in order that an animal may not jump [over the wall]. Let, then, the big trench be made1 and not [also] the small one? — Since it is wide, [the animal] might stand in it and jump. Then let the smaller trench be made and not the bigger one? Since it is small, [the animal] might stand on the [outer] edge and jump. How much [space must there be] between the bigger, and the smaller trench? — One handbreadth.
MISHNAH. SOME [RELATIVES] INHERIT [FROM], AND TRANSMIT [TO EACH OTHER];2 SOME INHERIT3 BUT DO NOT TRANSMIT;4 [SOME] TRANSMIT RUT DO NOT INHERIT, [AND SOME] NEITHER INHERIT NOR TRANSMIT. THE FOLLOWING INHERIT [FROM], AND TRANSMIT [TO EACH OTHER]: A FATHER [INHERITS FROM,5 AND TRANSMITS TO HIS] SONS, AND SONS [INHERIT FROM, AND TRANSMIT TO THEIR] FATHER; AND BROTHERS FROM THE [SAME] FATHER6 INHERIT [FROM], AND TRANSMIT [TO EACH OTHER].7 A MAN [INHERITS FROM] HIS MOTHER AND [FROM] HIS WIFE [BUT DOES NOT TRANSMIT HIS ESTATE TO THEM8 IF HE DIES FIRST]; AND SISTERS' SONS INHERIT [FROM THEIR UNCLES] BUT DO NOT TRANSMIT [THEIR ESTATES TO THEM].9 A WOMAN [TRANSMITS HER ESTATE TO] HER SONS AND A WIFE [TO] HER HUSBAND [BUT THEY DO NOT INHERIT FROM THEM]; AND MOTHER'S BROTHERS TRANSMIT [THEIR ESTATES TO THEIR NEPHEWS] BUT DO NOT INHERIT [FROM] THEM. AND BROTHERS FROM THE [SAME] MOTHER NEITHER INHERIT [FROM], NOR TRANSMIT [TO EACH OTHER].10
GEMARA. Why does the Mishnah teach first, THE FATHER [INHERITS FROM, AND TRANSMITS TO HIS] SONS, let it first teach, THE SONS [INHERIT FROM, AND TRANSMIT TO THEIR] FATHER, for, in the first place,11 one should not commence with [something suggestive of] misfortune12
Baba Bathra 108b
and, secondly,1 [one should follow the order of the Torah,] as it is written, If a man die and have no son?2 — The Tanna prefers3 [to begin with the case of a father who is heir to his son] because this [law] has been arrived at through an exposition. What is the exposition? — It has been taught: His kinsman,4 refers to the [dead man's] father. This teaches that a father takes precedence5 over brothers. One might [assume] that he also takes precedence over a son, [therefore] it was expressly stated, that is next [to him],6 [which implies] he who is nearest7 takes precedence. What reason is there8 for including the son9 and excluding the brother? — The son is included because, as is known,10 he is [entitled] to take his father's place in designating [the Hebrew handmaid of his father to be his wife],11 and [also in the redeeming] of a field of [his father's] possession.12 On the contrary! [Rather say:] 'The brother is included because he also takes the place of his brother in the case of a levirate marriage.'13 Surely levirate marriage only takes place where there is no son, but where there is a son there is no levirate marriage.14
[From what has been said it appears] that the [only] reason [for the precedence of a son is] that there is this reply,15 but had it not [been] so, it would have been held [that] a brother takes precedence, [but cannot] this [law]16 be deduced
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