Sunday, May 18, 2014

Daughters inheriting: Forcing the involvement of secular courts instead of beis din

Friday night in the minyan I attended which is 99% kollel guys  - a dayan had been chosen to be the guest speaker before Maariv. He went into great detail describing the suffering and cruelty that he has observed when frum people insist on following the Torah law that wife and daughters do not inherit. In particular he mentioned a case in Bnei Brak involving one of the most distinguished families where a fight has continued for 30 years over whether the daughters receive part of the inheritance. 

His solution shocked me. It was to ignore the Torah and rabbinic law in these cases and instead either bypass beis din and go to the secular courts or extort a settlement from the male heirs. He said that in Israel if the daughters or wife do not sign the will then beis din has no power to deal with it and it automatically goes to secular court where there is an equitable distribution of the inheritance. Therefore he said that they should not sign the will or alternatively they should extort the mail heir and only sign on the condition that 50% of the estate goes to them.

Not only did no one stone him but no one even made a comment. Is this standard procedure these days?

While Rav Moshe Feinstein and others describe ways or bypassing the Torah requirements for inheritance - I am not aware of any call to not only ignore Torah and Rabbinic law but also to deliberately bypass beis din in favor of secular courts.

82 comments :

  1. What is really shocking is that you are shocked by this. How could you possibly think that today it would be right for wives and daughters to not get equal shares? Society has moved on;women are no longer in the same position and some laws are no longer relevant. Jewish law is full of amendments to make it compatible with reality such as pruzbul. Women not inheriting is a law that just doesn't work today.

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    1. One rule for us Another for you. How can this be fair?

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    2. @dovid you totally missed my point. I noted that there are recognized ways of dealing with laws that "don't work". Most of us sell our chametz, Rav Moshe Feinstein describes making an artificial debt to get to deal with inheritance issues etc etc etc.

      But here we have someone who says to deliberately bypass beis din in favor of the secular courts. There are other ways of dealing with the issue.

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    3. @fair maiden you also missed my point but in the opposite direction. Laws that are no longer serving their purpose because society has changed can be altered or bypassed in various ways.

      My question was not about whether the Torah law is fair. However since this can be handled without deliberately bypassing beis din - the question is why an approach which bypasses beis din being suggested?

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    4. Not only did no one stone him but no one even made a comment.

      What about yourself?

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    5. There is a "shtar chatzi chozer" halachic will that takes care of this problem, accepted by all authorities. Why didnt the father / husband use it?

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    6. DT: Beis Din cannot force the sons to give the daughters a share if the sons do not consent to it (and there was no will specifying the daughters get a share.)

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    7. "the question is why an approach which bypasses beis din being suggested"

      Might be because batei din are no longer serving their purpose because society has changed.

      Or because batey din prefer not to alter or bypass the original law in the torah and would rather have secular courts do it.

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    8. @Patience we start with the assumption that beis din the place to deal with these issues. If there is change then rabbis such as Rav Moshe Feinstein suggest ways of dealing with it at the same time maintaing respect for beis din. The issue here is that this dayan is suggesting is just dumping beis din by not signing the will and use the secular system.

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  2. As I understand it in Jewish law inheritance goes to the males or sons
    If this is the case, why should a female feel she will treated fairly by the Beth Din, unless my understanding is wrong?

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    1. @fair maiden the focus of this blog is not to justify the Torah. The value of the Torah as G-d given laws is a given. My interest is to understand what the halacha is and how halachic authorities deal with real life situations. Inherent in the system of halacha is the ability to respond to changes in society. My question dealt with the nature of that change regarding inheritance laws.

      There is a strong body of laws concerning respecting the beis din system. Once you have accepted that - then the question can be asked, "In the context of the need to respect beis din how should the issue of inheritance be dealt with in modern society."





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  3. This guest speaker is a joker. To call the Torah "cruel"? His yichus should be checked.

    Let Torah Law and Halacha reign supreme.

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  4. One is saddened by the comments of both Dovid and Fair Maiden, both of which betray significant ignorance. Dovid feels that he has a right to comment on a blatant violation of Torah law when done directly while being totally ignorant that Halachic authorities have long ago solved the problem (including some, such as R' Moshe zt"l who might even have agreed with the dayan mentioned.) Fair Maiden has no business commenting on an issue of which she is clearly ignorant without understanding anything that Dr. Eidensohn wrote. More examples of how the web encourages people to believe that everyone, regardless of how little knowledge they have about an issue, has a right to an opinion that should be taken seriously.

