A firstborn does not receive a double portion of property that will later accrue to his father's estate, only of that property that was in his father's possession and had already entered his domain at the time of his death. This is derived from Deuteronomy 21:17 which states: "of everything that he possesses."

What is implied? If one of the people whose estate the father would inherit dies after he did, the firstborn and an ordinary son receive equal shares. Similarly, if the father was owed a debt or he owned a ship at sea, all sons share the inheritance equally.


אֵין הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בִּנְכָסִים הָרְאוּיִין לָבוֹא לְאַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו אֶלָּא בִּנְכָסִים הַמֻּחְזָקִין לְאָבִיו שֶׁבָּאוּ לִרְשׁוּתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא יז) "בְּכל אֲשֶׁר יִמָּצֵא לוֹ". כֵּיצַד. אֶחָד מִמּוֹרִישֵׁי אָבִיו שֶׁמֵּת לְאַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו הַבְּכוֹר וְהַפָּשׁוּט יוֹרְשִׁין כְּאֶחָד. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה לְאָבִיו מִלְוֶה אוֹ הָיְתָה לוֹ סְפִינָה בַּיָּם יוֹרְשִׁין כְּאֶחָד:


If the father left his sons a cow that was rented out, hired out, or that was pasturing in open territory and it gave birth, the firstborn receives a double share of it and its offspring.


הִנִּיחַ לָהֶם פָּרָה מֻשְׂכֶּרֶת אוֹ מֻחְכֶּרֶת אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה רוֹעָה בָּאֲפָר וְיָלְדָה. הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל בָּהּ וּבִוְלָדָהּ פִּי שְׁנַיִם:


If one of the colleagues of a person's father slaughtered an animal and then the father died, the son is entitled to a double portion of the presents from that animal.


שָׁחַט אֶחָד מִמַּכִּירֵי אָבִיו בְּהֵמָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת אָבִיו נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בַּמַּתָּנוֹת שֶׁל אוֹתָהּ בְּהֵמָה:


A firstborn does not receive a double portion of an increase to the value of the estate that accrued after his father's death. Instead, he should have the value of that increase assessed, and he should give the financial equivalent of the difference to the ordinary sons.

The above applies provided the property undergoes a change, e.g., budding grain became ears, or budding dates became dates. If, however, the value of the land improved as a matter of course, without undergoing a change - e.g., a small tree grew taller and thicker, or sediment was washed up onto land, the firstborn receives a double portion of the increase in value. If the property increased in value because of investment, he does not receive a double portion.


אֵין הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בַּשֶּׁבַח שֶׁשָּׁבְחוּ נְכָסִים לְאַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו אֶלָּא מַעֲלֶה אוֹתוֹ הַשֶּׁבַח בְּדָמִים וְנוֹתֵן הַיֶּתֶר לַפָּשׁוּט. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּשְׁתַּנּוּ הַנְּכָסִים כְּגוֹן כַּרְמֶל שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ שִׁבֳּלִים וְכִפְנִיּוֹת שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ תְּמָרִים. אֲבָל שָׁבְחוּ מֵחֲמַת עַצְמָן וְלֹא נִשְׁתַּנּוּ כְּגוֹן אִילָן קָטָן שֶׁגָּדַל וְעָבָה וְאֶרֶץ שֶׁהֶעֶלְתָה שִׂרְטוֹן הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹטֵל בַּשֶּׁבַח פִּי שְׁנַיִם. וְאִם מֵחֲמַת הוֹצָאָה הִשְׁבִּיחַ אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל:


A firstborn does not receive a double share of a debt owed to his father. This applies even though the debt was supported by a promissory note and land was expropriated to pay the debt.

If the father was owed a debt by the firstborn, there is an unresolved doubt concerning the matter. It might be said that he should receive a double portion, because the money was in his possession. It could, however, be argued that he should not receive the extra amount, since he is inheriting it because of his father, and it did not enter his father's possession before his death. Therefore, he should take half of the firstborn's portion from it.


אֵין הַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל פִּי שְׁנַיִם בְּמִלְוֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בִּשְׁטָר אַף עַל גַּב שֶׁגָּבוּ קַרְקַע בְּחוֹב אֲבִיהֶם. הָיָה לְאָב מִלְוֶה בְּיַד הַבְּכוֹר הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק אִם נוֹטֵל בָּהּ פִּי שְׁנַיִם הוֹאִיל וְיֶשְׁנָהּ תַּחַת יָדוֹ. אוֹ לֹא יִטּל הוֹאִיל וּמֵחֲמַת אָבִיו יִירָשֶׁנָּה וַעֲדַיִן לֹא בָּאָה לְיָדוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו. לְפִיכָךְ יִטּל מִמֶּנָּה חֲצִי חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה:


When a firstborn sells his extra share of the inheritance before the estate is divided, the sale is binding. For the firstborn's extra share is distinct, even before the estate is divided. Therefore, if initially, the firstborn divides a portion of the estate, either landed property or movable property, and accepts the same portion as an ordinary son, he is considered to have waived his right to an extra portion with regard to the entire estate. He receives only an ordinary son's share of the remainder.

When does the above apply? When he did not protest. If, however, he protested against his brothers and said in the presence of two witnesses: "Although I am dividing these grapes equally with my brothers, I have not waived my right to the firstborn's share," his protest is significant and he is not considered to have waived his right to the other property.

Even if he protested with regard to the division of grapes while they were still attached to the earth, and yet agreed to divide them equally after the harvest, he is not considered to have waived his right to the other property. If, however, the grapes were pressed, and he divided the wine equally with them and did not issue a protest when the wine was made, he is considered to have waived his right to the other property. To what can the matter be compared? To a person who issued a protest when grapes were divided but then divided olives equally, in which instance he is considered to have waived his rights to an extra portion of the entire estate.


בְּכוֹר שֶׁמָּכַר חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה קֹדֶם חֲלוּקָה מִמְכָּרוֹ קַיָּם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לַבְּכוֹר חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה קֹדֶם חֲלוּקָה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם חָלַק עִם אֶחָיו קוֹדֵם בְּמִקְצָת נְכָסִים בֵּין בַּקַּרְקַע בֵּין בְּמִטַּלְטְלִין וְנָטַל חֵלֶק כְּפָשׁוּט וִתֵּר בְּכָל הַנְּכָסִים וְאֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל בִּשְׁאֵרָן אֶלָּא כְּפָשׁוּט. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁלֹּא מִחָה. אֲבָל אִם מִחָה בְּאֶחָיו וְאָמַר בִּפְנֵי שְׁנַיִם עֲנָבִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֲנִי חוֹלֵק עִם אֶחָי בְּשָׁוֶה לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמָּחַלְתִּי בְּחֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מְחָאָה וְלֹא וִתֵּר בִּשְׁאָר נְכָסִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ מִחָה בַּעֲנָבִים כְּשֶׁהֵן מְחֻבָּרִים וּבְצָרוּם וְחִלְּקוּם בְּשָׁוֶה לֹא וִתֵּר בִּשְׁאָר נְכָסִים. אֲבָל אִם דְּרָכוּם וְחָלַק עִמָּהֶן בְּשָׁוֶה בְּיַיִן וְלֹא מִחָה בָּהֶן מִשֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה יַיִן וִתֵּר בִּשְׁאָר הַנְּכָסִים. הָא לְמָה זֶה דּוֹמֶה לְמִי שֶׁמִּחָה בַּעֲנָבִים וְחָלַק עִמָּהֶם בְּשָׁוֶה בַּזֵיתִים שֶׁהֲרֵי וִתֵּר בַּכּל. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


The brother who performs the rite of yibbum, marrying his brother's childless widow, inherits all of the property in his estate at the time of his brother's death. With regard to any property that is fit to enter the deceased's estate afterwards, he receives the same share as the others. This concept is derived from the fact that the verse refers to him as a "firstborn," as Deuteronomy 25:6 states: "And the firstborn that she will bear will take the place of the brother who died, and thus his name will not be wiped out among Israel."

Just as the brother who performs the rite of yibbum does not acquire property that is fit to be acquired by the estate, in contrast to property that is within the estate; so, too, he does not acquire the increase in the estate's value.

