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Witnesses at a wedding for what parts are they necessary and why (reason/Source

Specifically:

I was taught that witnesses are necessary for the kiddushin,.
**why? (To acquire other things witnesses are not necessary) What is the source/reason of this law? **

I see that there are witnesses for the Kasuba I guess to make the obligation more strong
Are they necessary? (Is the Kasuba not valid without them?)

I see there are witnesses for the Hupa and Yihud.
Are they necessary? Source reason?

  • Kiddushin is more than a monetary affair. If there are no witnesses, she might end up being married to three men and nobody would ever know... A kesuba is a document - although an ordinary mishekanu miyadam doesn’t require witnesses, a document does in order to be valid. You left out the tanayim, but there’s witnesses in that document for the same reason. I’m pretty sure the eidei yichud are more like guards than witnesses - make sure that the couple is truly alone in there. As for eidei Chupah, I have never seen eidei Chupah before. Are you sure you’re not confusing them with eidei Kiddushin? – DonielF Aug 15 '17 at 15:09
  • @DonielF is not the yihud = chupa – hazoriz Aug 15 '17 at 15:23
  • I’m pretty sure the Chupah is the Chupah. Do you mean to ask if it’s Nisuin? That depends on your posek - some say it’s the Chupah, some say it’s the Yichud room, and some say it’s when they go home together after the wedding. – DonielF Aug 15 '17 at 15:36
  • @DonielF is the necessity for kiddushin witnesses biblical or rabbinic – hazoriz Aug 15 '17 at 15:41
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    @sabbahillel but other kinyanim you do not need witnesses? I – hazoriz Aug 15 '17 at 16:10
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The source for Kiddushin is the Talmud Kiddush 65b. This is not a universal opinion, (even in Halacha, see SA EH 42:2) as some allow for one witness if both agree - at least to not ignore the Kiddushin.

The distinction between money (since the source for requiring two witnesses is money) is described in the Talmud - because it obligates third parties. That means that his relatives can't marry her anymore and vice versa (Rashi there).

It is one of the most famous Yeshivishe discussions that the distinction here is that money the witnesses are Eidei Birrur - they clarify the reality, so that if we know via other means, such as the parties admitting, then it is the same thing. But when it comes to Kiddushin they are Eidei Kiyum - they make the event happen. Without them, nothing actually took place.

A kesuba needs to be signed because without witnesses there is no property lien and that would limit her options to collect, and the Chachamim require her to have a Kesuba that satisfies her worries (Beis Yosef EH 61:1 quoting the Ran, who also quotes and disagrees with the Rambam and Itur as it being just the Rabbis requirement of the Kesuba unconditionally, which would also seem to be the implication of the Tur there as understood by the Bach).

Chuppa/Nissuin requires witnesses the same way Kiddushin does, under the same circumstances (because Kiddushin establishes the principle that witnesses are required to create the fact of the matter, and this applies to Nissuin as well - it doesn't happen without witnesses). So the way it is required for Kiddushin, it is required for Nissuin. I don't have a great on point source for that, but I found it in many discussions of the issue as a given. (In Yabia Omer (I don't have it to check exactly where) he tries to get out of that because that would mean that Sefardim aren't following the Mechaber's opinion and quotes some Rishonim who disagree, but he agrees that having witnesses has a good source).

  • If I recall correctly needing witnesses for nisuin is a machlokes rishonim, and I guess today Ashkenazim and Sefardim are stringent. If you could explain why witnesses are needed for nisuin, it would improve this answer. – robev Aug 15 '17 at 22:44
  • @robev, I expanded a bit. I would still like a better on-point source, but regarding Sefardim being stringent, not really. At least not if you accept that they are following the Mechaber's definition of Nissuin). – Yishai Aug 16 '17 at 18:03

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