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    1. And then the blog author... He implied that there can be "Laws that are no longer serving their purpose because society has changed"....

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    2. @patience you have had a constant focus on showing that the Torah system or wrong, outdated, invalid, etc etc. That is not my focus or interest in this blog.

      In the same way I don't sit around thinking that the law of gravity or other natural laws are not fair or that there are aspects of existence that I would not have made if I were G-d - I accept the validity of the Torah as G-d given laws as well as rabbinical authority to modulate and interpret those laws according to the needs of society.

      My patience and tolerance for your attack questions has ended and I am simply not allowing through any of your comments that questions or denigrates the Torah system. This applies also to your huge volume of nasty comments and disorted understanding dealing with spousal rape. It is clear that you have issues that have nothing to do with halacha. I welcome question that seek clarification but not ones that demand a justification or seek to ridicule halacha or the system in general.

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  5. Wives and daughters dont inherit, but they get mezonot (= living expenses) that has precedence over inheritances.

    By the way, does the dayan object to caeserian born (pretty common) bechorim not inheriting "pi shnayim" ( = double portion) ?

    My mothers uncle lived in his wifes apt till he died a decade later. The yorshim (it was a second marriage; both were widowed) then sued his estate for a decades worth of rent, per secular law. So there are legal inequities there too.

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    1. Only unmarried daughters get mezonos.

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    2. caeserian births do not affect a bchors status under halacha regarding yerusha.

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    3. Zalman - you are wrong. See Mishna Bechoros 47b יוצא דופן והבא אחריו שניהן אינן בכור לא לנחלה ולא לכהן. The Halacha follows the Tanna Kamma, not R' Shimon.

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    4. Chaim: What makes you think we pasken like the Tanna Kamma and not R' Shimon rather than the reverse?

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    5. As we do always - and here, we have an explicit Rambam (Hil. Nachalos 2:11) and Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 277:7).

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  6. What is the heter going against the Torah that says that only sons inherit. If a secular awards the daughters equal inheritance, it is gezeila on their part to accept it. Is that not true?

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  7. Everybody today is frum until it comes to money $$$$$$$. An utter disgrace. I sure hope this dayan did not belong to the Aida or to rav nissim karelitz bais din. which bais din was he from?

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  8. Isn't the solution of a fictional debt only possible prior to death? What else can be offered to the daughters once the sons become yorshim min hatorah?

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  9. R' Daniel,

    I am not sure about the case you are referring to when talk about the wife and daughters signing. As far as my limited knowledge informs me , if there is no will , the Israeli law holds that wife gets – I think half – and the kids share equally . If the sons want to follow Torah law they need written consent from the females. There is a halachic question if the women can demand compensation for their signatures.

    I heard in France all kids share equally by law . As we know , there is hardly a family that has not been affected by the inheritance mess , maybe the French have a good idea.

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    1. Torah law takes precedence over Israeli law. Whether the issue is inheritance or personal monetary disputes or other things.

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  10. The Beis din system is dysfunctional. Thus the suggestion to go to secular court is no surprise.

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  11. Not only did no one stone him but no one even made a comment. Is this standard procedure these days?

    i believe that not stoning someone is standard procedure today, yes.

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  12. I am quite shocked by your story. I would certainly accord this 'Dayan' any respect.
    I do want to point out that in a society where the women are expected to be the breadwinners it is only natural that they would expect a share of the inheritance (if not all of it).
    On the other hand, if men upheld the responsibilities they accepted upon themselves in the ksuba, there might actually be acceptance of male inheritance as laid down in the Torah.
    BTW - How would this 'Dayan' view the money that a secular court would give a woman from an inheritance? Theft? A gift? From whom? I mean really - this is stolen money by the Torah's definition.

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    1. There is a related problem. If the sons owe money to others and yet they agree that there sisters should also inherit - it means effectively they are denying money they legitimately had to repay their debts. Do they have a right to be generous to their sisters at the expense of their creditors?

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    2. Very good point!

      Exactly the same problems applies if the daughters or the wife have debts that should be enforced by a civil court... In this case, she cannot renounce her part of the heritage, and I suppose that the debt will be collected from the heritage.

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    3. DT227pm: this is done all the time in the US. Its called renouncing an inherirance, and is dependent on trusting brothers / sisters / other inheritors to give the money anyway, under the table. Not a jewish trick. Everyone, the judges, lawyers, etc know whats going on, so its not fraud. (Though there might be tax implications, thats usually minimal.)

      There is a variation of this -- a couple divorces legally, and splits the assets such that a debtor spouse has little assets. Since the couple still lives together, the debtor spouse doesnt mind. Everyone, the judge, the lawyers, etc know whats going on, so its not really creditor fraud. And there's no direct tax implications.

      Donal Trump did a variation of this in his first divorce but there he reportedly / supposedly had a negative net worth, and his free assets went to the children. Supposedly.

      Dont know israeli law on these tricks, but torah law will prob not allow this, subject to the ketubah amount (which even the wife's yorshim inherit. However, the american ashkenazi ketubah is really worthless. Israeli and sfardi ketubah might be another story.)

      By the way, the ketubah amount overrides this dayan's arguments, unless he wants to undo the ketubah, too.

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    4. patience: A husband and father is NOT liable for any debt incurred by his wife and daughters. Therefore his estate and yerusha is not responsible for covering such debts.

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  13. It appears that Dina d'Malchuso Dina does not apply here.

    It is understood that Israel may not be a legitimate authority to legislate laws to be halachically recognize as Dina d'Malchuso but can anyone explain why the law of the land such as in the USA does not apply?

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    1. Because when secular national laws and Halacha/Torah law are in conflict on a matter, Halacha/Torah law trumps non-Jewish secular/national law.

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  14. Please let us know if this dayan is fron the rabbanut?

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  15. " He said that in Israel if the daughters or wife do not sign the will then beis din has no power to deal with it and it automatically goes to secular court where there is an equitable distribution of the inheritance."

    This alone strikes me as grossly unjust. In Anglo-American law, the number one consideration is that the expressed will of the deceased be carried out. The children don't have to sign or agree to anything.

    If the father left his estate to be distributed al pi halacha, and/or by a beis din, then the secular state has no business interfering and requiring something different or the consent of someone else.

    (There was a recent case in the mid-west where a will provided that any grandchild that intermarried would be cut out of the inheritance. Although some grandchildren argued that such violated public policy, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed such a clause. That is what the deceased wanted, and he was mentally competent, so that controls.)

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  16. This is the outcome when the Rabbonim dont protest when the women proceed to civil court for their divorce settlements. Once you look away in Divorce matters then of course women will do the same in other matters!

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    1. Might also be that laws that unilaterally favor men do not serve their purpose any more, because society has changed and they are viewed as unfair....

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  17. zalman - Torah law takes precedence over Israeli law. Whether the issue is inheritance or personal monetary disputes or other things.

    Not quite – the issue is not which law takes precedence, but whether rightly or wrongly a situation has been created where the sons' hands are tied and cannot touch the money unless the women sign waiving their rights. This situation is not one which the women created and the halacha does not force them to sign . The question is whether they can ask for money in return for signing.
    One of the ways the halacha addresses the new reality by writing chatzi ( shaleim ) sh'tar s'char where - if I am getting it right - the father writes a sh'tar chov for a huge fortune to his daughter who in return for an equal or less share will renounce her claim etc

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    1. Allan Katz: The women must refuse to accept any money and inheritance that they are not halachicly entitled to even if they are entitled to it under secular law. To do otherwise they are thieves stealing from the rightful halachic owner/inheritor.

      Even if she does not sign it is forbidden for her to accept any of the money.

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    2. I am speaking of a situation where the deceased left no will.

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    3. Actually, Halacha does say they have to sign. If the brothers own property that the court will not release to them because of the lack of a signature of a sister, they are obligated due to השבת אבידה to sign those papers. Charging money for saving their brothers from monetary loss is ossur and a disgusting way to treat a brother. They can inherit from their husbands' parents if they want money, but to steal money from others and whine for fairness is just wrong.

