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Who Owned the Ring

Dear Rabbi,

When my wife and i were still engaged, before our wedding my wife suggested that I buy the gold ring that we used under the chuppah from an acquaintance of her’s who could get us a good price as she works in a jewelry store.

My wife ordered the ring that I would later give her under the chuppah, when it came time to pick up the ring, I didn’t have money on me to pay, but my future wife did. I remember (that we made the following condition) that she first gave me the money as a gift. I then proceeded to purchase the ring with my OWN money, since i had acquired the money before walking in to pay for the ring.

The problem is that wy wife doesn’t remember the discussion (making the verbal condition) and I can’t say for certain what occured as it was over 3 years ago and at the time I was not aware of the halacha enough to be cognizant of the issue here.

We had 2 kosher witnesses by the ketuba/chuppa. But despite all this could there be a halachic problem with our marriage or our ketuba due to the above described scenario?

Thank you very much in advance for your assistance.

Answer:

There is no concern as to the validity of the marriage or the ketubah document. It is true that a wedding ring must belong to the groom, but in the scenario described there is no doubt that the ring was yours when you gave it to your wife, and the marriage is therefore perfectly valid.

May you be happily married ad 120!

Sources: Even if the money was not given to the groom as a gift before the purchase of the ring, the ring would belong to the groom by virtue of eved kenaani. Because the intention was clearly that the groom should own the ring, he owns it even if the money is paid by somebody else (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 190:4, and commentaries).

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2 Comments

  1. Can you please elaborate on the Eved kenaani answer. When my son got married his Rosh Yeshivah wouldn’t even allow him to pay for the ring with his credit card.

    Jul

    1. A credit card is a somewhat different issue to the question of Eved Kenaani. It is preferable to use a Torah kinyan, meaning a Torah-mandated form of aquisition, for a wedding ring. The ideal Torah acquisition is payment of money, and some authorities maintain that a credit card is not considered “money,” and therefore should preferably be avoided for the purchase of a wedding ring.
      Eved Kenaani does not relate to the type of kinyan, but rather to the person paying the money: Reuven is able to pay Shimon for Levi to but the goods. The kinyan is a Torah transfer, and according to most opinions it may be used even for wedding rings and the like.
      However, there is one opinion (authorities’ understanding of Rambam) that the concept of Eved Kenaani does not apply to monetary acquisitions, and it is therefore preferable to give money to the chasan himself, and for him to purchase the ring for himself.

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