For the week ending 9 January 2010 / 22 Tevet 5770

Bava Batra 142 - 148

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library
  • Designating an unborn child as recipient of gift
  • Age versus wisdom
  • A gift made simultaneously to a qualified recipient and to an unqualified one
  • How to divide a gift made to a wife and children or to children whom he calls sons
  • Who benefits from improvements made in the undivided estate by the older heirs
  • A father's wedding gifts to his oldest son
  • When one of the heirs gains income from a government position
  • The reciprocity of wedding gifts
  • Relative importance of mishnah and gemara
  • Who is considered the poor man whose days are unfortunate
  • Wedding gifts from husband to wife's family
  • Distribution of estate by a dying man
  • The signals of the altar smoke
  • Retraction of a dying man's will

Last Will and Testament

  • Bava Batra 147a

A strenuous effort is made by the gemara to find some source in Scripture for the rabbinical decree that the oral instructions given by a dying man for the distribution of his resources has the same force as a written will.

One of the attempts focuses on the last will and testament of the royal advisor Achitofel who joined the rebellion of Avshalom against his father King David. His counsel was not followed by Avshalom and the rebellion failed. In his frustration he went to his house, gave instructions to his family and hung himself (Shmuel II 17:23).

Although there is a hint that these instructions had to do with the distribution of his estate, the gemara rejects this as a source for the aforementioned rabbinical decree because those instructions dealt with other matters. In support of this a beraita is cited which relates that two of Achitofel's final instructions to his sons were based on his own bitter experience.

"Don't get involved in disputes," he told them, "and don't rebel against the royal House of David."

What the Sages Say

"Every student of Torah is dependent on the 'master of the wheat' – the Gemara scholar."

  • Beraita - Bava Batra 145b

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to TalmuDigest

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.