1

Money belonging to orphans that was left to them by their father does not require a guardian. What, instead, is done with it?

We search for a person who owns property that can be expropriated by a creditor and that is of high quality. This person should be trustworthy, one who heeds the laws of the Torah, and who was never placed under a ban of ostracism. He is given the money in the presence of the court to invest in a manner that will most likely lead to a profit and will not likely lead to loss. Thus, the orphans will derive benefit from the investment of the money.

Similarly, if such a person does not have landed property, he should give bars of gold that do not have any identifying marks as security. The court takes the security and gives him the money to invest in a manner that will most likely lead to a profit and will not likely lead to loss.

Why does he not give golden utensils or golden jewelry as security? For perhaps these articles belong to another person. We fear that in the event of the investor's death, that other person will claim these articles by identifying them with signs. They will then be given to him if the judge knows that the investor was unlikely to possess such articles.

How much should be given to the orphans as profit? As the judges determine, a third of the profits, half of them, or even a fourth of them; if the judges ascertain that this is in the best interests of the orphans, such an arrangement is followed.

If the court cannot find a person to give the money to invest in a manner that will not likely lead to loss and will most likely lead to a profit, they should use a small amount of the money to provide the orphans with their livelihood until they use the money to purchase land that they entrust to a guardian whom they appoint.

א

מָעוֹת שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים שֶׁהִנִּיחַ לָהֶן אֲבִיהֶן אֵינָן צְרִיכִין אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס. אֶלָּא כֵּיצַד עוֹשִׂין בָּהֶן. בּוֹדְקִין עַל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ נְכָסִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם אַחֲרָיוּת וְיִהְיוּ עִדִּית וְיִהְיֶה אִישׁ נֶאֱמָן וְשׁוֹמֵעַ דִּינֵי תּוֹרָה וּמֵעוֹלָם לֹא קִבֵּל עָלָיו נִדּוּי. וְנוֹתְנִין לוֹ הַמָּעוֹת בְּבֵית דִּין קָרוֹב לְשָׂכָר וְרָחוֹק לְהֶפְסֵד וְנִמְצְאוּ הַיְתוֹמִים נֶהֱנִין מִשְּׂכַר הַמָּעוֹת. וְכֵן אִם אֵין לוֹ קַרְקַע יִנָּתֵן לָהֶן מַשְׁכּוֹן זָהָב שָׁבוּר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ סִימָן וְנוֹטְלִין בֵּית דִּין הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן וְנוֹתְנִין לוֹ הַמָּעוֹת קָרוֹב לְשָׂכָר וְרָחוֹק לְהֶפְסֵד. וְלָמָּה לֹא יִקְחוּ מַשְׁכּוֹן כֵּלִים שֶׁל זָהָב אוֹ חֲלִי שֶׁל זָהָב. שֶׁמָּא שֶׁל אֲחֵרִים הוּא וְיִתְּנוּ סִימָן וְיִטְּלוּהוּ אַחַר מוֹתוֹ אִם יֵדַע הַדַּיָּן שֶׁאֵין זֶה אָמוּד. וְכַמָּה יִפְסְקוּ בְּשָׂכָר. כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיִּרְאוּ הַדַּיָּנִין. אוֹ שְׁלִישׁ הַשָּׂכָר אוֹ חֶצְיוֹ אֲפִלּוּ רְבִיעַ הַשָּׂכָר לַיְתוֹמִים אִם רָאוּ שֶׁזּוֹ תַּקָּנָה לָהֶם עוֹשִׂין. לֹא מָצְאוּ אָדָם שֶׁיִּתְּנוּ לוֹ הַמָּעוֹת רָחוֹק לְהֶפְסֵד וְקָרוֹב לְשָׂכָר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מוֹצִיאִין מֵהֶן מְזוֹנוֹת מְעַט. עַד שֶׁיִּקְנוּ לָהֶן בַּמָּעוֹת קַרְקַע וְיִמְסְרוּ אוֹתוֹ בְּיַד אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס שֶׁיַּעֲמִידוּ לָהֶן:

2

Movable property inherited by orphans should be evaluated and sold in the presence of a court. If the marketplace is close to their city of residence, we have the articles brought to the marketplace. They are sold and the proceeds added to the financial resources of the orphans."

