When a sh'chiv me'ra instructs those listening to the apportionment of his property: "Do not reveal this gift and do not tell anyone about it until after my death," the gift is binding. It is not considered to be a hidden gift. For at the time when the transfer takes place - i.e., after the testator's death - the testator said: "Reveal the matter."


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁצִּוָּה וְאָמַר לֹא תְּגַלּוּ מַתָּנָה זוֹ וְלֹא תּוֹדִיעוּ בָּהּ אָדָם אֶלָּא לְאַחַר מִיתָה. הֲרֵי זוֹ מַתָּנָה קַיֶּמֶת וְאֵינָהּ מַתָּנָה מְסֻתֶּרֶת. שֶׁבְּעֵת שֶׁהִקְנָה שֶׁהוּא אַחַר מוֹתוֹ הֲרֵי אָמַר גַּלּוּ אוֹתָהּ:


A person who apportions his property because of his impending death does not have to say: "Publicize the gift...." Even though it is written without any specific instructions, we do not assume that the intent was that it be hidden.


מְצַוֶּה מֵחֲמַת מִיתָה אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר גַּלּוּ אֶת הַמַּתָּנָה. אֶלָּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא כְּתוּבָה סְתָם אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שֶׁמָּא מְסֻתֶּרֶת הִיא:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "Let so and so take all my property," or "...part of my property," or he uses the verb "take hold of," "acquire," "obtain" - they are all expressions connoting a gift. Similarly, if he says "inherit" or "receive as an inheritance," when the intended recipient is fit to inherit the property, the intended recipient acquires it.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁצִּוָּה וְאָמַר יִטּל פְּלוֹנִי כָּל נְכָסַי אוֹ מִקְּצָת נְכָסַי. אוֹ יַחֲזִיק. אוֹ יִזְכֶּה. אוֹ יִקְנֶה. כֻּלָּן לְשׁוֹן מַתָּנָה הִיא. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר יַחְסֵן אוֹ יִירַשׁ עַל מִי שֶׁרָאוּי לְיָרְשׁוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה קָנָה:


If the sh'chiv me'ra said: "May so and so benefit from my property," "May he stand in it," or "May he be supported by it," the intended recipient does not acquire the property.


אָמַר יֵהָנֶה פְּלוֹנִי בָּהֶן. יַעֲמֹד בָּהֶן. יִשָּׁעֵן בָּהֶן. לֹא קָנָה:


The following rules apply when a sh'chiv me'ra apportions all his property to another person. If he is not fit to inherit the property, he is awarded it as a gift. If he is fit to inherit it, he is awarded it as an inheritance.

When does the above apply? When the intended recipient is one of the dying man's daughters, one of the members of his household, one of his brothers or one of his other heirs. If, however, the dying man gave his entire estate to one of his sons, we assume that he appointed him an executor, as explained above.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁכָּתַב כָּל נְכָסָיו לְאַחֵר. אִם אֵינוֹ רָאוּי לְיָרְשׁוֹ נוֹטְלָן מִשּׁוּם מַתָּנָה. וְאִם רָאוּי לְיָרְשׁוֹ נוֹטְלָן מִשּׁוּם יְרֻשָּׁה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיָה הַיּוֹרֵשׁ הַזֶּה אַחַת מִבְּנוֹתָיו אוֹ אֶחָד מִכְּלַל בְּנֵי בָּנָיו אוֹ אֶחָד מִכְּלַל אֶחָיו וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן מִשְּׁאָר יוֹרְשִׁין. אֲבָל אִם כְּתָבָהוּ לְאֶחָד מִבָּנָיו לֹא עָשָׂהוּ אֶלָּא אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

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 before a person's death, he was asked: "To whom should your property be given? Perhaps to so and so?", and the dying man answers, "To whom else?" that person is awarded the property. We see whether he is fit to inherit the property. If he is, he is awarded it as an inheritance. If not, he is awarded it as a gift.


מִי שֶׁאָמְרוּ לוֹ בִּשְׁעַת מִיתָתוֹ נְכָסֶיךָ לְמִי הֵן שֶׁמָּא לִפְלוֹנִי וְאָמַר לָהֶן אֶלָּא לְמִי. רוֹאִין אִם רָאוּי לְיָרְשׁוֹ נוֹטְלָן מִשּׁוּם יְרֻשָּׁה וְאִם לָאו נוֹטְלָן מִשּׁוּם מַתָּנָה:


When a convert has a son who was not conceived in holiness, since the son is not considered an heir - as will be explained in the section dealing with this subject - the convert cannot give the son his entire estate as a gift given by a sh'chiv me'ra. This applies to his entire estate and to a portion of his estate.

