Bava Batra 107 - 113
- When a division of inherited property can be reversed
- Selling half a field
- The laws of inheritance
- The Torah source for the order of inheritance
- The problematic descendant of Moshe
- Checking on the brothers of a prospective wife
- The importance of working for a livelihood
- The daughter as an heir
- Sons and daughters inheriting their mother
- The husband as heir of his wife
- When inheritance causes ownership of property to move from one tribe to another
- Limitations on the right of the firstborn to a double portion of the inheritance
A Curious Beginning
- Bava Batra 108
In listing the laws of inheritance the Mishnah first mentions that a father inherits his son's possessions if the son left no children to inherit him. Mentioning this form of inheritance before the case of a son inheriting his father seems to be a strange way to begin because it refers to a tragic case of a father losing a childless son in his own lifetime. It would have been more appropriate to begin with the case of a son inheriting his father. As Rashbam points out in his commentary, it is considered a blessing for a man to have his son bury him, for we find that G-d blessed Yaakov that his son Yosef would bury him.
The reason given for beginning with a tragedy rather than a blessing is that since the law that a father takes precedence as an heir over the deceased's brothers is derived from the Sages' interpretation of a passage rather than from an explicit source, it is more beloved by the codifier of the Mishnah.
What the Sages Say
"One who plans to marry a woman should check on her brothers for we have learned that most children take after their mother's brothers."
- The Sage Rava - Bava Batra 110a