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  18. ZalmanMay 18, 2014 at 3:04 PM
    Torah law takes precedence over Israeli law. Whether the issue is inheritance or personal monetary disputes or other things.
    Not quite – the issue is not which law takes precedence, but whether rightly or wrongly a situation has been created where the sons' hands are tied and cannot touch the money unless the women sign waiving their rights. This situation is not one which the women created and the halacha does not force them to sign . The question is whether they can ask for money in return for signing.
    One of the ways the halacha addresses the new reality by writing chatzi ( shaleim ) sh'tar s'char where - if I am getting it right - the father writes a sh'tar chov for a huge fortune to his daughter who in return for an equal or less share will renounce her claim etc

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  19. What about the Women who take out these Restraining Orders on their Husband in order to get revenge and Have their husbands arrested and take away the home, custudym, and visitation rights

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    1. If the husband did something to deserve it: too bad for him. Women and children have to be protected against domestic violence...

      If she just invented it, he should fight in court, and chances are that the truth will be uncovered.

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    2. If he just unjustly withholds the Get, she should fight in beis din, and chances are that the truth will be uncovered.

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  20. Torah knows our natureMay 19, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    I think the main problem in all these debates where even honest, frum jews start to prefer the negative influence of western culture over our eternal torah laws is that they have a misconception about the nature of men and women.

    Nashim Datan kalot - a woman's intellect is not made to sit and deal with money and figures. That's why the torah protects them by attributing the responsibility for all economic transactions to the men, who, by nature, are more apt to conduct such transactions successfully.

    This is why women cannot be witnesses - they should not be exposed to the hardships of a cross-examination. And this is why women are not really considered economic subjects, but all transactions related to money are in the realm of men. And this is the reason why daughters should not inherit: they are safe under the custody of their husbands.

    So whoever prefers to follow hukas ha goyim instead of our holy torah is doubly wrong: for one, the act against the nature of men and women, and secondly they ignore that the boreh is the one who knows his briot best and gave them a torah for their own good.

    Therefore, I cannot understand why Rabbi Eidensohn writes that laws of the torah on inheritance "do not work" or "should be bypassed".

    Rabbi Eidensohn, can you tell us clearly where you stand on this question? Should the torah be altered or bypassed to allow daughters to get a portion of their father's estate, along with the sons?

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    1. who, by nature, are more apt to conduct such transactions successfully

      OK you convinced me to fire my female (chareidi) accountant. i always suspected that there was something wrong with her. i never knew that it was that she has two X chromosomes.

      but all transactions related to money are in the realm of men

      when torah is the law of the land, the first thing we need to do is to limit any financial transaction made by women to say 75 shekels or less. the men can do the shopping.

      anyway, i suspect that the post is a caricature.

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    2. I think your analysis is nonsense. You obviously haven't met women who can deal with money, facts etc - but they exist and they are not rare. Daatan kolos is a vague concept which probably is more cultural than inherent - expecially in regards to intellectual achievement. In Shabbos (33b) it refers to their lesser ability to withstand torture.

      If you are at all familiar with rabbinic laws , such decrees as Rabbeinu Gershom, selling chametz, heter iskah, etc tec etc - Torah laws are bypassed or effectually abrogated. It is a question of how it is done. Torah is not being altered. I assume you are aware of Rav Moshe's teshuva to allow bypassing Torah inheritance laws? There is an excellent tape by Rav Herschel Schacter on the topic "Does Halacha change in Modern Times"

      http://download.yutorah.org/2013/14221/790355/Does%20Halacha%20Change%20in%20Modern%20Times.MP3

      Bottom line - I agree with the goal for women to get equitable distribution. My problem is with the way the issue was presented and the solution.

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    3. Question for Daas Torah:

      Was it always the intention of the Torah that women should receive an equal share via circumventing the law of Yerusha? If not, when did things change - and what exactly changed - to the point that now the "goal" is for women to receive an equal share?

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    4. Torah knows our natureMay 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      In this case, both of you should stop praying for biyat ha mashiach - because you do not want the jewish people to live in a jewish state ACCORDING TO THE TORAH.

      You have succumbed to the lures of western (a)morality.

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    5. Well stated "Torah knows our nature".

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    6. dear TKON: nu b'emet. that type of claim is nothing more than the frum version of Samuel Johnson's famous dictum.

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    7. Chaim wrote:
      Question for Daas Torah:

      Was it always the intention of the Torah that women should receive an equal share via circumventing the law of Yerusha? If not, when did things change - and what exactly changed - to the point that now the "goal" is for women to receive an equal share?


      The concept of Torah is eternal means that the laws of the Torah are never changed. It is clear though that they can sometimes be modified or abrogated for a period of time. The rabbinic authorities of a particular time make the decision. This is elementary to anyone who has studied gemora and the takanos and gezeiros which have been made.

      I don't have an answer for the reason or time frame - I am dealing with the reality of our present time. The same goes for women learning Torah today or selling chametz or heter iska etc etc.

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    8. Torah knows our natureMay 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      In this case, both of you should stop praying for biyat ha mashiach - because you do not want the jewish people to live in a jewish state ACCORDING TO THE TORAH.

      You have succumbed to the lures of western (a)morality.

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      You are an ignoramus. You are attacking Rabbeinu Gershon for giving women the right to refuse a get and prohibiting men from exercising their Torah prerogative of having more than one wife. You are criticizing the creators of heter iska, the ones who support beis yaakov etc etc etc. Please study some elementary yiddishkeit before you make a fool of yourself

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    9. Many are still against woman learning Torah, shebal peh. Thus no gemora.

      And there is no teshuvos saying we are allowed to abrogate Torah laws on yerusha.

      Remember, RDE, you demanded RHS or anyone write a teshuva if they feel there is a need to change age old halachic laws regarding gittin, maos alei, and whether woman can demand a Get today whereas they were not entitled to it in the past halachicly?

      Same here RDE. If any rabbi feels Torah law should be changed on yerusha he must write a teshuva. Rav Moshes teshuva ONLY allows the deceased to have written a will before his passing giving his daughters a portion. But that is only at his initiative. If he wrote no such Will providing the daughters a portion, the girls have no basis to demand a yerusha.

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    10. Torah knows our natureMay 19, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      "Torah is eternal means that the laws of the Torah are never changed."

      therefore, what is right or wrong can never be changed, because the torah is the truth, and truth is eternal. the torah states explicitly that sons inherit, their sisters do not. So how can you say this wrong, or not moral, or injust?

      Heter iska is not really a problem for me, it's a way of describing what is allowed, in order not to do what is forbidden.

      The bans of Rabbeinu Gershon, on the other hand, are a huge problem in my view, because it throws off balance the whole matrimonial system of the torah with the conception of the roles inherent in it.

      I understand that the authorities in ashkenas would have banned polygamy anyway, so Rabbi Gershon - or his contemporaries - might have had to act.

      However, it was a big mistake to renew the ban, and even a bigger mistake to apply it to the state of Israel, even for edot ha misrah. This is, amont many others, one point proving that Israel is not a true jewish state and has not been built on torah values.

      If you are so ready to change the matrimonial system - why not also change the get procedures, while you are at it, and just leave it to the secular courts? That's more or less what rabbi Gershon did.

      I think it would have been preferable to collectively emigrate to islamic states where there was no conflict of values in this realm.

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    11. There is an important distinction here. Many of the laws of the Torah can be Halachically circumvented, such as selling Chametz, heter iska etc. You could also breed a בן פקועה farm if you wanted to avoid the איסור טריפות.

      Other Halachos can become inapplicable during a certain time period, either [1] if the Poskim argue that the Halacha was never applicable under the present circumstances, or [2] based on the principle of עת לעשות לה'. An example of this would be women learning Torah nowadays (Rav Rakeffet's analysis shows that the Gedolim offered different rationales for the Heter, some along the lines of [1] and some based on [2]).The rules of when these principles can be applied must be determined by the Poskim.

      I am not contesting that the laws of Yerusha can be circumvented in order to give daughters an equal share - the question is on what do you base your assertion that there is any imperative in the present time to do so. Which Poskim speak about this need, as they do regarding the three examples you cited? Or is Rabbeinu Gershom a precedent for circumventing any Halacha which seems incompatible with the zeitgeist?

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    12. Still waiting for an answer - what is your reason for wanting to achieve the goal of equal distribution?

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    13. To Rabbi Eidensohn,

      Could you please tell me, for future reference, the rules by which you decide whether or not to answer questions posed to you?

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    14. there are no rules. However Allan Katz answered your question. I didn't understand why you didn't understand.

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    15. OK, Thank you. I actually disagree with Allan's reasoning, definitely in regard to establishing a general policy. Perhaps on a case-to-case basis there is room for employing the (kosher) legal loopholes available with which to bypass the male-only law of Yerusha, and to a large degree, this is already being done. Obviously, you disagree, and feel that the "reality of the times" necessitates equal apportioning. Let's agree to disagree.

