Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

To’en veNit’an - Chapter 16, Nachalot - Chapter 1, Nachalot - Chapter 2

Show content in:

To’en veNit’an - Chapter 16

1

A person's protests are not accepted in the following situation. Reuven sold a field to Shimon, and Levi was one of the witnesses who signed the deed of sale. Afterwards, Levi came and protested Shimon's ownership of the field, claiming that Reuven stole it from him. We do not heed Levi's protest, nor do we pay attention to the proofs he brings concerning his ownership of that field. He has forfeited all of his rights to it. For we tell him: "How could you serve as a witness to the sale and then come and protest?"

Similar concepts apply if Levi gives testimony in a legal document that speaks of "the field belonging to Reuven on the east" or "... on the north." Since he referred to that field as an identification marker for the sake of another person and recorded this testimony in a legal document, he forfeited his right to it and cannot issue a protest concerning it. For we tell him: "How could you serve as a witness in this legal document that mentions this field being near another field and then issue a protest concerning it?"

א

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁמָּכַר לְשִׁמְעוֹן שָׂדֶה וְהָיָה לֵוִי מֵעֵדֵי הַשְּׁטָר וּבָא לֵוִי לְעַרְעֵר עַל הַשָּׂדֶה וְלִטְעֹן שֶׁרְאוּבֵן גָּזַל אוֹתָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ. אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ וְאֵין מַשְׁגִּיחִין עַל רְאָיוֹת שֶׁיָּבִיא עַל אוֹתָהּ שָׂדֶה וַהֲרֵי אִבֵּד כָּל זְכוּתוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֵר לוֹ הֵיאַךְ תָּעִיד עַל הַמֶּכֶר וְתָבוֹא וּתְעַרְעֵר. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִיד לֵוִי בִּשְׁטָר שֶׁכָּתוּב בּוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁל רְאוּבֵן מִצַּד מִזְרָח אוֹ מַעֲרָב הוֹאִיל וְעָשָׂה הַשָּׂדֶה סִימָן לְאַחֵר וְהֵעִיד בַּשְּׁטָר אִבֵּד אֶת זְכוּתוֹ וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר וּלְעַרְעֵר שֶׁאוֹמְרִים לוֹ הֵיאַךְ תָּעִיד בִּשְׁטָר זֶה שֶׁכָּתוּב בּוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה הַזֹּאת מִצַּד פְּלוֹנִי וְתַחְזֹר וּתְעַרְעֵר עָלֶיהָ:

2

If, in the above situation, the witness claimed: "There is one row? that I designated as a sign, but not the entire field. That row that is next to the boundary of the field alone belongs to Reuven," this is a claim that is worthy of being heard. He may protest the ownership of the entire field, with the exception of that row.

All of the above concepts apply only with regard to one of the witnesses to the legal document who comes to protest. When, by contrast, a judge verified the authenticity of the signatures of the witnesses to a bill of sale, he may protest the ownership of a field even though it was mentioned in that bill of sale. The rationale is that he can claim: "I did not know what was written in the bill of sale." For a judge may verify the authenticity of the signatures of the witnesses to a legal document even though he did not read it. Witnesses, by contrast, may not sign a legal document unless they read it in its entirety and paid attention to its details.

ב

טָעַן הָעֵד וְאָמַר תֶּלֶם אֶחָד הוּא שֶׁעָשִׂיתִי סִימָן וְלֹא כָּל הַשָּׂדֶה וְאוֹתוֹ הַתֶּלֶם הַסָּמוּךְ לַמֵּצַר בִּלְבַד הוּא שֶׁל רְאוּבֵן הֲרֵי זֶה טַעֲנָה הַנִּשְׁמַעַת וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְעַרְעֵר עַל כָּל הַשָּׂדֶה חוּץ מֵאוֹתוֹ הַתֶּלֶם. וְאֵין כָּל הַדְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים אֶלָּא בְּאֶחָד מֵעֵדֵי הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁבָּא לְעַרְעֵר. אֲבָל הַדַּיָּן שֶׁקִּיֵּם הַשְּׁטָר יֵשׁ לוֹ לְעַרְעֵר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיָּכוֹל לִטְעֹן וְלוֹמַר לֹא יָדַעְתִּי מֶה הָיָה כָּתוּב בַּשְּׁטָר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לַדַּיָּנִין לְקַיֵּם הַשְּׁטָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא קְרָאוּהוּ. אֲבָל הָעֵדִים אֵין חוֹתְמִין עַל הַשְּׁטָר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן קְרָאוּהוּ כֻּלּוֹ וִידַקְדֵּק בּוֹ:

3

The following rules apply when Shimon comes and consults Levi, telling him: "I am buying this-and-this field from Reuven. I will buy it with your advice." Even though Levi tells him: "Go and buy it. It is good," Levi has the right to protest Shimon's ownership. He does not forfeit this right, because he did not perform a deed. He can tell Shimon: "I desired that the field leave the hands of Reuven, for he is a man of force, so that I could lodge a claim in court and take possession of my field."

ג

בָּא שִׁמְעוֹן וְנִמְלַךְ בְּלֵוִי וְאָמַר לוֹ הֲרֵינִי קוֹנֶה שָׂדֶה פְּלוֹנִית מֵרְאוּבֵן וּבַעֲצָתְךָ אֶקְנֶה אוֹתָהּ. אָמַר לוֹ לֵוִי לֵךְ וּקְנֵה אוֹתָהּ טוֹבָה הִיא. יֵשׁ לוֹ לְלֵוִי לְעַרְעֵר עָלֶיהָ וְלֹא אִבֵּד זְכוּתוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לוֹמַר רְצוֹנִי הָיָה שֶׁתֵּצֵא מִתַּחַת יַד רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהוּא אַלָּם כְּדֵי שֶׁאֶתְבָּעֶנָּה בְּדִין וְאֶקַּח שָׂדִי:

4

The following rules apply when Reuven protests Shimon's ownership of a field, and Shimon tells him: "I don't know what you are talking about. I purchased this field from Levi. Here are witnesses who will testify that I benefited from it for the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership."

