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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 109a

[from the fact] that in one case1  [there are] two [advantages]2  and in the other3  [only] one?4  — The very [law of a son's precedence in the case of the redemption of a] field of [his father's] possession was deduced by the Tanna from this very argument, viz., 'Surely levirate marriages only take place where there is no son, but where there is a son there is no levirate marriage'!5

[But why not] say [thus]: 'His kinsman,6  refers to the father. This teaches that a father takes precedence over a daughter.7  One might [assume] that he [also] takes precedence over [a] son, it was therefore expressly stated that is next [to him],6  [which implies,] he who is nearest takes the precedence'? — Since in respect of levirate marriages a son and a daughter have the same8  standing, a son and a daughter must have the same standing in the case also of inheritance.9  [Why again not] say [thus]: 'His kinsman,6  refers to the father. This teaches that a father takes precedence over the [dead man's] father's brothers. One might [assume] that he also takes precedence over brothers, it was therefore expressly stated, that is next,10  [which implies], he who is nearest takes the precedence'? — The father's brothers do not require any Scriptural text;11  [for] from whom12  do the father's brothers derive their right? From the father; should [then] the brothers of the father inherit when the father [himself] is alive! But, surely, the Scriptural verses are not written in this [order], for it is written, And if his father have no brethren etc.!13  — The verses are not written in [the proper] order14  [of succession].

The following Tanna derives it15  from the following: For it was taught: R. Ishmael, son of R. Jose, gave the following exposition: [It is written,] If a man die, and have no son, [then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter].16  [This implies that] where there is a daughter the inheritance is passed from the father,17  but no inheritance is passed from the father, where there are [only] brothers.18

But [why not] say [thus]? Where there is a daughter the inheritance is passed from the brothers,19

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Lit., 'here', i.e., the case of a son.
  2. The designation of a handmaid, and the redemption of a field of his (father's) possession.
  3. Lit. 'here', i.e., the case of a brother.
  4. That of the levirate marriage.
  5. It was this argument that had confirmed the Tanna in his opinion that a son takes his father's place in the redemption of a field of his father's possession (v. 'Ar, 25b). Without this argument it could not have been proved that a son has any greater claim to the redemption of the field than a brother or any other person. Since this law, then, depends entirely on the argument mentioned, there remains only one independent point in favour of a son's precedence. Hence it was necessary to have recourse to the reply mentioned.
  6. Num. XXVII, 22.
  7. Since she never takes the place of her father either as a son (for designation and redemption), or as brother (for Ievirate marriage).
  8. Whether the dead man has left a son or a daughter, his widow is in either case exempt from levirate marriage; but his being survived by a father does not make any difference.
  9. A daughter, therefore, takes precedence over a father,
  10. Num. XXVII, 11.
  11. To prove that a father takes precedence over them.
  12. Lit., 'on whose strength'.
  13. Ibid. According to this verse, since his kinsman refers to the father, the father's brothers should take precedence over him, for the verse reads, And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman, which implies (cf. the preceding verse), that if he has brothers it is they who inherit, and not he.
  14. Though kinsman, i.e., 'a father', is mentioned after 'a father's brothers', he nevertheless takes precedence over them, by reason of the given argument.
  15. The law that a father takes precedence over the dead man's brothers.
  16. Num. XXVII, 8.
  17. Of the dead man. The phrase [H] (we-ha'abartem) is taken to mean, 'ye shall cause (the inheritance) to pass (from his father) unto his daughter' that is, the father of the deceased is passed over in favour of the daughter.
  18. Of the dead man.
  19. Of the dead, unto his daughter; and accordingly. Num XXVII, 8 should be read and interpreted as follows: If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass (from his brothers) unto his daughter; and if he has no daughter, his brothers inherit from him.
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Baba Bathra 109b

but no inheritance is passed from the father even where there is a daughter'?1  — If so2  the Torah should not have written3  [at all]. Then ye shall cause [his inheritance] to pass [unto his daughter].4

According to him who infers it5  from, then ye shall cause [his inheritance] to pass,6  what is [the phrase], his kinsman, to be applied to? — He applies7  it, to [the following], as it was taught: His kinsman,8  refers to his wife: [and this] teaches that the husband is heir to his wife.9  And according to him who infers its from his kinsman, to what does he apply [the expression], then ye shall cause [his inheritance] to pass?10  — He applies it to [the following]; as it was taught: Rabbi said: In [the case of] all [the relatives],11  [the expression of] 'giving' is used, but here,12  [the expression] used is that of 'causing to pass',13  [in order to teach] you that no other but a daughter causes an inheritance to pass from one tribe to [another] tribe, since [in her case] her son or her husband are her heirs.14

What [reason] is there for deducing that she'ero15  refers to the father? — Because it is written, She is thy father's near kinsman:16  Why not [rather] say [that] she'ero refers to the mother since it is written, She is thy mother's near kinswoman?17  — Raba replied: The Scriptural text says. that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it;18  the family of the father is regarded19  [as the proper] family [but] the family of the mother is not regarded19  [as the proper] family; for it is written, by their families, by their father's houses.20  [But] is not the mother's family regarded19  [as the proper] family? Surely it is written, And there was a young man out of Bethlehem in Judah — of the family of Judah — who was a Levite, and he sojourned there;21  [now], this is self-contradictory, [for] it is said, 'who was a Levite', which clearly indicates that he descended from Levi, [and it is also said], 'of the family of Judah,' which clearly shows that he descended from Judah; must it not then be concluded that his father [was of the tribe] of Levi and his mother [of that] of Judah, and [yet the text] speaks [of him as] 'of the family of Judah'! — Raba, son of R. Hanan, replied: No;22  [he may have been] a man whose name was Levi.23  If so, [is] this [the reason] why Micah said, 'Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite as my priest'?24  — Yes; [he was glad] that he happened to obtain a man whose name was Levi. But was Levi his name? Surely his name was Jonathan, for it is said, And Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites?25  — He said unto him: But [even] according to your argument, [it may be objected], 'Was he the son of Manasseh? Surely he was the son of Moses, for it is written, the son of Moses: Gershom, and Eliezer';26  but [you must say that] because he acted [wickedly] as Manasseh,27  the Scriptural text ascribed his28  descent to Manasseh, [so] also here29  [it may be said that], because he acted [wickedly] as Manasseh who descended from Judah, the Scriptural text ascribed his28  descent to Judah.30  R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: From here [one may infer] that corruption is ascribed28  to the corrupt.31  R. Jose b. Hanina said: [This32  may be inferred] from the following: [It is written,] And he33  was also a very goodly man, and he was born after Absalom;34  was not Adonijah the son of Haggith, and Absalom the son of Maacah? But because he33  acted in the same manner as Absalom who rebelled against the king, the Scriptural text associated35  him with Absalom.

R. Eleazar said: One should always associate36  with good [people]; for behold, from Moses who married the daughter of Jethro,37  there descended Jonathan38  [while] from Aaron, who married the daughter of Amminadab, there descended Phinehas.39  But did not Phinehas descend from Jethro? Surely it is written, And Eleazar40  Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife;41  does not this mean that he descended from Jethro who crammed42  calves for idol worship? — No; [it means] that he descended from Joseph who conquered43  his passions.44  Did not, however, the tribes sneer at him and say.45  'Have you seen this Puti-son?46  A youth whose mother's father crammed calves for idol-worship should kill the head47  of a tribe in Israel!'

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Since the text speaks only of brothers and not of a father, why should it not be assumed that a father takes precedence over a daughter, though not over brothers?
  2. That Num. XXVII, 8 is to be interpreted in the sense that only where there is a daughter does she takes precedence over the brother but where there is no daughter the inheritance is to go to the brothers.
  3. In Num. XXVII, 8.
  4. Since this law is specifically stated in the following verse (ibid 9).
  5. V. p. 451, n. 5.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Lit., 'requires'.
  8. Num. XXVII, 11.
  9. Infra 111b.
  10. Ibid. 8.
  11. Enumerated in Num. XXVII, 9-11.
  12. In the case of a daughter.
  13. Ibid. 8.
  14. V. Infra 147a.
  15. [H] 'Kinsman' or 'kinswoman'.
  16. [H] Lev. XVIII, 12.
  17. [H] Ibid. 13; and consequently, let it be inferred from this text that a mother, like a father, is entitled to inherit from a daughter
  18. Num. XXVII, 11.
  19. Lit., 'called'.
  20. Ibid. I, 22.
  21. Judg. XVII, 7.
  22. His father was not of the tribe of Levi, but of that of Judah.
  23. [H] may be rendered as both 'Levite' and 'Levi'.
  24. If the young man were not of the tribe of Levi, would Micah have been so glad in having secured a mere layman as his priest?
  25. Judg. XVIII, 30. The Danites appropriated Micah's graven and molten images, his ephod and teraphim, and took also with them the young man who was his priest.
  26. I Chron. XXIII, 15.
  27. Manasseh the son of Hezekiah was one of the most wicked kings of Judah. Cf. II kings XXI, 1-17. [In the M.T the [H] of [H] is a litera suspensa: [H].]
  28. Lit., 'hanged him on'.
  29. To harmonise Judg. XVII, 7, with the statement that the family of the mother is not regarded as the proper family.
  30. But, in reality, he may have belonged to the tribe of Levi. Hence, in either ease, Judg. XVII, 7, cannot be adduced as proof that the mother's family is regarded as the proper family.
  31. Micah's priest who ministered to idolatry is described as a descendant of the corrupt king Manasseh.
  32. That corruption is ascribed to the corrupt.
  33. Adonijah.
  34. I Kings I, 6.
  35. V. p. 453. n. 7.
  36. Lit., 'cling to'.
  37. The priest of Midian, an idolater.
  38. An idolatrous priest.
  39. Cf. Num. XXV, 11ff.
  40. The father of Phinehas.
  41. Ex. VI, 25.
  42. [H] regarded as of the same root as Putiel.
  43. [H] 'conquer in argument'.
  44. Cf. Gen. XXXIX, 7ff.
  45. Cf. Sanh. 82b, Sotah, 43a.
  46. Abbreviation of Putiel.
  47. Zimri. v. Num. XXV, 6ff
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