      But I ask you again - can you name one Posek who feels the way you do?

      P.S. What is your take on the current reality of the times in regard to the double portion of the Bechor?

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    16. Or is Rabbeinu Gershom a precedent for circumventing any Halacha which seems incompatible with the zeitgeist?
      Read the Pitchei Teshuva EvH"E 1:16. He pretty much explains why Rabbeinu Gershom was able to do what he did.

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  21. Daughters can only get "equitable distribution" if the deceased left a will specifying they should. In the absence of any will default Torah Law applies of mezonos for wife and only-unmarried daughters and the entire estate is divided between the sons with the bchor, if any, getting a double-portion.

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  22. "It is clear though that they can sometimes be modified or abrogated for a period of time. The rabbinic authorities of a particular time make the decision."

    So what's your problem with the ruling addressed in this post (that heritage matters should be left to secular court), all the more so when you "agree with the goal for women to get equitable distribution" (which probably cannot be reached by a beith din if there is no "kosher" will).

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  23. How about the halacha that only a husband inherits his wife. Should wr get rid of that, too?

    My solution would be "financial planning ".

    A couple, every couple of years, meets with their lawyer, acct, rav, financial planner, etc and writes a new ketubah and will (with shtar chatzi chozer, etc) spelling out how assets should be distributed upon dissolution of marriage, etc

    And the ketubah should not be a meani.gless 200 / 100 zuz, but actual dollars, euros, shekel tzamud, etc. (Gold or silver if properly denominated; ROY z"l denominated 200 zuzim at $78 since it wasnt otherwise specified.)

    For some reason ashkenazim in ch"ul maintain this halachic fictipn of 200 / 100 zuzim.

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    1. "My solution would be "financial planning ".

      Mine too. The couple should agree and make a contract that works both before a beith din and a civil court.

      "How about the halacha that only a husband inherits his wife. Should wr get rid of that, too?"

      This is actually a problem for widows with children, who want to remarry, but want their own children, and not his children to inherit her assets.

      So I went and asked a sheelah, and the answer was that under halacha, the couple can also make a marriage contract and agree on whatever they want..

      So where is the problem?

      "And the ketubah should not be a meani.gless 200 / 100 zuz, but actual dollars,"

      And it is important that the sum be actually exist and should be set aside.

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    2. most pre nups are written for the exact purpose you describe of protecting inheritances for children of the first marriage. not for social engineering purposes. and the ketubah contract is actually a pre nup.

      as for setting it aside, there are civil issues with pre and post marriage liens on assets, even if money (or more properly assets) is set aside. unless its filed as a mortgage, which has other implications, and can be challenged as a fictitious mortgage (fictitious meaning no money changed hands, thus the mortgage is invalid. marriage is not consideration, per "public policy".) halacha provides a lien (if there is something to lien on), but not as currently practiced. my method would reinstate the lien halachic-wise.

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    3. So I conclude that this problem (inheritance or non-inheritance for daughters when there are sons) as well as the other problem (splitting assets, alimony, child support in the case of divorce) only exist because the rabbis, couples, parents are not doing their work: they should generalize marriage contracts and wills that should be agreed on before marriage / death.

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  24. Zalman,
    Where a woman refuses to sign and participate in the Beis Din process where the men give her money for her signature , Beis Din are unlikely to deal with the case and will allow the men to go to the secular courts. I agree what the woman is awarded by the secular courts is gezel and she cannot take the money. However there is no problem in her being compensated by the men in the Beis Din process.

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    1. The brothers are under to halachic obligation to agree to compensate the sisters for her signature. And if they choose their right to not compensate the sisters, the sisters still have no right to insist on receiving part of the inheritance.

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  25. The tendency today is to try using halachic tools to achieve a more equitable distribution between men and women. The reality has changed a lot – in the past the men took over the father's business etc but today women are running businesses , are employers and the men are sitting and learning in Kollel . ( This makes the Ketuvah reading a little bit of a joke.) In a discussion on the subject of inheritance my dayan friend laughed when he said because the roles have been changed maybe women should be the ones who inherit. He said the problem of inheritance had not only to do with money but was an emotional issue as the ' adult kids' felt they were not considered part of the family or an equal child if they did not get an equal share. It is hard to find a family that has not been split by inheritance issues . For this reason I can understand what I was told about the French system – no wills – all kids get an equal share

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    1. In my country, the default split is half for the spouse and equal shares on the other half for the children.

      the portion of the spouse can be reduced by half, the portion of each child can be reduced by 1/4. Further reductions are only possible in very extreme cases (when child killed parent and the like).

