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So my fiancé and I trying to have a more feminist orthodox wedding, and one thing we’ve heard is that (among other things) we can be more inclusive on the ketubah by having 2 halachic male signatures below the Aramaic and two additional female witness signatures below the English “translation”. However, when we asked a friend, she asked her rabbi (who is on the more yeshivish side) if this was okay for her to do, and he said any additional signatures beyond the main 2 would invalidate the whole ketubah. I was curious about this especially since even in modern orthodox circles it’s becoming customary for brides, grooms, and rabbis to sign the ketubah in addition to the two halachic witnesses. Is there any difference between bride/groom signatures and those of additional witnesses? What are the sources for the differing opinions?

Thank you!

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    What is "the English"?
    – Double AA
    Jul 31 at 23:06
  • 5
    Why not just put the lovey-dovey stuff which isn't a ketubbah on a separate pice of paper from the actual ketubbah? Seems like a way out of all problems. Anyway, why put two different things on the same piece of paper? Could be impractical if you have to use the contracts as testaments of their respective contents in different locations on the same day.
    – Double AA
    Aug 1 at 0:29
  • 5
    I've never seen a bride nor a rabbi sign a ketubbah. A groom, I've seen sign very rarely.
    – Double AA
    Aug 1 at 0:30
  • 3
    Maybe have some women sign the tanaim instead. It would be invalid of course but it's also completely irrelevant anyway, so if the women you know have fun signing irrelevant things it'd be right up their alley.
    – Double AA
    Aug 1 at 0:39
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    Probably wisest to just ask the rabbi who's going to be at your chuppah rather than this indirect route via someone else's rabbi.
    – Harel13
    Aug 1 at 2:07

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As mentioned in the comments, this is just to provide sources on the topic.

The Shulchan Aruch EH 66:13 states that adding witnesses to a Kesubah who are not kosher witnesses, is dependent on the local custom

במקום שאין רגילים לחתום בכתובה אלא הראויים להעיד לא יחתום מי שאינו יודע לקרות

In a place where only valid witnesses sign a ketuba, a person who does not know how to read should not sign

The Bais Shmuel, Chelkas Mechokek, the Gr”a and others clearly say that in places that have a custom to add relatives and other witnesses as an honor, it is permitted

מקום שאין רגילין לחתום. אבל יש מקומות נוהגים פסולים חותמים לכבוד ושני עדים חותמים בראש השיטה וע"פ מקיימים הכתובה ובאותן מקומות יכולים לחתום אף על פי שא"י לקרות דלא גרע מפסולין (Bais Shmuel)

במקום כו'. עבה"ג ודוקא במקום כו' אבל במקים שנוהגין לחתום הרבה קרובים רחוקים ושני עדים כשרים חותמין בראש השיטה ומהם מקיימין אין קפידא בשאר וכמ"ש בגיטין י"ח ב' א"ר יוחנן שנים כו' א"נ כגון כו'(Gr”a)

במקום שאין רגילין לחתום. אבל יש מקומות שנוהגין שפסולין חותמין לכבוד ושני עדים חותמין בראש שיטה וע"פ מקיימים הכתוב' ובאותן מקומות יכולין לחתום אף על פי שאין יודעים לקרות דלא גרע משאר פסולין כל זמן ששני עדים כשרים חותמין בתחילה (Chelkas Mechokek)

According to this, it’s based on local custom.

As far as the choson signing the Kesubah, the Rashba in Bava Basra 175A explains why it’s done:

ועל כן נהגו להחתים החתן בשטר הכתובה, מפני שעומדת לארך זמן ושמא לא ימצאו קיום חתם ידן של עדים וימצאו לקיים חתם ידו של תתן, ובשנודע שחתם קודם שמכר. כנ"ל

I haven’t seen a source specifically, for Rabbi to sign it or the Kallah.

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  • So what would happen in a place where that is not the custom, and someone did it anyways?
    – N.T.
    Aug 1 at 9:09
  • @N.T. it seems like it wouldn’t be passul but it’s not recommended.
    – Chatzkel
    Aug 1 at 12:27
  • @N.T. the issue is that if any one of a group of witnesses is invalid, so is the entire cohort. If you declared witnesses under the chupah to be the trio of 2 unrelated Jewish men + the bride's father, you've ruined everything. The places that allowed multiple signatures always made it clear that there was the actual-witness box, and then the "honorary signatory" section. There's a bit of circular logic here -- if normally the only signatories are real witnesses (or for some Sefardim, add the groom himself accepting the obligations), then adding a non-kosher witness to that raises concerns.
    – Shalom
    Aug 1 at 15:18
  • .... as it looks like you wanted a trio of witnesses. If instead it's normally known that there are "real witnesses" and then "honorary signatories", then sure add whomever you want. I'm not saying the former would ruin things, but I can certainly see a very valid halachic concern.
    – Shalom
    Aug 1 at 15:20

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