The rationale is that when speaking about a potential heir, there is no difference whether one uses wording that connotes an inheritance, or wording that connotes a gift. Thus, if in the situation mentioned above one said that the convert's son should acquire the property, it would be as if he inherited his father's estate.


גֵּר שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ בֵּן שֶׁאֵין הוֹרָתוֹ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה. הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ יוֹרְשׁוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. כָּךְ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִתֵּן לוֹ כָּל נְכָסָיו בְּמַתְּנַת שְׁכִיב מֵרַע. לֹא כָּל נְכָסָיו וְלֹא מִקְצָתָן. שֶׁלְּשׁוֹן יְרֻשָּׁה וּמַתָּנָה לְגַבֵּי יוֹרֵשׁ אֶחָד הֵן. וְאִם תֹּאמַר יִקְנֶה נִמְצָא זֶה יוֹרֵשׁ אֶת אָבִיו:


Therefore, if the dying convert gave his estate as a gift to any other convert as a matnat sh'chiv me'ra, the gift is effective.


לְפִיכָךְ אִם נָתַן לְגֵר מִשְּׁאָר הַגֵּרִים מַתְּנָתוֹ קַיֶּמֶת:


When a sh'chiv me'ra acknowledges that he owes a debt of a particular amount to a given person and asks that it be given to him from his estate, his acknowledgement is of consequence and his request is fulfilled. This principle also applies when he states that a given utensil is an entrusted object belonging to another person and should be returned to him, a particular courtyard belongs to another person, a debt that another person is reputed to owe him is in fact owed to another person, or in any analogous situation.

Even if a convert acknowledges an obligation to a son who was not conceived in holiness, his statements are binding. Indeed, even if a person acknowledged a debt owed to a gentile, the gentile should be repaid.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁהוֹדָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לִפְלוֹנִי אֶצְלִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ תְּנוּהוּ לוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר כְּלִי פְּלוֹנִי פִּקָּדוֹן הוּא בְּיָדִי לִפְלוֹנִי, תְּנוּהוּ לוֹ. חָצֵר פְּלוֹנִית שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי הוּא. חוֹב שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי בְּיַד פְּלוֹנִי אֵינוֹ שֶׁלִּי שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי הוּא. בְּכָל אֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הוֹדָאָתוֹ הוֹדָיָה. וַאֲפִלּוּ הוֹדָה הַגֵּר לִבְנוֹ שֶׁאֵין הוֹרָתוֹ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה דְּבָרָיו קַיָּמִין. אֲפִלּוּ הוֹדָה שְׁכִיב מֵרַע לְעַכּוּ''ם נוֹתְנִין לוֹ:


When, by contrast, a sh'chiv me'ra orders that a gift be given to a gentile from his estate, we do not heed his words, for it is as if he commanded that a transgression be performed with his property.


אֲבָל שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁצִּוָּה לִתֵּן לְעַכּוּ''ם מַתָּנָה אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. שֶׁזֶּה כְּמִי שֶׁצִּוָּה לַעֲבֹר עֲבֵרָה מִנְּכָסָיו:


If a dying man says: "My servant, so and so, make him a free man," "I made him a free man," or "Behold he is a free man," we compel the person's heirs to free the servant. The rationale is that a servant is obligated to perform certain mitzvot.


אָמַר פְּלוֹנִי עַבְדִּי עֲשׂוּ אוֹתוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר עָשִׂיתִי אוֹתוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין. אוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא בֶּן חוֹרִין. כּוֹפִין אֶת הַיּוֹרְשִׁין וּמְשַׁחְרְרִין אוֹתוֹ. שֶׁעֶבֶד יֶשְׁנוֹ בְּמִקְצָת מִצְוֹת:


If a dying man says: "Generate satisfaction for so and so, my maid-servant," satisfaction should be generated for her. She should be given only the type of work she desires out of all the types of work that are known to be performed by servants in that locale.


אָמַר פְּלוֹנִית שִׁפְחָתִי עֲשׂוּ לָהּ קוֹרַת רוּחַ. עוֹשִׂין לָהּ קוֹרַת רוּחַ וְאֵינָהּ עוֹבֶדֶת אֶלָּא עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁהִיא רוֹצָה בָּהּ מִכָּל הָעֲבוֹדוֹת הַיְדוּעוֹת לַעֲבָדִים בְּאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם:


When a sh'chiv me'ra apportions all his property to a specific person, and that person says: "I do not desire it," he does not acquire it.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁכָּתַב כָּל נְכָסָיו לְאֶחָד. וְאָמַר הַלָּה אֵינִי רוֹצֶה בָּהֶן לֹא קָנָה:


If the intended recipient remained silent, and then protests, he acquires the property. The rationale is that the words of a sh'chiv me'ra are considered as if they have been already recorded in a legal document and the property already transferred. Thus, once the recipient remains silent, he can no longer retract.


