Shabbat Parashat Acharei Mot| 5763
Tena’ei (Conditions of) Ketuba
As we mentioned in the past, even without a written ketuba, Chazal (and in certain cases, the Torah) set standards for monetary arrangements between husband and wife. The two can agree to alternative arrangements in most matters (Even Haezer 69:6), but the halachot are binding when such an agreement was not done in a halachically valid manner.
The most basic obligation is actually a mutual one. Chazal envisioned that under normal circumstances, a husband would provide for the financial needs of his wife (including food, clothes, etc.) according to standards appropriate for his and her societal standing. In a case of discrepancy between these standards, the higher standard is used (Ketubot 48a). Correspondingly, the wife was expected to engage in activity, primarily around the house, to keep the household running smoothly and to supply the household with a modest, supplemental income (Ketubot 47b, 59b).
A wife can accept this arrangement against her husband’s will or decide to cancel it (Even Haezer 69:4) and support herself from her own work without having to share her income or engage in most of the normal, household obligations. Of course, some type of compromise arrangement can and often is arranged.
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