Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone

Ishut - Chapter Ten

Ishut - Chapter Ten

E-mail
Halacha 1

According to Rabbinic law, a woman who has been consecrated (i.e., an arusah) is forbidden to engage in sexual relations1with her husband as long as she is living in her father's home.2 A man who has relations with his arusah in his father-in-law's home is punished with "stripes for rebelliousness."

Even when [the husband] consecrated [his arusah] by having sexual relations with her, he is forbidden to engage in sexual relations with her again until he brings her to his home, enters into privacy with her, and thus singles her out as his [wife].

[Their entry into] privacy is referred to as entry into the chuppah,3 and it is universally referred to as nisu'in.4

When a man has relations with his arusah for the sake of [establishing] nisu'in after he has consecrated her, the relationship is established at the beginning of sexual relations. This causes her to be considered his wife with regard to all matters.5

Halacha 2

Once an arusah has entered the chuppah, her husband is allowed to have relations with her at any time he desires, and she is considered to be his wife with regard to all matters. Once she enters the chuppah, she is called a nesu'ah, although [the couple] has not engaged in sexual relations.

[The above applies when] it is fitting to engage in relations with the woman. If, however, the woman is in the niddah state [when relations are forbidden], the marriage bond is not completed and she is still considered to be an arusah although she entered the chuppah and remained in privacy [with her husband].6

Halacha 3

The marriage blessings must be recited in the groom's home7before the marriage takes place. There are six blessings; they are:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has created all things for His glory.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of man.8

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe,9 who created man in His image, in an image reflecting His likeness; [He brought forth] his form and prepared for him from His own Self a structure that will last for all time.10 Blessed are You, God, Creator of man.

May the barren one rejoice and exult as her children are gathered to her with joy. Blessed are You, God, who makes Zion rejoice in her children.11

Grant joy to these loving companions, as You granted joy to Your creation in the Garden of Eden long ago. Blessed are You, God, who grants joy to the groom and the bride.12

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who created joy and happiness, bride and groom, gladness, song, cheer and delight, love and harmony, peace and friendship. Soon, God, our Lord, may there be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, a voice of joy and a voice of happiness, a voice of a groom and a voice of a bride, a voice of grooms rejoicing from their wedding canopies and youths from their songfests.13 Blessed are You, God, who grants joy to the groom together with the bride.14

Halacha 4

If wine is available, a cup of wine should be brought, and the blessing over wine recited first. Afterwards, all the above blessings should be recited over the cup of wine; thus, one recites seven blessings.15

In certain places, it is customary to bring a myrtle [branch] together with the wine. The blessing over the myrtle is recited after [the blessing over] the wine, and then the six blessings [mentioned above] are recited.

Halacha 5

The wedding blessings are recited only in the presence of a quorum of ten adult free men.16 The groom is counted as part of the quorum.

Halacha 6

When a man consecrates a woman, recites the wedding blessings, but does not enter into privacy with her in his home, she is still considered to be [merely] an arusah. For nisu'in are not established by the recitation of the wedding blessings, but rather by [the couple's] entry into the chuppah.

When [a man] consecrates [a woman] and [the two] enter a chuppah, but do not have the wedding blessings recited, the woman is considered to be married with regard to all matters. The wedding blessings may be recited even after several days have passed.

A woman in the niddah state should not marry until she is purified. The marriage blessings are not recited for her until she is purified.17 If a person transgresses, marries [a woman in this state] and has the blessings recited, they should not be recited again afterwards.

Halacha 7

[A man] must write a marriage contract (a ketubah) [for his wife] before their entry into the chuppah; only afterwards is he permitted to live with his wife. The groom pays the scribe's fee.

How much does [the marriage contract require him to promise to have paid to her in the event of his death or his divorcing her]? If the bride is a virgin, no less than 200 dinarim. If she is not a virgin, no less than 100 dinarim.18 This amount is called the fundamental requirement of the ketubah.

If the groom desires to add to this amount he may, [promising any sum,] even a talent of gold. The laws pertaining to this addition and to the fundamental requirement of the ketubah are the same with regard to most matters. Therefore, every time the term ketubah is used without any additional explanation, it should be understood to include the fundamental requirement of the ketubah together with the additional amount [promised by the groom].

It was our Sages19 who ordained the requirement of [writing] a ketubah for a woman. [They instituted this obligation] so that it would not be a casual matter for [her husband] to divorce her.20

Halacha 8

[Our Sages] did not require that these dinarim be of pure silver. Instead, [their intent was] the coin [commonly used] in the [Talmudic] period, which was seven parts copper and one part silver. Thus, a sela (a coin worth four dinarim) contained half a zuz of [pure] silver.21 And the 200 dinarim to be paid a virgin were equivalent to 25 zuz of pure silver, while the 100 zuz to be paid to a woman who had previously engaged in sexual relations was 12 and a half zuz [of pure silver].

The weight of each zuz is 96 barley corns, as explained at the beginning of [Hilchot] Eruvin.22 A dinar is universally referred to as a zuz, regardless of whether it was of pure silver or of the coins used in the [Talmudic] period.

Halacha 9

[A marriage contract] for a virgin may not be less than 200 [zuz], nor less than 100 [zuz] for a woman who is not a virgin. Whenever anyone [composes a marriage contract for] a lesser sum, the sexual relations [he conducts with his wife] are considered promiscuous.

[Marital relations] are permitted whether the husband composes a legal document [recording] the ketubah, or whether he has witnesses observe him making a commitment for either 100 or 200 [zuz] and [reaffirms that] commitment with a contractual act.23 Similarly, if [a man] gives his wife possessions equivalent to the value of her ketubah [as security], he is permitted to engage in relations with her until he has the opportunity to [have the document] composed.24

Halacha 10

When a man brings a woman [into a chuppah] without writing a ketubah for her, or he has written her a ketubah but it was lost, or the woman waived the ketubah in favor of her husband, or she sold her ketubah to him, he must compose a document [obligating himself] for [at least] the fundamental requirement of the ketubah25 if he desires to continue living with his wife. For it is forbidden for a man to continue living with his wife for even a single moment without [her having] a ketubah.

When, however, a woman sells her ketubah to others for the possible benefit,26 [her husband] does not have to write another ketubah for her. For the ketubah was instituted solely so that it would not be a casual matter for [a man] to divorce [his wife]. In this instance, if [the woman's husband] divorces her, he must pay her ketubah to the purchaser in the same way that he would pay her if she had not sold it.

Halacha 11

When [a man] consecrates a woman and writes her a ketubah, but does not enter into a chuppah with her, her status is that of an arusah and not that of a nesu'ah. For a ketubah does not bring about nisu'in. If [the husband] dies or divorces her, she may collect the fundamental requirement of the ketubah from property possessed by the man or his estate.27 She does not collect the additional sum [that he attached to the ketubah] at all, for they did not enter [a chuppah].28

If, by contrast, a man consecrates a woman and does not write a ketubah for her, and he dies or divorces her while she is still an arusah, she has no claim against him, not even for the fundamental [requirement of the ketubah]. For our Sages did not grant [a woman] the fundamental requirement of the ketubah until the marriage is consummated or until the husband writes a document for her.29

When a man consecrates his daughter, and [her intended husband] writes her a ketubah and dies or divorces her while she is a na'arah, her father receives [payment for] her ketubah, as explained in Chapter Three30 above.

Halacha 12

Similarly, our Sages ordained that whoever weds a virgin should celebrate with her for seven days.31 He should not pursue his occupation, nor should he involve himself in commercial dealings; he should eat, drink and celebrate.32 [This ruling applies] regardless of whether the groom had been married before or not.

If the bride is not a virgin, [he should celebrate with her] for no less than three days. For it is an ordinance of our Sages that a husband - regardless of whether he was married before or not - should celebrate with a non-virgin bride for three days.33

Halacha 13

A man may wed several women at one time on one day and recite the marriage blessings for all of them at the same time. With regard to the celebrations, however, he must rejoice with each bride the time allotted to her: seven days for a virgin, three days for a non-virgin. One celebration should not be allowed to overlap with another.34

Halacha 14

It is permitted to consecrate a woman on any weekday,35 even on Tish'ah B'Av,36 whether during the day or during the night. With regard to weddings, by contrast, a wedding is not conducted on a Friday37 or a Sunday. [This is] a decree, [ordained] lest conducting the wedding feast lead to the desecration of the Sabbath, for a groom is preoccupied with the wedding feast. Needless to say, a wedding is not conducted on the Sabbath.38

Even on Chol HaMo'ed weddings are not held, as we have explained,39 for one celebration should not be mixed with another, as [implied by Genesis 29:27]: "Complete the week [of celebration] of this one and then I will give you this other one."

On other days, it is permitted to wed a woman on any day one desires, provided one spends three days preparing for the wedding feast.

Halacha 15

In a locale where the court holds session only on Monday and Thursday, a virgin bride should be wed on Wednesday. Thus, if her husband has a claim with regard to her virginity,40 he can take it to the court early the next morning.41

It is the custom of the Sages that a man who weds a non-virgin bride should wed her on Thursday, so that he will celebrate with her on Thursday, Friday and the Sabbath.42 On Sunday, he will go back to work.

Halacha 16

When a man consecrates his daughter while she is below the age of majority, both she and her father may object and delay the wedding until she comes of age and becomes a na'arah. If [the husband] desires to wed her, he may.43 It is not proper, however, to do so.44

Halacha 17

If a man consecrated [a girl], delayed several years, and seeks to wed her while she is a na'arah, the girl is given twelve months from the day he makes his request, to outfit herself45and prepare what she needs for him. Only afterwards, must she wed.

If he makes his request after she becomes a bogeret, she is given twelve months from the day she becomes a bogeret. Similarly, if he consecrates her on the day on which she becomes a bogeret, she is given twelve months from the day of the kiddushin - i.e., the day on which she became a bogeret.

When he consecrates her after she has become a bogeret, if more than twelve months have passed from the time she became a bogeret until he consecrates her, she is given only 30 days from the day he requests to wed her [to prepare]. Similarly, when a man consecrates a non-virgin bride,46 she is given 30 days [to prepare] from the day he requests to wed her.

Halacha 18

Just as a woman is given time to outfit herself after her groom requests to wed her and then the wedding is held, so too, time is granted to the man to prepare himself47 if the woman requests the wedding to be held.

How much time is granted him? The same as is granted her. If [she would be granted] twelve months, [he is granted] twelve months. If [she would be granted] thirty days, [he is granted] thirty days.48

Halacha 19

When the time allotted to the man passes and he still has not wed his arusah, he is obligated to provide her livelihood, although they have not wed. [Nevertheless,] if [the final day in] the time allotted him falls on Sunday or Friday, he is not liable for her livelihood on that day, for the wedding cannot be held then.49 Similarly, if he or she falls ill or she enters the niddah state at the conclusion of the time allotted him, he is not obligated to provide her with her livelihood. For she is not fit to wed until she purifies herself,50 or until she becomes healthy. Similarly, he is not able to wed a woman until he regains his health.

FOOTNOTES
1.

Indeed, the two are forbidden to remain in privacy together. For the prohibition against yichud, being alone with a woman other than one's wife, applies until the marriage is consummated (Ramah, Even HaEzer 55:1).

2.

This is alluded to by the wording of the blessing recited before consecrating a woman (Chapter 3, Halachah 24), which praises God "who has forbidden the arusot to us, and permitted to us those who are married by [the rites of] chuppah and kiddushin" (Kessef Mishneh).

3.

Popularly, the term chuppah is understood to refer to the wedding canopy. There are also sources for this definition (see Sotah 49b and Rashi's commentary; for other definitions, see the notes of the Ramah, Even HaEzer 55:1). Nevertheless, the common practice is to follow the Rambam's view as well. For this reason, after the ceremony under the wedding canopy, the bride and groom go to a private room, the cheder yichud. This constitutes the halachic definition of chuppah.

4.

As mentioned previously, in Jewish law, marriage is a two-stage process involving erusin and nisu'in. Erusin (also referred to as kiddushin) is the stage described in the previous chapters, that causes a woman to be designated as a man's wife and causes her to be forbidden to other men. It is not until nisu'in, however, that the couple begins living together as man and wife. At present, nisu'in follows directly after erusin; under the wedding canopy the groom consecrates the bride, and afterwards they go to a private room.

5.

I.e., all the privileges and obligations of the ketubah (marriage contract) apply. He alone nullifies her vows, and if he is a priest, should his wife die, he must become impure when burying her.

6.

This ruling is not accepted by Rabbenu Asher and other authorities. They maintain that a chuppah conducted with a niddah is binding, despite the fact that the couple are forbidden to engage in sexual relations. (See Tur and Shulchan Aruch 61:1.) At present, every effort is made to schedule a wedding so that the woman will not be in the niddah state at that time. If, however, that is not possible, the wedding is held and is considered binding, despite the woman's condition.

7.

This applied when the wedding celebrations were held in the groom's home. The intent is that the blessings be recited before the complete establishment of the marriage bond. Therefore, at present, these blessings are recited under the marriage canopy, before the couple goes to their private room.

8.

Rashi (Ketubot 7b) explains that this blessing is in praise of the creation of Adam, the first man.

In Hilchot Berachot 10:11, where the text of the wedding blessings is mentioned, this blessing precedes the blessing "who has created all things for His glory." The order mentioned in these halachot is the sequence in which these blessings are recited today. It appears more appropriate, particularly according to Rashi's commentary (ibid.), which explains that the blessing "who has created all things..." is not directly connected to the wedding itself, but rather is recited in appreciation of the guests who have come to celebrate together with the new couple.

9.

Despite the fact that this blessing follows two (or three) blessings that begin with "Blessed..." it also begins with "Blessed...." Among the explanations offered is that the first blessings are short, and if the phrase "Blessed..." were not mentioned, they would appear to be a single blessing (Tosafot, Ketubot, ibid.).

10.

Rashi (ibid.) interprets this as a reference to the creation of woman, who was created from man ("his own self"), and gives him the potential for reproduction ("a structure that will last for all time").

11.

"The barren one" refers to Jerusalem. Psalms 137:6 states: "Let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not place Jerusalem above my highest joy." Thus, at the height of the wedding celebration, we recall the holy city and pray that it be rebuilt.

12.

This is a prayer that the bride and groom enjoy the happiness experienced by Adam and Eve before the first sin.

13.

Cf. Jeremiah 33:11. This blessing joins our wishes for the happiness of the particular couple with our hope for the Messianic redemption and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The ultimate marriage relationship is the bond between God and the Jewish people, which will be realized in the Messianic age. Thus, the two themes, marriage and redemption, share an intrinsic link.

14.

Rashi, Ketubot 8a, explains the difference between the last two blessings. The fifth of the blessings concludes with a request that the bride and groom enjoy a lifetime of happiness and success together. The sixth and final blessing concludes with a request that they find happiness in each other, that their wedding joy be extended throughout their lives. Alternatively, the final blessing is a blessing for the Jewish people as a whole, who find fulfillment in married life.

15.

These seven blessings are also recited after grace at the festive meals held during the seven days of celebration after a couple's marriage. (See Hilchot Berachot 2:9-11.)

16.

Ketubot 7b derives this from Ruth 4:2, "And he took ten men from the elders of the city," which is interpreted to refer to the marriage between Boaz and Ruth.

In the Guide for the Perplexed, Vol. III, Chapter 49, the Rambam explains that our Sages required ten men to be present to publicize all weddings, so that a man will live together with a woman only after their marriage has become public knowledge. Their intent was to make it socially unacceptable for couples to live together without marriage.

17.

As mentioned in the notes on Halachah 2, although all efforts are made not to schedule a marriage when the woman is in the niddah state, if this is unavoidable the wedding may be held and the blessings recited. Nevertheless, the consummation of the marriage is possible only when the woman is purified.

18.

Rav Ovadiah of Bertinoro (Pe'ah 8:8) states that this is the sum of money required for a person to support himself for one year.

19.

This point is a matter of debate, for there are certain opinions (among them that of Rabbenu Tam) that maintain that the obligation to pay the fundamental requirement of the ketubah stems from the Torah. Support for the latter opinion may be drawn from the wording commonly used in most Ashkenazic ketubot "200 silver zuz that are rightfully yours [as required by] the Torah." [Significantly, even the text of the ketubah in the standard printed texts of the Mishneh Torah (Hilchot Yibbum VaChalitzah 4:34) includes this phrase. Nevertheless, many authorities maintain that this is a printer's addition and not the Rambam's own words.]

Most authorities (including Rabbenu Asher) agree that the obligation to pay the fundamental requirement of the Ketubah is Rabbinic in origin. Nevertheless, the abovementioned phrase is traditionally included in the ketubah to teach us the value of the silver to which we are referring, as is explained in the notes on the following halachah.

20.

I.e., when the man understands that divorcing his wife will cost him a significant sum of money, he will think twice before doing so.

21.

The Ashkenazic authorities (even those who agree with the Rambam with regard to the Rabbinic origin of the fundamental requirement of the ketubah) differ with him regarding the value the man is required to pay [Tur, Ramah (Even HaEzer 66:6)]. According to these authorities, our Sages ordained that a man pay his virgin bride 200 zuz of pure silver. With regard to a bride who is not a virgin, however, they differ and maintain that the obligation is 100 zuz of the Talmudic period. In practice, however, the custom is to give such a bride half the sum given to a virgin (Beit Shmuel 66:14).

22.

Chapter 1, Halachah 12. According to most authorities, the equivalent of a dinar in contemporary measure is 4.8 grams. According to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Piskei Siddur), it is 5.1 grams.

23.

I.e., a kinyan chalifin, in which the recipient gives the seller a handkerchief and thus reaffirms his commitment. After this act, the transaction is binding. (See Hilchot Mechirah 5:5.)

Once a person reaffirms his commitment by performing a contractual act in the presence of witnesses, the witnesses have the right to draw up a document attesting to the obligation he accepted upon himself. They need not consult him before doing so (Ketubot 55a).

24.

Implied by the Rambam's wording is that this is only a temporary measure, and that a ketubah must be composed at the earliest possible opportunity. (See Ramah, Even HaEzer 66:2.)

25.

I.e., he does not have to give her the full value of her original ketubah. He must, however, give her a ketubah in which he obligates himself for the minimal amount required by our Sages. Note the Beit Shmuel 66:10, who questions whether he must write the ketubah for 100 or 200 zuz.

The Beit Shmuel (op. cit.) and the Chelkat Mechokek 66:14 state that the man is obligated for the minimal amount only in the latter two instances mentioned by the Rambam. When the woman loses her ketubah, her husband must write her a new ketubah for the initial amount.

26.

I.e., she sells the rights to her ketubah to a purchaser for a price below its face value. Should her husband die or divorce her, the purchaser receives the full value of the ketubah. If the woman dies before her husband, the purchaser does not receive anything.

27.

I.e., after a marriage has been consummated, a woman may collect her due even from property that has been sold, for all her husband's property is on lien to her ketubah. Before the marriage bond is consummated, however, she does not have this right (Ketubot 43b).

Rabbenu Asher and Rabbenu Nissim differ with the Rambam in this regard and maintain that the woman should be able to collect her ketubah from property that has been sold as well. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 55:6) follows the Rambam's view.

28.

Ketubot 54b explains that the additional amount was granted the woman in consideration of the couple's sexual relationship.

29.

In this matter as well, Rabbenu Asher differs with the Rambam and maintains that a woman is entitled to a ketubah from erusin onward. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) quotes the Rambam's view. Although the Ramah mentions Rabbenu Asher's opinion, he states that it is customary to follow the Rambam's ruling.

30.

Halachah 11.

31.

Hilchot Eivel 1:1 states that Moses ordained the seven days of mourning and the seven days of wedding celebrations for the Jewish people.

32.

During these days, it is customary for the friends and family of the bride and groom to host them at celebrations referred to as sheva berachot ("seven blessings") for the seven wedding blessings recited after the meal at these celebrations, as explained in Hilchot Berachot, Chapter 2.

33.

The Maggid Mishneh states that if the groom was not married previously, he should celebrate with his bride for seven days even when she had been married before. He draws support from Hilchot Berachot 2:9, which states that in such an instance the seven wedding blessings are recited for the week following the wedding.

34.

See Halachah 14, which explains the source for this ruling.

35.

Even during Chol Hamo'ed (Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 7:16).

36.

The mourning customs of that day do not prevent one from consecrating a wife. The rationale: another man may consecrate the woman instead of him (Jerusalem Talmud, Ketubot 1:1).

37.

Although many of the early Sephardi authorities object, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 64:3, based on the ruling of the Tur) states that in the present age, it is customary to hold weddings on Friday, provided the groom spends three days preparing for the wedding feast.

(A wedding may be held on Sunday or Monday. The fact that the Sabbath is interposed in between does not mean that three days were not spent in preparation for the wedding.)

38.

With regard to weddings on the Sabbath, there is an additional reason for the prohibition. A wedding involves a kinyan, the acquisition of the rights of the marriage contract, and it is forbidden to make a kinyan on the Sabbath (Hilchot Shabbat 23:14).

39.

Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov, loc. cit.

40.

This subject is discussed in detail in the following chapter.

41.

Our Sages desired that he take the matter to court so the matter be investigated, lest the bride had in fact committed adultery (for in the Talmudic age, erusin preceded nisu'in). If the wedding were held on another day, our Sages feared that in the time the husband was waiting for the court to hold sessions, his wife would soothe his anger (Rashi, Ketubot 2a).

42.

Since the wedding blessings are recited for only one day when both the bride and the groom have been married before, our Sages feared that the man would ignore his wife on the day following their wedding and immediately return to work. To prevent this, they suggested that the wedding be held on Thursday. For the husband will not consider going to work on Friday and the Sabbath (Ibid.).

43.

I.e., if the husband forces the bride to agree, the wedding is binding. The Drishah (Even HaEzer 56) interprets the Rambam's wording to mean that the father desires to have his daughter wed before she comes of age. Some maintain that there is a slight printing error in the standard text of the Mishneh Torah, and the proper version is "if they desire" - i.e., the bride and her father. (See Chelkat Mechokek 56:6.)

44.

Instead, the father should wait until his daughter comes of age and willingly agrees to marry her spouse. (See Chapter 3, Halachah 19.)

45.

I.e., to buy garments and jewelry (Ketubot 57b).

46.

I.e., even if she is not yet a bogeret. The Maggid Mishneh and others explain that the Rambam is referring to a widow who is consecrated. (Therefore, she is given only 30 days, for she had already prepared herself for her first marriage.) He uses the term "non-virgin" to exclude a bride who had previously been widowed after consecration, but had never wed.

47.

I.e., to prepare for the wedding celebrations and to prepare a home and furnishings.

48.

The Maggid Mishneh states that the Rambam's wording implies that everything depends on the woman's status. If she would be given twelve months to prepare herself, her husband is given that amount of time. The Jerusalem Talmud (Ketubot 5:3) states that it is his status that is the determining factor: if he has never been married, he is given twelve months. If he is a widower, he is given thirty days. The Tur (Even HaEzer 56) follows that position.

49.

See Halachah 14. With regard to this and the other examples that follow, the rationale is that since he is prevented by forces beyond his control from wedding her, he is not liable. Note the Ramah (Even HaEzer 56:3), who states that if the man voluntarily delays the wedding and thus, becomes obligated to support his arusah, he must continue to support her even if she falls ill, and the wedding must be postponed because of her illness.

50.

See Halachah 2.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
E-mail
FEATURED ON CHABAD.ORG