To Kuf Or Not To Kuf?

One of the decisions that you need to make for your ketubah is, whether or not you want to fill in the leg of the kuf. Huh? What does this mean? Let me explain in today’s lesson, Kuf 101!

One word that the traditional ketubah includes is v’kanina (??????), which in ancient Aramaic means, “we have completed the act of acquisition.” This word includes the Hebrew (and Aramaic) letter kuf (?). (Yes, this is weird—but bear with us!).

Traditionally, this letter in this word in the ketubah was created with only the top part of the kuf (see the image above, on the right), and then the rabbi filled in the leg (see image above) himself at the wedding. The origin of this tradition is a symbol that represents the act of a man acquiring a woman at that very moment, so the rabbi himself completes this acquisition, by filling in the leg of the kuf.

Today, there are a few ways in which couples commonly interpret this tradition. These modern interpretations include:

  • Continuing the ancient tradition; and printing the ketubah without the leg, so that the rabbi himself can write it in at the moment he presides over the ketubah ceremony.
  • Simplifying the tradition and not printing the kuf, having the rabbi write the whole letter himself (top and the leg of the letter).
  • Not following this tradition and printing the letter kuf in this word normally, including the leg. (Ignore this blog post if you want do that!)
  • Changing the text to not use the word v’kanina at all—because, after all, many modern couples don’t want the wedding to be the man “acquiring” the woman!

Therefore, one of the key symbolic decisions that each couple needs to make is, to kuf or not to kuf. This question, although seemingly superficial, does have some Shakespearian overtones, because of the symbolism it represents: what is your view towards the husband acquiring the wife?

Here at Ketubah HQ, we happen to be divided on the question. Two of us are married—and one of us used the text with the leg, and one used the text without. And most of our friends used texts with different wording – so we see it from all sides!

If you do want us to not include the leg—then don’t worry, we can do that! When we give you our personalization form, we’ll include this question on the form, and you can fill it out there! It is important to decide this text detail before your ketubah is printed to avoid going back and reprinting, and ultimately a time delay on your ketubah. Either way the decision is completely up to you!



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