Reuven responds to him: "I have witnesses who will testify that yesterday evening, you came to me and asked me to sell you this field." This is not proof of Reuven's ownership. For Shimon could say: "I desired to purchase it from you so that you would not protest and trouble me to enter legal proceedings, even though I do not know whether or not it is really yours." Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

If Shimon does not make such a claim, the court does not advance it on his behalf, n

ד

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁעִרְעֵר עַל שִׁמְעוֹן וְשִׁמְעוֹן אָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ מָה אַתָּה סָח אֶלָּא שָׂדֶה זוֹ מִלֵּוִי לְקַחְתִּיהָ וַהֲרֵי עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכַלְתִּיהָ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. אָמַר לוֹ רְאוּבֵן וַהֲלֹא עֵדִים יֵשׁ לִי שֶׁבָּעֶרֶב בָּאתָ אֵלַי וְאָמַרְתָּ לִי מְכֹר לִי שָׂדֶה זוֹ אֵין זוֹ רְאָיָה. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְשִׁמְעוֹן לוֹמַר רָצִיתִי לִקְנוֹת מִמְּךָ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תְּעַרְעֵר וְלֹא תַּטְרִיחֵנִי בְּדִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם הִיא שֶׁלְּךָ אוֹ אֵינָהּ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וְאִם לֹא טָעַן שִׁמְעוֹן טַעֲנָה זוֹ אֵין טוֹעֲנִין לוֹ:

5

The following rules apply when Reuven protests and brings witnesses who testify that the field belongs to him, and Shimon who is in possession of it claims: "You sold it to me and I benefited from it for the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership." Reuven responds: "You benefited from the field as a robber."

Whether there were no witnesses that he benefited from the field or whether there was only one witness who testified that he benefited for three years, the person in possession is not required to return the produce that he consumed. The rationale is that he is claiming: "I consumed my own produce," and there are no witnesses who are obligating him for the produce. On the contrary, he acknowledged it himself. And the witness who testified that he benefited from the property for three years is coming to reinforce the power of the person who benefited. Indeed, if there were another witness with him, the person in possession would be allowed to retain possession of the field.

Therefore, Reuven must take a sh'vu'at hesset that he did not sell the field, and then the field is returned to him. Shimon must take a sh'vu'at hesset that he does not owe Reuven anything because of the produce he consumed. He is then released of liability.

ה

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁעִרְעֵר וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁשָּׂדֶה זוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ וְשִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ טוֹעֵן אַתָּה מְכַרְתָּהּ לִי וַאֲכַלְתִּיהָ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. וּרְאוּבֵן אָמַר בְּגֵזֶל אָכַלְתָּ. בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ עֵדִים שֶׁאָכַל כְּלָל בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה שָׁם עֵד אֶחָד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר שֶׁלִּי אָכַלְתִּי וְאֵין עָלָיו עֵדִים שֶׁמְּחַיְּבִין אוֹתוֹ בְּפֵרוֹת שֶׁהֲרֵי מֵעַצְמוֹ הוֹדָה. וְזֶה הָעֵד שֶׁהֵעִיד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים לְיַפּוֹת כֹּחוֹ שֶׁל אוֹכֵל הוּא בָּא וְאִלּוּ הָיָה עִמּוֹ אַחֵר הָיְתָה הַשָּׂדֶה עוֹמֶדֶת בְּיָדוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ יִשָּׁבַע רְאוּבֵן הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא מָכַר וְתַחְזֹר לוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה וְיִשָּׁבַע שִׁמְעוֹן הֶסֵּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לוֹ כְּלוּם בַּפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל וְיִפָּטֵר:

6

When there are two witnesses who testify that Shimon benefited from a field for less than the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership, he must return all the produce he consumed. Even if there is only one witness, he is liable to return all the produce because of his testimony. The rationale is that he is not contradicting the testimony of the witness. Instead, he is saying: "He testified truthfully. I did consume the produce for two years, but I consumed what was mine." He is thus obligated to take an oath, but unable to do so. Hence, he must pay.

ו

הָיוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים מְעִידִים עַל שִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁנֵי חֲזָקָה יַחְזִיר כָּל הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עֵד אֶחָד חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר עַל פִּיו שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ מַכְחִישׁ הָעֵד אֶלָּא אוֹמֵר אֱמֶת הֵעִיד וְאָכַלְתִּי שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים וְשֶׁלִּי אָכַלְתִּי. נִמְצָא מְחֻיָּב שְׁבוּעָה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִשָּׁבַע וּמְשַׁלֵּם:

7

The following principle applies whenever a person is obligated to return the produce he consumed, the extent of the benefit is unknown, and the court is unable to estimate - i.e., in contrast to houses and the like, which have a standard rate - the benefit he received from the produce of trees or the produce of the fields. Since the owner does not have a definite claim, he is required to pay only what he admits to have consumed. We issue a conditional ban of ostracism against anyone who consumed more produce and did not make restitution.

ז

כָּל הַמְחֻיָּב לְהַחְזִיר הַפֵּרוֹת אִם לֹא הָיוּ יְדוּעִין וְאֵין בֵּית דִּין יְכוֹלִין לְשַׁעֵר אוֹתָן כְּשַׁעַר הַבָּתִּים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁהוּא יָדוּעַ. אֶלָּא הָיוּ פֵּרוֹת אִילָן אוֹ פֵּרוֹת שָׂדֶה שֶׁאֵינָן יְדוּעִין. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין כָּאן טַעֲנָה וַדָּאִית יְשַׁלֵּם מַה שֶּׁיּוֹדֶה בּוֹ שֶׁאֲכָלוֹ. וּמַחְרִימִין עַל מִי שֶׁאָכַל יוֹתֵר וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם:

8

The following laws apply whenever a person in possession of property is required to return it. If he rented the property to others while he was in possession of it, and the renters are accessible, we expropriate the rent from them a second time and give it to the owner of the land. They in turn should lodge a claim against a person who rented them land that he did not own.

ח

כָּל הַמַּחֲזִיר קַרְקַע מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ אִם הִשְׂכִּירָהּ לַאֲחֵרִים כְּשֶׁהָיָה מַחֲזִיק בָּהּ וְהָיוּ הַשּׂוֹכְרִין קַיָּמִין מוֹצִיאִין מֵהֶן הַשָּׂכָר פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה וְנוֹתְנִין לְבַעַל הַקַּרְקַע וְחוֹזְרִין וְתוֹבְעִין זֶה שֶׁהִשְׂכִּיר לָהֶם מָקוֹם שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ:

9

It is forbidden for a person to lodge a false claim to distort a judgment or prevent its execution. What is implied? If a person was owed a maneh by a colleague, he may not lodge a claim against him for 200 zuz, so that he will admit owing the maneh and be obligated to take an oath.

If a person owes a colleague a maneh, and the colleague claims 200 from him, he should not say: "I will deny the entire amount in court so that I will not be required to take an oath and acknowledge the debt of the maneh in private."

ט

אָסוּר לָאָדָם לִטְעֹן טַעֲנַת שֶׁקֶר כְּדֵי לְעַוֵּת הַדִּין אוֹ כְּדֵי לְעַכְּבוֹ. כֵּיצַד. הָיָה נוֹשֶׁה בַּחֲבֵרוֹ מָנֶה לֹא יִטְעָנֶנּוּ מָאתַיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוֹדֶה בְּמָנֶה וְיִתְחַיֵּב שְׁבוּעָה. הָיָה נוֹשֶׁה מָנֶה וּטְעָנוֹ מָאתַיִם לֹא יֹאמַר אֶכְפֹּר הַכּל בְּבֵית דִּין וְאוֹדֶה לוֹ בְּמָנֶה בֵּינִי לְבֵינוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא אֶתְחַיֵּב לוֹ שְׁבוּעָה:

10

When a person owes money to three people, and he denies owing a debt to one of them the three should not collaborate and perpetrate the following scheme. One person will claim the entire sum, and the others will falsely testify to his claim. When the money is expropriated from him, they will then divide it. With regard to things of this nature and the like, the Torah Exodus 23:7 warned us: "Keep a distance from words of falsehood."

This concludes the Laws Governing Disputes between Plaintiffs and Defendants, with God's help.

י

הָיוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה נוֹשִׁין מָנֶה בְּאֶחָד וְכָפַר בָּהֶן לֹא יִהְיֶה אֶחָד תּוֹבֵעַ וּשְׁנַיִם מְעִידִים וּכְשֶׁיּוֹצִיאוּ מִמֶּנּוּ יַחֲלֹקוּ. וְעַל דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הִזְהִיר הַכָּתוּב וְאָמַר מִדְּבַר שֶׁקֶר תִּרְחָק: סְלִיקוּ לְהוּ הִלְכוֹת טוֹעֵן וְנִטְעָן בְּסַ''ד

Nachalot - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos Nachalot

It contains one mitzvah: the laws of the order of inheritance. This mitzvah is explained in the following chapters.

רמב"ם הלכות נחלות - הקדמה הלכות נחלות. מצות עשה אחת והיא דין סדר נחלות. וביאור מצוה זו בפרקים אלו.

1

This is the order of inheritance: When a person dies, his children inherit his estate. They receive priority over everyone else, and the sons receive priority over the daughters.

א

סֵדֶר נְחָלוֹת כָּךְ הִיא. מִי שֶׁמֵּת יִירָשׁוּהוּ בָּנָיו וְהֵם קוֹדְמִין לַכּל. וְהַזְּכָרִים קוֹדְמִין לִנְקֵבוֹת:

2

In every situation, a female does not inherit together with a male.

If a person does not have children, his father inherits his estate. A mother does not inherit her son's estate. This has been conveyed by the Oral Tradition.

ב

בְּכָל מָקוֹם אֵין לִנְקֵבָה עִם הַזָּכָר יְרֻשָּׁה. אִם אֵין לוֹ בָּנִים יִירָשֶׁנּוּ אָבִיו. וְאֵין הָאֵם יוֹרֶשֶׁת אֶת בָּנֶיהָ וְדָבָר זֶה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה:

3

With regard to every concept of precedence for an inheritance, a person's blood descendants receive precedence. Therefore, when a person - either a man or a woman - dies and he leaves a son, he inherits everything. If the son is no longer alive, we look to see if the son left descendants. If there are descendants of the son, whether male or female - even the daughter of the daughter of the son's daughter, and this chain can be continued endlessly -that descendant inherits everything.

If the son does not have descendants, we return to the deceased's daughter. If there are descendants of the daughter, whether male or female - and this chain can be continued endlessly - that descendant inherits everything.

If the son does not have descendants, the estate returns to the deceased's father. If the father is no longer alive, -we look to see if the father left descendants - i.e., the brothers of the deceased. If there is a brother of the deceased or the descendant of a brother, he inherits everything. If there are no brothers, we return and look to see if the deceased had a sister. If there is a sister or the descendant of a sister, that person inherits everything.

If there are no descendants of the deceased's brothers or sisters, since there are no descendants of the deceased's father, the estate returns to the deceased's paternal grandfather. If the paternal grandfather is no longer alive, we look to see if the paternal grandfather left descendants - i.e., the uncles or aunts of the deceased. The males receive precedence over the females, and even the descendants of the males receive precedence over the females, as is the law with regard to the descendants of the deceased himself.

If there are no uncles or none of their descendants, the estate returns to the deceased's paternal great-grandfather. Following this pattern, the chain of inheritance continues to extend until Reuven the son of Jacob. Thus the order of inheritance is as follows: A son takes precedence over a daughter. Similarly, all of the son's descendants take precedence over the daughter. The daughter takes precedence over her paternal grandfather, and similarly, all her descendants take precedence over her paternal grandfather.

The deceased's father takes precedence over the deceased's brothers, because they are the father's descendants. The deceased's brothers take precedence over his sisters. Similarly, all their descendants take precedence over the sister.

The deceased's sister takes precedence over her paternal grandfather, and similarly, all her descendants take precedence over her paternal grandfather.

The deceased's paternal grandfather takes precedence over the deceased's uncles. The uncles take precedence over the aunts. Indeed, all the uncles' descendants take precedence over the aunts. The aunts take precedence over the deceased's paternal great-grandfather. Indeed, all the aunts' descendants take precedence over the deceased's paternal great-grandfather. This pattern should be continued until the beginning of all generations. Thus, there is no Jew who does not have heirs.

ג

וְכָל הַקּוֹדֵם בְּנַחֲלָה יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכוֹ קוֹדְמִין. לְפִיכָךְ מִי שֶׁמֵּת בֵּין אִישׁ בֵּין אִשָּׁה אִם הִנִּיחַ בֵּן יוֹרֵשׁ הַכּל. לֹא נִמְצָא לוֹ בֵּן לְעוֹלָם מְעַיְּנִין בְּזַרְעוֹ שֶׁל בֵּן אִם נִמְצָא לִבְנוֹ זֶרַע בֵּין זְכָרִים בֵּין נְקֵבוֹת אֲפִלּוּ בַּת בַּת בַּת בְּנוֹ עַד סוֹף הָעוֹלָם הִיא תִּירַשׁ אֶת הַכּל. לֹא נִמְצָא לוֹ זֶרַע בֶּן חוֹזְרִין אֵצֶל הַבַּת. הָיְתָה לוֹ בַּת תִּירַשׁ אֶת הַכּל לֹא נִמְצֵאת לוֹ בַּת בָּעוֹלָם מְעַיְּנִין עַל זֶרַע הַבַּת. אִם נִמְצָא לָהּ זֶרַע בֵּין זְכָרִים בֵּין נְקֵבוֹת עַד סוֹף הָעוֹלָם הוּא יוֹרֵשׁ הַכּל. לֹא נִמְצָא לָהּ זֶרַע בַּת חוֹזֵר הַיְרֻשָּׁה לְאָבִיו. לֹא הָיָה אָבִיו קַיָּם מְעַיְּנִין עַל זֶרַע הָאָב שֶׁהֵן אֲחֵי הַמֵּת. נִמְצָא לוֹ אָח אוֹ זֶרַע אָח יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת הַכּל וְאִם לָאו חוֹזְרִין אֵצֶל אָחוֹת. נִמְצֵאת לוֹ אָחוֹת אוֹ זַרְעָהּ יוֹרֵשׁ הַכּל. וְאִם לֹא נִמְצֵאת לוֹ זֶרַע אַחִים וְלֹא זֶרַע אָחוֹת הוֹאִיל וְאֵין לָאָב זֶרַע תַּחְזֹר הַיְרֻשָּׁה לַאֲבִי הָאָב. לֹא הָיָה אֲבִי הָאָב קַיָּם מְעַיְּנִין עַל זֶרַע שֶׁל אֲבִי הָאָב שֶׁהֵן אֲחֵי אָבִיו שֶׁל מֵת וְהַזְּכָרִים קוֹדְמִין לִנְקֵבוֹת וְזַרְעָן שֶׁל זְכָרִים קוֹדְמִין לִנְקֵבוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה הַדִּין בְּזַרְעוֹ שֶׁל מֵת עַצְמוֹ. לֹא נִמְצְאוּ אַחִים לְאָבִיו לֹא הֵם וְלֹא זַרְעָן תַּחְזֹר הַיְרֻשָּׁה לַאֲבִי הָאָב. וְעַל הַדֶּרֶךְ הַזֹּאת נַחֲלָה מְמַשְׁמֶשֶׁת וְהוֹלֶכֶת עַד רְאוּבֵן. נִמְצֵאתָ אוֹמֵר הַבֵּן קוֹדֵם לַבַּת וְכָל יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכוֹ שֶׁל בֵּן קוֹדְמִין לַבַּת וְהַבַּת קוֹדֶמֶת לַאֲבִי אָבִיהָ וְכָל יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכָהּ קוֹדְמִין לַאֲבִי אָבִיהָ. וַאֲבִי הַמֵּת קוֹדֵם לַאֲחֵי הַמֵּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵם יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכוֹ וְהָאָח קוֹדֵם לָאָחוֹת. וְכָל יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכוֹ שֶׁל אָח קוֹדְמִין לָאָחוֹת. וְאָחוֹת קוֹדֶמֶת לַאֲבִי אָבִיהָ. וְכָל יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכָהּ קוֹדְמִין לַאֲבִי אָבִיהָ. אֲבִי הָאָב קוֹדֵם לַאֲחֵי הָאָב שֶׁל מֵת וַאֲחֵי אָבִיו קוֹדְמִין לַאֲחוֹת אָבִיו וְכָל יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכוֹ שֶׁל אֲחֵי אָבִיו קוֹדְמִין לַאֲחוֹת אָבִיו וַאֲחוֹת אָבִיו קוֹדֶמֶת לַאֲבִי אֲבִי אָבִיו שֶׁל מֵת. וְכֵן כָּל יוֹצְאֵי יְרֵכָהּ שֶׁל אֲחוֹת אָבִיו קוֹדְמִין לַאֲבִי אֲבִי אָבִיו. וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ זוֹ הוֹלֵךְ וְעוֹלֶה עַד רֹאשׁ הַדּוֹרוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין לְךָ אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאֵין לוֹ יוֹרְשִׁין:

4

When a person dies and leaves a daughter and the daughter of a son - or even the daughter of the son's daughter and this chain can continue for several generations - the son's daughter takes precedence. She inherits everything; the deceased's daughter does not receive anything.

Similar laws applies when a person is survived by his brother's daughter and his sister, by his uncle's daughter and his aunt, or in all other analogous situations.

ד

מִי שֶׁמֵּת וְהִנִּיחַ בַּת וּבַת הַבֵּן וַאֲפִלּוּ בַּת בַּת בַּת הַבֵּן עַד סוֹף כַּמָּה דּוֹרוֹת הִיא קוֹדֶמֶת וְתִירַשׁ הַכּל וְאֵין לַבַּת כְּלוּם. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְבַת הָאָח עִם הָאָחוֹת וּלְבַת בֶּן אֲחִי אָבִיו עִם אֲחוֹת אָבִיו. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן:

5

A woman is, however, given full rights in the following situation. A person had two sons who died in his lifetime. One of the sons left three sons and the other left a daughter. Afterwards, the elder man died. The three grandsons inherit half of the inheritance and the granddaughter inherits the other half. For each inherits their father's portion. Similar laws apply with regard to the division of an estate among the children of the deceased's brothers, the children of his uncles, or the children of other relatives extending back until the beginning of all generations.

ה

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי בָּנִים וּמֵתוּ הַשְּׁנֵי בָּנִים בְּחַיָּיו וְהִנִּיחַ הַבֵּן הָאֶחָד שְׁלֹשָׁה בָּנִים וְהִנִּיחַ הַבֵּן הַשֵּׁנִי בַּת אַחַת וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת הַזָּקֵן נִמְצְאוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת בְּנֵי בָּנָיו יוֹרְשִׁין חֲצִי הַנַּחֲלָה וּבַת בְּנוֹ יוֹרֶשֶׁת הַחֵצִי שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מֵהֶן יוֹרֵשׁ חֵלֶק אָבִיו. וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ זוֹ חוֹלְקִין בְּנֵי הָאַחִים וּבְנֵי אֲחֵי הָאָב עַד רֹאשׁ הַדּוֹרוֹת:

6

With regard to the concept of inheritance, the family of a person's mother is not considered family. Inheritance is relevant only with regard to one's father's family. Therefore, maternal brothers do not inherit each other's estates, while paternal brothers do. This applies to brothers who share only a father or who share both a father and a mother.

ו

מִשְׁפַּחַת הָאֵם אֵינָהּ קְרוּיָה מִשְׁפָּחָה וְאֵין יְרֻשָּׁה אֶלָּא לְמִשְׁפַּחַת הָאָב. לְפִיכָךְ הָאַחִים מִן הָאֵם אֵין יוֹרְשִׁין זֶה אֶת זֶה וְאַחִין מִן הָאָב יוֹרְשִׁין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וְאֶחָד אָחִיו שֶׁהוּא מֵאָבִיו בִּלְבַד אוֹ אָחִיו מֵאָבִיו וּמֵאִמּוֹ:

7

All relatives who were conceived through forbidden relations have equal inheritance rights to those who are conceived through permitted relations.

What is implied? When a person has a son or a brother who is a mamzer, he is treated like any of the other sons or any of the other brothers when it comes to the concept of inheritance. A person's son who is born by a maid-servant or a gentile woman is not considered his son at all, and has no right of inheritance whatsoever.

ז

כָּל הַקְּרוֹבִין בַּעֲבֵרָה יוֹרְשִׁין כִּכְשֵׁרִים. כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ בֵּן מַמְזֵר אוֹ אָח מַמְזֵר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ כִּשְׁאָר בָּנִים וְכִשְׁאָר אַחִים לַנַּחֲלָה. אֲבָל בְּנוֹ מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה אוֹ מִן הַנָּכְרִית אֵינוֹ בֵּן לְדָבָר מִן הַדְּבָרִים וְאֵינוֹ יוֹרֵשׁ כְּלָל:

8

A woman does not inherit her husband's estate at all.

A husband inherits all his wife's property, according to the words of our Sages. He takes precedence over all others with regard to inheriting her estate. This applies even if she is forbidden to him - e.g., a widow who was married to a High Priest, or a divorcee or a woman who had performed chalitzah who was married to an ordinary priest. Similarly, this applies even if the woman was below majority. Even though a husband is a deaf-mute, he inherits his wife's estate.

ח

הָאִשָּׁה אֵינָהּ יוֹרֶשֶׁת בַּעְלָהּ כְּלָל. וְהַבַּעַל יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת כָּל נִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. וְהוּא קוֹדֵם לַכּל בִּירֻשָּׁתָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה עָלָיו. כְּגוֹן אַלְמָנָה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל גְּרוּשָׁה וַחֲלוּצָה לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבַּעַל חֵרֵשׁ הוּא יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ:

9

We have already explained in Hilchot Ishut that a husband does not inherit his wife's estate until she enters his domain, and that a man who is mentally aware does not inherit the estate of a woman whom he married as a deaf mute. This applies even if she later becomes fully mentally aware.

There we also explained that a husband inherits the property that enters his wife's domain and which she took possession of during her lifetime. This applies to the property she brought to his household as a dowry, and property that she did not bring to his household. When a husband attempted to divorce his wife, although there is a question about the validity of the divorce, her husband does not inherit her estate after her death.

ט

כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת אִישׁוּת שֶׁאֵין הַבַּעַל יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ עַד שֶׁתִּכָּנֵס בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ וְשֶׁאֵין הַפִּקֵּחַ יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת הַחֵרֶשֶׁת שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת כְּשֶׁהִיא חֵרֶשֶׁת אֲפִלּוּ נִתְפַּקְּחָה. וְשָׁם בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁהוּא יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת נִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁבָּאוּ לִירֻשָּׁתָהּ וְהֻחְזְקוּ בֵּין נְכָסִים שֶׁהִכְנִיסָה לוֹ בִּנְדֻנְיָתָהּ בֵּין נְכָסִים שֶׁלֹּא הִכְנִיסָה לוֹ. וּמִי שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה סְפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין וּמֵתָה אֵין הַבַּעַל יוֹרְשָׁהּ:

10

When a man marries a young girl who does not need the right of

to nullify a marriage, he does not inherit her estate, because there is no marriage. Similarly, when a man who was mentally or emotionally unstable married a mentally aware woman, or a mentally aware man married a woman who was mentally or emotionally unstable, the husband does not inherit his wife's estate, for our Sages did not ordain marriage for such individuals.

י

בַּעַל שֶׁנָּשָׂא קְטַנָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה מֵאוּן אֵינוֹ יוֹרְשָׁהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין כָּאן שׁוּם אִישׁוּת. וְכֵן שׁוֹטֶה שֶׁנָּשָׂא פִּקַּחַת אוֹ פִּקֵּחַ שֶׁנָּשָׂא שׁוֹטָה אֵינוֹ יוֹרְשָׁהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים לָהֶן נִשּׂוּאִין:

11

When a man's wife died, and afterwards her father, her brother, or any of the other individuals whose estate she may inherit dies, her husband does not inherit their estate. Instead, the estate should be inherited by her descendants, if she has descendants. If not, the right of inheritance should return to the family of her father's home. The rationale is that the husband does not inherit property that is fit to become hers afterwards, only property that she already inherited before she died.

יא

בַּעַל שֶׁמֵּתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת אָבִיהָ אוֹ אָחִיהָ אוֹ אֶחָד מִן הַמּוֹרִישִׁין אוֹתָהּ אֵין הַבַּעַל יוֹרֵשׁ אוֹתָן. אֶלָּא יוֹרֵשׁ אוֹתָן זַרְעָהּ אִם הָיָה לָהּ זֶרַע אוֹ תַּחְזֹר הַיְרֻשָּׁה לְמִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית אָבִיהָ. שֶׁאֵין הַבַּעַל יוֹרֵשׁ נְכָסִים הָרְאוּיִין לָבֹא לְאַחַר מִכָּאן אֶלָּא לַנְּכָסִים שֶׁכְּבָר בָּאוּ לִירֻשָּׁה קֹדֶם שֶׁתָּמוּת:

12

Similarly, a husband does not inherit his wife's estate while he is in the grave as is the ordinary pattern of inheritance for members of his father's family.

What is implied? A man died, and afterwards his wife died. We do not say: Since the husband receives precedence over all others with regard to the inheritance, the husband's heirs should receive precedence over the woman's other heirs. Instead, the woman's heirs from her father's family inherit her estate if she dies after her husband.

יב

וְכֵן אֵין הַבַּעַל יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְהוּא בַּקֶּבֶר כִּשְׁאָר הַיּוֹרְשִׁין שֶׁל מִשְׁפַּחַת הָאָב. כֵּיצַד. בַּעַל שֶׁמֵּת וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ אֵין אוֹמְרִין הוֹאִיל וְהַבַּעַל הָיָה קוֹדֵם לְכָל אָדָם בִּירֻשָּׁתָהּ כָּךְ יוֹרְשֵׁי הַבַּעַל יִקְדְּמוּ לִשְׁאָר יוֹרְשֵׁי הָאִשָּׁה אֶלָּא יוֹרְשֵׁי הָאִשָּׁה מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית אָבִיהָ הֵם הַיּוֹרְשִׁים אוֹתָהּ אִם מֵתָה אַחַר בַּעְלָהּ:

13

Similarly, a son does not inherit his mother's estate while he is in the grave, so that the estate will be inherited by his paternal brothers.

What is implied? A person died, and afterwards his mother died. We do not say that if the son were alive, he would take precedence in the inheritance of her estate, and hence, the heirs of the son take precedence over the heirs of this woman. According to the latter conception, the son's paternal brothers would inherit the estate of his mother after her death. This view is not accepted. Instead, if the son has children, they should inherit his mother's estate. If he does not have children, the estate should return to her father's family.

If, however, the mother died first and then the son died, even if he was a newborn baby who was born prematurely, since he survived his mother and then died, he inherits his mother's estate and then transfers the rights to that estate to the family of his father.

יג

וְכֵן אֵין הַבֵּן יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת אִמּוֹ בַּקֶּבֶר כְּדֵי לְהַנְחִיל לְאֶחָיו מֵאָבִיו. כֵּיצַד. מִי שֶׁמֵּת וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵתָה אִמּוֹ אֵין אוֹמְרִין הוֹאִיל וְאִלּוּ הָיָה הַבֵּן קַיָּם הָיָה קוֹדֵם אַף יוֹרְשִׁין שֶׁל בֶּן קוֹדְמִין לְיוֹרְשֶׁיהָ שֶׁל אִשָּׁה זוֹ וְנִמְצְאוּ אֶחָיו מֵאָבִיו יוֹרְשִׁין אֶת אִמּוֹ שֶׁל זֶה אַחַר מוֹתוֹ שֶׁל זֶה. אֶלָּא זֶרַע בְּנָהּ הוּא שֶׁיִּירָשֶׁנָּה אִם הָיָה לוֹ זֶרַע וְאִם אֵין לוֹ זֶרַע תַּחְזֹר יְרֻשָּׁתָהּ לְמִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית אָבִיהָ. אֲבָל אִם מֵתָה הָאֵם תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת הַבֵּן אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה קָטָן בֶּן יוֹמוֹ וְלֹא כָּלוּ לוֹ חֳדָשָׁיו הוֹאִיל וְחָיָה אַחַר אִמּוֹ שָׁעָה אַחַת וּמֵת הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹחֵל אֶת אִמּוֹ וּמַנְחִיל הַנַּחֲלָה לְיוֹרְשָׁיו מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת אָבִיו:

Nachalot - Chapter 2

1

A firstborn receives a double portion of his father's estate, as Deuteronomy 21:17 states: "To give him twice the portion."

What is implied? If a father left five sons, one the firstborn, the firstborn receives a third of the estate and each of the other four receives a sixth. If he left nine sons, the firstborn receives a fifth and each of the other eight receive a tenth. We follow this pattern in dividing the estate in all instances.

א

הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בְּנִכְסֵי אָבִיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא יז) "לָתֶת לוֹ פִּי שְׁנַיִם". כֵּיצַד. הִנִּיחַ חֲמִשָּׁה בָּנִים וְאֶחָד מֵהֶן בְּכוֹר הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל שְׁלִישׁ הַמָּמוֹן וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהָאַרְבָּעָה פְּשׁוּטִים נוֹטֵל שְׁתוּת. הִנִּיחַ תִּשְׁעָה בָּנִים הֲרֵי (הָאֶחָד) הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל חֲמִישִׁית וְכָל אֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁמוֹנָה פְּשׁוּטִים נוֹטֵל עֲשִׂירִית וְכֵן עַל הַחֲלוּקָה הַזֹּאת חוֹלְקִין לְעוֹלָם:

2

When a firstborn is born after his father's death, he does not receive a double portion. This is derived from ibid.: 16-17: "On the day when he transfers his inheritance to his sons... he shall recognize the firstborn, the son of the hated one." If his forehead emerged during the lifetime of his father, even though his entire head did not emerge until after his father's death, he receives a double portion.

ב

בְּכוֹר שֶׁנּוֹלַד אַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא טז) "וְהָיָה בְּיוֹם הַנְחִילוֹ אֶת בָּנָיו" וְגוֹ' (דברים כא יז) "כִּי אֶת הַבְּכֹר בֶּן הַשְּׂנוּאָה יַכִּיר". וְאִם יָצָאת פַּדַּחְתּוֹ בְּחַיֵּי אָבִיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא כָּל רֹאשׁוֹ לַאֲוִיר הָעוֹלָם אֶלָּא לְאַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם:

3

When a firstborn was born with his genitals covered by flesh and afterwards, an operation was performed and it was discovered that he was male, he does not receive a double portion. Conversely, when an ordinary son was born with a similar condition and after the operation was performed, it was discovered that he was male, he does not reduce the firstborn's share. These concepts are derived from ibid.:15 "And she will bear him sons." Implied is that the sons must be sons from the moment of birth.

ג

בְּכוֹר שֶׁנִּקְרַע וְנִמְצָא זָכָר אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם וּפָשׁוּט שֶׁנִּקְרַע וְנִמְצָא זָכָר אֵינוֹ מְמַעֵט בְּחֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא טו) "וְיָלְדוּ לוֹ בָנִים" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֵּן מִשְּׁעַת לֵדָה:

4

What is meant by saying that such a son does not reduce the firstborn's share? A person had a firstborn, two ordinary sons, and this son whose genitals were covered by flesh and afterwards were revealed through an operation. The firstborn receives one fourth of the estate as his extra share as the firstborn, as if there were only two other sons. The remaining three fourths of the estate are divided equally among the two ordinary sons, the son who underwent the operation, and the firstborn.

ד

כֵּיצַד אֵינוֹ מְמַעֵט בְּחֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה. הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ בֵּן בְּכוֹר וּשְׁנֵי פְּשׁוּטִים וְזֶה הַטֻּמְטוּם שֶׁנִּקְרַע וְנִמְצָא זָכָר. הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל רְבִיעַ הַמָּמוֹן בְּחֵלֶק הַבְּכוֹרָה וּכְאִלּוּ אֵין עִמּוֹ אֶלָּא שְׁנֵי הַפְּשׁוּטִים בִּלְבַד. וַחֲצִי וּרְבִיעַ הַנִּשְׁאָר חוֹלְקִין אוֹתוֹ שְׁנֵי הַפְּשׁוּטִין עִם הַנִּקְרָע וְעִם הַבְּכוֹר בְּשָׁוֶה:

5

A child who lived for only one day reduces the portion of the firstborn, but a fetus does not. Similarly, a son born after his father's death, does not reduce the portion of the firstborn.

ה

קָטָן בֶּן יוֹם אֶחָד מְמַעֵט בְּחֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה אֲבָל לֹא הָעֻבָּר. וּבֵן שֶׁנּוֹלַד אַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו אֵינוֹ מְמַעֵט בְּחֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה:

6

When there is a question if a son is a firstborn or an ordinary son - e.g., the firstborn became mixed together with another - he does not receive a double portion.

What is done? If at first, the babies were distinct and then they became mixed together," they may compose a document granting power of attorney to each other, and on that basis take the portion of the firstborn with their brothers. If the identity of the firstborn was never known - e.g., the two wives gave birth in one hiding place, - they should not compose a document granting power of attorney to each other, for there is no extra portion for the firstborn.

ו

בֵּן שֶׁנִּסְתַּפֵּק לָנוּ אִם הוּא בְּכוֹר אוֹ פָּשׁוּט כְּגוֹן שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב עִם אַחֵר אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם. וְכֵיצַד עוֹשִׂין. אִם הֻכְּרוּ וּלְבַסּוֹף נִתְעָרְבוּ כּוֹתְבִין הַרְשָׁאָה זֶה לָזֶה וְנוֹטְלִין חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה עִם אֲחֵיהֶם. וְאִם לֹא הֻכְּרוּ כְּגוֹן שֶׁיְּלָדוֹ בְּמַחֲבוֹאָה אַחַת אֵין כּוֹתְבִין הַרְשָׁאָה וְאֵין כָּאן חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה:

7

The following laws apply when a person had two sons - a firstborn and an ordinary son - and they both died in his lifetime, after fathering children. The firstborn left a daughter and the ordinary son left a son. The son of the ordinary son inherits one third of the estate of his grandfather - i.e., his father's portion. And the daughter of the firstborn inherits two thirds of that estate, her father's portion.

The same laws apply with regard to the sons of the deceased's brothers, or the sons of his uncles, or any other set of heirs. If the father of any of the heirs was a firstborn, the person who inherits his share of the estate also receives the firstborn's share.

ז

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי בָּנִים בְּכוֹר וּפָשׁוּט וּמֵתוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּחַיָּיו וְהִנִּיחוּ בָּנִים. הַבְּכוֹר הֵנִיחַ בַּת וְהַפָּשׁוּט הִנִּיחַ בֵּן. הֲרֵי בֶּן הַפָּשׁוּט יוֹרֵשׁ בְּנִכְסֵי הַזָּקֵן שְׁלִישׁ שֶׁהוּא חֵלֶק אָבִיו. וּבַת הַבְּכוֹר יוֹרֶשֶׁת שְׁנֵי שְׁלִישִׁים שֶׁהוּא חֵלֶק אָבִיהָ. וְכֵן הַדִּין בִּבְנֵי הָאַחִין וּבְנֵי אֲחֵי הָאָב וּבְכָל הַיּוֹרְשִׁין אִם הָיָה אֲבִי אֶחָד מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁים בְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה שֶׁלּוֹ זֶה הַיּוֹרֵשׁ מֵחֲמָתוֹ:

8

A firstborn does not receive a double portion of his mother's estate. What is implied? When a firstborn and an ordinary son inherit their mother's estate, they divide it equally. This applies with regard to a son who was the firstborn with regard to the laws of inheritance, and to one who "open his mother's womb."

ח

אֵין הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בְּנִכְסֵי הָאֵם. כֵּיצַד. בְּכוֹר וּפָשׁוּט שֶׁיָּרְשׁוּ אִמָּן חוֹלְקִין בְּשָׁוֶה בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה בְּכוֹר לְנַחֲלָה בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם:

9

The firstborn with regard to the laws of inheritance is the first child born to the father, as ibid.:17 states: "Because he is the first manifestation of his strength." We do not pay attention to the child's status vis-a-vis his mother. o Even if she gave birth to several sons previously, since this was the first son born to the father, he receives a double portion of the inheritance.

ט

בְּכוֹר לְנַחֲלָה הוּא הַנּוֹלָד לָאָב רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא יז) "כִּי הוּא רֵאשִׁית אֹנוֹ". וְאֵין מַשְׁגִּיחִין עַל הָאֵם אֲפִלּוּ יָלְדָה כַּמָּה בָּנִים הוֹאִיל וְזֶה רִאשׁוֹן לְאָבִיו יוֹרֵשׁ פִּי שְׁנַיִם:

10

A son who is born after stillborn babies, even if the stillborn baby was alive when its head emerged from the womb, is considered the firstborn with regard to the laws of inheritance. Similarly, when a fetus was born after a full-term pregnancy, but was not alive when its head emerged, the son who follows is considered the firstborn with regard to the laws of inheritance.

The term "the first of his strength," Deuteronomy 21:17, used with regard to the firstborn implies that no child before him emerged alive into the world. Hence, when a fetus was alive after its head emerged after a full-term pregnancy, a son born afterwards in not a firstborn even the first baby died immediately thereafter.

י

הַבָּא אַחַר נְפָלִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיָּצָא רֹאשׁ הַנֵּפֶל כְּשֶׁהוּא חַי הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו בְּכוֹר לְנַחֲלָה. וְכֵן בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה שֶׁיָּצָא רֹאשׁוֹ מֵת הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו בְּכוֹר לְנַחֲלָה שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא יז) "רֵאשִׁית אֹנוֹ" הוּא שֶׁלֹּא נוֹלַד לוֹ קֹדֶם לָזֶה וָלָד שֶׁיָּצָא חַי לַאֲוִיר הָעוֹלָם. לְפִיכָךְ בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה שֶׁהוֹצִיא רֹב רֹאשׁוֹ חַי הַבָּא אַחֲרָיו אֵינוֹ בְּכוֹר:

11

Neither a son born by Cesarean section, nor the son born after him, is considered "the firstborn." The first son was never "born," and ibid.: 15 states "and she bore sons to him." And the second son is not given this privilege, for he was preceded by another.

יא

יוֹצֵא דֹּפֶן וְהַבָּא אַחֲרָיו שְׁנֵיהֶן אֵינָן בְּכוֹרִים. הָרִאשׁוֹן לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נוֹלַד וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים כא טו) "וְיָלְדוּ לוֹ בָנִים". וְהַשֵּׁנִי שֶׁהֲרֵי קְדָמוֹ אַחֵר:

12

When a person had sons as a gentile and then converted, he does not have a firstborn with regard to the rights of inheritance. If, however, a Jewish man fathered sons from a maid-servant or from a gentile woman, since they are not considered his sons, a son he fathers afterwards from a Jewish woman is considered his firstborn with regard to the laws of inheritance, and he receives a double portion of his father's estate.

יב

הָיוּ לוֹ בָּנִים כְּשֶׁהָיָה עַכּוּ''ם וְנִתְגַּיֵּר אֵין לוֹ בְּכוֹר לְנַחֲלָה. אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ בֵּן מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה וּמִן הָעַכּוּ''ם הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ קָרוּי בְּנוֹ הַבָּא לוֹ אַחֲרָיו מִן הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית בְּכוֹר לְנַחֲלָה וְנוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם:

13

Even if the firstborn is a mamzer, he receives a double portion. This is reflected by Deuteronomy 21:16: "But rather he will recognize the firstborn, the son of the hated one." This refers to a woman whose marriage is "hated." Needless to say, this applies if the firstborn is the son of a divorcee or a woman who performed chalitzah.

יג

הָיָה הַבְּכוֹר מַמְזֵר נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא יז) "כִּי אֶת הַבְּכֹר בֶּן הַשְּׂנוּאָה יַכִּיר" זוֹ שֶׁשְּׂנוּאָה בְּנִשּׂוּאֶיהָ. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם הָיָה בֶּן גְּרוּשָׁה אוֹ בֶּן חֲלוּצָה:

14

There are three individuals whose word is accepted with regard to the designation of a firstborn: the midwife, the mother and the father.

The midwife's word is accepted only at the moment of birth. For example, a woman gave birth to twins; if the midwife said: "This one emerged first," her word is accepted.

His mother's word is accepted for the first seven days after birth, when she says: "This one is the firstborn."

His father's word is always accepted. Even if the father said that a person who was not known to be his son was his firstborn son, his word is accepted. Similarly, his word is accepted if he says that the person whom we consider to be his firstborn is not his firstborn.

יד

שְׁלֹשָׁה נֶאֱמָנִין עַל הַבְּכוֹר. חַיָּה וְאִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו. חַיָּה מִיָּד שֶׁאִם אָמְרָה זֶה יָצָא רִאשׁוֹן נֶאֱמֶנֶת. אִמּוֹ כָּל שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַלֵּידָה נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹמַר זֶהוּ הַבְּכוֹר. אָבִיו לְעוֹלָם אֲפִלּוּ אָמַר הָאָב עַל מִי שֶׁלֹּא הֻחְזַק בְּנוֹ כְּלָל הוּא בְּנִי וּבְכוֹרִי הוּא נֶאֱמָן. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר עַל הַמֻּחְזָק לָנוּ שֶׁהוּא בְּכוֹרוֹ אֵינוֹ בְּכוֹר נֶאֱמָן:

15

When a father loses his ability to speak, we check the soundness of his intellect in the same way as is done with regard to a bill of divorce. If through his motions he indicates - or he writes - that this is his firstborn son, that son receives a double portion.

טו

הָאָב שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּתֵּק בּוֹדְקִין אוֹתוֹ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁבּוֹדְקִין לְגִטִּין. אִם רָמַז אוֹ כָּתַב שֶׁזֶּה בְּנוֹ בְּכוֹרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם:

16

If witnesses testify that they heard a father make certain statements that clearly indicate that a child is his firstborn son, the son receives a double portion even though the father did not explicitly say: "This is my firstborn son."

טז

הֵעִידוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהֵן שָׁמְעוּ אָבִיו שֶׁל זֶה אוֹמֵר דְּבָרִים כָּךְ וְכָךְ שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹתָן הַדְּבָרִים יוֹדֵעַ מִכְּלָלָן שֶׁזֶּה בְּנוֹ בְּכוֹרוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר הָאָב בְּפֵרוּשׁ זֶה בְּנִי בְּכוֹרִי:

17

If the father was heard saying: "This son of mine is a firstborn," the son does not necessarily receive a double portion of the estate because of this testimony. Perhaps the son was the mother's firstborn, and this was his father's intent. For the son to receive a double portion, the father must call him: "My son, my firstborn."

יז

שָׁמְעוּ מִן הָאָב שֶׁאָמַר זֶה בְּנִי בְּכוֹר אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בְּעֵדוּת זוֹ שֶׁמָּא בְּכוֹר לְאִמּוֹ הוּא וְלָזֶה נִתְכַּוֵּן הָאָב עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר בְּנִי בְּכוֹרִי:

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah