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Ketubah Traditions


The Ketubah is a wedding contract and signing this important document is the highlight of every Jewish wedding. The importance of the Ketubah has to be appreciated as even in the past it outlined the rights and responsibilities of the groom in relation to the bride and sees that the financial rights of the bride are kept even if the couple separates. Read more about traditions regarding the Ketubah and get inspired for ordering your own Ketubah when you scroll down this page.


Ketubah Versions


Ketubah VersionsIn order to better understand the different Ketubah texts we need to understand the history of this special Jewish marriage contract. The purpose of the marriage contract, Ketubah, is to protect the woman's rights during the marriage and in case she is divorced or widowed. In ancient times the Ketubah did not require signatures of the bride or groom it only needed two witnesses who attested to the fact that the groom made this promise to the bride. Today the groom and wedding official sign the ketubah, in addition to the witnesses in order to make the document official. Originally the Ketubah was written in Aramaic that most Hebrew or English speakers do not understand. That is why more and more the traditional Aramaic version, which is the orthodox official text, comes with a Hebrew or English translation and that there are even Ketubah texts with modified texts to fit modern life requirements. The Orthodox Ashkenazi Jewish community accepts only the Traditional Aramaic Ketubah text as is the RCA, Rabbinical council of America, Ketubah or the Israeli Rabbinate Ketubah. We also have a Nusach Jerusahlyim, also called Nachlat Shivaa Nusach, for Ashkenazi and Sephardic couples. The Conservative ketubah text is the document most often used in Conservative Jewish wedding ceremonies. The text is identical to the Traditional text, with the addition of a paragraph called the Lieberman Clause that attempts to create a legal remedy in the event one of the parties fails to cooperate in Jewish divorce proceedings. If the couple obtains a civil divorce, the clause requires the husband to give his wife the get, religious divorce, so both can remarry according to Jewish law. Egalitarian Text: The Egalitarian text is the most frequently used ketubah in more liberal Jewish communities such as the Reform and Reconstructionist movements. An Egalitarian text includes a modern Hebrew and modern English section, which feature contemporary sentiments and promises that the bride and groom express to each other. There is no Aramaic on the document. In most cases, the English is a direct translation of the Hebrew. The Hebrew and English wordings are at the discretion of the couple or the Ketubah artist, so the texts will vary one Ketubah to another. Often Verses and blessing are added around the official text or integrated in the illustration. Most of our Ketubah artists will do any text varieties you'd choose, however we have some orthodox artists that will only work with the Orthodox text. To prevent indecision on your side, some Ketubah artists will ask you to send them the text your Rabbi requests. To sum the Ketubah ordering process up: When buying a Ketubah one has to decide on design, Texts, and Personalization. First decide if you are going to buy a pre-made Ketubah, or if you might consider commissioning one. Than to make sure you choose the right text and the wedding details on it. We advise you to let your rabbi read the text prior to the purchase. Mazal Tov!


The Lieberman Clause


The Ketubah with the Lieberman clause text is identical to the Orthodox text with an added paragraph called the Lieberman Clause. This is kind of a prenuptial agreement. The clause by Saul Lieberman, a Conservative rabbi in the 1950's stipulates that in case the couple will have any differences in the future, they give over the right for a Bet Din to rule and force with exaggerated sanctions, a divorce, Get. The purpose of signing that clause during the wedding is to prevent the Get from becoming a bargaining tool against the spouse, which would prevent the woman, in particular, from remarrying or even worse woman who is chained, aguna, to her husband and can't remarry. Most conservative Rabbies, especially outside of Israel, will only marry a couple with a Ketubah including this Lieberman clause.


The 22 Simanim


Ketubah symbolsBessiman Ora = A sign of light Bessiman Bracha = A sign of blessing Bessiman Gila = A sign of rejoicing or Gedila = A sign of flourishing Bessiman Ditza = A sign of delight Bessiman Hatzlacha = A sign of successes Bessiman Vaad Tov = A Sign of good company Bessiman Zimra = A sign of song or Ziv = a sign of brightness Bessiman Chayim = A sign of good health or Chedvah = a sign o rejoicing Bessiman Tovah = A sign of kindness Bessiman Jeshuah = A sign of salvation Bessiman Kalkala = A sign of providing or Kavod = a sign of honor and respect Bessiman Lev Tov = A sign of goodness or Livluv = a sign of blooming Bessiman Mazon = A sign of food & opulence or Mazal = a sign of luck Bessiman Neimut = A sign of comfort or Nechama = a sign of comfort Bessiman Siaata Deshmima = A sign of Godly Guidance or Slicha = a sign of forgiveness Bessiman Ezrah = A sign of assistance or Bessiman Zahala = A sign of merriment or Zedakah =a sign of charity Bessiman Prieh Vereviah = A sign of fertility Bessiman kommemiut = A sign of sovereignty Bessiman Rachamim = A Sign of Mercy or Reut= a sign of friendship Bessiman shalva = A sign of peace or Simcha = a sign of Happiness Bessiman Tehila = A sign of glory or Torah = a sign of righteousness


Poetic Ketubah Verses


Poetic ketubah versesWhat a Ketubah says is as important as how it looks thus it is a lovely tradition to integrate biblical or poetical verses connected to love and blessing into the Ketubah document. Often the chosen verse is placed around the actual wedding agreement text of the Ketubah on other times it crowns it or is placed at the bottom while the design seems to start with the verse. Many of the verses integrated into the Ketubot were taken from Shir Hashirim, Song of Solomon that is written like a love song. We collected many verses and added the translation In many cases the Ketubah is headed with the wording; - Be Siman tov u be Mazal tov. The literal translation of Siman Tov is good sign or omen while Mazel Tov means good fortunes or good luck used to say; congratulations! Siman Tov u’Mazal Tov is a musical way of wishing the couple well and is usually sung at the end of the wedding ceremony. Another quote that is often integrated in Ketubot is: whoever finds a wife finds a good thing taken from Proverbs 18:22 and implies and wishes that the bride is the groom's greatest treasure. The happiness of the moment of the wedding is reflected in the following verse taken from Jeremiah 33:11. -There shall again be heard the voice of mirth and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. The love of Ruth and Boaz is an example for true love; - For where you go I will go; and where you take your rest I will take my rest; your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1; 16. This is the blessing bestowed on Boaz; - And G-d will make the woman that has come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel. Ruth 4:11. Another beautiful verse taken from the Talmud says: - Lo Ish Belo Isha ve lo shneiheim belo Schechina. Translated this verse says; No man should be without a woman, no woman without a man, and both of them not without the Shechinah The wholeness of man and woman can only be restored through marriage. With the marriage the two separate souls are fused into one. And the verse wishes that this new, joint entity will become the resting place for the Divine Presence in this world. The sixth blessing of the Sheva Brachot is a proffered verse that many couples ask to integrate into their Ketubah. - Grant abundant joy to these loving friends, as You bestowed gladness upon Your created being in the Garden of Eden. This excerpt from Genesis 31; 44 will make a perfect addition to any Ketubah. - Now come, let us make a covenant, you and I; and let it be for a witness between me and you. Another quote from Genesis 2:24; - Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. Showing the love between the couple they declare; - An unconditional love lasts forever. - Ethics of the fathers. Here are some poetic Ketubah verses from the Song of Songs: The most known and loved verse is: - I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine. Ani Ledodi Ve Dodi Li Song of Solomon 6:3. This verse shows the mutual commitment of both partners to each other. The next text that is integrated into the Ketubah is to show that at last true love was found. - I walked around until I found the one whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, into the chamber of her who conceived me. Song of Solomon 3:4 This hymn to love from Song of Solomon 7:6 will make a great quote in any Ketubah. - How beautiful and how sweet you are, O love, for delight; - I request from you, daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up, nor awaken love, until it so desires. Song of Solomon 8:4 Yet another quote from Song of Solomon 8:7 expresses the great love that culminates in this Ketubah. - Many waters are not able to quench the love, and floods do not wash it away. -Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Song of Solomon 2:3 If you have a special verse or quote concerning love it will be lovely to find a way and implant it into the Ketubah of your choice. Please let us know and we will try and find a way to fulfill your special Ketubah wish.


Ketubah Gallery


Ketubah Gallery.The Gans Ketubah Gallery is the place to brows the great selection of Ketubahs by Israeli artists. The Ketubah Gallery at Gans is where you‘ll find a fantastic selection of creative Ketubah designs to suite your personal taste and text requirements. It is common knowledge that a Ketubah may be a plain written document signed by two witnesses however for the reason of Hiddur Mitzvah, the beautification and sanctification of the commandment, artist started illuminating and illustrating the Ketubah documents. Find the Ketubah that will express your own lifestyle, your everlasting love, and your belief. The Gans Ketubah Gallery brings to you an extensive collection of Ketubahs from the leading Ketubah artists in Israel. The range of Ketubah illustration ranges from traditional to contemporary and from romantic to symbolic Ketubah. Just take your pick out of our vast Ketubah collection displayed in the Ketubah Gallery section.Please go to the Ketubah link below to get to the section of our exquisite Ketubah Gallery.

Ketubah link

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