ב

כָּל הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים שָׁמִין אוֹתָן וּמוֹכְרִין אוֹתָן בְּבֵית דִּין. וְאִם הָיָה הַשּׁוּק קָרוֹב לַמְּדִינָה. מוֹלִיכִין אוֹתָן לַשּׁוּק וּמוֹכְרִין אוֹתָן וְיִצְטָרְפוּ דְּמֵיהֶן עִם הַמָּעוֹת שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים:

3

The following principle applies when a person possesses beer belonging to orphans and he is beset by a quandary: If he leaves it in its place until it is sold it might sour, and if he brings it to the marketplace it might become lost because of factors beyond his control. Our Sages ruled that he should do as he would do with his own beer. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ג

מִי שֶׁהָיָה בְּיָדוֹ שָׂכָר שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים אִם יַנִּיחוֹ כָּאן עַד שֶׁיִּמָּכֵר שֶׁמָּא יַחְמִיץ. וְאִם יוֹלִיכוֹ לַשּׁוּק שֶׁמָּא יֶאֶרְעוֹ אֹנֶס בַּדֶּרֶךְ. הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹשֶׂה בּוֹ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה בְּשֶׁלּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

4

When the court appoints a guardian, he is given all the property of the minor: the landed property and the movable property that was not sold. He sells and purchases whatever he determines is necessary; he builds and he destroys; he rents, plants, sows and does whatever he thinks is in the best interests of the orphans. He should provide them with food and drink and provide them with their expenses according to their financial capacity and their social standing. He should not be overly generous with them, nor should he be overly parsimonious.

ד

כְּשֶׁמַּעֲמִידִין בֵּית דִּין לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס מוֹסְרִין לוֹ כָּל נִכְסֵי הַקָּטָן הַקַּרְקַע וְהַמִּטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁלֹּא נִמְכְּרוּ. וְהוּא מוֹצִיא וּמַכְנִיס וּבוֹנֶה וְסוֹתֵר וְשׁוֹבֵר וְנוֹטֵעַ וְזוֹרֵעַ וְעוֹשֶׂה כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיִּרְאֶה שֶׁזֶּה טוֹב לַיְתוֹמִים וּמַאֲכִילָן וּמַשְׁקָן וְנוֹתֵן לָהֶן כָּל הַהוֹצָאָה כְּפִי הַמָּמוֹן וּכְפִי הָרָאוּי לָהֶן וְלֹא יַרְוִיחוּ לָהֶן יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי וְלֹא יְצַמְצֵם עֲלֵיהֶם יֶתֶר מִדַּאי:

5

When the orphans come of age, the guardian should give them the property of the person whose estate they inherited. He does not have to give them an account of what he purchased and what he sold. Instead, he tells them: "This is what remains," and takes an oath holding a sacred article that he did not steal anything from them.

When does this apply? When the guardian was appointed by the court. When, however, the guardian was appointed by the orphans' father or other relatives, he is not required to take an oath because of an indefinite claim.

A guardian may dress and garb himself in a distinguished manner using the fund belonging to the orphans, so that he will be esteemed and his words will be heeded, provided that the orphans will benefit from the fact that he is esteemed and his words are heeded.

ה

כְּשֶׁיַּגְדִּילוּ הַיְתוֹמִים נוֹתֵן לָהֶם מָמוֹן מוֹרִישָׁן וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהֶן חֶשְׁבּוֹנוֹת מַה שֶּׁהִכְנִיס וְהוֹצִיא אֶלָּא אוֹמֵר לָהֶן זֶה הַנִּשְׁאָר. וְנִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ שֶׁלֹּא גְּזָלָן כְּלוּם. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁמִּנּוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין. אֲבָל אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס שֶׁמִּנָּהוּ אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים וְכֵן שְׁאָר הַמּוֹרִישָׁן אֵיִנוֹ נִשְׁבָּע עַל טַעֲנַת סָפֵק. יֵשׁ לְאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס לִלְבּשׁ וּלְהִתְכַּסּוֹת מִנִּכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מְכֻבָּד וְיִהְיוּ דְּבָרָיו נִשְׁמָעִין וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לַיְתוֹמִים הֲנָאָה בְּנִכְסֵיהֶן בִּהְיוֹת דְּבָרָיו נִשְׁמָעִין:

6

A guardian may sell animals, servants, maidservants, fields and vineyards belonging to the estate to provide sustenance for the orphans. He may not sell these assets and hoard the money. Nor may he sell fields to purchase servants, nor sell servants to purchase fields, for perhaps he will not be successful. He may, however, sell fields to purchase oxen to work other fields, for oxen are the fundamental element of the fields one possesses.

ו

יֵשׁ לְאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס לִמְכֹּר בְּהֵמָה וַעֲבָדִים שְׁפָחוֹת שָׂדוֹת וּכְרָמִים לְהַאֲכִיל לַיְתוֹמִים. אֲבָל אֵין מוֹכְרִין וּמַנִּיחִין הַמָּעוֹת וְאֵין מוֹכְרִין שָׂדוֹת לִקַּח עֲבָדִים וְלֹא עֲבָדִים לִקַּח שָׂדוֹת שֶׁמָּא לֹא יַצְלִיחַ. אֲבָל מוֹכְרִין שָׂדֶה לִקַּח שְׁוָרִים לַעֲבוֹדַת שָׂדוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת שֶׁהַשְּׁוָרִים הֵן עִקַּר כָּל נִכְסֵי שָׂדוֹת:

7

The guardian is not permitted to sell a field located far from the city and purchase a field close to the city, nor may he sell a poor field and purchase a good field, for perhaps his purchases will not be successful.

