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Ketubba

(1,928 words)

Author(s): Judith Olszowy-Schlanger
The ketubba (pl. ketubbot, lit. what is written), or Jewish marriage contract, is a written document produced at every marriage which lists the husband’s obligations to his wife, primarily financial but also moral. The word ketubba refers both to the document and to the payment it records and guarantees. A written document ( ketav) is one of three ways by which a marriage can be contracted (M. Qiddushin 1:1), and with time it became a precondition of marital cohabitation (Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Ishut 10:7). As a binding legal document concerning a financial transaction, the ketubba is…

Polygyny

(2,316 words)

Author(s): Ruth Lamdan | Judith Olszowy-Schlanger
1. Medieval Period Polygamy, the marriage of a man to more than one wife, was legal in Middle Eastern, North African, and Spanish Jewish communities throughout the Middle Ages. The legal basis for this practice lay in biblical and talmudic law (e.g., B.T. Yevamot 65a; Maimonides, Yad, Ishut 14:3). Rabbinic authorities in Western Europe, as early as the tenth century. promulgated the famous taqqana (legal enactment) known as the ḥerem de-rabbenu Gershom, which prohibited a man from marrying an additional wife (unless permitted on exceptional grounds by a court of on…

Sifre Miṣvot

(4,810 words)

Author(s): Judith Olszowy-Schlanger | Y. Zvi Stampfer
1.  Rabbanite Sifre Miṣvot Works in the genre known as books of precepts (Heb. sifre miṣvot) in medieval Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic literature enumerate the precepts of the Torah and sort them according to various methods and diverse categories. Jewish poets in Palestine in late Antiquity began to develop this genre for liturgical purposes. During the Islamic period, it developed further in the parallel channels of liturgy and monograph. Medieval precept books were monographs that dealt with juridical questions b…

Marriage

(6,923 words)

Author(s): Esther Juhasz | Judith Olszowy-Schlanger | Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah | Leah R. Baer | Melanie Lewey | Et al.
1. Medieval Period The institution of marriage in the Jewish communities of the medieval Islamic world followed the basic rules and customs prescribed in the Talmud. These were often blended with local customs and conditions, depending on place and time. The main sources on Jewish marriage in medieval Middle Eastern and North African communities, in addition to the rabbinic literature, are the actual marriage and betrothal contracts preserved in the Cairo Geniza.       Marriage involves a change in the personal status of a man and a woman from bachelorhood to matrimony tha…