Ketubah Quote Ideas: Explore Options Below

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To view the quotes in Hebrew, scroll down and explore the blog

    Why do people have a quote on the top of the Ketubah? Do I have to have a Ketubah quote?   

    Couples may choose to enhance their Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) by adding a quote. These quotes are not part of the contract itself but rather the decoration. Just like the text and decoration, the quote on your Ketubah should reflect your values as a couple.

    Does a Ketubah quote have to come from the Bible?  

    The quote does not have to come from a traditional Jewish source, it can be a favorite line from a song, book, or poem. But since the Ketubah is a traditional Jewish marriage contract, couples might want to choose a quote from the rich trove of Jewish tradition.   

    How do I choose a quote for my Ketubah? Does my Ketubah quote have to be in Hebrew?   

    A Ketubah quote can be in any language. Couples may choose an English quote because it holds more meaning for them or because of limited Hebrew comprehension. If the couple’s Ketubah is in English, they may prefer to have everything in the same language.   

    On the other hand, a couple may choose a Hebrew quote even if they do not understand Hebrew. The Hebrew quote may be more meaningful to them since Hebrew is the language of Jewish tradition, or perhaps they like the way a Hebrew quote looks or sounds.  

    In modern times, it's quite common to see ketubah texts presented in both Hebrew and English, allowing for both tradition and comprehension. This dual-language approach ensures that the meaning and significance of the ketubah are clear to all parties involved.  

    Ultimately, the decision should reflect the desires and values of the couple, as well as any specific cultural or religious considerations they wish to honor.  

       

    What are some classic Jewish sayings about love and marriage I can use for my Ketubah?  

    Hebrew Bible quotes from Song of Solomon  

    Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim in Hebrew) is a collection of love poems attributed to King Solomon. The poems are written in first person, mostly by a lover (“ra’aya”) and a beloved (“dod”).  

    The poems can be read as glimpses into the ups and downs of one couple’s courtship and relationship. The lovers paint pictures with their words, often using the flora and fauna of Israel to describe the other’s beauty. They speak of their visceral longing, dreams of their time together, and descriptions of intimate encounters.   

    Readers may be surprised that the Bible contains such a sensual book. Jewish tradition sees marriage as a sacred covenant, and the intimate love the couple shares is often used as a metaphor for other relationships, such as the love each person should have for their Creator and the loving bond between God and the Jewish People.    

    1."I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine."

    [1] 

    (Song of Solomon 6 3)  

      Alternative translation: I belong to my beloved and my beloved belongs to me.  

      (Song of Solomon 6 3)  

      אֲנִ֤י לְדוֹדִי֙ וְדוֹדִ֣י לִ֔י  (שיר השירים ו ג)  

      2. "Place me as a seal upon your heart, like a signet on your hand"; 

      [2] 

      שִׂימֵ֨נִי כַֽחוֹתָ֜ם עַל־לִבֶּ֗ךָ כַּֽחוֹתָם֙ עַל־זְרוֹעֶ֔ךָ  

      3. "Its sparks are burning fire, an almighty flame"

      רְשָׁפֶ֕יהָ רִשְׁפֵּ֕י אֵ֖שׁ שַׁלְהֶ֥בֶתְיָֽה  . 

      4. "Floods of water cannot extinguish the love, And rivers will not wash it away."

        )Song of Solomon Chapter 8 verses 6-7(  

        מַ֣יִם רַבִּ֗ים לֹ֤א יֽוּכְלוּ֙ לְכַבּ֣וֹת אֶת־הָֽאַהֲבָ֔ה  וּנְהָר֖וֹת לֹ֣א יִשְׁטְפ֑וּהָ  

        (שיר השירים ח ו-ז)  

        5. "Like a lily/rose among the bramble, so is my beloved among the maidens; Like an apple among the forest trees, so is my beloved among the men."

        [3] 

        (Song of Solomon Chapter 2 verses 2-3)  

        כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים, כֵּן רַעְיָתִי בֵּין הַבָּנוֹת;  

        כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר, כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים.  

        (שיר השירים ב ב-ג)  

        6. "Hark! Here comes my beloved, leaping over the mountains, bounding over hills." 

          [4] 

          (Song of Solomon Chapter 2 Verse 8)  

          ק֣וֹל דּוֹדִ֔י הִנֵּה־זֶ֖ה בָּ֑א מְדַלֵּג֙ עַל־הֶ֣הָרִ֔ים מְקַפֵּ֖ץ עַל־הַגְּבָעֽוֹת  

          (שיר השירים ב ח) 

           7. "I found the one I love, I held on tight and will not let go."

            [5]  

            (Song of Solomon Chapter 3 verse 4)  

            עַ֣ד שֶׁמָּצָ֔אתִי אֵ֥ת שֶֽׁאָהֲבָ֖ה נַפְשִׁ֑י אֲחַזְתִּיו֙ וְלֹ֣א אַרְפֶּ֔נּוּ  

            (שיר השירים ג ד)    

            General Hebrew Bible quotes  

            8. "[Therefore] a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they will be as one flesh."

