Ketubot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Seven



The mishnah now begins to delineate a list of guarantees that a woman has that are normally written into a ketubah but that even if they are not included in her personal ketubah, she nevertheless receives.  In other words, these are rights guaranteed to any wife regardless of what is actually written in her marriage contract, or regardless of whether she even has a marriage contract. 

Our mishnah deals with the two most basic aspects of the ketubah:  1)  that a virgin receives 200 zuz and a widow 100 zuz; 2) that all of the husband’s assets are a lien for his ketubah. 


Mishnah Seven

1)                     If he did not write a kethubah for her, a virgin still collects two hundred zuz and a widow one mane, because it is a condition laid down by court.

2)                     If he assigned to her in writing a field that was worth one mane instead of the two hundred zuz and did not write for her, “All property that I possess is a lien for your ketubah”, he is liable [for the full amount] because it is a condition laid down by the court.



Section one:  Even though the husband never wrote for his wife a ketubah, she still is able to collect the minimum amount of 200/100. 

Section two:  If the husband writes in the ketubah that a field worth a maneh (100 zuz) is the collateral for the ketubah, and he doesn’t write that all his property is a lien, all of his property is still liable to be used to pay off the ketubah.  In such a case, the husband or the husband’s inheritors cannot say to the wife, “Here is your 100 zuz field that is your ketubah”.