      Of course, every child is also free to refuse inheritance, but this has to be the heirs initiative, they cannot be forced to do it.

      so you claim: if a jewish parent makes no halachically correct will, and the daughters do NOT refuse their part of the heritage, they commit gezel?

      Can a beith din try and pressure the daughters to refuse the heritage? Like throwing their children out of school, putting them in cherem, etc?

      If a brother somehow has the occasion to take the money back from the sister (e.g. he asks her for a loan), can he keep it (i.e. can he refuse to pay the loan back, she has to go to beith din, beith din will say that the brother can keep the money from the loan?)

      Are there deadlines, according to halacha, for the brothers to claim the money back?

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    2. The inheritance are halachicly only entitled to by the brothers and not the sisters. And the brothers can halachicly enforce this right of theirs in beis din. Even if non-Jewish local secular law is different. If the daughters insist on using non-Jewish law to take part of the inheritance they are thieves under Torah law. The brothers can seize the money the sisters stole in however long it takes them to do so.

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  26. "bottom line - I agree with the goal for women to get equitable distribution."

    I think that if this is your goal, beith din is not an appropriate path.

    You could launch an awareness-campaign so that all parents leave a halachically correct will for equal distribution. But once the death occurred without a will, there is nothing a beith din can do to insure equal shares for daughters.

    So either the family members agree among them - then there is no need for Beith din or for secular court. But if the sons go to beith din asking for their share, I suppose there is nothing you can do to save the daughter's shares - exept send them to civil court.

    So the solution they found seems to be quite appropriate for the situation, if the aim is to insure equal parts for daughters: they leave civil court as default solution, and allow beith din - which will automatically favor sons - only if the disadvantaged parties (wife and daughters) explicitly agree.

    On the other hand, if your goal is to carry out what the torah says - sons inherit, wives and daughters don't - then beith din is the appropriate venue.

    In the realm of "morality", I think that this problem is very similar to the question of divorce settlements in civil courts - where some claim that it would be gezel to accept child support, alimony and splitting of assets as decided by the civil court.

    In both cases, the problem can be prevented by taking adequate measures (marriage contract, will) before the situation arises.

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    Replies
    1. It is against halacha for anyone, i.e. the daughters, to use secular court.

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    2. Pateince , as mentioned above - compensation for her signature is the one option avaliable

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    3. The sons have no interest in paying compensation for the signature, and there is no halachic justification to require the signature.

      So either there is a will, fine, or they agree amiably, fine. But if there is no will, and no amicable solution, there is no bridge between beith din and daughters getting a fair share.

      Since you say it is gezel to take it when secular law attributes the wife and daughters their share, and that the sons might use every means at their disposal to recover the "stolen" assets - this is tantamount to saying that daughters should not inherit.

      Because then there are two possibilities:
      - either the family agrees to go to the beith din in the first place, and the sons will inherit, the daughters get nothing.

      - or the women refuse to sign. They go to secular court. Secular court attributes a share of the assets to them. But it is gezel. So the sons, who happen to hold the bank account, take it all the same, because they are allowed to retrieve the assets. The women are forbidden to go to secular court to take the assets from the sons. Any beith din would say the sons are right and what are the women complaining about. If the women go to secular court to retrieve the assets, back to square one, it is gezel. So they have the assets, but they stole them.

      Or the wife/daughters have access to the assets, so they can take their share, but they stole it.

      It is impossible to reconcile beith din and equal share for daughters, as the blog owner says he wants.

      So either the women of the family accept that they get nothing, or they go to secular court - and reject halacha as the blog owner and many commentators see it.

      You cannot say you want to respect halacha and let daughters get a fair share - if there is no will. It is either - or.

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    4. "this is tantamount to saying that daughters should not inherit."

      That's what the Torah says.

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  27. If the brothers ignore the Beis Din and go to a secular court , according to the Ma'ari Assad they de facto given a part of their share to the woman and the woman can keep it

    ReplyDelete

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