5

Is it Halachicly required to read the ketubah aloud under the chuppah? Or, provided that it has been properly witnessed, is it sufficient to simply give the bride the text. I am thinking of a situation where the bride is not comfortable with the traditional Aramaic wording, but has agreed to the same but does not want the ketubah read aloud. Thank you

  • 2
    Welcome! Please note that if this question is personally applicable then you should consult your rabbi rather than relying on what you read here. – msh210 Nov 6 '18 at 18:44
  • steinsaltz.org/daf/ketubot57 – rosends Nov 6 '18 at 19:06
  • 1
    Welcome to MiYodeya Henry and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us! I wonder what is the likelihood that people in the audience will understand the Aramaic at the speed it is most often read - and believe those who will understand know the standard text anyway. – mbloch Nov 6 '18 at 20:15
  • 1
    Rabbi Haim Drukman (in Israel) reads the Ktubah in Hebrew. I've seen other Rabbis doing this. – Zvika Nov 6 '18 at 21:33
  • I have been to many weddings where the Rav read a summary of essential points, normally in Hebrew, so the content is clear without the need for legalized Aramaic - the ketubah is after all a contract - but I am sure he went into details previously to ensure that the groom knew exactly what he was signing. – Epicentre Nov 7 '18 at 5:37
6

The Aruch HaShulchan in Even Ha'Ezer 62:8 says that reading the Ketubah under the Chuppah is a custom instituted by Rashi (1040-1105)

ורש"י ז"ל הנהיג לקרות הכתובה אחר הקדושין כי היכי דליהוי הפסק גדול בין ברכת אירוסין לברכת נשואין, וכן המנהג פשוט אצלינו.‏

The point of the reading was to enforce a long break between the 2 ceremonies of Kidishin and Erusin that we nowadays do "together".

As long as the break between the 2 ceremonies is as long as reading the Ketubah, any interruption should suffice. Note that reading the Ketubah under the Chuppa does not seem to be mentioned by The Shulchan Aruch.

However, it should be noted that this reading serves another purpose, as noted by various Poskim; the purpose being that the groom cannot say that he didn't understand, or never read, the Ketubah, as is mentioned - in passing - by the Chatam Sofer (שו"ת חתם סופר, חושן משפט מ"ט) who refers to the Rema in Choshen Mishpat 45:2.

So, if the actual Ketuba is not going to be read publically, a competent Rabbi should be consulted about validating the Ketubah.

  • "the purpose being that the groom cannot say that he didn't understand, or never read, the Ketubah" - Reality - many haven't done at least one of them. The ketubah tends to be first presented at the chattan's tisch. Between the commotion, partying, and the chattan's anxiety at that moment, he probably hasn't done this. A far better idea would be to present the chattan the ketubah at his home or have him come to the rav's office about a week before the wedding when this can be explained in a more relaxed atmosphere. Why don't many do this? – DanF Nov 7 '18 at 16:35
  • @DanF - At all the weddings we've made so far, the Rav either sat privately with the groom and the witnesses for a few minutes before the Chosson Tisch, or else sat with the Groom a few days before the wedding, to review the contents of the Ketubah. Not sure how common this is. – Danny Schoemann Nov 8 '18 at 10:18
  • In U.S., I don't believe this is that common. I may (and hope) that I am wrong. I think most rabbanim summarize, which may serve the purpose. But, judging from the many cases in frum families where the woman supports the husband for many years, IMO, either something wasn't explained or if it was explained, it's being ignored. – DanF Nov 8 '18 at 23:14
  • @DanF, your comment _ in frum families where the woman supports the husband for many years_ is either sarcastic or based on ignorance. It's not that the man is loafing around and the wise is supporting him. These couples make a conscious decision to dedicate their lives to Torah Learning, and live on the wife's (usually) meager salary so that he can throw himself into full-time learning. The wife is supporting her husband's full-time Learning. (And if some males are taking advantage of this lofty system, then shame on them.) – Danny Schoemann Nov 11 '18 at 9:58
  • 1
    @DanF - yes, it's wrong, on many levels. But this has nothing to do with the officiating Rabbi, but with the husband's entire education from a young age. – Danny Schoemann Nov 12 '18 at 9:59
4

In a case where the wording could embarrass the bride or groom (for example, it mentions a previous marriage that the public is unaware of, or states that one is a convert and they wish to conceal this; similarly in the case where the bride or groom's true name might cause fights), the Rabbis permit reading the standard text instead of the real text.

Clearly it is not strictly necessary to read the actual text of the Ketubah under the Chuppah. It would not invalidate the wedding in any way.

However, it remains proper for the groom to know the meaning of the Ketubah. One ought not to sign a contract without knowing its contents!

  • 4
    The whole point is as a pause between stages of the wedding. You could just give a sermon then, or read Shakespeare's sonnets ... but the guests may wonder what's going on that they're not reading the Ketubah. If the concern has to do with the details within it (e.g. the bride's previous marital status, or maybe someone was adopted), then as this answer stated: R. Yaakov Kaminetski and many others allowed them to read something modified. As long as the couple, rabbi, and witnesses know what's really there! – Shalom Nov 6 '18 at 23:45
  • Good answer, but you should switch paragraphs 2 and 1, make the answer first and the notes second. – Al Berko Nov 7 '18 at 13:16
  • You need some sources to strengthen this answer. The last paragraph is an extremely important point. Prior to my wedding, I asked the rav to explain every word of the Ketubah. He did that. Furthermore, after he read the ketubah, he summarized the main points in "plain English" to all the attendants. I didn't expect that, but, it was a very nice touch. I think most grooms don't understand the ketubah, and, actually, many rabbis don't either! – DanF Nov 7 '18 at 16:32
  • Many thanks for your insights. Much appreciated. – Henry Davis Nov 8 '18 at 18:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .