Askmoses-A Jews Resource
What of the people who will be alive at the time of the Resurrection?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.

CHAT or LEAVE A MESSAGE

What does 'Kinyan' mean in regards to a Jewish wedding?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

Library » Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

Question: 

Dear AskMoses, I read somewhere that there is a concept which refers to jewish weddings as a 'Kinyan' meaning an acquisition and therefore women were seen as an aquisition of property, does this concept of Kinyan really apply, and what does it really mean?

Answer:

Kinyan is an act in which something that was foreign to you now becomes one with you.  

A Jewish marriage is not a partnership between two strangers who agree to certain terms. Jewish marriage is a union of two beings into a single entity. For two people to become one there needs to be more than an agreement, there needs to be a transformation, and that transformation happens through a Kinyan.

If the ceremony would consist of two parties "exchanging vows" it would be a partnership, not a marriage (at least not a marriage to the standard and sacredness of Judaism). What makes it a marriage is the fusion of two people, and this is expressed through distinct activities rather than duplicated roles.

What makes it a marriage is the fusion of two people, and this is expressed through distinct activities rather than duplicated roles.
The man does, while the woman is. This expresses two different components of a single entity: the component to do, and the component to be. Thus the man says a statement and does an act of acquisition, playing the role of supplementary expression, and the woman silently extends her hand, playing the role of intrinsic existence.

A Kinyan is also prevalent in other types of acquisitions, but naturally there is a huge difference between the transformation that occurs when a property becomes yours, and when you and your wife are transformed into one being.

Yes, in both cases something that was foreign to you now becomes one with you, but the difference is in the subject, not in the procedure.

When a verdict is being read to a serial killer he needs to stand. When a new president is being sworn-in he also needs to stand. In both instances standing is required. Is one then to say that since a president has a standing ceremony he is likened to a serial killer?!

Similarly, it is ludicrous to say that because a wife is united with her husband with a Kinyan she is likened to a piece of property.

For more in depth information about the Jewish wedding and marriage go to www.chabad.org click on Life Cycles, and then click on The Wedding.


ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage
Intimacy » Marriage