When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "This property of mine should be given to banai," his daughters are not included among the recipients.

Even when the descendants of the sh'chiv me'ra include only one son and a daughter, or one son and the son of another son, and he used the expression banai - which is a plural term - the estate should be given to his son alone. For one son can be referred to as "my sons."


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר נְכָסים אֵלּוּ לְבָנַי. אֵין הַבָּנוֹת בִּכְלָלָם. הָיָה לוֹ בֵּן אֶחָד וּבַת. אוֹ בֵּן וּבֶן הַבֵּן. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא אָמַר לְבָנַי שֶׁהוּא לְשׁוֹן רַבִּים אֵין נוֹתְנִין אֶלָּא לִבְנוֹ. שֶׁהַבֵּן הָאֶחָד נִקְרָא בָּנִים:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "My property should be given to Tovia," and then dies, and a person named Tovia comes and claims the estate, it should be given to him.

If, however, it is established that the claimant is referred to as "Rav Tovia,"

the estate should not be given to him. Nevertheless, should the sh'chiv me'ra be familiar with the claimant and be on first name basis with him, the estate should be given to him although he is generally referred to as Rav Tovia.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר נְכָסַי לְטוֹבִיָּה וּמֵת. וּבָא אֶחָד שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ טוֹבִיָּה וְאָמַר אֲנִי הוּא. נוֹטְלָן. וְאִם הֻחְזַק שְׁמוֹ רַב טוֹבִיָּה אֵינוֹ נוֹטְלָן. וְאִם הָיָה שְׁכִיב מֵרַע גַּס בּוֹ וְקוֹרֵא אוֹתוֹ בִּשְׁמוֹ נוֹטְלָן:


The following principles apply when two claimants come, and it is established that they are both called Tovia. If one of them is a Torah scholar and the other is not, the Torah scholar receives precedence. If neither of them is a Torah scholar, but one is a neighbor or a relative, the neighbor or relative receives precedence. If one is a neighbor and the other is a relative, the neighbor is given precedence.

If both of the claimants are relatives, neighbors or Torah scholars, the judges should act on their own assessment of the circumstances; the estate should be given to the claimant whom they think the deceased intended.

Similar principles apply if there are several intended recipients.


בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם לִתְבֹּעַ וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן מֻחְזָק שְׁמוֹ טוֹבִיָּה. אִם הָיָה אֶחָד מֵהֶם תַּלְמִיד חָכָם. תַּלְמִיד חָכָם קוֹדֵם. אֵין בָּהֶן תַּלְמִיד חָכָם וְהָיָה אֶחָד מֵהֶן שָׁכֵן אוֹ קָרוֹב הוּא קוֹדֵם. הָיָה אֶחָד שָׁכֵן וְאֶחָד קָרוֹב שָׁכֵן קוֹדֵם. שְׁנֵיהֶם קְרוֹבִים אוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶם שְׁכֵנִים אוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶם תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. יַעֲשׂוּ הַדַּיָּנִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה לָהֶם. כָּל מִי שֶׁדַּעְתָּן נוֹטָה שֶׁעַל זֶה אָמַר נוֹתְנִין לוֹ. וְכֵן אִם הָיוּ רַבִּים:


If a sh'chiv me'ra says: "My property should be given to so and so, to so and so, and to so and so," the intended recipients should divide the estate equally. This applies even if 100 people are mentioned.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר נְכָסַי לִפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי. חוֹלְקִין בְּשָׁוֶה אֲפִלּוּ הֵן מֵאָה:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "My property should be given to so and so and to my sons," the estate should be divided between them. The person named receives half, and all his sons together receive the other half.

An incident occurred concerning a person who told his wife: "My property should be given to you and your sons." Our Sages said: She should receive half of the estate, and all the sons should divide the other half.