              [6]  

              )Genesis Chapter 2 verse 24(  

              [עַל-כֵּן] יַעֲזָב-אִישׁ, אֶת-אָבִיו, וְאֶת-אִמּוֹ; וְדָבַק בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ, וְהָיוּ לְבָשָׂר אֶחָד  

              (בראשית ב כד)  

                9. "I will bind you to me forever, I will bind you to me in righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy." 

              Alternative translation:  

              I betroth you to me forever,  

              I betroth you to me in righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy.[7]  

              )Hoshea Chapter 2 verse 21(  

              וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי לְעוֹלָם וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי בְּצֶדֶק וּבְמִשְׁפָּט וּבְחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים  

              (הושע ב כא)  

              10. "May there be peace within your walls, serenity in your palaces."

                [8]  

                (Psalms Chapter 122 verse 7)  

                יהי שלום בחילך שלווה בארמנותייך  

                (תהילים קכב, ז)  

                11. " As water reflects face to face, so too one heart to another." 

                [9]  

                )Proverbs Chapter 27 Verse 19(  

                כַּ֭מַּיִם הַפָּנִ֣ים לַפָּנִ֑ים כֵּ֤ן לֵֽב־הָ֝אָדָ֗ם לָאָדָֽם.  

                (משלי כז יט)    

                Quotes from a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony  

                  12. "Grant joy to these loving friends, as You granted joy to your creations in the Garden of Eden." 

                [10]  

                (From the Sheva Brachot, Seven Blessings under the Chuppah)  

                שַׂמֵּחַ תְּשַׂמַּח רֵעִים אֲהוּבִים כְּשַׂמֵּחָךָ יְצִירְךָ בְּגַן עֵדֶן מִקֶּדֶם  

                13. "There shall be heard in Jerusalem the sound of joy and happiness, the sound of groom and bride." 

                [11]  

                (From the Sheva Brachot, Seven Blessings under the Chuppah)  

                יִשָּׁמַע בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבְחוּצוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם; קוֹל שָׂשׂוֹן וְקוֹל שִׂמְחָה; קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כַּלָּה.  

                14. "If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning."

                  [12]  

                  (Psalms 137 5)  

                  אִֽם־אֶשְׁכָּחֵ֥ךְ יְֽרוּשָׁלִָ֗ם תִּשְׁכַּ֥ח יְמִינִֽי.  

                  תהילים קלז ה))  

                  and/or  

                  We shall exalt Jerusalem at the height of our joy.   

                  (Adaptation of Psalms 137 6)  

                  נעלה את ירושלים על ראש שמחתנו  

                     

                  Bonus: Medieval Jewish poetry  

                  15. " I sought to be close to you, with all my heart I called to you; and when I went out to greet you, I found you coming towards me." 

                  [13]  

                  Rabbi Judah HaLevi  

                  דָּרַשְׁתִּי קִרְבָתְךָ, בְּכָל‑ לִבִּי קְרָאתִיךָ,  וּבְצֵאתִי לִקְרָאתְךָ  לִקְרָאתִי מצָאתִיךָ,  

                  רבי יהודה הלוי  

                      

                  [1] This is perhaps the most popular Ketubah quote, for good reason. It is simple and succinct. It describes the essence of a marriage – belonging to each other.  

                  [2] These verses describe love as a powerful force that conquers all. Love is as overwhelming and unconquerable as death. Love is all-consuming like a blazing flame. Love is strong, it can weather storms and rough waters.   

                  The text can be broken up by line, as the full context is both long and daunting. “Place me as a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your hand; for love is as powerful as death, passion as mighty as Sheol (the unknown abyss after death), its sparks are burning fire, an almighty flame. Many waters cannot extinguish the love, and rivers will not wash it away; if a man gives the entire wealth of his household for love, they will ridicule him.”  

                  The verses end with the idea that people will part with a fortune for love, but this is the kind of love that most people don’t understand.   

                  [3] The meaning of the Hebrew word “shoshana” is debated by classic Jewish Bible scholars and modern academics. The two most popular interpretations are rose and lily, but it has also been identified as flowers like iris, violet, and cyclamen.  

                  In modern Hebrew “shoshana” means rose, so the beloved sees his lover “Like a rose among the thorns.” Other women appear harsh and unattractive to him. His beloved is striking, sensual, but perhaps guarded as well.   

                  Several medieval Jewish Bible scholars identified the “shoshana” as the Madonna lily, or lilium cadmium, an aromatic wildflower native to Israel with a pure white six-petal crown. Modern academics tend to agree, as it’s unclear roses existed in Israel at this time. These lilies can grow in harsh conditions – on mountainsides and among the bramble. Accordingly, this metaphor paints the lover as strong, resilient, and pure of heart.   

                  The lover answers her beloved, mirroring his imagery. She compares her beloved to an apple or apple tree in a forest – aromatic and alluring, strong and sweet.  

                  This quote is especially fitting for a Ketubah decorated with flowers, trees, or nature in general.  

