For the week ending 1 November 2014 / 8 Heshvan 5775

Yevamot 30 - 36

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When two brothers are married to two sisters, and the third to someone unrelated to them, what is the yibum situation when two of the brothers die
  • The status of the tzarah of a yevamah whose marriage with or divorce from the deceased brother is in doubt
  • Examples of doubt regarding validity of marriage or divorce
  • The questionable sale of the temporarily insane Bar Shatya
  • The problem of the two-time yevamah
  • The disqualification of yibum which lasts forever
  • Can one be responsible for two sins with one act
  • Consequence of a mistake which caused wife-swapping
  • Whether a woman can conceive from first cohabitation
  • The sinful husbands of Tamar
  • The wife of the Sage Rava who waited ten years to marry him
  • Consequences of pregnancy discovered after chalitzah or yibum
  • Rabbinical prohibition on marriage with a divorcee or widow expecting a child or nursing one

A Will and A Way

  • Yevamot 36b

A father who wishes to circumvent the laws of inheritance can make a will in which he transfers ownership of all his property to his favorite son. Since he still wishes to enjoy the use of his property as long as he lives he stipulates that these assets will belong to his son "from today and after his death". This means that as long as he lives he is entitled to all the benefits derived from the assets ("kinyan peirot") and the son, who already has principal ownership ("kinyan haguf"), acquires full ownership upon the death of his father.

Since both father and son have some hold on the assets neither of them can independently make an outright sale of them. Should the father sell his rights the buyer may benefit from the assets as long as the father is alive. Should the son sell them the buyer can take full possession only when the father dies. What happens, however, when the son sells the assets and subsequently dies in his father's lifetime?

Rabbi Yochanan's position is that the buyer will not have claim to the estate even when the father eventually dies because the kinyan peirot he had was powerful enough to prevent such a sale, and the only time he can gain ownership is when the father dies first and his gift to his son is completed.

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish (Reish Lakish) rejects this position and rules that the father's kinyan peirot cannot be considered potent enough to prevent such a sale from being actualized in favor of the buyer.

Although the general rule is that the halacha is like Rabbi Yochanan, this is one of the three cases cited by the gemara in which the halacha is like Reish Lakish.

What the Sages Say

"The Sages sometimes were stricter in enforcing the laws they made than they were in regard to Torah laws."

  • The Sage Abaye - Yevamot 36b

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