Dates in a Kesuba: response to my cousin, Rabbi Yaron Gottlieb

I don’t use Facebook except with my gentile alumni where I keep in touch and try to help them in their evolving lives.

And, so, I was not aware of a post from my cousin Yaron.

Yaron asks a question: if Scientists say the world is older than we know it to be, then perhaps we should leave out the date from a Kesuba completely.

Firstly, Yaron, in Shtar, we are not concerned with the various views of Scientists on the age of the world per se. You will be aware, of course, that there are various approaches that have been put to reconcile B’Reishis with those Scientific observations.

The point of a Ksuba Shtar is to give testimony that two Kosher witnesses attest to undertakings of a Chosson on the day of marriage to his better half. As such, saying we witnessed an undertaking on Thursday without any mention of a date, is a no brainer. Such a Kesuba is Posul, and I challenge you to find me a Rishon who says that such a Shtar has any status. Were these witnesses alive on the unstated date. I can’t even begin to think of a logical Svara that such an idea makes any sense, but do educate me.

For your reference, Yaron, please note the following:

  • The Mahari Mintz in note 109, comments that Ksubos of his time would count from the time of the reign of a given King. If you like, you might wish to approach a prominent expert like Rav Schachter and ask him, whether you could write instead “2 year’s into Obama’s second term” as an alternative.
  • It is for this reason that we use the words למנין שאנו מונים כאן. For that reason alone, and without any inference to Science and/or the allegory of Bereishis (the interested reader should do themselves and read Rabbi Slifkin’s book on this topic, in general) your question makes little sense to me. One needs an understood and oft-used point of reference for a date. Whether someone no longer write dates on  Shtaros as a result of difficulties reconciling Bereishis with various Scientific views is of no relevance whatsoever to דיני שטרות.
  • See also the נתיבות המשפט חידושים סק״ג in respect of חושן משפט  סימן מג ס״ב that not writing למנין שאנו מונים כאן does not Pasul a Ksuba because it is known and understand that this is now the Minhag of the Jewish world in terms of setting a date.
  • The english version says explicitly “corresponding to ” the gentile date. It’s about setting a known date system.

In conclusion, I do not understand why this was a question you posed.

Please note, that even the invalid Reform Kesuba, as produced below from has the traditional date. I guess we are lucky that Adam and Eve were born on the same day, or were they according to Science 🙂

A Reform Kesuba (which is INVALID for Orthodox Jews)


Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

One thought on “Dates in a Kesuba: response to my cousin, Rabbi Yaron Gottlieb”

  1. The question doesn’t even begin. As you say, the dating system is a convention, and using it does not constitute an assertion that anything of significance occurred exactly so many years ago. For instance, Christians call this the year of their lord 2014, even though they all agree that he wasn’t born in the year 1 AD (the generally accepted year of his birth seems to be 4 BC).

    Further, even counting from creation, the qualification that it’s according to our local convention is important, bcause the Seder Olam (which is the basis of all our history) used a different convention. According to the Seder Olam’s calendar, it is now 5772, not 5774, because his calendar had a year 0, and starts from Adam’s creation, whereas our calendar has no year 0, and starts from the first day of creation.

    In Chazal’s day, and to this day among Temanim, they dated kesubos and other documents not from Creation but leminyan shtoros, which is the Seleucid Era, dating from the battle which established Seleucus Nicator as king of Syria. Does anyone imagine that this battle is at all important to Jews today, or 1500 years ago? Of course not. Chazal had probably never even heard of it. It was important at the time, so people started counting dates from it, and then they just kept on counting long after they had forgotten that this battle had ever happened.


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