[b-hebrew] virgin vs. young woman

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Jul 21 23:46:28 EDT 2007

Dear Shoshanna,

I did not mention the difference in the sums, nor the fact that most ketubot 
are written in Aramaic (ours was in Hebrew, which is becoming more and more 
common), because the two facts are not relevant to the issue. Nor did I have 
previously-single mothers in mind. But what you wrote actually strengthens 
my argument - that the word "butulah" (or Aramaic "betulta") is used in 
those cases in which there is a "possibility" that she is a vigin, even if 
everyone knows that she had been living with her husband-to-be for a long 
time. The point is, that not every woman who we politely call a betulah 
really is one, we all know this, but "look the other way".

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:21 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virgin vs. young woman

> Not correct, Yigal
> The bride is referred to as "Betulta" (aramaic for betula) and she
> gets 200 zuzim.  If she is divorced or widowed, the word "Betulta" is
> simply left out, it is not replaced, and she gets 100 zuzim.  The
> only other word that is used is "Giyorta" if she is a convert and she
> also gets 100 zuzim.
> In my case, because I had a child without having been previously
> married, and I was still entitled to 200 zuzim, we had to explain,
> since I had a daughter, why I was still entitled to 200 zuzim, not
> having been married previously, but also not being a virgin at my
> wedding, so Rabbi Riskin told me to write (I am a veteran Ketuba
> calligrapher and artist) "It'ta" (Aramaic for 'woman')
> Shoshanna
> I'll add this to Karl's comment: the traditional Jewish marriage contract,
> the Ketubah, reffers to the bride as a "betulah", unless she had been
> previously married (in other words, a divorcee or a widow), in which case
> she's referred to as "ishah". Today, when most brides are certainly not
> "virgins" in the "pure" sense of the word, this often causes some joking,
> but I have yet to see either the couple or the rabbi who would dare 
> suggest
> that the wording be changed.
> Something like wearing a white dress...
> Yigal Levin
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