New York - DAF: Rich Uncle, Poor Dad and Zigzags
New York - Imagine that Robert Kiyosaki had a rich uncle who died without heirs and left Robert some money. Imagine further that Robert’s real father was burdened with debt before he had passed on. Does Robert have to pay off his father’s debts after he inherits his rich uncle’s estate?
Our Mishna in today’s Daf (Bava Basra 108a) states that “brothers from the father both can inherit and cause to inherit.” There is a huge debate among the Poskim whether an inheritance of a brother works directly or works through a Zigzag through the father. The proper halachic term for Zigzag is called “Mishmush.”
The Maharsha and the Maharam Shif, for example, (on Tosfos “VeAchin”) understand Tosfos as holding of Zigzag while the Maggid Mishna (Hilchos Nachalos 1:3) understands the Rambam as learning that the inheritance works straight.
So what should Mr. Kiyosaki do in our theoretical halachic question? Should he pay off his father’s debt or not? Rabbi Akiva Eiger (in his responsa 141) rules that it is a debate between the Beis Yoseph (BY CM 253 “VeAmmai”) and the Ramah (in the Darchei Moshe). The Bais Yoseph holds that it does not work through Zigzag, while the Ramah holds that it does. Accordingly, if Mr. Kiyosaki were a Sefardic Jew he could keep the money. If he were Ashkenazic – he’d have to pay the debt.
So if Mr. Kiyosaki was an Ashkenazi does this mean he is stuck? Not so fast. If we recall, Mr. Kiyosaki is a brilliant financial genius. Perhaps listening to his friend’s father (Rich Dad), he researches further and finds that Rav Shach zatzal (Avi Ezri Hilchos Nachalos 1:3) understands the debate between the Ramah and the Bais Yoseph quite differently. If so, since Mr. Kiyosaki is the muchzak on the money, he can claim a double Kim Li (I hold that the halacha is like Rav Shach versus Rabbi Eiger and that inheritance does not work through Zigzag) and claim the inheritance for himself without paying his father’s debt. This only works, however, if the claimants came after he inherited the money. Otherwise, we would follow Rabbi Eiger.
The claimants may also present the possibility that one cannot claim Kim Li with a Rav Shach against a Rabbi Akiva Eiger. However, in our opinion, most Batei Dinim would reject this claim.
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