אָמַר נְכָסַי לִפְלוֹנִי וּלְבָנַי חוֹלְקִין. פְּלוֹנִי נוֹטֵל מֶחֱצָה וְכָל בָּנָיו מֶחֱצָה. וּמַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁאָמַר לְאִשְׁתּוֹ נְכָסַי לִיךְ וּלְבָנַיִךְ. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים תִּטּל הִיא מֶחֱצָה וְכָל הַבָּנִים מֶחֱצָה:

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 a sh'chiv me'ra says: "My property should be given to so and so, to so and so, and to the sons of so and so," the sons of so and so receive half of the estate, and the other two people mentioned receive the other half.


אָמַר לִפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי וְלִבְנֵי פְּלוֹנִי. נוֹטְלִין בְּנֵי פְּלוֹנִי מֶחֱצָה וְהַשְּׁנַיִם הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מֶחֱצָה:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "So and so should receive a portion of my property," he should receive half. When he says: "Give a portion of my property to so and so," he should be given one sixteenth. There are, however, those who maintain that he should be given one fourth of the estate.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר יַחֲלֹק פְּלוֹנִי בִּנְכָסַי. יִטּל מֶחֱצָה. תְּנוּ חֵלֶק לִפְלוֹנִי בִּנְכָסַי. יִטּל אֶחָד מִשִּׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהוֹרָה יִטּל רְבִיעַ הַנְּכָסִים:


If a sh'chiv me'ra says: "Give so and so a portion of the wine that I possess," the person named should be given one fourth of the wine. If he says: "Give him a portion of the wine to pour into jugs," he has diminished that person's share, and the person named should be given one eighth of the wine.

If he says: "Give him a portion of the wine for cooking, the person named should be given one twelfth of the wine. If he says: "Give him a portion of the wine for a small cup, the person named should be given one sixteenth of the wine. For he revealed that his intent was to give him merely a small portion.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר תְּנוּ חֵלֶק לִפְלוֹנִי בְּבוֹר הַיַּיִן שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי. יִטּל רְבִיעַ הַיַּיִן. אָמַר תְּנוּ לוֹ בּוֹ חֵלֶק לֶחָבִית. הֲרֵי מִעוּט וְיִטּל שְׁמִינִית הַיַּיִן. אָמַר תְּנוּ לוֹ בּוֹ חֵלֶק לִקְדֵרָה נוֹטֵל חֵלֶק מִשְּׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִן הַיַּיִן. אָמַר תְּנוּ לוֹ בּוֹ חֵלֶק לְטָפִיחַ נוֹטֵל חֵלֶק מִשִּׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר מִן הַיַּיִן שֶׁבַּבּוֹר. שֶׁהֲרֵי גִּלָּה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁלְּחֵלֶק מוּעָט נִתְכַּוֵּן:


One should not extrapolate from the measures mentioned with regard to any other matters.


וְאֵין גּוֹמְרִין מִן הַשִּׁעוּרִין הָאֵלּוּ לְדִין אַחֵר:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "Let my wife receive a portion like one of the sons," she should be given a portion the size of that given to each of the sons. If sons are born to the deceased after he has made this deposition of his property, they are added to the sons who existed at the time the will was made, and she receives a portion equal to that given to each of them.

What is implied? If the sh'chiv me'ra had three sons at the time he made his will, and two more sons were born to him afterwards, she should receive a portion equal to that given the five sons - i.e., one sixth of the estate.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר תִּטּל אִשְׁתִּי כְּאֶחָד מִן הַבָּנִים. נוֹטֶלֶת כְּאֶחָד מִבָּנָיו. וְאִם נוֹלְדוּ לוֹ בָּנִים אַחַר הַצַּוָּאָה מִצְטָרְפִין עִם אֵלּוּ שֶׁהָיוּ בִּשְׁעַת הַצַּוָּאָה וְנוֹטֶלֶת חֵלֶק עִם כֻּלָּן. כֵּיצַד. הָיוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה בָּנִים בִּשְׁעַת הַצַּוָּאָה וּלְאַחַר זְמַן נוֹלְדוּ לוֹ שְׁנַיִם. נוֹטֶלֶת כְּאֶחָד מִן הַחֲמִשָּׁה שֶׁהוּא שְׁתוּת כָּל הַמָּמוֹן:


The widow receives a portion only from the property that the deceased owned at the time he made his will. She does not receive a portion of any property he acquires after the will was made. The rationale is that a person cannot transfer ownership of an entity that is not in his possession.


וְאֵינָהּ נוֹטֶלֶת עִמָּהֶם אֶלָּא בִּנְכָסִים שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ בִּשְׁעַת הַצַּוָּאָה. אֲבָל נְכָסִים שֶׁבָּאוּ לוֹ אַחַר זְמַן הַצַּוָּאָה אֵין לָהּ בָּהֶן חֵלֶק שֶׁאֵין אָדָם מַקְנֶה דָּבָר שֶׁלֹּא בָּא בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "So and so should receive movable property that I own," the person named should receive his personal utensils. He is not, however, given wheat, barley or other similar entities that the deceased owned. If, however, he says: "...all the movable property that I own," the person named receives everything.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר מִטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי לִפְלוֹנִי. נוֹטֵל כְּלֵי תַּשְׁמִישׁוֹ. אֲבָל לֹא חִטִּים וּשְׂעוֹרִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. אָמַר כָּל מִטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁלִּי. נוֹטֵל הַכּל:


Servants are included in the category of movable property, but not a lower millstone or the like. For the lower millstone is attached to the earth.


וְהָעֲבָדִים בִּכְלַל הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין. אֲבָל לֹא רֵחַיִם הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ. שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא מְחֻבֶּרֶת לָאָרֶץ:


If the sh'chiv me'ra said: "...everything that can be carried," the intended recipient acquires even a lower millstone and similar objects.


אָמַר כָּל הַמִּטַּלְטֵל. נוֹטֵל אַף רֵחַיִם הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "Give my property to so and so," that person receives all his movable property, all his landed property, the garments, the servants, the livestock, the fowl, the tefillin and the other sacred texts; for these are all considered to be property.

There is, however, an unresolved question of whether or not a Torah scroll is considered to be "property." Therefore, if the recipient takes possession of it, it should not be expropriated from him.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר נְכָסַי לִפְלוֹנִי. נוֹטֵל כָּל הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין וְכָל הַקַּרְקָעוֹת וְהַבְּגָדִים וְהָעֲבָדִים וְהַבְּהֵמָה וְהָעוֹפוֹת. וְהַתְּפִלִּין עִם שְׁאָר סְפָרִים הַכּל בִּכְלַל הַנְּכָסִים. אֲבָל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה יֵשׁ בּוֹ סָפֵק אִם הוּא בִּכְלַל נְכָסִים אוֹ אֵינוֹ לְפִיכָךְ אִם תְּפָסוֹ אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "Give 200 zuz to so and so, my firstborn, as is appropriate for him," he should be given that sum as well as his portion as a firstborn.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר תְּנוּ מָאתַיִם זוּז לִפְלוֹנִי בְּכוֹרִי כָּרָאוּי לוֹ. נוֹטְלָן וְנוֹטֵל בְּכוֹרָתוֹ:


In the above situation, if the sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give him 200 zuz as his firstborn portion," the firstborn is given the option: He may take his firstborn portion, or he may take the 200 zuz.


אָמַר בִּבְכוֹרָתוֹ יָדוֹ עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה. רָצָה חֵלֶק בְּכוֹרָה נוֹטֵל רָצָה מָאתַיִם זוּז נוֹטֵל:


Similarly, if the sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give 200 zuz to my wife so and so, as is fitting for her, she receives that sum and the money due her by virtue of her ketubah. lf he said: "Give her 200 zuz for her ketubah" the option is hers.


