May 192017

How were the portions distributed when B’nei Yisrael got to the land?  3 different approaches are mentioned.  There were various people who didn’t receive portions such as the spies and those who followed Korach.  What happened to their portions?

May 182017

Rabbi Yochanan quotes an opinion of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai saying that one who doesn’t leave sons to inherit, will be the subject of God’s wrath.  This leads to a discussion in the gemara relating to what kind of legacy one must leave – a son?  A student?  A son who follows in the father’s ways?  Rami bar Hama has some questions regarding cases of inheritance when there are no sons, daughters or father?  His questions derive from the last line in the mishna  – “The father comes before all those who descend from him.”   Who does the “him” refer to?  There is a tannaitic debate regarding how the land was diviided up when they reached Israel – based on those who left Egypt (over age 20) who were no longer alive when they entered the land or based on those who came to Israel?  Or based on both?

May 172017

Study Guide Bava Batra 115

In the wake of the discussion between Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Yehuda, the gemara finds a contradiction of sorts in the mishna and resolves it.  The mishna discusses the order of inheritance – if one is not alive, it first goes to their descendants before it continues to the next level.  There was a big debate between the Tzedukim and the Rabbis about a case where there are 2 siblings – a son and daughter but the son is no longer alive and his daughter precedes his sister for their father’s inheritance.  The Tzedukim say that the sister and the granddaughter split it 50/50.  Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai debates them and wins and sets the law according to traditional halacha.

May 162017

One cannot divide inheritance at night.  What exactly this statement means is explained by the gemara, based on a braita and a statement made by Rav Yehuda and Rav Hisda.  The statement of Rav Yehuda relates to the concept discussed in other places that a witness can’t also function as a judge.  What exactly is meant by a witness is a subject of debate among the commentaries.  When one makes a kinyan, there is a certain timeframe in which one side can change their minds.  What that timeframe is is a subject of debate between Rabba and Rav Yosef.   What type of kinyan the gemara is referring to is debated by the commentaries.   Why is the mishna repeating cases that can be inferred from the previous section?  Rabbi Yochanan says in the name of Rabbi Yehuda ben Shimon that a woman inherits from her son.  However Rabbi Yochanan questions that this goes against the mishna.  Rabbi Yehuda rejects our mishna and says that he doesn’t know who wrote our mishna!

May 142017

Study Guide Bava Batra 112

From where do we learn that a husband inherits from his wife?  Two different opinions are suggested.  One brings five verses to prove it and the gemara tries to explain why all five verses are needed.  Some of the verses are from a section in the Torah that dictates that a daughter who inherits land must marry someone from the same tribe.  Abaye raises the question of how is the problem resolved if she receives land from her mother, the land will pass out of the tribe (assuming her mother is from a different tribe).  Another halacha is brought that a husband only inherits land that the wife owned at the time of her death but if property is passed on to her after her death, (i.e. her father dies and she has no brothers), that land stays in her family.  The source for this halacha is brought (from some of the verses that were used in the earlier braita – that are now explained in a different way).

May 112017

Various lessons are derived from the Levi that Micha hired to work for him.  Also it is explained that he repented in the time of King David, based on a verse from Chronicles.  From where do we derive that a daughter only inherits in a case where there are no sons.  Four different possibilities are brought and discussed.

May 102017

Study Guide Bava Batra 108

What is the purpose of the small and large ditches mentioned in the mishna?  The new chapter deals with inheritance laws and the mishna discusses who can inherit from another and what is the order.  The Torah delineates the order but leaves out a father inheriting from his son.  Two different braitot are brought that each establish (using derivations from different verses) that the father comes after the son and daughter of the deceased and before the brothers and paternal uncle.   The gemara questions why the father is there and not either before the daughter or after the brother. The gemara also questions what the author of each braita would learn out from the other verse (the one he didn’t learn out this halacha from).

May 092017

If brothers split the inheritance and a person comes and seizes the land of one of them in repayment for a loan their father owed, what is the halacha with regards to the brother who lost his land – can he demand half the land of his brother?  Three opinions are brought.  If three judges assess land at different amounts, what is the amount that we go by?  There are three opinions brought.  If one sold half one’s land to another, the seller can give the buyer lean land and keep the better land but the seller must repay the buyer if the land isn’t valued at half.

May 082017

If one sells land and says it is a specific size but also says “according to its markers and borders” and shows the buyer the land, if the difference between the size stated and the actual size is wrong by less than 1/6th, the sale is valid.  But if it is more than 1/6, the buyer/seller can demand/take back the difference.  At the exact measurement of 1/6, what is the halacha?  Rav Huna and Rav Yehuda disagree and a source is brought to question Rav Huna.  However, he resolves the contradiction.  A case is brought where Abaye ruled against Rav Pappa (the buyer) even though the difference was more than 1/6th.  And Abaye explains that since it was clear Rav Pappa knew the property and knew it wasn’t the size the seller mentioned, the seller could have meant that it was such good property that it’s as if it was larger.  Brothers who split inherited property acquire the property as soon as the first brother picks his lot in a lottery.  Explanations are brought explaining how the lottery can affect a kinyan.  There is a debate between Rav and Shmuel about a case where two brothers divided property and later a third brother shows up.  Do they cancel the division and redo the whole thing or do they each give the third brother part of their portion?