Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Talmud on disregarding the biblical inheritance laws

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: The Inheritance. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ one sage overrules the consensus, and men may dispose of their wealth upon their deathbeds at will.
This week, the Talmud considered another aspect of the question of inheritance. Can a man bequeath his property in a way inconsistent with the Torah’s rules? For instance, can he disinherit one of his sons, or deprive the first-born of his double share? Really this is a question about the meaning of ownership in Jewish law, which is simultaneously a civil code and a religious one. Does a Jew’s property belong to him absolutely, so that he can dispose of it however he likes? Or does it belong to him, as it were, on sufferance from God, so that God’s commandments limit how he can use it?
In this case the Talmud takes a more liberal line than the Mishnah.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.