exactly he wants. Some are very lenient with the Kesubah and will use any text, and some are very strict with the text.

    Additionally there are some things you have to know, such as to leave the word "וקנינא" either blank or incomplete, as it should be written-in after the kinyan is done.

    There are different customs regarding how to write the status of the bride if she is not a besulah, as well as how much money to write, as R' Shaffier pointed out.

    It's also important to ascertain if anyone is a Kohen or Levi.

    Regarding the dates, you need to make sure of the actual date when the Kesubah will be signed, because often times the wedding may be scheduled at a certain time, but everything actually is much delayed, especially at Chassidic or Sefardic weddings. When in doubt, it's best to leave it blank.

    There are also specific formulas as to how to write the dates, especially when it might be Rosh Chodesh.

    Regarding erasing or scratching out, it's also good idea to talk to the Mesader Kiddushin, as some do allow changes and some do not. I am also a sofer gittin, and whereas with gittin the current practice is not to allow any changes at all, (which is not a fun situation, as the room is extremely tense with everyone waiting for the sofer to finish), with kesubahs there are rabbanim who are very lenient regarding changes and corrections.

    As a good practice, I would recommend having a second person check the text of the kesubah when you are finished with it. I recently saw an article in a popular frum magazine about an artist who designs beautiful kesubahs, and in one of the samples printed in the article, which was an actual kesubah -- signed and used -- I noticed a mistake in which the artist wrote in the name of the chosson's father in the place of the name of the kallahs father at the second place her name is mentioned.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you both for such eloquent and thoughtful answers...

      Is the word Kinyana the only thing I should fill in at the wedding? What is the best place/source to look this practice up?

      I really did not know I was getting into such a messy situation. It seems like I really need to learn the Halachos before I do something like this.

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  4. http://www.hasoferet.com/weddings/ketubot.shtml

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  5. "Is the word Kinyana the only thing I should fill in at the wedding? What is the best place/source to look this practice up?"

    You absolutely need to coordinate with the messader Kiddushin. Although a common minhag, there does not exist a universal custom of completing the word VEKANINA - by Ashkenazim nor by Sepharadim - at the time of the wedding. Each messader will hold differently. Some will write-in the entire word, some will complete the foot of the KUF, and others will rather have the word prewritten in its entirety.

    Likewise, the Temanim have a particular texts which vary from city to city. There are customs particular to SANA that are different to that of ADEN. Likewise, the wording in Yerushalyim is different than that utilized if the wedding would be held in Tel Aviv.

    Therefore, the best advice is that of R' Aaron Shaffier. Have the messader provide you with the complete written text of the document according to his particular specifications and requirements. This will make your job a lot easier. Your task should be limited to laying it out and writing it. Also, make sure to show us all a picture once you are done. :)
    Behatzlacha,
    Alberto

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  6. Thank you all so much, BH I will succeed to make this all work.

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