Jan 8, 2019

Interesting Psak: paying the lira ketuba in dollars

45 years ago in the city of Lod a young couple got married. The ketuba given was written for 100,000 lira.

Needless to say, the lira no longer exists as a currency today, as they are getting divorced.

The question is how much he needs to pay her for the ketuba payout.

Mrs is demanding 238,000nis, claiming the currency exchange and inflation - meaning, she says it should just become 100,000 in shekels instead of lira, plus inflation.

Mr is saying that based on what the lira is worth today, he only owes her about 20nis, and he is more than willing to pay it in full. Magnanimously he even offers to double or triple it to make her happy.

The beis din in Petach Tikva heard the case and considered the halachos relevant to the monetary issues and decided that 100,000 lira is 100,000 lira, and NOT 100,000nis. And, because nothing was specified as to the rate of inflation, the halachic linkage would put it against the dollar. After some research, they concluded that 100,000 lira in 1974 is currently worth $15,000.

The conclusion of the beis din was:
1. Mr is obligated to pay up the ketuba
2. the debt was for 100,000 lira
3. $15,000 is the sum to be paid in actuality

sources: Haredim10, Kikar

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  1. Looks like the Beit Din found a good compromise.

    Curious how did Mr get to a value of 20 ש"ח. In 1980, Israel introduced the (old) shekel at a rate of 1 Shekel = 10 Lira i.e., 100,000 Lira = 10,000 Shekel.
    In 1986 the Government knocked of three zeros to make the New shekel, so 100,000 Lira should be 10 NIS.
    The offer of 20 Shekel was already twice what he should have owed her by his calculation.

    1. Inflation? She went from 100,000 to 200,000+.

    2. dont forget about the years of hyperinflation in the 80s.. even though inflation has been very low for a long time now, for a while it was very high

  2. The sad thing are that these people are getting divorced after 40+ years.

    1. agreed. I guess now they dont need to worry about the kids...

  3. I know that years ago banks cancelled mortgages that were in Lira because they weren't worth collecting and they weren't linked to the dollar. I don't understand why the Beis Din assumed a linkage to the dollar. 45 years ago there wasn't any explicit linkage.


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