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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
But [this is really the explanation], if his mother's father [descended] from Joseph, his mother's mother1 [descended] from Jethro; if his mother's father [descended] from Jethro, his mother's mother [descended] from Joseph.2 [This may] also [be confirmed by] deduction, for it is written, of the daughters of Putiel, from which two3 [lines of ancestry]4 are to be inferred.
Raba said: He who [wishes] to take a wife should inquire about [the character of] her brothers. For it is said, And Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon;5 since it is stated the daughter of Amminadab, would it not he obvious that she is the sister of Nahshon? Then why should it be expressly stated, the sister of Nahshon? From here, [then], it is to be inferred that he who takes a wife should inquire about [the character of] her brothers. It was taught:6 Most children resemble the brothers of the mother.
And they turned aside thither, and said unto him: 'Who brought thee hither?7 and what doest thou in this [place]?8 and what hast thou here?9 They10 said unto him:11 'Are you not a descendant of Moses of whom it is written, Draw not nigh hither?12 Are you not a descendant of Moses of whom it is written, What is this13 in thy hand?14 Are you not a descendant of Moses of whom it is written, But as for thee, stand thou here15 by me?16 Would you be made a priest for idol-worship?' — He said unto them: I have the following tradition from my grandfather's family: At all times shall one [rather] hire himself out to idol-worship than be in need [of the help] of [his fellow] creatures. He thought that 'Abodah Zarah17 [meant] actual [idol worship], but it is not so, [the meaning being,] 'work which is strange to him';18 as Rab said19 to R. Kahana: Flay20 a carcass in the street and earn21 a wage, and say not, 'I am a great man and the work is degrading to me'. When David saw that he had an exceptional liking for money, he put him in charge over the treasuries, for it is said, Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh22 was ruler over the treasuries.23 But was his name Shebuel? Surely his name was Jonathan! — R. Johanan said: [He was called Shebuel]24 because he returned to God24 with all his heart.
AND SONS [INHERIT FROM, AND TRANSMIT TO THEIR] FATHER. Whence is this25 derived? — It is written, If a man die, [and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter].26 [From this it is to he inferred that] the reason27 is because he have no son but if he have a son the son takes precedence.28
R. Papa said to Abaye: Might it not be inferred29 that if there be a son, the son is to be the heir; [if] there be a daughter, the daughter is to be the heir; [and if] there be [both] a son and a daughter, neither the one is to he heir nor the other? — But
Baba Bathra 110b
who then should he the heir? Should the town collector1 he the heir! — It is this that I suggest: [If] there be a son and a daughter. neither the one nor the other should inherit all [the estate], but both together should inherit [it].2 Abaye said to him: Is, then,3 a Scriptural verse required to tell us that where there is a one and only son he inherits all the property?4 — Is it not possible, however, that [Scripture] meant to teach this: That a daughter also has a right of inheritance?5 — This6 is deduced from, And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance.7 R. Aha b. Jacob said: [The law of a son's precedence over a daughter may he inferred] from here: Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he had no son?8 The reason,9 then, is because he had no son, but had he had a son, the son would have taken precedence. But it is not possible that the daughters of Zelophehad [only] said so,10 [and that] when the Torah was given11 the law received a new interpretation?12 — But the best [proof]13 is that given at first.14
Rabina said: [The law of a son's precedence may he inferred] from here: That is next to him,15 i.e., he who is nearest in relationship takes precedence. And [in] what [respect is] the relationship of a son [nearer] than [that of] a daughter? [Is it] in that he is [entitled] to take his father's place in designating [the Hebrew handmaid of his father to be his wife]16 and [in the redeeming] of a field of [his father's] possession?17 [Surely, as regards] designation, a daughter is not one to designate;18 [and as regards] the redemption of a 'field of possession', [a daughter] also [may he entitled to the same privilege as a son, by logical deduction] from the selfsame objection, from which the Tanna had deduced [the law that a son is entitled to this privilege]: 'Is there any levirate marriage except where there is no son?'19 — But the best proof is that given at first.20
If you like, I can say, [the law of the son's precedence] may be inferred from here: And ye may make them an inheritance for your sons21 after you,22 meaning, your sons but not your daughters. But in that case23 does, That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your sons,24 also mean 'your sons' and not 'your daughters'? — It is different [in the case of] a blessing.25
AND BROTHERS FROM THE [SAME] FATHER INHERIT [FROM]. AND TRANSMIT etc. Whence is this derived? — Rabbah said:26 It may be deduced [from a comparison of this] 'brotherhood'27 with the 'brotherhood' of the sons of Jacob;28 as there [the brotherhood was derived] from the father and not from the mother, so here [the brotherhood spoken of is that] from the father and not from the mother. What need is there29 [for this inference]? Surely it is written, Of his family. and he shall possess it,30 [and it has been deduced31 that] the family of the father is regarded [as the] family [but] the family of the mother is not regarded [as the] family! — This is so indeed, but the statement of Rabbah was made with reference to [the law of] levirate marriage.32
A MAN [INHERITS FROM] HIS MOTHER etc. Whence are these laws33 derived? — For our Rabbis taught:
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