Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Can I write a ketubah in English or possibly in Hebrew? Or must it be in Aramaic? The problem is that my friends and I do not speak Aramaic any longer. Our Babylonian-Jewish ancestors did, but we no longer have the minhag to speak Aramaic as our native language, nor do we even understand what most of it even means.

share|improve this question
Why is that a problem? Do you need to understand it that readily? I have to hire specialized lawyers to handle most legal documents that I sign. – Double AA Jun 10 '12 at 22:19
Note that this is hardly a new issue nowadays; in Geonic times and later, few people spoke Aramaic either (which is why the later Geonim and early Rishonim wrote a lot of their works in Arabic). – Alex Jun 11 '12 at 0:42
Well, I was at a wedding last week, and when the Mesader Kiddushin finished reading the Ketubah, he asked the Chattan if he understood everything, and he said yes immediately even without thinking about it. So it made me wonder if the question of mitzvot tzrichin kavana, o lo applies here. – Adam Mosheh Jun 11 '12 at 0:44
i've usually seen ketubot written in Aramaic and $LOCAL_LANGUAGE. So ketubot with either Aramaic + Hebrew or Aramaic + English or in one case, Aramaic + Klingon. – Charles Koppelman Jun 11 '12 at 15:58
@DoubleAA I disagree - You should understand the terms to which you agree on a contract. Lawyers will explain pieces or technical phrases, but would you sign a contract written in Farsi or Urdu without a certified translation? – Charles Koppelman Jun 11 '12 at 16:01

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.