Rori Picker Neiss (“The Prenup Can Help Everyone,” online Opinion) is “shocked” at my response to your reporter, who asked me for the rationale of esteemed rabbinical authorities’ opposition to prenuptial agreements focused on a future divorce. I explained that “there is a concern that introducing and focusing on the possible dissolution of a marriage when it is just beginning is not conducive to the health of the marriage.”
Picker Neiss contends that such focus is already introduced, in the traditional ketubah. I don’t know what version of the ketubah she is citing but the time-honored, halachically mandated one contains no mention whatsoever of divorce.
The pledge of support that the ketubah references remains in place in a case of divorce, or of the husband’s death. But that is a peripheral implication of the ketubah, which simply lists the husband’s obligations to his wife. And so to compare the ketubah to the “prenup” used by some today is comparing apples to aufrufs (the ritual calling a groom to the Torah prior to his wedding).
Picker Neiss is entitled to embrace the prenuptial approach if she chooses. But I would only ask her to recognize that there are others who, for entirely defensible reasons, choose otherwise.
Director of Public Affairs Agudath Israel of America
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