Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

New York - DAF: Oprah and Halacha

Published on: December 11, 2009 08:06 AM
By: VIN News By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Change text size Text Size  

New York - When she was born she was named after the great, great grandmother of Goliath.  But others could not pronounce the name Orpah and the name Oprah stuck.  She later became the first billionaire black woman.  Our question is, if she were to be married would her husband be Yoresh her according to the laws of the Torah?  If the issue were to be adjudicated (theoretically) in a Bais Din – what would they conclude?

Today’s Daf (Bava Basra 112b) may have the answer to this question.  The Gemorah deals with the issue that a woman is required to marry someone whose father is from the same shaivet that her father is from, and whose mother is from the same shaivet that her mother is from.  From the fact that the Gemorah here concludes with the words Ka Mashma Lan, the Rishonim understand that Rav Ashi’s position is that the Yerusha of a husband is DeOraisa – biblical in origin.

The Rambam (Hilchos Nachalos 1:8 and 6:8), however, indicates that a husband inherits his wife only by Rabbinic decree.  The Raavad, (1:8) according to the Maggid Mishna’s understanding, disagrees with the Rambam and holds that a husband inherits his wife by biblical law.

Advertisement:

What is the practical halachic difference between the view of the Raavad and the Rambam?  The Maggid Mishna suggests that according to the Rambam’s view that it is Rabbinic in origin, the husband can make a condition that he not inherit his wife.  According to the Raavad such a condition is ineffective.

There is very likely, however, another practical difference between the views of the Rambam and the Raavad.  Generally speaking, Rabbinic enactments are restricted only to Klal Yisroel.  Torah laws for gentiles remain with the biblical status of things.  Accordingly, if the Rambam’s view is the final halacha – then Oprah’s husband would not be able to inherit her.  According to the Raavad – he would be able to inherit her.

In this theoretical Bais Din case between Oprah’s would be husband and her maternal relatives, the husband who takes possession might be able to claim “Kim Li” like the Raavad.  After the advent of Mashiach and as we see in the Rosh HaSHana davening (VeYaasu Kulam agudah achas..) the non-Jewish legal systems will surely attempt as much as possible to conform to Jewish law.  This question and debate, therefore, will have enormous consequences in the future.

This edition of VINDAF VIEWS has been sponsored for the refuah Shliemah of Rachel Bas Turan ..

Sponsorships of the Daf l’ilui nishmas are also available.  For further information please email vinnews@hotmail.com



More of today's headlines

New York - On Dec. 10 the FBI’s New York Division honored a true fighter against terrorism with the presentation of the Director’s Community Leadership Award. This... Santa Monica, CA - For many years, Chabad of Santa Monica was the sole keeper of the Chanukah menorah on the Third Street Promenade. Hundreds would gather as the...

 

Total5

Read Comments (5)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 11, 2009 at 11:20 AM AH Says:

"The Maggid Mishna suggests that according to the Rambam’s view that it is Rabbinic in origin, the husband can make a condition that he not inherit his wife. According to the Raavad such a condition is ineffective."

Why would it be ineffective, though? Wouldn't it be a תנאי שבממון, which is valid even where it contradicts Torah law?

2

 Dec 12, 2009 at 07:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Everybody ends up happier under the American Legal System: wives inherit the entire estate upon the demise of their husbands and vice versa. Children can receive "monetary gifts" upon the death of a parent if it is stipulated in their will and all of the children (male and female) inherit the net estate upon the deaths of both parents, usually equally. In biblical days, a Canaanis or Cushis like Oprah would never have amassed so much wealth anyway so the whole argument is moot.

3

 Dec 13, 2009 at 12:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Can there be a better analogy to learn this gemara?

I just can't see the gedolim giving a shiur in some yeshiva and talking about Oprah.

Tosfos in mesechta says....... and Rashi over there is a stirah to the ...........and Oprah? it just does not fit.

4

 Dec 13, 2009 at 12:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Everybody ends up happier under the American Legal System: wives inherit the entire estate upon the demise of their husbands and vice versa. Children can receive "monetary gifts" upon the death of a parent if it is stipulated in their will and all of the children (male and female) inherit the net estate upon the deaths of both parents, usually equally. In biblical days, a Canaanis or Cushis like Oprah would never have amassed so much wealth anyway so the whole argument is moot.

Nor would she in Jim-Crow days! So stop knocking the Torah and its laws!!! BTW: Speaking of hypothetical situations; What if I were Nine Feet tall (which I'm not) and the reach of my arms would be another 4 feet. And if there were a flower pot resting on the ledge of the Second floor window. And I was standing in Reshus Harabbim (not to be confused with "Rishus Harabbanim") (especially of ----- -----, of D----- A--- In W------) and I reached over to take possession of it. Would that be considered Geneva or, because it is reachable from Reshus Harabbim it is Muttar???!!!

5

 Dec 13, 2009 at 02:11 PM Anonymous Says:

I ask the same question, why would they be discussing Oprah. Why would a non-Jew be obligated to halachic ruling. There are Noahide laws for non-Jews. What's wrong with everyone?

6

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:
Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!