To what does the latter phrase refer? To the increase in his deceased brother's share in his father's estate, which increased in value in the time between his father's death and the division of that estate among his brothers. Even if the property increased in value after he married his brother's widow, but before it was divided, he receives the same share of the increase as the other brothers. This applies despite the fact that he receives two shares of this property, his own share and the share of his brother whose widow he married. For the father died while they were all alive.


מִי שֶׁיִּבֵּם אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו הוּא יוֹרֵשׁ כָּל נִכְסֵי אֶחָיו הַמֻּחְזָקִים. וְכָל הָרְאוּיִין לָבוֹא לְאַחַר מִכָּאן הֲרֵי הוּא בָּהֶן כְּכָל הָאַחִים שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּכוֹר קָרָא אוֹתוֹ הַכָּתוּב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ו) "וְהָיָה הַבְּכוֹר אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד יָקוּם עַל שֵׁם אָחִיו הַמֵּת וְלֹא יִמָּחֶה שְׁמוֹ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל". וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל מִמֶּנּוּ בְּרָאוּי כִּבְמֻחְזָק כָּךְ אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל בַּשֶּׁבַח שֶׁשָּׁבְחוּ נְכָסִים אַחֲרֵי מוֹת אָבִיו מִשְּׁעַת מִיתָה עַד שְׁעַת חֲלוּקָתוֹ עִם אֶחָיו בְּנִכְסֵי אָבִיו. וַאֲפִלּוּ הִשְׁבִּיחוּ נְכָסִים אַחַר שֶׁיִּבֵּם וְקֹדֶם שֶׁיַּחְלְקוּ הֲרֵי הוּא בַּשֶּׁבַח כְּאֶחָד מִן הָאַחִין. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנּוֹטֵל מִן הַנְּכָסִים אֵלּוּ שְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים חֶלְקוֹ וְחֵלֶק אָחִיו שֶׁיִּבֵּם אִשְׁתּוֹ הוֹאִיל וּמֵת הָאָב בְּחַיֵּי כֻּלָּן:


We already explained in Hilchot Shechenim that the firstborn is given his two portions of a field together. This does not apply with regard to a person who marries his brother's childless widow. He receives his portion and his brother's portion by lot. If it happens that he is allotted portions in two different places, these are the portions he receives.


כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת שְׁכֵנִים שֶׁהַבְּכוֹר נוֹטֵל שְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים שֶׁלּוֹ כְּאֶחָד בְּמֵצַר אֶחָד. אֲבָל הַיָּבָם שֶׁחָלַק עִם אֶחָיו בְּנִכְסֵי אָבִיו נוֹטֵל חֶלְקוֹ וְחֵלֶק אָחִיו בְּגוֹרָל. וְאִם עָלָה גּוֹרָלוֹ בִּשְׁנֵי מְקוֹמוֹת נוֹטֵל בִּשְׁנֵי מְקוֹמוֹת:


The following laws apply when a childless widow who was waiting to be married by her deceased husband's brother dies. They apply even when one of the brothers designated her for marriage. Her family from her father's household inherit her nichsei m'log and half of her nichsei tzon barzel, and her husband's heirs inherit the money due her by virtue of her ketubah and the other half of her nichsei tzon barzel.

Since they inherit the money due her by virtue of her ketubah, her husband's heirs are obligated to bury her, as we have explained in the appropriate place.


שׁוֹמֶרֶת יָבָם שֶׁמֵּתָה אֲפִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָּהּ אֶחָד מִן הָאַחִים מַאֲמָר מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית אָבִיהָ יוֹרְשִׁין בְּנִכְסֵי מְלוֹג וַחֲצִי נִכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל. וְיוֹרְשֵׁי הַבַּעַל יוֹרְשִׁין כְּתֻבָּתָהּ עִם חֲצִי נִכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל. וְיוֹרְשֵׁי הַבַּעַל חַיָּבִין בִּקְבוּרָתָהּ הוֹאִיל וְהֵן יִירְשׁוּ כְּתֻבָּתָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ: