This question had a picture of a Ketuba with some damage to the paper.

In Jewish Law, what kind of damage would invalidate a contract? In that Ketuba, for example, the standard text is ripped, but none of the specific handwritten information.

What happens if someone tries to collect on a contract or loan agreement that is damaged?

2 Answers 2


Very little. The document is not a ritual object; as long as it can be reasonably inferred what was intended by the document.

For instance, a ketubah is still kosher if you wrote b'vii b'shabbos -- "on the ourth day of the week", as a reader can gather that was a typo and meant "r'vii", or "fourth."

  • 2
    Do you have a source for this answer? It seems reasonable.
    – Menachem
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 9:21
  • 1
    It seems somewhat reasonable. Arguably, a ripped contract (not a small tear but ripped through) is worse than a typo, since a debtor might rip his contract through when he receives it on payment.
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 8:08
  • Might I add that, if this is true, rules may be different for a document of Kiddushin (not to be confused with Kesubah) or a Get, as those are indeed “ritual objects,” not just monetary ones.
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 22:15

In c'm' 52' there is a discussion regarding a ripped shetar.

The main point brought out over there is that essentially there is nothing wrong with a ripped shetar providing that we know the rip was no more than a mistake or an ohness.

When we don't know how the rip happened then depending on the type of rip we may suspect the rip being a result of the shetar being paid up or an action taken by bais din to tell us the shetar is possul and therefore it would be rendered invalid.

When bais din does not see any signs of those possibilities being the case then bais din would not be concerned and treat it as a good shetar.

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