Similarly, a guardian may not enter into a lawsuit to argue on behalf of the orphans with regard to a claim registered against them, with the intent of benefiting them. The rationale is that he may not be successful, and the claim against them will be substantiated.

ז

אֵין הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין רַשָּׁאִין לִמְכֹּר בְּרָחוֹק וְלִגְאל בְּקָרוֹב לִמְכֹּר בְּרָעָה וְלִגְאל בְּיָפָה. שֶׁמָּא לֹא יַצְלִיחַ זֶה שֶׁקָּנוּ. וְאֵין רַשָּׁאִין לָדוּן וְלָחוּב עַל מְנָת לִזְכּוֹת לַיְתוֹמִים שֶׁמָּא לֹא יִזְכּוּ וְנִמְצָא הַחוֹב קַיָּם:

8

The guardians are not permitted to grant Canaanite servants their freedom. They may not even take money from the servant so that he will be released. Instead, they sell the servants to others and take the money from them with the intent that they grant them their freedom. It is those purchasers who release the servants.

ח

אֵין הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין רַשָּׁאִין לְהוֹצִיא עֲבָדִים לְחֵרוּת אֲפִלּוּ לִקַּח מִן הָעֶבֶד דָּמִים שֶׁיֵּצֵא לְחֵרוּת. אֲבָל מוֹכְרִין אוֹתָן לַאֲחֵרִים וְלוֹקְחִין מֵהֶן הַדָּמִים עַל מְנָת שֶׁיּוֹצִיאוּהוּ לְחֵרוּת וְאוֹתָן הָאֲ [חֵ] רִים הֵן שֶׁמְּשַׁ [חְ] רְרִין אוֹתָם:

9

The guardians should separate terumah and the tithes from the crops of the orphans so that they can provide them with food. . For we may not feed the orphans forbidden substances. They may not, however, tithe or separate terumah so that the produce will be ready for use. Instead, they should sell it as tevel. Those who desire to make it ready for use will do so.

ט

הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין תּוֹרְמִין וּמְעַשְּׂרִין נִכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים כְּדֵי לְהַאֲכִילָן. שֶׁאֵין מַאֲכִילִין אֶת הַיְתוֹמִים דָּבָר הָאָסוּר. אֲבָל לֹא יְעַשְּׂרוּ וְלֹא יִתְרֹמוּ כְּדֵי לְהַנִּיחַ פֵּרוֹת מְתֻקָּנִין אֶלָּא יִמְכְּרוּ אוֹתָן טֶבֶל וְהָרוֹצֶה לְתַקֵּן יְתַקֵּן:

10

The guardians must make a lulav, a sukkah, tzitzit, a shofar, a Torah scroll, tefillin, mezuzot and a megillah on behalf of the orphans. The general principle is: All mitzvot that have a fixed measure - whether of Scriptural or Rabbinic origin - should be made available for them, although they are obligated in these mitzvot only as part of their education. We do not, however, levy charitable assessments against their property, even for the sake of the redemption of captives. The rationale is that such mitzvot have no limit to them.

י

הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין עוֹשִׂין לַקְּטַנִּים לוּלָב וְסֻכָּה וְצִיצִית וְשׁוֹפָר סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה וּתְפִלִּין וּמְזוּזוֹת וּמְגִלָּה. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר כָּל מִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם קִצְבָה בֵּין שֶׁהוּא מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה בֵּין שֶׁהוּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. עוֹשִׂין לָהֶם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן חַיָּבִין בְּמִצְוָה מִכָּל אֵלּוּ הַמִּצְוֹת אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לְחַנְּכָן. אֲבָל אֵין פּוֹסְקִין עֲלֵיהֶן צְדָקָה וַאֲפִלּוּ לְפִדְיוֹן שְׁבוּיִים. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמִּצְוֹת אֵלּוּ אֵין לָהֶן קִצְבָה:

11

When a person loses his intellectual faculties or becomes a deaf-mute, the court levies charitable assessments against his property if he has the means.

יא

וּמִי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּטָּה אוֹ שֶׁנִּתְחָרֵשׁ בֵּית דִּין פּוֹסְקִין עָלָיו צְדָקָה אִם הָיָה רָאוּי:

12

Although a guardian does not have to make an accounting, as mentioned above, he must keep a personal account, being extremely precise, so as not to incur the wrath of the Father of these orphans, He who rides upon the heavens, as Psalms 68:5-6 states: "Make a path for He who rides upon the heavens... the Father of orphans."

יב

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת חֶשְׁבּוֹן כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. צָרִיךְ לַחְשֹׁב בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ לְדַקְדֵּק וּלְהִזָּהֵר הַרְבֵּה מֵאֲבִיהֶן שֶׁל אֵלּוּ הַיְתוֹמִים שֶׁהוּא רוֹכֵב עֲרָבוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים סח ה) "סלוּ לָרֹכֵב בָּעֲרָבוֹת" וְגוֹ' (תהילים סח ו) "אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים" וְגוֹ':