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Should the groom SAY the statement in the kesuba to his bride on the day the kesuba is being written?

the statement in the kesuba

On the day .... the bridegroom ... said to this [...] daughter of [...], “Be my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel. I will work honor, feed and support you in the custom of Jewish men, who work, honor, feed, and support their wives faithfully. I will give you the settlement of 200/100 silver zuzim, which is due you according to virgin/widow law, as well as your food, clothing, necessities of life, and conjugal needs, according to the universal custom.”...

From what I understand the custom is that he does not SAY this on the day the kesuba is written (I might be wrong).
(Maybe he says something like this before they get "engaged" (vort) but that is usually more than 7 days before.)

How can the witnesses sign it if part of it is not true?
(Even if you say the whole ketuba is written because of minhag, won't this invalidate the witnesses if they are the ones who will witness the keddushin too?)
And therefore, shouldn't the groom say the statement?

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I think it is supposed to understood as follows:

On the day .... the bridegroom ... said to this [...] daughter of [...], “Be my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel”!

Implied - as decreed by Chazal - is the following:

[As a result, it's as if he added:] I will work honor, feed and support you in the custom of Jewish men, who work, honor, feed, and support their wives faithfully. I will give you the settlement of 200/100 silver zuzim, which is due you according to virgin/widow law, as well as your food, clothing, necessities of life, and conjugal needs, according to the universal custom.”...


On second thought - the I will work honor, feed and support you is the main point of the Kesuva - and the groom makes a Kinyan (a legal act of agreeing to the deal) on everything written in the Ketuva - after which it is signed by witnesses. (And in some circles by the groom.)

Once he has made the Kinyan he has said everything in the Ketuva, even if he didn't express it verbally. (Similar to every contract where you didn't nod at every clause that says ...party agreed. Once you sign, you've agreed.)

  • I understand that some rabonim do not write וקנינא untill after the kinyan is made, but regarding what he sais they do write before he says? – hazoriz Jan 13 '16 at 12:40
  • @hazoriz, yes they do. But since it's not a Shtar (legal doc) until it's signed, it's not a problem. By the time they sign it, he's said Harey Ut. (But most Ketuboth are signed before they ceremony.) – Danny Schoemann Jan 13 '16 at 15:33
  • I do not understand "By the time they sign it, he's said Harey Ut". (I do understand "(But most Ketuboth are signed before they ceremony.)") – hazoriz Jan 13 '16 at 15:38
  • @hazoriz - see my edit; thanks for making me think this through. – Danny Schoemann Jan 13 '16 at 15:41
  • Sorry but to me it seems that "work honor, feed and support you" is not the main point of the Kesuva, and that the kinyan is manly his second statment "Mr. [...] our bridegroom made this declaration: “The obligation of this marriage contract (ketubah), this dowry, and this additional amount, I accept upon myself and upon my heirs after me." – hazoriz Jan 13 '16 at 15:55
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In Michtav M'Eliyahu, R' Dessler has a chapter where he explains that when chazal say that someone or something "says" something it means that the state of their existence logically implies such a thing. For example, the mishnayos in maseches Parah which have different inanimate objects "saying" things to other inanimate objects.

So it could be that the chosson, by saying "harei at..." has also "said" the rest of the declaration.

  • +1 but this is a contract – hazoriz Jan 17 '16 at 17:20
  • @hazoriz granted. And, it doesn't say a new "v'amar" after what he actually said, which would differentiate between the two "statements." But nonetheless, it seems reasonable to me. – jim Jan 17 '16 at 17:23
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Suppose I want to borrow $100 from you. You're a busy person, so if I ask for a loan, you'll tell me it's too much trouble to go to a lawyer, fill out a loan document, etc.

So here's what I do: I fill out the paperwork ahead of time, sign it, and then come and ask for a loan. You say, "But it's too much paperwork!" I reply, "Nope, did it for you. Give me the $100 and I'll give you the document."

The paperwork says, "X lent Y $100." When I wrote it, that hadn't happened yet (and potentially may never happen). So although it superficially claims a set of facts, it fundamentally is asserting, "X agrees that if Y is holding this paper, then it shall serve as evidence that X lent Y $100."

So if it's signed by witnesses, they're not saying that the loan happened; they're saying that the borrower consented to write this document. The combination of that and the lender holding the document is the evidence that the loan happened.

The parallel holds true by the ketuba. The witnesses testify that the groom agreed to this prenuptial contract. They don't care whether the groom will end up saying the contents or not, just like they don't care whether X got $100 or just gave the document to Y. This is implicit in the signing of the document.

At least that's the theoretical basis for how it works, according to halacha.

And, by the way, the groom says at least the first part of that sentence at the kiddushin: "Be my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel."

  • He does not say "Be my wife..." but if he does it will count – hazoriz Jan 12 '16 at 18:29
  • By the loan document I understand that the witnesses are forbidden to sign until the loan(kinyan) takes place (ps I did not give you the -1) – hazoriz Jan 12 '16 at 18:31
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    I don't see anything in this answer that is addressing the question whether the groom should say the statement. Also, if this is "according to halacha", it would be nice to see a source or two documenting that. – Yaacov Deane Jan 12 '16 at 19:07

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