Origins of The Prenup

The Prenup was drafted by Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Sgan Av Beth Din of the Beth Din of America, and a Rosh Yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, in consultation with halachic and legal experts. The concepts contained in The Prenup predate 1994, when it was introduced. In 1664, Rabbi Shmuel Ben David Moshe Halevi, the rabbi of Bamberg, Germany, published a compilation of Jewish legal forms called the Nachalas Shiva. One of the forms in that book is a version of the tana’im, a Jewish wedding document, with a provision that is very similar to The Prenup. In a footnote to that provision, the Nachalas Shiva cites some authorities who held that the provision dates back to the Takanos Shum, the authoritative communal enactments adopted in the early Middle Ages by the leaders of the German communities of Speyer, Worms and Mayence.