שָׁתַק וְאַחַר כָּךְ צָוַח קָנָה. שֶׁדִּבְרֵי שְׁכִיב מֵרַע כִּכְתוּבִין וְכִמְסוּרִין הֵן. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁשָּׁתַק אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בָּהֶן:


When a sh'chiv me'ra apportions his property to one person and then changes his mind and apportions his property to another person, the latter person acquires it. For a sh'chiv me'ra has the right to retract until he dies.

The above applies whether he desires to retract the entire amount or only a portion of it, and whether he seeks to retain the property for himself or give it to another person.

Even if he apportioned the property to a person and had someone acquire the property on his behalf, and then apportioned it to another person and had someone acquire the property on his behalf, the latter person acquires it. The rationale is that even when a sh'chiv me'ra has someone acquire the property on the recipient's behalf, the transaction is still considered to be a gift given by a sh'chiv me'ra.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁכָּתַב לָזֶה וְחָזַר וְכָתַב לְאַחֵר הָאַחֲרוֹן קָנָה. שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לַחְזֹר עַד שֶׁיָּמוּת. בֵּין בַּכּל בֵּין בְּמִקְצָת בֵּין לְעַצְמוֹ בֵּין לְאַחֵר. וַאֲפִלּוּ כָּתַב וְזִכָּה לָרִאשׁוֹן וְכָתַב וְזִכָּה לָאַחֲרוֹן, הָאַחֲרוֹן קָנָה. שֶׁשְּׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁזִּכָּה עֲדַיִן מַתְּנַת שְׁכִיב מֵרַע הִיא:


If, however, a sh'chiv me'ra apportioned his property to a person, had someone acquire the property on the recipient's behalf and then confirmed the transfer with a kinyan, nothing can be done after the kinyan. He cannot retract - neither to give the property to another person nor to retain it for himself. This applies whether he gave his entire estate or only a portion of it.


אֲבָל שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁכָּתַב וְזִכָּה וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אֵין לְאַחַר קִנְיָן כְּלוּם. וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ לֹא לְאַחֵר וְלֹא לְעַצְמוֹ. בֵּין שֶׁנָּתַן הַכּל בֵּין שֶׁנָּתַן מִקְצָת:


When a sh'chiv me'ra retracts part of his apportionment of his estate, the entire apportionment is nullified.

What is implied? If he gave all his property to one person, and confirmed his gift with a kinyan to bolster the recipient's legal power, and then retracted and gave part of his property to another person and confirmed his gift with a kinyan to bolster the second recipient's legal power, the second person acquires the property he was given. The first person does not acquire anything. This applies whether the sh'chiv me'ra recovers or dies.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁחָזַר בְּמִקְצָת חָזַר בַּכּל. כֵּיצַד. נָתַן כָּל נְכָסָיו לָרִאשׁוֹן וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ כְּדֵי לְיַפּוֹת אֶת כֹּחוֹ. וְחָזַר וְנָתַן מִקְצָתָן לְאַחֵר וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ כְּדֵי לְיַפּוֹת אֶת כֹּחוֹ. הַשֵּׁנִי קָנָה. אֲבָל הָרִאשׁוֹן לֹא קָנָה כְּלוּם בֵּין שֶׁעָמַד בֵּין שֶׁמֵּת:


The following rules apply when a dying man gives a portion of his estate as a gift and confirms this with a kinyan, and then gives his entire estate to another person and confirms this gift with a kinyan to bolster the recipient's legal power. If the sh'chiv me'ra dies, the first recipient acquires the portion given to him, and the second recipient acquires the remainder. If the sh'chiv me'ra recovers, the first recipient acquires the portion given to him, and the second recipient does not acquire anything.


נָתַן מִקְצָת נְכָסָיו וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ. וְאַחַר כָּךְ נָתַן כֻּלָּן לְאַחֵר וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ כְּדֵי לְיַפּוֹת אֶת כֹּחוֹ. אִם מֵת קָנָה הָרִאשׁוֹן הַמִּקְצָת וְקָנָה הַשֵּׁנִי אֶת הַשְּׁאָר. וְאִם עָמַד. רִאשׁוֹן קָנָה שֵׁנִי לֹא קָנָה:


When a sh'chiv me'ra consecrates all his property without retaining anything, declares his estate ownerless or divides his estate among the poor -if he recovers, he retracts everything.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁהִקְדִּישׁ כָּל נְכָסָיו וְלֹא שִׁיֵּר כְּלוּם אוֹ הִפְקִיר אוֹ חִלְּקָן לָעֲנִיִּים. אִם עָמַד חוֹזֵר בַּכּל:


If a person conducts a sale while a sh'chiv me'ra, the sale is binding even if he recovers.


