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My name on my ketubah is Golda. Its written גאלדה. I was told that it should have a alef א not a ה at the end. Do I have to change it on a new ketubah? If so, how do I go about it?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Your question really involves two issues. The first is whether having the correct spelling of a name on a ketubah is of a level of importance that would invalidate the ketubah. The second issue is what is the correct way to spell Golda. In relation to the first question, it is true that ideally one should have the correct names on the ketubah. However, in general, when it is clear what the name is, and to who it refers, and the mistake is only a spelling mistake, the ketubah is certainly kosher. (Rav Z.N. Goldberg shlitah, Pesakim, Hilchot Ketubah, printed in Asaf journal page 32). As to the second issue, how to spell Golda, this is addressed in the repsonsa Lehaort Natan (Volume 6,167) (Rav Natan Geshtetner zt”l, who was a prominent Rabbi in B'nie Brak and passed away in 2010). When writing a Get (as opposed to a Ketubah) the spelling of the names is of great importance. In reference to a Get he quotes the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 129, 34) that states that all the names that are not in hebrew, like Bella, should be written with an Alef at the end. The Bet Shmuel (ibid) comments that if one changed the Alef for a Heh, or visa versa, the Get is kosher. However, if we know the way the person themselves signed their name (with an Alef or Heh), then one must follow the way they signed their name. In the work Tiv Gittin he writes that when it comes to way women sign their names, one does not have to give it too much importance, as it is possible that they themselves are not exacting when signing their names (this was certainly the case before women gained wide spread literacy). None the less the Pitchay Tshuva (in “women's names letter bet”) quotes many opinions that at least ideally one should follow the way the woman signs her name. Based on this, if person themselves signs with a Heh (as do most people in Israel today) then that is certainly the correct form to use on the ketubah. But if they never write their name in hebrew letters, then the Alef at the end is ideally more correct (but not critical as we have seen). In short – it could well be that the Heh at the end of then name Golda is the correct form (if that is how the name is usually signed). But even if not, then, after the fact, the ketubah is kosher, and you do not need a new one. It could be that your question is hinting at a practice some people have of reading mystical power into the ketubah. These people say that the wording of the ketubah has some mystical power that affects the couple for good or bad. While I freely admit that I have no expertise in the mystical world of the kabala, I did learn from my rabbis that one should distance themselves from such ideas. A Jew should walk "purely" with Hashem, and not try to read all types of mystical signs and portents into their life. The ketubah is a legal document that should be viewed as such, and nothing more. Blessings.