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I recently located a copy of my parents' ketubah. My parents were both deaf. I noticed some phrasing in the ketubah that is significantly differnt from the standard. For example, it uses the term "remizah" (signed - hinted) instead of "amirah" (said). The ketubah is also signed by 3 witnesses, which I assume are the signatures of Bet Din authorities. The ketuvah is about 65 - 70 years old and none of the witnesses nor any of the wedding attendants that I can think of are alive, so there is no one I can ask, personally.

I need someone who can offer me some reliable insight to translate the text for me, and, more imporrtantly, explain why this type of ketuvah was used considering that both my parents were able to speak, and, thus, may not have been considered true "chershim" to require this type of ketuvah. Also, since my son is deaf, I want to get some idea as to whether he will require this type of ketuvah when he marries.

I showed a copy of the ketuvah to 3 local rabbis. As this is such an unusual area, none of them is familiar with this subject. I'd greatly appreciate the suggestions of anyone - name and phone and / or email - who can advise me in this area.

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Perhaps you may want to show a copy of the Kesuva to help receive answers. –  Gershon Gold May 23 at 14:38
    
hebrewbooks.org/… –  Gershon Gold May 23 at 14:40
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Do you have any way to track down any of those witnesses? Perhaps one of them -- or the current members of their city's beit din, if your suspicion about three witnesses is correct but they're no longer available -- could shed some light on this? –  Monica Cellio May 23 at 14:46

2 Answers 2

Rabbi Mordechai Shutchatowitz in Baltimore, Md may be a good person to contact. He has written a sefer on some halachos related to people who are deaf here:

http://hebrewbooks.org/37042

His contact information is here:

http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=37042&st=&pgnum=2 http://www.associated.org/IR/community-directory.aspx?id=12760

Some more information:

http://www.njcd.org/halacha-guidelines-for-parents-of-hearing-impaired-children/

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The marriage of a cheresh who is both deaf and mute is only Rabbinical in nature and is not Biblical (min haTorah) (Even HaEzer 44:1) . The status of a cheresh who is deaf but not mute is the subject of debate among Poskim whether his status is that of a standard cheresh and is only Rabbinical, or is Biblical (Hanesuin Kehilchasam 16: fn 123)

One whose status is a cheresh do not technically require a kesubah, but the minhag is for the Bais Din that is presiding over their marriage to issue a kesubah (Shulchan HaEzer 2:53,2).

This explains why your parents' kesubah was issued by a Bais Din. The presiding rabbi apparently followed the opinions that a cheresh who is deaf but not mute is also treated as a cheresh in these matters.

Quite obviously, this is an area that requires a particular expertise and such a marriage should only be performed by an authority in this matter (or under their auspices).

For a thorough discussion of this see Hanesuin Kehilchasam chapter 16, 16-34.

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