Kedushin is a Hebrew term most commonly referring to the first part of the two-phase process of Jewish marriage. In Judaism, a marriage begins with the act of Kedushin, which establishes a formal and exclusive relationship between the couple, setting them apart for each other.
This is followed by the Nissuin, the actual marriage ceremony, which is often combined with the Kedushin in today's Jewish weddings.
The word "Kedushin" itself is derived from the Hebrew root "Qa-DoSH," meaning "holy" or "sanctified." The act of Kedushin is traditionally effectuated by the Groom giving a ring (or something of value) to the Bride and declaring, "Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel."
This consecration creates a binding commitment, after which the couple is considered legally Married.
The Tractate Kedushin in the Talmud delves into the various laws and nuances of this process and Subsequently is finalized law in Shulchan Aruch.
The Ketubah is a fundamental element within Judaism. It's an ancient and legally binding document, serving both as a contract and a symbolic expression of the husband's commitments and responsibilities to his wife. Here's a synopsis of the Ketubah from an Orthodox Rabbinical perspective:
The Ketubah (often spelled "Ketuvah" in some English transliterations) is a written agreement, traditionally in Aramaic, that specifies the husband's obligations to his wife, ensuring her rights and wellbeing are safeguarded. Primarily, it delineates the financial compensation due to the wife in the event of divorce or the husband's death. These commitments are not only moral but are enforceable by a BET DIN (Jewish court).
Its origins can be traced back to biblical times, and it has been a mainstay of Jewish marriages for millennia, intended to provide a measure of financial security for the woman. The text of the Ketubah includes specific details like the date, location, names of the bride and groom, and the amount of the financial settlement.
Apart from its legal aspect, the Ketubah is also seen as a tangible expression of the sanctity, love, and commitment inherent in the Jewish marital relationship. In contemporary Orthodox weddings, the reading and signing of the Ketubah is a central part of the marriage ceremony, usually taking place just before the chuppah (marriage canopy) ceremony.
Over time, while the core text remains consistent in Orthodox communities, the Ketubah has also become an art form, with many couples opting for beautifully designed and ornate Ketubot to commemorate their special day.