Ketubah Destroyed in the Fire? Rabbi Says You and Your Spouse Can't Live Together

However, chief rabbis rule that a married couple can live together without a ketubah, as long as they get a replacement speedily.

Ketubah
A wedding contract (illustrative) Dreamstime

An Israeli couple whose ketubah (rabbinical marriage contract) was destroyed in the fires that swept across the country last week is not allowed to live together until they get a new one, the chief rabbi of Zichron Ya'acov said yesterday.

Zichron Ya'acov, in the coastal area of northern Israel, was one of several communities in which homes were damaged or destroyed in the spate of fires.

Under Jewish law, couples cannot live together without a ketubah, a document established during the Talmudic era to protect women’s rights in a marriage.

The town's chief rabbi, Mordechai Abramovski, told the ultra-Orthodox website Kikar HaShabbat in an interview that the prohibition against living together without a ketubah is applicable in cases in which the document has been destroyed.

Abramovski is also the rabbi in charge of issuing marriage licenses in Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, which suffered considerable damage from the fire.

In contrast, Israel’s Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau ruled on Monday that couples whose ketubah was destroyed in the fires could continue to live together, but needed to procure a replacement ketubah as soon as possible.

The reason they gave was that the local branches of the rabbinate have copies of every ketubah.