- Question: [Tuesday, 7th Adar 5783]
I am being Misader Kiddushin for a couple in which the Chasan has a Jewish mother but a gentile father. My question is regarding what to write in place of his father’s name in the Ketuba? Can I simply write Ben Avraham as done by a Ger?
While there are several opinions and approaches in this matter, in my opinion it is best for you to simply write the name of the Chasan himself without writing any other name afterwards, not his mother, not his grandfather, and not Avraham. Nonetheless, according to some opinions the Kesuba remains valid if you wrote his mother’s name and the name of her father, and according to some opinions, also if you wrote Ben Avraham Avinu. If, however, one writes only Ben Avraham without adding the word Avinu, then the Kesuba is invalid and a new Kesuba must be written, just as we rule regarding a Ger by a Get.
Explanation: As by any legal document, properly writing the name identification of the person for whom the document is serving is of most importance, and if his name was not properly written, then it is invalid, as the document cannot prove anything regarding him, being that the name on it is not his. This applies likewise towards a Get and Kesuba, that it is critical that the names are written properly in order to identify the parties they are discussing. Now, from the letter of the law [according to most Poskim] it suffices to simply write the name of the individual without writing the name of his parent, and hence if a Get or Kesuba or any other legal document was written without mentioning the father’s name of the individual, it is valid. Nonetheless, the custom is to also write the father’s name in the document. However, this only applies if one knows the name of the father, if however, one does not know the name of the father, such as by a Ger or a Shtuki Assufi in which the father is unknown, then only the name of the person is written and no other additional name. Nonetheless, by a Ger the custom is to write Ben Avraham Avinu, as all the nations of the world can trace their lineage to Avraham who was called by G-d this name being that he would be the father of all nations. The Poskim, however, emphasize that one must add the word Avinu, or Hager, for this to be a valid identification, as if he simply writes Ben Avraham, then people will think that the person written on the document has a biological father whose name is Avraham and that he is not a convert, and hence such a document would be invalid. Now, regarding if one may also choose to write Ben Avraham Avinu by a Shtuki or Asufi [and the same would apply to a person who is not a convert but has a gentile father and Jewish mother], some Poskim rule that it is valid to do so and that so is in fact the custom. However, other Poskim invalidate this claiming that people will think that the person is a convert, when in truth he is not, and hence his identification is not properly evident in such a document, which could thus deem it invalid. Practically, the Poskim do not suggest writing Ben Avraham Avinu in such a case. Some suggest to simply leave out any lineage and to simply write his name as we stated above from the Shulchan Aruch regarding the letter of the law and directive for an Assufi or Shtuki. Other Poskim, however, suggest writing the name of the mother. Other Poskim rule the name of the mother is to be written together with the name of her father. Others however rule that if the mother’s name, or her father’s name, is mentioned then the document is invalid. Thus, all in all it seems that there is no unanimous approach, and one’s best option is simply not to write any lineage at all after his name, in which case it is valid according to all.
Sources: See Otzer Haposkim 66:1295; Kesuba Kehilchasa [Shtern] 6:11 and 13; Seder Kiddushin [Farkash] 3:12; Koveitz Hearos Ubiurim 864; Nitei Gavriel Nissuin 28:7 See regarding that the document is valid even if the father’s name is not mentioned: Michaber E.H. 129:9; Tur 129; Teshuvas Harosh 45:27; Levush 129:8 brings two opinions; Pischeiy Teshuvah 129:19 in name of Noda Beyehuda Tinyana E.H. 113 See regarding that custom is to also write the father’s name: Rama E.H. 129:9; Mahariy Viyal 23; See regarding a Ger, or one whose father’s identity is unknown [i.e. Shtuki or Assufi], that only their name is written and not anything further: Michaber E.H. 129:9; Rashba 2:17; Darkei Moshe 129:10 See regarding writing Ben Avraham Avinu by a Ger: Michaber E.H. 129:20; Teshuvos Harosh 15:4; Levush 129:20; Nachalas Tzevi E.H. 129:13; See regarding that if one wrote only Ben Avraham and did not write Avinu or Hager, that it is invalid: Beis Shmuel 129:39; Levush 129:20; Teshuvah Ashkenazis; Nachlas Tzevi 129:27; Beir Hagoleh 129 Nun; Beir Heiytiv 129:35; Kesuba Kehilchasa Teshuvah 29 p. 255 See regarding writing only the name of the person and not any lineage if he has a gentile father: Michaber E.H. 129:9; Rashba 2:17; Chaim Veshalom 2:68; Kesuba Kehilchasa ibid footnote 15; Otzer Haposkim 66:129; 151; Nitei Gavriel ibid See regarding writing Ben Avraham Avinu even by an Assufi or Shtuki: Allow: Levush 129:9; Taz O.C. 139:1; Prohibit: Get Pashut 129:48; Chasam Sofer E.H. 2:41 See regarding writing name of mother by Shtuki or Assufi: Allow: Degul Merivava 129:9 [although concludes with doubt]; Get Pashut 48-51; Chasam Sofer E.H. 2:41; Pischeiy Teshuvah 129:23; Kesuba Kehilchasa ibid footnote 16; Forbid: Taz O.C. 139:1 See regarding writing name of mother and then her father: Allow: Shevet Binyamon 76; Kesuba Kehilchasa ibid footnote 17; Rama O.C. 139:1 regarding Kerias Hatorah for Asufi; Forbid: Taz O.C. 139:1 explicitly rules that this is invalid by a Get!
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