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)


Same gender marriage

I was reading the Australian Jewish News, and I noted a letter from my cousin, Rabbi Yaron Gottlieb. In that letter, Yaron argued that whilst the Torah explicitly forbade homosexual acts, it said nothing about marriage.

I’m not too sure what to make of his statement. Yaron isn’t a Karaite, who only follows Torah SheBichsav, sans the Mesora of Torah Shebaal Peh. Accordingly, I must assume that he either heard this opinion from his Rabbis/Poskim or that he was Moreh HoRaah himself on this issue. The final possibility is that he isn’t saying anything at all regarding his opinion on that matter, rather, he was simply point scoring on a technicality.

If it is the latter, there is no more to say. I find such a response hollow and unenlightening as far as practice is concerned.

The other possibility is that he has a Psak which he relies on, as above, which concludes that there is no issue of marital union alone sans the homosexual act. If this is the case, I call upon Yaron to name the Posek. If it Yaron himself, then a learned Tshuva written by him, should be constructed and sent to the Poskim in Gush, or perhaps R’ Yehuda Herzl Henkin, men with a Bar Samcha for Psak on such important issues.

From my non-Rabbinic point of view, the Jew who finds themselves attracted to the same gender, is forbidden to be alone (Hilchos Yichud) with a person of the same gender. This is a clear Torah She Baal Peh in the Shulchan Aruch. That being the case, the formality of a union ceremony can only logically be seen as a contributor to such events as opposed to a fence which might help someone with such desires from acting on those desires. It is Lifnei Iver, or perhaps M’Sayeah LiDvar Averya? I think the former. It’s not as if there are oodles of Orthodox Rabonim who would perform a “marriage union” of this variety.

I think it’s time for Yaron to come clean. Tell us exactly what you believe is permitted and not permitted according to Orthodoxy, in this domain, and name your sources. Please ensure your Psak has been agreed to by a recognised experienced Posek. This means someone who has also done Shimush, and Yodin Yodin.

If, on the other hand, Yaron is referring to non-Jewish unions, then I’d suggest that perhaps we could go back to Sodom or Charan, and find out if they needed to formalise such unions before engaging in the forbidden act, or whether there was no such formalisation.

Yes, marriage is not Kiddushin. However, the legitimacy ascribed to such, cannot be something which will aid the couple to avoid sin, surely!

Some questions for Yaron

Yaron Gottlieb is my cousin. We get on well, so  don’t read this as some attack. His wife, Alex is currently editing Galus Australis, and we share mutual respect and admiration. [ Every time I hear the term Galus, I wonder why anyone would want to have it as a heading on a web site: Galus is the worst situation to be in … such a depressing word … why would one want to be reminded, but I digress.]

Yaron found that Michael Danby had two different how to vote cards. One of these was tailored towards his (largely Orthodox) Jewish constituency. If his constituency was different, he might even have had three. Nu.

Question 1: Is this a sin, Yaron?
My Answer: No. It’s a suggestion on how to vote. Would it be better that he suggests, for example, that Orthodox voters choose the anti-zionist Greens? [Okay, it’s a straw man] I’m not sure who is worse, Bob Carr or the Greens. Perhaps, Yaron or Alex would prefer a green vote for the Jewish How to Votes, but crikey, it’s Michael’s call. If you want to get into politics yourselves, go for it, but there is no rule or ethic that says one can’t tailor suggestions.

Question 2: Is it a sin for Michael to suggest that a second best vote would be for Danny Nallah’s “Rise up Australia Party”?
My Answer: No. We all know this party is an ultra-conservative Xtian party. That means, they aren’t afraid to note that the homosexual act is against the Torah (Bible) and is described as an abomination. You agree with that, I expect, Yaron? Make sure Barney in the Age doesn’t know, otherwise you’ll be his next headline. I hope you can see that this viewpoint would resonate with any Jew who believes that the Torah is the word of God. Does that make you homophobic? (that was your word). We all know that Rise up are Climate Change skeptics/deniers. They are not alone; that’s not a matter of “belief” by the way. Let’s assume that they are opposed to approaches that attempt to better the climate. I don’t think anyone would say that damaging the climate prospects of the world is a pro-Torah stance, but the matter is often seen as one which requires a consistent world approach, and as such, it might well be Halachically more relevant to lobby the major polluters of our World, than Michael’s how to vote suggestion. The party is described as anti-Islam. Guess what? I’m anti-extremist Islam. I’m opposed to streams of Islam that think I should be under Shariah law. Did you ever read about dhimma? I’m assuming, and I am happy to be corrected, that the said party isn’t against any form of Islam which doesn’t seek to dominate the world and is happy to treat those of other religions (or no religion for that matter) with respect and equanimity. They aren’t my idea of an ideal party, and some of their views are over the top and loopy. Those who vote solely based on how to vote cards, however, aren’t going to change their approach because of your revelation.

Politics is politics. Things are never black or white. In the case of green, we’ve seen that tree-huggers and marxists are mostly also virulent anti-zionists. I see them at Uni all the time. They are the ones who join extreme Muslims who protest about Israel, demonise the USA, and never say a word about the slaughter of Arabs or the oppression in North Korea, let alone the Russians. They are also some of the most ignorant people I’ve ever engaged with.

Is there a single party whose stance on each and every matter we can agree with? Nope. It’s a best fit proposition tempered by clever but obvious number games on how to vote cards.

Ho hum. What a storm in a tea cup.

Jews who vote for Michael will do so because they are either:

  • Labor supporters
  • People who recognise his efforts on behalf of our community and Israel

I can’t see how either of those two categories of people will change their vote because of this revelation.

A Git Yur.

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