וְכֵן אִם אָמַר תְּנוּ מָאתַיִם זוּז לִפְלוֹנִית אִשְׁתִּי כָּרָאוּי לָהּ. נוֹטַלְתָּן וְנוֹטֶלֶת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. וְאִם אָמַר בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ יָדָהּ עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה:


If the sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give 200 zuz to so and so, my creditor, as is fitting for him," he receives that sum and the money due him because of the debt. If he said: "Give him 200 zuz for his debt," he may collect only his debt.


אָמַר תְּנוּ מָאתַיִם זוּז לִפְלוֹנִי בַּעַל חוֹבִי כָּרָאוּי לוֹ נוֹטְלָן וְנוֹטֵל אֶת חוֹבוֹ. אָמַר בְּחוֹבוֹ אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא חוֹבוֹ:


If a sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give 400 zuz to so and so and let him marry my daughter," it is as if he gave him two gifts. Whichever he desires, he may take. Therefore, if he desires to take the money but not to marry the daughter, he may do so.

If, however, the sh'chiv me'ra said: "Let him take my daughter and give him 400 zuz" he is making the gift conditional. The person mentioned does not acquire the gift unless he marries the daughter.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר תְּנוּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז לִפְלוֹנִי וְיִשָּׂא בִּתִּי. הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ שְׁתֵּי מַתָּנוֹת כָּל אֵיזֶה מֵהֶן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה יִקַּח. לְפִיכָךְ אִם רָצָה לִקַּח הַמָּעוֹת וְלֹא יִשָּׂא הַבַּת יִקַּח. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר יִקַּח בִּתִּי וּתְנוּ לוֹ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז. הֲרֵי זֶה תְּנַאי וְלֹא יִזְכֶּה בַּמָּעוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּקַּח הַבַּת:


The following principle applies if a sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give 400 zuz to my daughter as her ketubah" or "...for her ketubah." If it is the custom of the people of that city to add to the appraisal of the dowry and to write a maneh's worth as 200 zuz, the daughter should be given only 200 zuz. For the sh'chiv me'ra did not say "400 zuz" without any modifier, but rather "400 zuz as her ketubah." It is as if he said: "Give her what is necessary so that her ketubah will be appraised at 400 zuz."


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר תְּנוּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז לְבִתִּי בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ אוֹ לִכְתֻבָּתָהּ. אִם דֶּרֶךְ אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר לְהוֹסִיף בְּשׁוּמַת הַנְּדוּנְיָא וְלִכְתֹּב שְׁוֵה מָנֶה בְּמָאתַיִם אֵינָהּ נוֹטֶלֶת אֶלָּא מָאתַיִם זוּז. שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא אָמַר אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז סְתָם אֶלָּא בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ. כְּלוֹמַר תְּנוּ לָהּ מַה שֶּׁתִּהְיֶה שׁוּמָתוֹ בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז:


If a sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give such and such clothing and such and such articles to my daughter for her dowry," and the price of the garments and the articles decreases afterwards, the heirs profit, and they are required to give her only what she was promised according to the lesser price.

Similarly, if a sh'chiv me'ra said: "Give my daughter the 400 zuz, the money from this wine," and the price of wine increases, the heirs profit, and the daughter is given only 400 zuz.

An incident occurred concerning a person who was being led off in fetters. He said: "Give so and so 400 zuz from the wine in this and this place." Our sages said: "He should receive 400 zuz from the price of that wine." The condemned man did not intend to give the person named an amount of wine equal in weight to 400 zuz. He intended to give him the monetary amount. He specified the place from which he could collect the money to strengthen the legal power of the recipient.

Another incident occurred concerning a man who said: "Give my daughter the date palm," but he left only two halves of a date palm. Our Sages said: "She should receive the two halves of the date palm, for that was his intent. He called them a date palm."

And another incident occurred concerning a person who said: "Give so and so a building that contains 100 korim." It was discovered that the building owned by the person who apportioned his property could contain 120 korim. Our Sages said: "He acquires that house, because it appears that this was his intent." For everyone who gives a gift gives generously. The same applies in all analogous situations.


