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What Constitutes Nesuin?

  1. The Mishna speaks about two forms of Nesuin: 1) the woman enters the reshut of the husband 2) the woman is given from the father or his agents to the husband or his agents (mesira). [1]
  2. Rashi (Ketubot 48b s.v. lereshut) explains that the woman entering the reshut of the husband is called chupa. What exactly is chupa?[2]
    1. According to the Rambam (Ishut 10:2), chupa is a secluded area for the man and the woman which is fit for biyah. This is the opinion of Shulchan Aruch EH 61:1 and minhag of Sephardim.[3]
    2. According to the Ran (Ketubot 2a) and Rosh (Ketubot 5:6), chupa is a domain designated for the man and the woman even if it isn’t fit for biyah. Customarily this is accomplished with having the man and woman enter a canopy. This is the opinion of the Rama and minhag of Ashkenazim.[4]
    3. According to Tosfot (Yoma 13b s.v. lechada), chupa is covering a woman’s head with a cloth. The Manhig (Hilchot Erusin VeNesuin p. 540) and Orchot Chaim (Hilchot Kiddushin s.v. VeAchar HaErusin) hold that when the groom covers the bride with a cloth that is considered halachic marriage based on the pasuk in Megillat Rut 3:9.
    4. The Kol Bo (no. 75) writes that a form of chupa is covering the chatan and kallah's heads with a tallit. It is learned from the concept of yiud and a hint to it is the juxtaposition of the mitzvah of tzitzit and marriage (Devarim 22:12-13).[5]
  3. Besides chupa and mesira, biyah is another form of Nesuin.[6]


  1. The gemara in Ketubot 48b learns from Devarim 22:23 that chupa without biyah is effective in creating Nesuin. As to whether to having the woman handed over from the father or his agents to the husband is deoritta or not, see Rashi s.v. shmuel. Also see Bet Shmuel EH 61:2 who argues that mesira is a weaker acquisition than chupa.
  2. It is noteworthy that it seems that another theoretical possibility is that the act of Kiddushin itself begins the marriage and after a year automatically it develops into a complete Nesuin without the need for any other action. Rav Schachter (Kollel Chaburah on Ketubot 57a) explained that indeed this was the opinion of Rabba in Nedarim 73b in his dispute with Abaye.
  3. Rav Schachter (“Hilchot Kiddushin and Nesuin”) explained that the Gra 55:9 implies that the house should belong to the man.
  4. EH 55:1
  5. The Orchot Chaim (Hilchot Ketubot no. 4, cited by Bet Yosef 61:1) quotes the Baal Haitur who cites such an opinion but disagrees. Rama 55:1 cites this opinion as well.
  6. Rambam Ishut 10:1. The Gemara Yevamot 55b explains that ha’arah is effective for a man marrying a woman. Rashi s.v. kicha explains that the gemara is discussing Kiddushin. However, the Rif (Yevamot 18b) writes that the gemara is referring to Nesuin. On that basis he explains that the Gemara Kiddushin 10a is only discussing whether the biyah of Kiddushin can also affect Nesuin, however, it is obvious that biyah is effective to create Nesuin for a woman who previously had Kiddushin. The Rambam (Ishut 10:1) agrees. The Ran (Kiddushin 5b s.v. garsinan) questions the Rif because the Gemara Yevamot was only speaking about Kiddushin. See the Ran who implies that he understood the Rambam as saying that biyah is a form of chupa. Shulchan Aruch EH 55:1 follows the Rif. Biur Hagra 55:6 supports the Rif from the Tosefta.