What is the Orthodox Ketubah Text?
Every ketubah in my boutique is available with the Orthodox ketubah text. This text has been used in almost the exact same form for thousands of years, since around 440 BCE. Using the Kosher Orthodox text is a beautiful way of continuing a tradition that was used by your Jewish ancestors all over the world.
Is the Orthodox Ketubah Text in Hebrew?
Actually, it is not! The Orthodox ketubah text is in Aramaic. Aramaic was the Talmudic language of law long before modern day Hebrew was revived by Ben Yehudah at the turn of the 20th century.
What does the Orthodox Ketubah Text say?
The Orthodox ketubah is a binding contract according to Jewish law. The document outlines the groom’s responsibilities towards the bride, including a financial commitment (although this is in Zuzim, so by today’s standards it is only symbolic). In order to dissolve the ketubah, the couple would need to go before a rabbinical court and the husband would need to provide the wife with a “gett”. Here is a translation of what the Orthodox ketubah text says in English, but please note that because this is a translation of an ancient language, translations of the Orthodox ketubah text can vary slightly:
On the ______day of the week, the _________day of the month ______ in the year five thousand seven hundred and ______ since the creation of the world, the era according to which we reckon here in the city of _________________ that ________ son of _________ said to this (virgin) _________daughter of _____. "Be my wife according to the practice of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully. And I here present you with the marriage gift of (virgins), (two hundred) silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according the law of Moses and Israel; and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities, and live with you as husband and wife according to universal custom." And Miss_____, this (virgin) consented and became his wife. The trousseau that she brought to him from her (father's) house in silver, gold, valuables, clothing, furniture and bedclothes, all this ________, the said bridegroom accepted in the sum of (one hundred ) silver pieces, and ______ the bridegroom, consented to increase this amount from his own property with the sum of (one hundred) silver pieces, making in all (two hundred) silver pieces. And thus said __________, the bridegroom: "The responsibility of this marriage contract, of this trousseau, and of this additional sum, I take upon myself and my heirs after me, so that they shall be paid from the best part of my property and possession that I have beneath the whole heaven, that which I now possess or may hereafter acquire. All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of the trousseau, and of the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death, from the present day and forever." _______, the bridegroom, has taken upon himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, of the trousseau and the addition made to it, according to the restrictive usages of all marriage contracts and the additions to them made for the daughters of Israel, according to the institution of our sages of blessed memory. It is not to be regarded as a mere forfeiture without consideration or as a mere formula of a document. We have followed the legal formality of symbolic delivery (kinyan) between ______the son of _______, the bridegroom and _______ the daughter of _______ this (virgin), and we have used a garment legally fit for the purpose, to strengthen all that is stated above, and everything is valid and confirmed.
Pairing the Orthodox Text with English
Because the Orthodox ketubah text is a pretty cut and dry legal document, most couples prefer not to have the literal translation on their framed ketubah. Instead, we like to pair it with a more romantic interpretive text. So me rabbis do not allow an English text on the Orthodox ketubah at all, but in my experience most do. As long as the Orthodox Aramaic text is on the ketubah and unaltered, they allow an English text to be added and still consider the ketubah kosher.
This is the text I usually pair the Orthodox ketubah text with:
You can also pair the Orthodox ketubah text with any English ketubah text that I offer standard at no additional cost. You can browse all the available texts here.
Who fills in the Orthodox Ketubah?
A ketubah fill-in means that instead of blanks throughout the text, the ketubah would arrive filled in with your personal information already in the text. This is a lovely addition for two reasons:
- All the font will match so it looks nicer
- You eliminate the possibility of mistakes or bad handwriting on your ketubah
If you to choose to have us fill the ketubah in for you, I will create a digital proof of your filled in text and email it to you for you and your rabbi to check and approve. I will work with your rabbi until he gives the all-clear that your ketubah is perfect, kosher, and ready to go. You can see the difference between a blank and filled-in ketubah here.
Your witnesses will still sign the ketubah by hand on the wedding day underneath the text.
Who signs the Orthodox Ketubah?
Jerusalem Western Wall Ketubah
Traditionally the Orthodox ketubah text is signed by two male witnesses who are not related to the bride or groom. Many rabbis also require that the witnesses be observant Jews. If you choose to add an English text to your Orthodox ketubah, most rabbis don’t mind if we also add signature lines for the bride and groom under it. This is a lovely way of making room to sign your ketubah and still keep it 100% kosher.
What shape is the ketubah text?
Orthodox rabbis are very strict about the shape of the Orthodox ketubah text. It can be shaped into a square, rectangle, circle, or even a custom shape, but it has to be a very clear and neat layout without any extra spaces. This is so that there is no possibility of anyone writing anything extra in anywhere in the text, because the Orthodox text is a binding contract in Judaism. The Orthodox ketubah shouldn’t even have extra space below the text where the signatures are placed.
Learn more about the Orthodox ketubah text including what information you’ll need to gather and some fun facts here.
Also see these related pages: