May 292017

There are various halachot that do not apply to a tumtum (one whose genitals are covered up and it is unclear if there are male or female) who is then “opened up” and found to be a male.  One cannot be a firstborn if it is doubtful whether or not he is the firstborn.  The exact situation that this halacha refers to is discussed.  A father is believed to say a particular son is the firstborn but what if there is reason to believe that is not the case (evidence or circumstantial evidence shows otherwise)?

May 282017

A firstborn that protests, his protest is valid.  There is a debate among the Rashbam and Rabbeinu Chananel, what he is protesting.  Limitations are put on this halacha by Rabba.  If a firstborn gives up his rights to a double portion when dividing a particular property, Rav Pappa and Rav Pappi debate (based on a situation where Rava gave a psak about in a different case) whether Rava held that he gave up rights to the double portion of all the properties or only of that particular property?  This debate is based on whether one holds that the firstborn gains rights to his double portion immediately upon the death of the father, even before the land is divided or whether that he gains rights to it only once the property is divided.  The mishna differentiates between a person who says that he will not bequeath the double portion to his firstborn to a person who says he will equally divide his portion.  The first is not allowed as it goes against what it says in the Torah and the second is allowed because it is viewed as a gift.  One needs to use the language of a gift in order to bypass Torah laws of inheritance.  What type of proof can be used to prove one is the firstborn in order to get the double portion?

May 262017

Study Guide Bava Batra 124-125

Does the firstborn get the double portion of the increased value of possessions that belonged to the father but were not in the hands of the father at the time of death (they were on loan or had wandered off)?  What is a loan is returned from a non Jew – does he get double from the loan and from the interest?

May 252017

How is the double portion calculated – two times a portion that all the other brothers get or two-thirds of the whole property?  The answer is derived from several verses and the gemara explains why all are necessary.  Mist of the proofs are from Joseph’s double portion.  The gemara then diverges into the details of how Joseph got the firstborn inheritance and other details of the Jacob/Leah/Rachel/Lavan/Esau narrative are brought.  A braita describes various things of which the firstborn receives a double portion and the gemara explains each case.

May 242017

How was the land divided – into twelve equal portions or by equal portions for each individual Israelite?  Some type of compensation (either in land or financial) took place by those who received greater portions or those who received portions closer to Jerusalem.    The land was divided by a lottery and the urim and tumim.  The gemara discusses how the process worked.  In Yechezkel, the future land distribution is discussed and the gemara discusses the differences and describes what the 13th portion mentioned there will be.  The next mishna describes similarities between sons and daughters regarding inheritance and also differences between when they inherit from their mothers or their fathers.  The rabbis have several attempts to explain in what aspect is the mishna referring to in making the comparisons between sons and daughters.

May 232017

From where does Beit Shammai learn that hatarat nedarim can be done with 3 regular people (since he doesn’t hold by the gzeira shava of “ze hadavar”)?  What are the five reasons given for the celebration of Tu B’av?  There are seven people who together span all the generations?  From Adam to Eliyahu Hanavi, who, based on masoret, never died.

May 222017

Study Guide Bava Batra 120

If the daughters of Tzlofchad got married so late, how did they have children?  A miracle happened to them and it is compared to Yocheved giving birth to Moshe at an old age.  The gemara explains the whole chronology of the Yocheved narrative and how it is clear she was so old when Moshe was born.  In telling the narrative, they also resolve other difficulties in the verses.   The daughters of Tzlofchad are mentioned twice in a different order each time.  The gemara explain what one can learn from this.  The daguhters of Tzlofchad were able to marry anyone they wanted, yet it was recommended they marry within the tribe.  however, a commandment was given to the other women in their generation who inherited land that they could only marry within their tribe.  This was a commandment only for that generation.  The gemara explains from words in the verse how we know it wasn’t forever and then questions that explanation based two other places where the same words are mentioned and the commandment is also for future generations.

May 212017

In today’s daf the daughters of Tzlofchad are praised for their intelligence and for their ability to interpret texts (and their righteousness that they didn’t marry until age 40 – they waited until they found men who were worthy).  They weren’t afraid to stand up before the people and demand what they thought was rightfully theirs.  And as a result, they were respected and received what was rightfully theirs.  The Oral Torah, with the Gemara at its center, belongs to both men and women and should be taught and interpreted by both men and women to men and women.

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May 212017

How did the daughters of Tzlofchad inherit Tzlofchad’s double portion from his father if one only inherits a double portion that the eldest inherited in his lifetime?  One opinion is brought to explain what exactly it was that Moshe didn’t know with regard to both the daughters of Tzolfchad and the man who was chopping trees on Shabbat, both cases where Moshe had to turn to God for an advice.  This opinion minimizes what Moshe didn’t know.  He says that it was specifically regarding the double portion and not the inheritance in general.  The virtues of the daughters of Tzlofchad are delineated – their intelligence, their ability to interpret the verses in the Torah and their righteousness.