When two brothers divided an estate and then a third brother came from overseas, or when three brothers divided an estate and then a creditor came and expropriated the portion of one of them, the division is nullified. They should return and divide the remainder equally. This applies even if originally one brother took land and the other cash.


שְׁנֵּי אַחִים שֶׁחָלְקוּ וּבָא לָהֶן אָח מִמְּדִינַת הַיָּם. וְכֵן שְׁלֹשָׁה אַחִין שֶׁחָלְקוּ וּבָא בַּעַל חוֹב וְנָטַל חֶלְקוֹ שֶׁל אֶחָד מֵהֶן. אֲפִלּוּ נָטַל זֶה קַרְקַע וְזֶה כְּסָפִים בָּטְלָה מַחְלֹקֶת וְחוֹזְרִין וְחוֹלְקִין הַשְּׁאָר בְּשָׁוֶה:


When, before his death, a person commanded that so-and-so be given a palm tree or a field from his property, but the brothers divided the estate without giving that person anything, their division is negated. What should they do? The entity concerning which the deceased commanded should be given to that person, and then they should divide the estate anew.


מִי שֶׁצִּוָּה בִּשְׁעַת מִיתָתוֹ שֶׁיִּתְּנוּ לִפְלוֹנִי דֶּקֶל אוֹ שָׂדֶה מִנְּכָסָיו וְחָלְקוּ הָאַחִין וְלֹא נָתְנוּ לִפְלוֹנִי כְּלוּם. הֲרֵי הַמַּחֲלֹקֶת בְּטֵלָה. וְכֵיצַד עוֹשִׂין. נוֹתְנִין מַה שֶּׁצִּוָּה מוֹרִישָׁן וְאַחַר כָּךְ חוֹזְרִין וְחוֹלְקִין כַּתְּחִלָּה:


When brothers divide an estate, we evaluate the clothes they are wearing. We do not evaluate the clothes that their sons and daughters are wearing that they purchased with the funds of the estate. Similarly, the clothes that their wives are wearing are considered as if they have already been acquired by them.

When does the above apply? With regard to weekday garments. With regard to Sabbath and festival garments, we evaluate what the women and children are wearing.


הָאַחִין שֶׁחָלְקוּ שָׁמִין לָהֶן מַה שֶּׁעֲלֵיהֶן. אֲבָל מַה שֶּׁעַל בְּנֵיהֶן וּבְנוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁקָּנוּ לָהֶן מִתְּפִיסַת הַבַּיִת אֵין שָׁמִין. וְכֵן מַה שֶּׁעַל נְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן. שֶׁכְּבָר זָכוּ בָּהֶן לְעַצְמָן. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּבִגְדֵי חֹל. אֲבָל בְּבִגְדֵי שַׁבָּת וּמוֹעֵד שָׁמִין מַה שֶּׁעֲלֵיהֶן:


The following law applies when a person died leaving some orphans who are past majority, and others who are below majority. If they desired to divide their father's estate so that the older brothers could receive their portion, the court appoints a guardian for the minors and chooses a good portion for them. Once they come of age, they may not protest the division, because it was made by the court. If, however, the court erred in its evaluation of the estate's worth and reduced their portion by a sixth, they may issue a protest. In that instance, a new division is made after they come of age.


מִי שֶׁהִנִּיחַ יְתוֹמִים מִקְצָתָן גְּדוֹלִים וּמִקְצָתָן קְטַנִּים וְרָצוּ לַחְלֹק בְּנִכְסֵי אֲבִיהֶן כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּטְּלוּ הַגְּדוֹלִים חֶלְקָן. מַעֲמִידִין בֵּית דִּין אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס לַקְּטַנִּים וּבוֹרֵר לָהֶן הַחֵלֶק הַיָּפֶה. וְאִם הִגְדִּילוּ אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לִמְחוֹת שֶׁהֲרֵי עַל פִּי בֵּית דִּין חָלְקוּ לָהֶם. וְאִם טָעוּ בֵּית דִּין בַּשּׁוּמָא וּפָחֲתוּ שְׁתוּת. יְכוֹלִין לִמְחוֹת וְחוֹלְקִין חֲלוּקָה אַחֶרֶת אַחַר שֶׁהִגְדִּילוּ:


When a person dies, leaving some orphans who are past majority and others who are below majority, he must appoint a guardian before his death, who will care for the portion of the minors until they come of age. If the father does not appoint such a guardian, the court is obligated to appoint a guardian for them until they come of age. For the court acts as the parents of the orphans.


מִי שֶׁמֵּת וְהִנִּיחַ יוֹרְשִׁין גְּדוֹלִים וּקְטַנִּים צָרִיךְ לִמְנוֹת אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מִתְעַסֵּק בְּחֵלֶק הַקָּטָן עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּיל. וְאִם לֹא מִנָּה חַיָּבִין בֵּית דִּין לְהַעֲמִיד לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּילוּ. שֶׁבֵּית דִּין הוּא אֲבִיהֶן שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


If the dying person ordered: "Give the minor's portion of my estate to him. Let him do whatever he wants with it," he has the license to deal with his own estate in this manner.

Similarly, if the dying person appointed a minor, a woman or a servant as the guardian for the minors, he has the license to deal with his own estate in this manner. A court, by contrast, should not appoint a woman, a servant, a minor or an unlearned person who is suspect to violate the Torah's prohibitions as a guardian.

Instead, they should seek out a faithful and courageous person who knows how to advance the claims of the orphans and bring arguments on their behalf, one who is capable with regard to worldly matters to protect their property and secure a profit for them. Such a person is appointed a guardian over the minors whether or not he is related to them. If he is a relative, however, he should not take control of the landed property.


צִוָּה הַמּוֹרִישׁ וְאָמַר יִנָּתֵן חֵלֶק הַקָּטָן לַקָּטָן וּמַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה יַעֲשֶׂה בָּהּ הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדוֹ. וְכֵן אִם מִנָּה הַמּוֹרִישׁ אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס עַל הַקְּטַנִּים קָטָן אוֹ אִשָּׁה אוֹ עֶבֶד הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדוֹ. אֲבָל אֵין בֵּית דִּין מְמַנִּין אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס לֹא אִשָּׁה וְלֹא עֶבֶד וְלֹא קָטָן וְלֹא עַם הָאָרֶץ. שֶׁהוּא בְּחֶזְקַת חָשׁוּד עַל הָעֲבֵרוֹת. אֶלָּא בּוֹדְקִין עַל אָדָם נֶאֱמָן וְאִישׁ חַיִל וְיוֹדֵעַ לְהַפֵּךְ בִּזְכוּת הַיְתוֹמִים וְטוֹעֵן טַעֲנָתָם וְשֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ כֹּחַ בְּעִסְקֵי הָעוֹלָם כְּדֵי לִשְׁמֹר נְכָסִים וּלְהַרְוִיחַ בָּהֶן וּמַעֲמִידִין אוֹתוֹ עַל הַקְּטַנִּים. בֵּין שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רָחוֹק בֵּין שֶׁיִּהְיֶה קָרוֹב לַקָּטָן. אֶלָּא שֶׁאִם הָיָה קָרוֹב לֹא יֵרֵד לַקַּרְקָעוֹת:


When the court appointed a guardian and afterwards heard that he was eating, drinking and making other expenses beyond what he could be expected to, they should suspect that he is using the resources of the orphans. They should remove him from his position and appoint someone else.

If, however, the guardian was appointed by the orphan's father, he should not be removed in such a situation; it is possible that he found an ownerless article. If, however, witnesses come and testify that he is ruining the orphans' estate, he is removed from his position.The Geonim agreed that he should be required to take an oath in such a situation, for he is causing the orphans a loss.

Similarly, when a guardian was appointed by the orphans' father who had a praiseworthy reputation, was known to be upright and to pursue the mitzvot, and he became a glutton and a drunkard and began following paths that arouse suspicion, or became reckless with regard to vows and the shade of theft, the court is required to remove him from his position and require him to take an oath. Afterwards, they appoint an appropriate guardian. These matters are dependent on the perception of the local judge. For each and every court must act as the parents of the orphans.


בֵּית דִּין שֶׁהֶעֱמִידוּ אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס וְשָׁמְעוּ עָלָיו שֶׁהוּא אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה וּמוֹצִיא הוֹצָאוֹת יֶתֶר מִדָּבָר שֶׁהָיָה אָמוּד בּוֹ יֵשׁ לָהֶן לָחוּשׁ לוֹ שֶׁמָּא מִנִּכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים הוּא אוֹכֵל וּמְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ וּמַעֲמִידִין אַחֵר. אֲבָל אִם מִנָּהוּ אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים אֵין מְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁמָּא מְצִיאָה מָצָא. אֲבָל אִם בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא מַפְסִיד נִכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים מְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ. וּכְבָר הִסְכִּימוּ הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁמַּשְׁבִּיעִין אוֹתוֹ הוֹאִיל וּמַפְסִיד. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס שֶׁמִּנָּהוּ אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים וְהָיְתָה שְׁמוּעָתוֹ טוֹבָה וְהָיָה יָשָׁר וְרוֹדֵף מִצְוֹת וְחָזַר לִהְיוֹת זוֹלֵל וְסוֹבֵא וְהוֹלֵךְ בְּדַרְכֵי הַחֲשָׁד אוֹ שֶׁפָּרַץ בִּנְדָרִים וּבַאֲבַק גֵּזֶל בֵּית דִּין חַיָּבִים לְסַלֵּק אוֹתוֹ וּלְהַשְׁבִּיעוֹ. וּלְמַנּוֹת לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס כָּשֵׁר. וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיֵּרָאֶה לַדַּיָּן שֶׁכָּל בֵּית דִּין וּבֵית דִּין הוּא אֲבִיהֶן שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים:


When a minor attains majority, even if he eats and drinks excessively, ruins his estate and follows an undesirable path, the court does not withhold his property from him, nor does it appoint a guardian, unless his father or the person whose property he inherited ordered that the property not be given to him unless he conducts himself uprightly and successfully, or that it not be given to him until later.

A person who is mentally or emotionally unstable or a deaf-mute are considered as minors, and a guardian should be appointed for them.


קָטָן שֶׁהִגְדִּיל אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי וּמַפְסִיד וְהוֹלֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ רָעָה אֵין בֵּית דִּין מוֹנְעִין מִמֶּנּוּ מָמוֹנוֹ וְאֵין מַעֲמִידִין לוֹ אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן צִוָּה אָבִיו אוֹ מוֹרִישׁוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִתְּנוּ לוֹ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יִהְיֶה כָּשֵׁר וּמַצְלִיחַ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִתְּנוּ לוֹ עַד זְמַן מְרֻבֶּה. וְהַשּׁוֹטֶה וְהַחֵרֵשׁ הֲרֵי הֵן כִּקְטַנִּים וּמַעֲמִידִין לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס: