virgin: _BETHULAH_ and/or _(ALMAH_
lizfried at umich.edu
Tue Jan 30 21:56:23 EST 2001
The topic under discussion is not the meaning, history,
or sources of ketubot.
The topic is simply the meaning of the word betulah.
You have shown that the word is used in ketubot, and it
is used even if the woman is not technically a virgin.
You have not provided any evidence that even tho the word is
used for women who are not virgins, that the word therefore does
not mean virgin.
In fact, you have shown it does mean virgin. You have stated that
it is not used for women who have previously been married.
You have also stated that it is not used for unmarried women who
have children. Therefore one could conclude that rabbis, husbands,
friends, etc. are going to assume that an unmarried woman
without chidlren is a virgin even if there is no evidence of a
This is because, as you have stated, there are other reasons for losing
On a side note, a friend of mine, Kenneth Stow, was doing research on
a Jewish archive from medieval Vienna I think. He found quite a few cases
where young girls 3 on up were brought to doctors to be verified that their
hymens were not intact. Stow conjectured that this was so that if there
was no betulim on their wedding night, they will already have the
the doctor that their hymans were broken naturally.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Shoshanna Walker [mailto:rosewalk at concentric.net]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 9:45 PM
> To: Liz Fried
> Cc: b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu
> Subject: RE: virgin: _BETHULAH_ and/or _(ALMAH_
> >Shoshanah, the only reason that betula is written in ketubot
> >for unmarried women today
> and always
> >is that no one is going to ask,
> >it's a question of modesty.
> Not the only reason
> Liz, there is a whole history to the Ketuba, which no one on this
> list is addressing, when, why and how it was first instituted,
> who/what were the rabbis trying to protect, and for what reason,
> where they got their ideas from, what were the reasons for legally
> clarifying a woman's status, what were the obligations of the groom
> and his family, how was this worded in the Ketuba.
> I am a calligrapher and Ketuba artist since 1973, it is my business
> to know and to have researched, I am not saying that there is not
> more that I can learn about the subject, I am saying that there is a
> great deal about the subject which is not being addressed in these
> I will not talk about it any more on list
> If you think that there is any more that you can know about this
> issue, then email me privately
> If you think that you already know it all, then fine.
> >You are currently subscribed to b-hebrew as: [rosewalk at concentric.net]
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