My timing is good. As I begin there, Bircas HaTorah will be starting a new masechta (tractate, or volume, of Talmud). We’ll be learning Kesuvos (in modern Hebrew, Ketubot). A kesuva is the Jewish marriage contract, which spells out the husband’s obligations to the wife, particularly if she becomes widowed or divorced. Maseches Kesuvos is ostensibly about the laws of the kesuva but, like the rest of the Talmud, its discussion tends to wander into many areas of Jewish law and history. In fact, I’m told that Kesuvos is sometimes referred to as “mini-Shas“¹ because it includes discussion of so many diverse topics.

¹Shas is a Hebrew acronym for “Shisha Sedarim,” referring to the Six Orders into which the Mishna (and therefore the Gemara) are divided.


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