Shabbat Parashat Vayikra| 5763
Ketuba – Introduction
A ketuba is most commonly, and relatively accurately, translated as a marriage contract. A contract implies that two sides agree to certain terms of engagement (no pun intended), and this is only partially true by a ketuba. A contract is also a written document (as, indeed the root of the word ëúåáä implies) but, again, this is only partially true. There are several monetary obligations which affect the husband and at least one which obligates the wife based on Torah and/or rabbinic law whether or not the sides agree or anything is written. These are called úðàé áéú ãéï or úðàé ëúåáä.
The direct sum of money (as opposed to more general obligations without dollar (or zuz) value) consists of three parts of the ketuba. The first is the ikar haketuba (the main part). This is the minimum amount that every husband must obligate himself to pay to his wife upon termination of the marriage. The second is the tosefet ketuba (additional amount) which the chatan may (and as a rule, does) add on to the minimum sum. The third corresponds to the ðãåðéà (dowry), whose value is estimated in a specific way (usually a set amount) and added to the obligation.
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