                  [4] The lover anticipates the arrival of her beloved. In his excitement to see her he leaps over hurdles. Many couples feel this way as they approach their wedding, it takes dedication and work to maintain that desire throughout a marriage.    

                  [5] The lover describes longing and searching for her beloved. “I sought the one I love, I sought him and did not find him.” Some people find love easily, others struggle. Either way, those blessed to find love should never take it for granted.  

                  [6] Genesis relates that after creating humanity God states “It is not good for a human to be alone, I will create a support counterpart.” When Adam meets Eve he declares “This time, she is bone from my bone, flesh from my flesh.” He sees her as an essential part of himself.  

                  Following this description the Torah relates the quote above, teaching that at some point we separate from the people that raised us to create a new family. One flesh can be understood as physical intimacy or as a child that results from their union.  

                  A fascinating rabbinic interpretation teaches that God originally created people as male and female, back-to-back. They were one but could not see each other. God then separated them so each could develop on their own, grow their strengths and understand the importance of a partner. Togetherness is no longer instinctual, but each partner can see the other and appreciate what they bring to the union.   

                  The Torah does not say that a single person as incomplete. Yet it understands that being single can be lonely. When two people choose each other as partners they create a new family unit bound together in love.  

                  [7] The prophet Hoshea compares the relationship between God and Israel to that of a married couple. The pair may grow estranged, but they can also find their way back to each other. These verses describe the reconciliation. When the couple returns to one another they recommit to a relationship based on integrity and kindness.  

                  [8] Many Jewish prayers end with a request for peace. Peace does not mean inaction. Peace means that we don’t waste our energy and resources fighting and defending, but rather building and creating. The original context refers to Jerusalem. It is particularly fitting for a Ketubah with outlines of buildings or the skyline of Jerusalem. Yet it works well on any Ketuba, as this quote can be understood as a prayer or goal for the couple, as well as their community, the entire Jewish People, and the world.  

                  [9] Much like the Golden Rule, this proverb applies to all interpersonal relationships. It can be understood as a more poetic way to say, “In relationships, you only get what you put in.” A couple who chooses this verse for their Ketubah understands that the marriage is a reciprocal commitment, a give and take of love, affection, and support.   

                  [10] Jewish tradition teaches us that our ideal world is peaceful, thriving, and joyous. This is the world of the Garden of Eden, an existence Adam and Eve knew for only a short while. But we have been there before, and we can get back there again. In Judaism marriage is something of a fresh start as the couple begins a new stage in lifeIn the Sheva Brachot we pray that God grant this newly created couple their own paradise, a home filled with joy and harmony.   

                  [11] This quote from the Sheva Brachot paraphrases Jeremiah the prophet, who sees a wedding as the epitome of joy and celebration. Jeremiah lived in Jerusalem over 2,500 years ago, through the worst destruction and exile the Jewish People had ever seen. Yet he prophesized words of hope. He described the rebuilding of the relationship between God and the Jewish People, and a national revival in Israel (then known as Judea, with its capital in Jerusalem).   

                  The story of the Jewish People is one of persistence, resilience, and hope as we work to build a better world, a world of peace and harmony. When two people commit to love each other and build a future together the entire community rejoices with them.   

                  [12] These words quoting or adapting a Psalm mourning the Jewish People’s exile are a popular, albeit curious, choice for a wedding contract. They are found on Ketubot spanning hundreds of years, from Jewish communities all over the world. In its original context the meaning seems simple. Our people are incomplete and can never be truly joyous without Jerusalem, the national and spiritual center of the Jewish People. A wedding is the height of our joy, Jerusalem must be raised above it. Literally, mentioned at the top of the Ketubah. Figuratively, even in times of personal happiness we should remember that our People are still fractured.   

                  Should a modern marriage ceremony still remember Jerusalem?   

                  The custom to break a glass under the Chuppah is centuries old. Some trace it back to a Talmudic tale about the sage Mar bar Ravina. The celebrations at his son’s wedding were exceedingly happy, so the sage broke an expensive glass. (Babylonian Talmud Berachot 5:2) For centuries this Jewish tradition reminds us that we should not be completely happy when there is so much broken in the world.   

                  The wellbeing of Jerusalem is a symbol of the unity of the Jewish People and our relationship with the Divine. It is also meant to be a place of righteousness and justice that will only truly be complete when the world is at peace.   

                  Jerusalem is a holy city for three major monotheistic religions. If Jerusalem is not at peace then we are not at peace with one another, and our joy is incomplete.   

                  [13] Sephardic Jewish scholars often wrote poetry. Many of these poems are love songs. Some are between lovers, some between a person and God. Here Rabbi Judah HaLevi describes yearning to be close to God, seeking nearness. Calling out is not enough, it is only when he sets out towards God that he finds God on the way to him.   

                  As mentioned, Jewish tradition often compares the love and yearning of two lovers to that of a person and God. Both these relationships are not just based on yearning and calling, but on two sides taking action and putting in effort to meet in the middle and become one. 

                   

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