Volume 32 Number 06
                 Produced: Fri Apr 14  5:18:51 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Kosher" Prenup (10)
         [Jonathan Katz, David Roth, Nadine Bonner, Rachel  Furman,
A.J.Gilboa, William J Scherman, David I. Cohen, Anthony S
Fiorino, Shaya Karlinsky, LEBOWITZS@sullcrom.com]
Tena'im (2)
         [<FriedmanJ@...>, Zev Sero]


From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 12:48:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

Sheldon Meth writes:
"Huh?  As far as I know, there is no such acceptance.  Could A. J. please
cite (1) an American Orthodox posek who permits such an agreement,
thereby making it "kosher"; (2) the text of such an agreement and the
mechanism by which it is made obligatory upon the Chosson and Kallah
(i.e., is it inserted in the Kesubah; is it a separate shtar [contract];
when is it executed, etc.); and (3) the percentage of American Orthodox
couples who use such an agreement, which justifies calling the concept

Having just recently been married myself, I (and my wife) signed a
"prenup" agreement which is meant to avoid the "agunah" problem. I do
not remember the exact wording of the document, but it basically
stipulated that we both agree to abide by the ruling of a mutually
accepted beit-din, and that if one party wants a divorce and the other
refuses to give (or accept) it, the second party must pay a certain
(large) amount of money daily to the first.

As far as I was told (I didn't verify this) this is now mandated (or
strongly recommended) by the RCA [Rabbinical Association of America].

It is signed well before the wedding, not on the wedding day, which might
explain why you never saw it.

Jonathan Katz

From: David Roth <droth@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 15:43:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

In v32n04 of Mail-Jewish, Sheldon Math asks about the existence of a
kosher prenuptial agreement.

The Orthodox Caucus has information about their recommended
prenuptial agreement available at:

Shabbat Shalom,

From: Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>
Date: 7 Apr 2000 11:19:36 -0700
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

The text of an Orthodox prenuptual agreement is available on the
Orthodox Caucaus website along with information about a book on the
topic edited by Rabbis Kenneth Auman and Basil Herring. Contributors to
the book include Rabbis Norman Lamm and Haskel Lookstein.

The document is signed separately from the ketuba by the couple and
kosher witnesses and is designed to guarantee that in case of a divorce,
the husband will give the wife a get.

It is "accepted" in many circles, maybe not Mr. Meth's. Rabbi Avi Weiss
spoke here a couple of months ago and said that he will not perform a
wedding unless the couple signs this pre-nup. He and his wife signed it
before their congregation on the occasion of their 30th wedding
anniversary to express their feelings about its importance. I have asked
my daughter and future son-in-law to sign it before their wedding.

Whether it will achieve its goal remains to be seen. The concept is
still new. I spoke with Honey Rackman about it a couple of years ago
when I was writing an article on agunot, and she did not feel that it
would make much of an impact on the agunah situation. Basically she said
that an honorable man who would abide by the pre-nup would give his wife
the get anyway, and an intractable spouse would just ignore the pre-nup,
forcing the wife to procede through the court system to enforce it.

From: Rachel  Furman <rachel@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 11:44:54 -0400
Subject: RE: "Kosher" Prenup

This is in response to the question posed by Sheldon Meth about a
"Kosher" prenup.  I would like to direct him to the following URL:
http://www.orthodoxcaucus.org/prenup/promoting.htm . Rabbi Basil
Herring, who happens to be a good friend of mine wrote this.

Rachel  Furman

From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 17:25:30 -0700
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

See articles on this subject in:


I suppose you would not see this at a huppa. As it is prenuptial, the
contract would surely be signed before the huppa. It is certainly not an
integral part of the ceremony. 
I never said that it was obligatory but that Orthodox msadre qiddushin
are supplied with the appropriate form together with a blank ktuba all
wrapped up in an attractive package. They are encouraged to explain to
the future couple why signing such an agreement can be beneficial to
both of them. I did not say that there were no posqim who caution
against using such a device but they represent a small minority. I
understand that this prenup is in wide use in the USA.

AJ Gilboa

From: William J Scherman <zscherman@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 01:17:24 -0400
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

When I married in 1981 my Rosh Yeshiva, R' Y. Perr, as is his custom,
very quietly had both chosson & kallah sign a brief document agreeing to
go to Beis Din , if necessary . . .
No one else saw these transactions.

From: David I. Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 14:01:50 EDT
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

The RCA has issued a standard pre-nup agreement. This is signed by the
chatan and kallah before the chupah. You as a guest would never be aware
of whether the couple had privately signed one as it is not part of the
"ceremony" and would not (for obvious reasons) be announced.
    The tragedy is that many Rabbis who are misadrei kiddushin are
reluctant to mention the topic to a prospective chatan and kallah,
because it is uncomfortable to talk about "what if things don't work
out" at this time.
    However, I do know of Rabbis who will not perform a marriage unless
a halachically valid pre-nup has been signed. I know of one Rav who made
sure his sons did so before their weddings.
    David I. Cohen

From: Anthony S Fiorino <fiorino_anthony@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 17:33:26 -0400
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

 I have no idea whether Shledon will consider them kosher, but there is
a trend amoung Young Israel-type rabbis insisting upon the use of a
prenup and many YU rabbaim and musmachim have advocated and/or worked on
such prenups.  Among the more prominent prenup proponents (and authors)
are Rabbi Willig from YU and Rabbi Broyde from Atlanta.  This whole
thing is hardly new news - I signed a prenup at my tisch nearly 6 years
ago (davka so people would see me doing it and so that it would be come
more publicized and more accepted).  I believe we used Rabbi Broyde's
prenup, which is a stand-alone document (I'm not aware of anyone putting
it in the ketubah - didn't Saul Lieberman try that a few decades ago?)
that obligates me to pay $100 or $200 per day (inflation adjusted) for
each day after a civil divorce has been granted that a get has not been
given.  That is the gist of it, although I do not have it handy now and
the details are better left for the lawyers to explain.  The idea is
that it creates an incentive to grant the get without creating a
compulsion to do so.

From: Shaya Karlinsky <isaiah@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 17:21:41 +0300
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

    Not too long ago I was the "officiating Rabbi" at a wedding here in
Israel which used a pre-nup approved by the Chief Rabbinate, as well as
other Jerusalem poskim.  It was the first time I had ever used such a
documnet, but my colleagues tell me it is not uncommon.  It relates
exclusively to the mutual financial rights that each side will have in
the event of death or divorce.  There are technical problems in order
that it should be halachically effective, but there are solutions.  The
reason Sheldon may not be aware of the fact that such an arrangement was
used at a wedding he could have attended is that the agreement is not
necessarily made public.  Only the couple, the witnesses, and the Rabbis
need to know about it.  But it is a legal document as well as a Halachic
one, if done properly.

Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky                        Darche Noam Institutions
Yeshivat Darche Noam/Shapell^s        Midreshet RachelCollege of Jewish
Studies for Women
Jerusalem, ISRAEL                             www.darchenoam.org

From: <LEBOWITZS@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 10:10:38 -0400
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

See Iggerot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer, vol. 4, # 107.


From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 09:53:26 EDT
Subject: Re: Tena'im

<< (BTW, people on this list have treated the notion of a broken engagement
 as if it were some terrible "lo alenu" (it should never happen to us)
 situation.  While a broken engagement is a very traumatic thing for the
 parties involved and their families and friends, I think the community
 needs to be much, much more accepting of them.  Far better that the
 pressures of planning the wedding and making life decisions should bring
 out incompatibilities between the couple that may not have surfaced in
 the perhaps-too-short dating period rather than waiting until after the
 marriage.  Allowing the societal and parental pressure and real (and
 very unfortuneate) stigma of a broken engagement propel the young couple
 to the chupa can have terrible consequences.)

I in the following sentence does not refer to me personally. It refers
to the kallah.

HEAR! HEAR! who makes these tragic social distinctions anyway? Why isn't
a couple's private business private? If I am engaged to a man and then
discover that there is no way I can spend the rest of my life with him
for one reason or another why is it a. my fault, b. something negative
c.the community's business and grist for the loshon hora mill?

On the other hand, if I want to break the engagement because I discover
that the person I am engaged to is, say, a homosexual, and people
already knew that, and I break the engagement, why is it still my fault.

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 16:45:39 -0400 
Subject: Re: Tena'im

> Tanoim are, of course, binding and most difficult to "break"

This seems to be the general assumption, but I have to ask: on *whom*
are they binding?  Not on the chatan and kalah; they're not even parties
to the tena'im.  The tena'im are an agreement between the two fathers
that they will bring their children to the chupah at a time and place to
be negotiated.  As far as I can see, there is *nothing* preventing
either the chatan or the kalah from refusing to go through with this
shiduch, even back in the days when the tena'im were made years in
advance, let alone today.  Chatanim, at least, were always past bar-
mitzvah, and kallot were *usually* past 12.5 as well.  Today, when both
chatan and kalah are adults, surely there is nothing that the fathers
can be expected to do if their children decide to call the whole thing
off!  So why not make the tena'im at the beginning of the engagement, as
the text is clearly designed for, and if the shiduch doesn't work out
then the tena'im are void; the only way I can see for the tena'im to be
broken is if one of the fathers persuaded his child not to go through
with the marriage, which seems unlikely to me even if he wanted to!

I'm always especially amused when I hear the line read out about how the
wedding will take place at a time and place to be negotiated between the
two sides, in complete oblivion to the fact that it's way too late to
change anything now!  The wedding will take place right outside, in
about half an hour, or there'll be hell to pay, and nobody's going to
negotiate anything, but that's the standard line, so that's how it's

Zev Sero                              Harmless Historical Nut


End of Volume 32 Issue 6