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Shabbat Parashat Tazria Metzora| 5763
We have learned that a woman must be secure in the knowledge that her ketuba document is intact. What happens if it does get lost?
Firstly, we have to understand what “lost” means. If things are moved around and the ketuba is not immediately located, but is presumed to be “around,” then no steps need to be taken. If it is actually lost, then a new ketubashouldbe written. This is called a shtar ketuba d’irchata (a document for a lost ketuba). This document should be prepared with the same care as a regular ketuba, as it is a legal replacement to the original one.
The replacement ketuba should contain the same amount of monetary obligation as the original, and, thus, in theory, we would want witnesses (who are not so easy to find) to tell us how much that was. In most cases, there is no practical problem, because most communities have been writing the same standard amounts of silver for hundreds of years. Even in communities where different sums are used, and, in certain instances, in Israel, where some ketubot mentiondifferentshekelamounts, as long as the couple agrees on an amount, that is what is written. The text of the ketuba is different from a regular one, as the document attests to the particulars of the original ketuba along with information on the particulars of the writing of the new document. Set forms exist for a shtar ketuba d’irchata, but they are not found as easily as the regular ketuba.
Thus, if a ketuba is truly lost, a knowledgeable rabbi should be contacted promptly (without hysteria) to advise the couple on the steps to take and to write a new ketuba.
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