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I would have thought that a contract is only valid if both parties agree on the definitions of the terms mentioned, especially when it comes to specifying how much money is at stake. That said, as suggested in What is the value of a (Kesuba) marriage contract?, there are multiple opinions on the modern day value of the terms "zuz" and "zekukim" mentioned in ketubahs.

Does this pose any issues with the validity of ketubahs today?

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  • I would assume it's at least (or at most) the minimum value agreed upon by all authorities. If both parties are aware that that's all they might get/give, what's the problem?
    – robev
    Aug 9 at 16:19
  • @robev a ketubba needs to be worth a certain minimum to be valid. If only $X are enforceable since that's the lowest possible understanding of the terms of the contract, then those who say a Ketubba must be at least $Y (for Y>X) would say there is no valid ketubba here.
    – Double AA
    Aug 9 at 18:02
  • @DoubleAA do we need the kesubah to be valid according to all opinions?
    – robev
    Aug 9 at 18:23
  • @robev as with everything we only need things to work according to opinions we paskin like
    – Double AA
    Aug 9 at 19:25
  • @DoubleAA But what if the parties involved with the ketubah paskin differently? Would it be a valid ketubah if, for example, the chatan holds it's worth $1k and the kalah holds it's worth $100k? Seemingly only $1k is enforceable, meaning it would be invalid according to the kalah. Aug 9 at 19:56

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As discussed in the article by Rabbis Reiss and Broyde: worst-case scenario, each party finds some rabbi with some amount, claims that's their rabbi, and we extract the smaller of the claims. (The burden of proof here would be on the wife as she's demanding the money, so if the husband has a plausible source that it's a smaller sum, we'd go with that.) Same as if they signed an agreement to buy/sell a "keg" of beer, then afterwards they each had a plausible source for a different size of "keg." That's still enforceable; this happens all the time in monetary cases where one side claims kim li -- I follow Rabbi so-and-so. (It came up with the different opinions on cancellations due to a pandemic...)

Practically, there is a very strong argument (as found in the article) that if they are two "average OU" American Ashkenazim without a very strong connection to the rabbis with other opinions, the unspoken agreement would be that to default to Rav Moshe Feinstein's view.

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  • The question presumably isn't "is it a valid contract" but "does it fulfill the obligation to have a ketubbah in a marriage". Is a document that's only practically usable to extract a small value valid for the obligation to have a ketubba according to the majority views that require any larger value? If not we're all in big trouble
    – Double AA
    Aug 18 at 9:51

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