Collections > Judaica > Ketubot > Above My Chiefest Joy > Aden, Yemen, 1925

Aden, Yemen, 1925

 

Aden, Yemen, 1925

 
 

This ketubah represents the combined traditions of eastern illustrations and Eretz Yisrael influences. The ketubah was printed in Jerusalem by A. Weiss Printers, but the text was filled in by hand in the city of Aden in southern Yemen. The families in this far-away Jewish community were without a doubt happy to use this illustrated document that came from the Holy City.

 

Alongside sayings and verses that are connected to the marriage ceremony and Jerusalem, small stamped pictures appear bearing symbolic meanings related to the Temple and holy sites in Eretz Yisrael  the Tomb of Absalom, the Tomb of Elisha the Prophet, Nabulus (where, according to tradition, Joseph is buried), Jericho the City of Palms, the Sanctuary at Shiloh, Elijah's altar on Mount Carmel. On the top appear conventional representations of Jerusalem  the Western Wall with the Temple and Midrash Sholomo with the unique addition of figures flowing toward it from the ends of the earth, an expression of the longing for the ingathering of exiles in Jerusalem during the Messianic era. The medallion surrounds a quotation exhorting those present to: "Remember the LORD from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind" (Jeremiah 51: 50).

 

Besides the longing for the holy sites of the land of the forefathers, these places are mentioned due to the belief that the benevolence of the forefathers and the merit of the righteous serve as magical protective powers. And indeed, in order to magnify the protection that the document offers, other sayings with magical influence were added, such as the prayer "Answer, with strength" which is made up of the 42 Kabbalistic names of God. The holy sites, the illustrations and the talismanic sayings therefore turn the ketubah into an amulet for the happy couple.

 

The printed Jerusalem ketubot made their way to many countries in the east, and indirectly led to the decline of the tradition of written ketubot and hand-made illustrations. The printed ketubah (with or without decorations) slowly took the place of the hand-made ketubah throughout almost the entire Jewish world, and the ancient artistic tradition died.

 

Some other examples of printed Jerusalem ketubot that were used among the eastern communities include: Casablanca, Morocco, 1900 (ketubah no. 363); Herat, Afghanistan, 1926 (ketubah no. 812); Herat, Afghanistan, 1900 (ketubah no. 489).

 

During the 1970s the decorated ketubah and motifs connected to Jerusalem revived. In an era where many people were “searching for their roots” and acquired a renewed interest in Jewish art in its various forms, many couples began ordering hand-decorated ketubot for their weddings.

 

In addition, this ketubah contains many common symbols from Jewish art, such as: the Tablets of the Law, the Crown of Torah and Priesthood, the hands of the priest spread in blessing. Another interesting motif that appears in the ketubah is a picture of a handshake which represents the agreement that is documented in the ketubah, signed by the groom in the presence of two witnesses.  

 
 
  

 

Aden, Yemen, 1925

Jerusalem, Eretz Yisrael, 1920  Isfahan, Iran, 1927 Aden, Yemen, 1925  

 

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Aden, Yemen, 1925This ketubah represents the combined traditions of eastern illustrations and Eretz Yisrael influences.  This ketubah was printed in Jerusalem by A. Weiss Printers, but the text was filled in by hand in the city of Aden in southern Yemen. The families in this far-away Jewish community were without a doubt happy to use this illustrated document that came from the Holy City. Alongside sayings and verses that are connected to the marriage ceremony and Jerusalem, small stamped pictures bearing symbolic meanings related to the Temple and holy sites in Eretz Yisrael- the Tomb of Absalom, the Tomb of Elisha the Prophet, Nabulus (where, according to tradition, Joseph is buried), Jericho the City of Palms, the Sanctuary at Shiloh, Elijah's altar on Mount Carmel- appear. On the top there are conventional representations of Jerusalem- the Western Wall with the Temple and Midrash Sholomo with the unique  addition of figures flowing toward it from the ends of the earth as an expression of the longing for the ingathering of exiles in Jerusalem during the Messianic era. The medallion surrounds a quotation exhorting those present to: "Remember the LORD from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind" (Jeremiah 51: 50).
 
Besides the longing for the holy sites of the land of the forefathers, these places are mentioned due to the belief that the benevolence of the forefathers and the merit of the righteous serve as magical protective powers. And indeed, in order to magnify the protection that the document offers other sayings with magical influence, such as the prayer "Answer, with strength" which is made up of the 42 Kabbalistic names of God, were added. The holy sites, the illustrations and the talismanic sayings therefore turn the ketubah into an amulet for the happy couple.
 
The printed Jerusalem ketubot made their way to many countries in the east, and indirectly led to the decline of the tradition of written ketubot and hand-made illustrations. The printed ketubah (with or without decorations) slowly took the place of the hand-made ketubah throughout almost the whole Jewish world and this ancient artistic tradition died. Here are a few other examples of Jerusalem printed ketubot that were used among the eastern communities: Casablanca, Morocco, 1900 (ketubah no. 363); Herat, Afghanistan, 1926 (ketubah no. 812); Herat, Afghanistan, 1900 (ketubah no. 489). The revival of the decorated ketubah and motifs connected to Jerusalem came in the 70s. During an era where many people were “searching for their roots” and acquired a renewed interest in Jewish art in its various forms, many couples began ordering hand-decorated ketubot for their weddings.
 
In addition, this ketubah contains many common symbols from Jewish art, such as: the Tablets of the Law, the Crown of Torah and Priesthood, the hands of the priest spread in blessing. Another interesting motif that appears in the ketubah is a picture of a handshake which represents the agreement that is documented in the ketubah, signed by the groom in the presence of two witnesses.