Question:

In the Ketubah, does it express how a man should treat his wife at all cost? If yes, why is it mandatory for a man to sign for something (his main obligations) that he is unaware of. For further explanation, imagine a person buying an item in the store. The item is a warm, fury, stylish, brand name: Coat. In contrast, you’re buying this item for someone else. You don’t know the accuracy size of this particular coat. You decide to take a risky move and buy it anyways. You SIGNED for this item by swiping your credit card. You aren’t accurate upon your decision, but your willing to take chances. Boom, it’s officially yours. The person (whom you bought it for) tries it on. Due to so much fur, inside of the coat, you witnessed an epic failure. The size wasn’t quite right. You run back to the store for an exchange. The cashier replies, I’d love to do so, but sadly this store has a no refund policy (listed on your receipt). The customer says, if only I knew beforehand… I’d never took such a risk. Now, she’s stuck with this coat. How can a man SIGN a promise to do as told… not ever experiencing responsibilities once need be to preform in action? What if it’s very challenging, and they can’t overcome all that they promised/signed for? Or start to regret signing those obligations. To sign takes a second, but where is the guarantee for a lifetime of work on their part? Plenty of men sign, but once the duties act up… they panic/fear + try to run away from them. Where does the confidence to try not to fail and to accept the pressure with happiness come from? And the outcome to signing is done properly – Actions speaks louder than words/signature and not vice verse. Thank you.

Answer:

When a man signs the ketuba he is NOT obligating himself to treat his at all cost. What the man is signing and giving his wife is a list of his obligations to her. Namely that he will provide her with food, shelter and clothing. He is also obligating himself to pay for her medical bills, and to respect her, etc. He even obligates himself to support her from his inheritance after he dies. However he is not obligating himself to care for her at all cost. If he finds out that she is crazy, he is not obligated to keep her and he can divorce her, however for the duration of the marriage he is obligating provide her with certain things.

It is true that when a person enters the marital bond, to a degree he/she is binding themselves when there is an element of uncertainty. But this factor is true for any business contract, or any bond that a person will make. Do we know the future? No. Do we know that this person will stay healthy? No. Nevertheless we check into the person, into the person’s past, we try to get to know the person’s personality, and based on this information we make a rational decision. Is it foolproof? No. Even IF you would know everything about the person, can you guarantee that the person won’t change? Judaism teaches us that marriages are made in heaven, meaning that there is a reason that in heaven they feel that these two people should bind. We trust in H-shem that He knows what is best for us, and that whatever happens, we know we are in good hands.

One other point, since there is no such thing as a perfect person, therefore whoever we marry, will always have certain negative attributes, and negative tendencies. (We do, so who said that our spouse won’t.) Judaism teaches us anyone we marry will cause us certain difficulties, whether it is because of the person’s personality, their family, their health, etc. We are taught, that everyone was sent to his world to attain perfection, and different people have different job and things to do. We are also taught that it is these very difficulties, that are part of the job that G-d gave us to overcome. Therefore, yes after we get married there will be surprises, and parts of the other person’s personality that we never knew about, (no matter how long you date), but this is part of the nisyonos that we are here to deal with in order to perfect ourselves, and part of the great plan.

I hope this clarifies things.

Best Wishes

Tags: Marriage

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