For the week ending 2 January 2010 / 15 Tevet 5770

Bava Batra 135 - 141

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Credibility of man who claims he divorced his wife
  • The power of a final testament of a dying man
  • Willing property to a son who will own it only after the father dies
  • Which is a greater power - ownership of principle or of its fruits?
  • Who is considered a "clever villain"
  • Selling a gifted property which was designated to pass on to another after the receiver's death
  • When someone refuses a gift
  • The power of an extra word in a transaction
  • When the inherited estate cannot provide for all the children
  • The priority of male or female children to a limited estate
  • When the gender of one of the heirs is in doubt
  • The advantages of having a son or daughter

The Mysterious Daughter

  • Bava Batra 141a

What hidden message lies in the words of the Torah (Bereishet 24.1) that "G-d blessed Avraham bakol" (with everything)?

Rabbi Meir's view is that the blessing was that he did not have a daughter.

In contrast Rabbi Yehuda states that he had a daughter and her name was bakol.

In his commentary on Chumash, Ramban explains Rabbi Meir's position as based on the impossibility Avraham would have faced in finding a suitable husband for a daughter. None of his Canaanite neighbors could be considered, and if he had to send her abroad to his family she would be negatively influenced in that pagan environment.

One solution to this dilemma might have been to marry her off to his son Yitzchak, which would have been permitted according to the opinion (Mesechta Sanhedrin 58b) that Noachide law then in effect for our ancestors permits marrying a sister.

This is rejected, however, on the basis of a question raised by Tosefot as to why, according to Rabbi Yehuda, did Avraham have to send his servant abroad to find a wife for Yitzchak when he could have matched him with his sister. One of the answers given by Tosefot is that the daughter was not the child of Sarah but rather of her handmaiden Hagar, thus making her unfit as a wife for Yitzchak.

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