What is a Ketubah?

KetubahA Ketubah is much more than a simple marriage document. In as much as a wedding is so much more than a mere legal process, it is the binding of souls to each other and to God. We believe that all souls are the “Breath” and “Spark” of Hashem and all human beings are not complete until they become united in marriage. A marriage where two distinct and individual personalities come together and through complementing each other’s actions and drives and hopes, causes the fusing of these souls as a legacy for all eternity with their Creator. The ketubah echoes that refrain, it is a mirror of a cosmic fusion, distilled onto a small piece of paper. Signed on earth by two witnesses but bound up in Heaven forever.

It is no wonder then, that this document has proved one’s “Jewish-ness” for centuries. According to Judaism, the religion of a child follows the maternal line, so having one’s mother’s ketubah or even one’s maternal grandmother’s ketubah, would be enough to legitimatize and prove one’s Jewish-ness in any Beth Din around the world.

At ketubah.co.za we therefore take scrupulous care in ensuring that every ketubah that we produce, accords to the strictest halachik standards, approved by the Johannesburg Beth Din. And as a rabbi in Johannesburg, South Africa, I feel privileged and blessed to be able to ensure that the Chain of our Tradition continues, unbroken. Using the artistic gift that Hashem has loaned me, I strive to ensure that our artwork is of the best quality. And can be displayed proudly to friends and family.

We take gender equality for granted. But a few thousand years ago in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, women were not accorded the respect due to them. This was unacceptable to the Sages of old and in order to assure the protection of a Jewish woman and the sanctity of marriage, they decreed taht no man could be legally married without a “ketubah”. A document that implores the husband to take care of all of his wife’s needs, to protect her and honour her and even give her the shirt that is on his back. In fact he even promises to look after her maintenance should he die or divorce her. At ketubah.co.za we always include an English paraphrased translation with every ketubah we make which states as follows:

The said Bridegroom made the following declaration to his Bride:

“Be my wife according to the Law of Moses and Israel. I faithfully promise that I will be a true husband to you, I will honour and cherish you, I will work for you, I will protect and support you and will provide all that is necessary for your sustenance, as it beseems a Jewish husband to do. I also take upon myself all such further obligations for your maintenance and happiness as are prescribed by our religious statute.”

And the said Bride has pledged her loyalty to him with affection and sincerity, thus taking upon herself the fulfilment of all duties incumbent upon a Jewish wife.

This covenant of marriage was duly executed and witnessed this day according to the usage of Israel and also conforms with the laws of the State

The above statement was revolutionary so many years ago. In a time when men and laws were barbaric to women, treating them as second rate citizens.

Should we not be proud to display this document to the everyone who comes into our homes? Should we not be proud to declare that we hold every line in the ketubah to be truthful and binding? We therefore strive at ketubah.co.za to produce high quality beautiful canvas prints for this very purpose. We can personalize your ketubah to match your decor, so that aesthetically it brings out the beauty of your home and future lives together as you both strive to build a home that reflects the Temple of Hashem. A home that Hashem puts his faith in as a bastion for the continued future of the Jewish People. A בית נאמן בישראל