Religion Magazine

Interesting Psak: 555,555nis Against Ayin Hara is Only Symbolic

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
A recent divorce in Jerusalem has brought about an interesting psak regarding the payment of the money promised in the ketuba.
A woman was demanding, as part of her divorce, full payment of the money promised in the ketuba - 555,555nis.
The husband filed for divorce after she got sick and he felt she was withholding marital relations from him. She claimed in response that she only got sick after catching him having an affair with her good friend. His claim that she withheld relations is obviously to say she deserves nothing as she has a status of a "moredes" - rebellious wife. Her claim that he was cheating is to say she deserves full value, as it was his fault rather than hers.
She then claimed the full payment of 555,555nis, and he responded saying that this amount was put in the ketuba for her honor and to be against ayin hara, but they never seriously meant for this to be the value of the ketuba realistically.
The three members of the beis din were in disagreement as to what to do in this case. 1 dayan said he agreed and signed to this amount, he has to pay it. The contract is a valid contract, and he must fulfill his obligations to it. The two other dayanim were of the opinion that the number is symbolic and he never actually intended to pay it - he agreed to the number to honor her and to go against ayin hara, not to actually pay. This is what we call an asmachta and he is not obligated to pay it. As well, one of the dayanim added that this chosson was young with no savings and it is clear that agreeing to such a high and symbolic figure was not according to any belief that he would ever have to pay it.
this 2-1 decision led to a decision that he only has to pay a standard amount (120,000nis), and it also led the beis din to make a declaration to rabbonim who officiate at weddings to not use such high numbers, and only to use standard amounts. They explained that using such high numbers for honor and ayin hara only cause problems later in cases of divorce and cause fights and delays.
sources: Srugim and Kol Hazman
this reminds of a previous case mentioned a while back in which a ketuba dispute over money with the woman demanding the 555 combination led to a divorce...
I might say that perhaps the 555,555 does not actually protect against ayin hara, considering the divorces this ketuba money has not protected from...
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