אָמַר תְּנוּ נְדוּנְיָא לְבִתִּי כָּךְ וְכָךְ בְּגָדִים כָּךְ וְכָךְ כֵּלִים. הוּזְלוּ הַבְּגָדִים וְהַכֵּלִים אַחַר כֵּן. הָרֶוַח לַיתוֹמִים וְנוֹתְנִין לָהּ כַּשַּׁעַר הַזּוֹל. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר תְּנוּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז דְּמֵי הַיַּיִן לְבִתִּי וְהוּקַר הַיַּיִן הָרֶוַח לַיתוֹמִים וְנוֹתְנִין לָהּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה יוֹצֵא בְּקוֹלָר וְאָמַר תְּנוּ לִפְלוֹנִי אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז מֵהַיַּיִן שֶׁל מָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים יִטּל אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז מִדְּמֵי אוֹתוֹ הַיַּיִן שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה לִתֵּן לוֹ מִן הַיַּיִן מִשְׁקַל אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז וְלֹא נִתְכַּוֵּן אֶלָּא לְדָמִים וְזֶה שֶׁיִּחֲדָן כְּדֵי לְיַפּוֹת אֶת כֹּחוֹ. וְשׁוּב מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁאָמַר הַדֶּקֶל לְבִתִּי וְהִנִּיחַ שְׁנֵי חֲצָאֵי דֶּקֶל אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים תִּטּל הַשְּׁנֵי חֲצָאִים שֶׁלָּזֶה נִתְכַּוֵּן וְהֵם שֶׁקָּרָא דֶּקֶל. וְשׁוּב מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁאָמַר תְּנוּ לִפְלוֹנִי בַּיִת הַמַּחֲזִיק מֵאָה כּוֹרִין וְנִמְצָא הַבַּיִת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְזֶה הַמְצַוֶּה מַחֲזִיק מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים זָכָה בְּבַיִת זֶה שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים מַרְאִין שֶׁכַּוָּנָתוֹ לָזֶה הָיְתָה שֶׁכָּל הַנּוֹתֵן בְּעַיִן יָפָה נוֹתֵן. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ:


When a sh'chiv me'ra says: "Give my sons a shekel each week," or even if he said: "Do not give them anything but a shekel each week," and it is discovered that a sela a week is necessary to meet their needs, they are given whatever they need. We assume that his intent was not to starve his children, but to encourage them not to live on a very lavish budget.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁאָמַר תְּנוּ לִבְנִי שֶׁקֶל בְּכָל שַׁבָּת. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר אַל תִּתְּנוּ לָהֶם אֶלָּא שֶׁקֶל. וְנִמְצָא שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַסְפִּיק לָהֶם אֶלָּא סֶלַע בְּכָל שַׁבָּת. נוֹתְנִים לָהֶם כָּל צָרְכָּן שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה לְהַרְעִיב אֶת בָּנָיו אֶלָּא לְזָרֵז אוֹתָם. שֶׁמָּא יַרְוִיחוּ בָּהוֹצָאָה יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי:


When a sh'chiv me'ra orders: "Do not eulogize me," he should not be eulogized. If he says: "Do not use funds from my estate to bury me," his words are not heeded. We do not enable him to secure the funds of his children and make himself a burden on the community. For it is forbidden to leave him without a burial. Instead, we compel his heirs to bury him from the funds in his estate.


שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁצִּוָּה וְאָמַר אַל תִּסְפְּדוּהוּ. אֵין סוֹפְדִין אוֹתוֹ. אַל תִּקְבְּרוּהוּ מִנְּכָסָיו. אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ שֶׁיָּחוּס עַל מָמוֹן בָּנָיו וְיַפִּיל עַצְמוֹ עַל הַצִּבּוּר. שֶׁאָסוּר לְהַנִּיחוֹ בְּלֹא קְבוּרָה. אֶלָּא כּוֹפִין אֶת הַיּוֹרְשִׁין לְקָבְרוֹ מִנְּכָסָיו: