Betrothal Law in the Matters of Sustenance, Burial and Inheritance; Whether or not there is a “Ketubah” (7 paragraphs)
A betrothed woman is prohibited (to have intercourse with) her (future) husband, according to the rabbis (lit. the Sofrim2Lit. “scribes”. Since the return from the Babylonian Exile (dated approximately with the time of Ezra in the 5th century B.C.E.), the sofer functioned originally as the teacher or sage, but, in later times, as the professional copyist of the Torah and other religious articles.), as long as she is in her father’s house (i.e. if she is not yet married). One who has intercourse with his betrothed (before they are married), while she is still in her father’s house, must receive the “rabbinic lashes”3Lit. “beating for rebellion”. This penalty was imposed for specific crimes against the rabbinic law, or to compel the performance of a specific law of the Torah. It could be imposed without the judicial formalities which surrounded the infliction of the forty Biblical stripes..
HAGAH:4Introductory word signifying comments by Moses Ben Israel Isserles (cf. footnote 35) as contained in the Mapah (Table Cloth), supplementary notes from the Ashkenzai (Eastern European) point of view to the Sefardi-oriented Shulḥan Arukh of Josef Caro. They are even prohibited from “yiḥud”5From the Hebrew root meaning “together” or “unity”. The couple stays alone in a private room. This is considered evidence that co-habitation has taken place.; therefore, one who is with his betrothed in any house (i.e. in private) must recite the seven benedictions6The blessings recited at the wedding ceremony and at every meal during the subsequent week, when a new guest eats with the couple and a “minyan” (ten men) is at the meal.
The first blessing is over the wine, the second honoring the creation of Adam and Eve, the intermediate blessings are specific to the couple, while the last is an invocation for all Israel., because they might have intercourse (Mordecai7Kordecai ben Hillel HaCohen (1240-1298). German commentator to the Talmud and other rabbinic material., Chapter 1 of Ketubot). There are those who say that they should not dwell together (before they are married) so that they will not grow tired of each other (Kol Bo8Anonymous author. 14th century collection of laws.). They should be cautious (and not dwell together in the same house) after only preliminary arrangements for betrothal have been made (but before the betrothal) (Ḥidushe Agudah9Rabbi Alexander HaCohen Zoslin (14th century), Frankfort. Condensation of Talmudic laws and decisions., first chapter of Ketubot).
TEXT: Even if he has betrothed her by intercourse10“By three means is the woman acquired … by money or by writ (document) or by intercourse” (Kiddushin 1:1). If a man, in the presence of competent witnesses, recites the words: “Behold, thou art consecrated unto me with this intercourse, according to the law of Moses and Israel”, and then proceeds to take her into a private room, for the purpose of fulfilling that vow, she is betrothed to him from that moment., he is prohibited from having intercourse with her a second time (while she is still) in her father’s house, until he brings her into his house and (there) has “yiḥud” with her, thereby formally “setting her aside” (dedicating) for him. This “yiḥud” is called taking her into the “ḥupah”11Generally accepted to refer to a bridal canopy consisting of a “tallit” (prayer shawl) or a piece of other cloth, stretched over four sticks. It is often placed in the synagogue, but frequently in an outside location., and this is universally considered as marriage.
(In the case of) one who has intercourse with his betrothed for the sake of marriage - after he has betrothed her, she is considered married from the (moment of) first genital contact; she is then his wife in all matters.
One must say the groom’s benedictions12The seven benedictions (cf. footnote 6). in the groom’s house before the marriage (i.e. before intercourse for the sake of marriage).
HAGAH: There are those who say that the “ḥupah” is not (the) “yiḥud” (itself), rather it is only when the groom brings her to his house for the sake of marriage (so wrote the Rin13Rabbi Nisim ben Reuven Gerundi (1340 - 1380), Barcelona. Commentary on Alfasi (cf footnote 32). on the first chapter of Ketubot). And there are those who say that the “ḥupah” is (only) when they spread a cloth over their heads at the time of the benediction (the Bet Josef14Rabbi Josef Caro (1488 - 1575), Safad. Commentary on the Tur (cf. footnote 17). mentions this).
There are those who say that the “ḥupah” of a virgin is from the moment that she is carried in the “marriage litter”15Not to be confused with the “ḥupah”. As is evident from the text, certain customs were prevelant in the bringing of a bride to the marriage ceremony, of which the procession in the case of a virgin bride is an example. (Cf. viz. the etymology of the term in Chapter 2.). (or hymn procession); and that of a widow, when she has “yiḥud” (Tosafot16Commentary and notes to the Talmud and the commentary of Rashi (cf. footnote 36). First among the Tosafists were Rashi’s grandsons. to Chapter 1 of Yoma).
The custom is widespread now: to call the “ḥupah” that place where a spread curtain is brought in (held high by poles), under which the bride and groom are led in public and he betrothes her there, and the benedictions of betrothal and marriage are pronounced; after which they are led to their house and they eat together in a private place. This is the customary “ḥupah” nowadays. See below, Chapter 62 paragraph 9, and Chapter 60.
(In the case of) one who betrothes a woman, and says the wedding blessings, but does not have “yiḥud” with her in his house (immediately) - she is still betrothed, for the wedding blessings (in and of themselves) do not make marriage, only entrance into the “ḥupah”.
(In the case of) one who betrothes (a woman) and takes her into the “ḥupah”, but did not say the wedding blessings - behold, this is a complete marriage. He should return and say the benedictions, even after several days.
One must write the “Ketubah” before entrance into the “ḥupah”; only afterwards is he permitted (to have intercourse with) his wife.
One is responsible for the sustenance of his betrothed (before they are married) only if she had been receiving support from her brothers (if their father had died), for she only receives support from her brothers until she is betrothed or reaches the age of maturity (majority); before this she is not expected to support herself.
HAGAH: There are those who say that he is not responsible for her sustenance at all (the Tur17Arba’ah Turim (“The Four Rows”). Compendium by Jacob ben Asher (14th century), Spain. quoting the Rosh18Asher ben Jeḥiel (1250 - 1328), Germany, Southern France and Toledo. Author of Rabbenu Asher Commentary on Talmud.).
If a Cohen’s19Priest or member of the priestly clan. In Biblical times, the priests were the principal functionnaries in divine services. Since the destruction of the Temple, their active role in the community has diminished. Membership is through hereditary authority only. betrothed dies, he may not defile himself20The members of the priestly clan were forbidden to have even the slightest contact with the dead, except in the case of certain members of his immediate family. His betrothed is not included. because of her; if he dies, she is not obligated to defile herself because of him. (If she dies) he is not eligible for her inheritance, nor is he obligated to bury her (i.e. provide for her burial); rather, her father will inherit, and he will bury her.
HAGAH: Such is the case also if she is married in a place where he (the groom) does not have the right to (inherit) her dowry.
(In the case of) one who betrothes a woman and writes her a “Ketubah”, but she does not enter into the “ḥupah” - she is still (to be considered as) betrothed, not married, for a “Ketubah” (itself) does not make her married. If he dies or divorces her (before the marriage), she is entitled to collect “the basic Ketubah”21The amount determined by law and included in the Ketubah that a wife is entitled to receive from her husband after a divorce, or upon his death: 200 zuz for a virgin, 100 for a non-virgin. from the free property22Not mortgaged property., but she does not collect “the additional Ketubah”23Additional amounts that the husband may enter in the Ketubah to her “basic Ketubah”. since she had not entered (the “ḥupah”). But, (in the case of) one who betrothed a woman and did not write a “Ketubah” for her - if he dies or divorces her while betrothed, she does not collect anything, including “the basic Ketubah”, for they did not institute “the basic Ketubah” for her unless she is married or if he has written (the “Ketubah”).
HAGAH: There are those who say that a betrothed woman always has a “Ketubah” (the Rosh, the Rin, and the Tur), but the practice is according to the first opinion.
(In the case of) one whose betrothed daughter is widowed or divorced from the betrothal, even several times before (she reaches) maturity (majority) - the “Ketubah” money belongs to her father. If she is married and (then) widowed or divorced, her father receives nothing, even if it is the first time (i.e. her first marriage).