מָכַר כְּשֶׁהוּא שְׁכִיב מֵרַע. מִמְכָּרוֹ קַיָּם כְּבָרִיא:


Different rules apply when by contrast, a dying man sells his entire estate. If the money itself that he received for the estate is still in his possession, he may retract if he recovers. If, however, he has spent the money, he cannot retract.


מָכַר כָּל נְכָסָיו. אִם הַמָּעוֹת עַצְמָן קַיָּמוֹת אִם עָמַד חוֹזֵר. וְאִם הוֹצִיא הַמָּעוֹת אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר:


The following laws apply when a legal document recording a gift is brought before us, and it does not explicitly state whether the giver was healthy when he gave it, or whether he was a sh'chiv me'ra; the giver claims that he was a sh'chiv me'ra, that he recovered and now desires to retract his gift; the recipient of the gift claims that the giver was healthy and therefore does not have the option of retracting. The recipient must bring proof that the giver was healthy. If he does not find proof, the giver must take a sh'vuat hesset supporting his claim. Afterwards, the landed property remains in the possession of the giver.


מַתָּנָה שֶׁהִיא סְתָם וְלֹא נִתְפָּרֵשׁ בָּהּ שֶׁהָיָה בָּרִיא כְּשֶׁנָּתַן אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה שְׁכִיב מֵרַע. הוּא אוֹמֵר שְׁכִיב מֵרַע הָיִיתִי וַהֲרֵי עָמַדְתִּי וְאֶחֱזֹר בְּמַתְּנָתִי. וּמְקַבֵּל מַתָּנָה אוֹמֵר בָּרִיא הָיָה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר. עַל הַמְקַבֵּל לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁבָּרִיא הָיָה. לֹא מָצָא רְאָיָה נִשְׁבָּע הַנּוֹתֵן שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת וְיִפָּטֵר וְתַעֲמֹד הַקַּרְקַע בְּחֶזְקַת הַנּוֹתֵן:


Different rules apply if, however, the gift involved movable property, and that movable property is now in the possession of the recipient. Since the recipient could claim: "The movable property is mine," he is allowed to retain possession of the movable property, provided he takes a sh'vuat hesset that the giver was healthy when he gave this gift.


אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ מִטַּלְטְלִין בְּיַד הַמְקַבֵּל. מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר שֶׁלִּי הֵן יִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת שֶׁבָּרִיא הָיָה כְּשֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ מַתָּנָה זוֹ:


The following rule applies when a person dies, and a legal document recording a gift is discovered tied to his thigh. Even though the document is signed by witnesses and mentions that a kinyan was undertaken to bolster the legal power of the recipients, the document is of no consequence. We assume that after the sh'chiv me'ra had it written, he changed his mind and retracted his gift.


מִי שֶׁמֵּת וְנִמְצֵאת מַתָּנָה קְשׁוּרָה עַל יְרֵכוֹ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא בְּעֵדִים וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ לְיַפּוֹת כֹּחַ אֵלּוּ שֶׁנָּתַן לָהֶם הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ כְּלוּם. שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר כְּתָבָהּ וְנִמְלַךְ:


If through the legal document the person transferred ownership over the property to another person, whether he is a legal heir or is not a legal heir, everything stated within takes effect, as is true with regard to all gifts given by a sh'chiv me'ra.


וְאִם זִכָּה בָּהּ לְאַחֵר. בֵּין מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין בֵּין שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין. כָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁבָּהּ קַיָּמִין כְּכָל מַתְּנַת שְׁכִיב מֵרַע:


Similar laws apply when a sh'chiv me'ra has a promissory note composed stating that he owes money to a particular person - to one of his sons or to one of his other heirs - and he entrusts that document to a third party. If he tells that third party: "Hold this in your possession," but does not make any further statement, or tells him: "Leave this until I tell you what to do with it," and dies before making any further statements, the document is of no consequence.


וְכֵן מִי שֶׁכָּתַב שְׁטַר חוֹב עַל עַצְמוֹ בְּשֵׁם אַחֵר. אוֹ בְּשֵׁם אֶחָד מִבָּנָיו [אוֹ] מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין. וְנָתַן הַשְּׁטָר [עַל] יַד שָׁלִישׁ וְאָמַר לוֹ יִהְיֶה זֶה אֶצְלְךָ. וְלֹא פֵּרֵשׁ לוֹ כְּלוּם. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַנַּח עַד שֶׁאֹמַר לְךָ מַה תַּעֲשֶׂה וּמֵת. הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ כְּלוּם: