Jewish Marriage Presented by Rabbi David Freedman of The Central Synagogue Studies of Religion 2014
Biblical origins • Adam and Eve • Abraham, Isaac and Jacob • Moses • King David
Marriage in Jewish Law • Origin Genesis 2:18f / Deuteronomy 24:1 • Obligations Exodus 21:10 • Restrictions Exodus 20:14 / Leviticus 18
Marriage in Jewish Law: Origin Genesis 2:18f 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Origin 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[b] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Origin Deuteronomy 24:1-5 1 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, 2 and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, 3 and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, 4 then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Origin 5 If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Obligations Exodus 21:10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Restrictions Exodus 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Restrictions Leviticus 18 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. 3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. 6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Restrictions 15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her. 16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother. 17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness. 18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living. 19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
Marriage in Jewish Law: Restrictions 20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her. 22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
Marriage in the 21st century • Traditional (Jewish) marriage • Alternative life style – 1. de facto relationship 2. inter-marriage 3. same-sex marriage 4. open marriage
The Wedding Ceremony • Signing the ketubah • The Bedekin • The Chuppah (Canopy) • Bride encircles the bridegroom • Betrothal and the first cup of wine • The ring ceremony • The reading of the ketubah • The Sheva Brachot and the second cup of wine • The breaking of the glass • Yichud
KETUBAH As part of the wedding ceremony, the husband gives the wife a ketubah. The word "Ketubah" comes from the root Kaf-Tav-Bet, meaning writing. The ketubah is also called the marriage contract. The ketubah spells out the husband's obligations to the wife during marriage, conditions of inheritance upon his death, and obligations regarding the support of children of the marriage. It also provides for the wife's support in the event of divorce. There are standard conditions; however, additional conditions can be included by mutual agreement. Marriage agreements of this sort were commonplace in the ancient Semitic world.
KETUBAH The ketubah has much in common with prenuptial agreements, which are gaining popularity in the West. Such agreements were historically disfavored, because it was believed that planning for divorce would encourage divorce, and that people who considered the possibility of divorce should not be marrying. Although one rabbi in the Talmud expresses a similar opinion, the majority maintained that a ketubah discouraged divorce, by serving as a constant reminder of the husband's substantial financial obligations if he divorced his wife.
KETUBAH The Ketubah is a document that has traditionally outlined a husband's obligation towards his wife, including food, clothing and conjugal rights. References to these obligations can be found in Exodus (21:10,11) although no mention is made of a document. The Apocrypha, however, contains mention of a scroll that was brought to the marriage ceremony of Tobias and Sarah, an early form of the Ketubah.
KETUBAH During the Babylonian Exile, 586-536 B.C.E., the need arose to protect women regarding property that was held in her husband's name. Many men migrated to Egypt and left wives and families behind. The Babylonian predeliction for written legal contracts was a firm basis for the start of the Ketubah. Papyrus records dating from around 440 B.C.E. in Aramaic (a later form of Hebrew) clearly outline the principle of securing the wife's property. Included in this document is the sum of the bridal price paid to the father of the bride, as well as the sum of the bride and bridegroom's dower contribution. In addition, the wife is named as the beneficiary of the estate should the husband die.
KETUBAH Nearly four hundred year later, the ketubah introduced a price that would be paid by the husband to the bride on the death or dissolution of the marriage. The Ketubah became a contract written by the groom and was presented to the bride. The earliest actual ketubah formula is set down in the Talmud and exists today in the Orthodox text.
KETUBAH The practice of illuminating manuscripts and of decorating ritual objects goes back many thousands of years. The concept of Hiddur Mitzvah, or the beautification of a mitzvah, has led to the creation of legacy of Jewish ritual art objects. Richly decorated Ketubot can be found in the great museums of the world from Persia, Italy, Turkey and even the United States. The design of a ketubah would often reflect the style of the times, and could include symbols of the country such as flags or crowns. Jewish symbols were also prevalent - the lions of Judah can often be seen in historical Ketubot as well as Hebrew calligraphy in stylized forms.
KETUBAH Three separate amounts are specified in the ketubah. a) First is the mohar, bride’s settlement, of 200 zuzim (about $300 if silver is worth $8.00 an ounce) should the marriage end in divorce or widowhood. b) Second is the nedan, dowry, which is the worth of whatever a bride brings to a marriage: household goods, furniture, clothing, and other valuables. Nedan is set at 100 zukukim of silver; about $4,000 if silver is selling at $8.00 an ounce. c) Finally, the groom’s valuables, named the toseftah, are mentioned and valued at 100 zekukim of silver, or approximately $4,000
Orthodox and Reform Differences may include – • Mikveh • Aufruf • Presiding officiant • Gender related issues • Location • Ring ceremony • Ketubah • Yichud • Function (Kashrut)
INSIDE A JEWISH MARRIAGE • Bayit Ne’eman B’Yisrael • Shalom Bayit • P’ru Ur’vu • Taharat Hamishpacha • Fidelity • Marriage (and divorce) in Israel
Ancient mikveh at Masada Modern community mikveh
The end of a marriage • Death • Divorce (Bet Din / Get / Agunah) • Yibum (no longer exists as an option) • Chalitzah