Volume 8 Number 35

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Making Wills (2)
         [Bruce Krulwich, Yehoshua Steinberg]
The Haredi Shabab (3)
         [Shaul Wallach, Shaul Wallach, Aryeh A. Frimer]


From: Bruce Krulwich <krulwich@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 93 14:35:50 -0400
Subject: Making Wills

Stephen Phillips asked about making wills that are legally bindings and
halachically valid.

> It would seem, therefore, that if a man made a will leaving his estate to
> his wife (very common nowadays) or to both his sons and daughters, then such
> a will would be contrary to the Halocho and, whilst it would be valid in
> secular law, would be invalid in Jewish law.

I heard a tape on this topic by R' Dovid Zucker, Rosh Kollel of the
Chicago Community Kollel, in which he discusses a concept called a
"shtar chatzi zoche," which was traditionally used to leave a portion of
a man's estate to a daughter as a dowry.  The basic mechanism is that
the man makes a conditional gift of all his money to someone (or some
organization), to take effect upon his death, stipulating that the gift
is invalid if his heirs at the time of his death agree to abide by his
will.  Upon his death (after 120), the heirs make the conscious decision
to distribute his money according to the will instead of according to
the halachic distribution, since it's in their best interests to do so
(otherwise their inheritance is all given away retroactively).  Since
the heirs are all in agreement about distributing the money according to
the will, and since they all benefit by doing so, (and perhaps for
reasons that I'm forgetting), the will can be executed in accordance
with Halacha.

(Note that it's a bit more complicated than that, since the gift to the
third party should be proportional to the heirs who refuse to abide by
the will.  CYLOR for details.)

I'm told that the shtar chatzi zache is discussed in the Shulchan Aruch,
so there should be no shortage of source material.  I'm also told that
copies of a modern-day document that it valid both halachically and in
American Law is available from the Chicago Community Kollel

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich

From: Yehoshua Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 93 15:56:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Making Wills

 Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...> writes:

> It was mentioned in our Shiur (which is given by Rabbi Hool of
> Kingsbury) that there may be ways of making lifetime gifts to one's wife
> or daughters that would not fall foul of the Halocho. The question is
> how might one effect this. It cannot be in the Will itself, because a
> Will (at least according to English law) is a document that only has any
> legal effect from the moment of death. So any gifts in the Will that are
> expressed to be made retroactively to a period before death (even a few
> minutes) could not, as far as I can discern, be valid.

Dayan I. Grunfeld TZ"L, a dayan on the London Beit Din and an attorney,
wrote an excellent work on this subject, _The Jewish Law of
Inheritence_. The work is a fairly comprehensive overview of the
literature on the subject, and concludes with a sample "document" which
he terms a _shtar matnat bari_, a "document concerning the gift of a
healthy person."

This is truly an area of halacha which is ignored either knowingly or
unknowingly by many, many otherwise observant Jews. There are solutions
and there is no excuse for transgressing a Torah law -- even from the



From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 19:03:42 IDT
Subject: The Haredi Shabab

      My dear and respected colleague Aryeh Frimer (may we see him back
in Erez Yisrael soon!) has made some very pertinent comments about the
"Shababnickim" whom I mentioned recently in passing.  First of all, just
to explain the word, it is indeed Arabic.  Shabb (with a dagesh on the
Bet) means "youth" in Arabic and Shabab is the plural. Today the word is
used in Israeli newspapers to refer mainly to the unruly Palestinian
youths who form the vanguard of the intifada, and hence it is not
exactly a term of respect. I'm also not very impressed with the
combination of Arabic, Russian and Hebrew all in one word.

     In dealing with these wayward youths, I lack several important
details, such as their number and age group. In Benei Beraq very little
is said about them in public. After one of the most recent incidents
involving them on Shabbat, one of the Haredi newspapers referred to them
very briefly and requested that people who have contact with them bring
the matter to the attention of the rabbis.  >From what was not printed
in the newspapers I assume that it is indeed a matter of concern.

     Ever since the outbreaks on Shabbat started earlier this year, I
have become even more convinced that thorough efforts must be made
within the Haredi community to provide gainful employment for all of its
young people, including those who are not fit for the standard yeshiva
career. The urgency of such a need is heightened at this time, since the
collapse of the Reichmann brothers' business has led to a drying up of
financial support from abroad and exacerbated the financial crisis now
affecting the community. A society that is dependent on the graces of
outside philanthropists or support from an increasingly hostile
government at home is surely not viable in the long run.

     Therefore, I believe it is the responsibilty of Haredi leaders to
recognize that those youths who cannot study full time are just as
deserving of society's approval as the Talmidei Hakhamim. Initiatives
should be pursued to encourage development of Haredi businesses and
enterprises to provide jobs within the community. The sacred partnership
between Yissachar and Zevulun should be nurtured so as to confer equal
legitimacy to both partners in the eyes of society.

     Of course, this course of action would require facing up to the
problem of military service which Aryeh brought up.  I see no way to
maintain the fiction that these working youths are somehow part of a
yeshiva and therefore exempt from service.  The solution must be to
resurrect the Haredi "Nahal" or Hesder arrangement in which these youths
would be able to perform their service in completely separate units
without being exposed to secular influences that have proved so
destructive in the past.


Shaul Wallach

From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 19:04:14 IDT
Subject: The Haredi Shabab

      Aryeh Frimer closes his post with the following rationale for
requiring the Haredi Shabab to serve in the army:

>                                                        (I apologize in
>advance for the acerbic quality of that last statement, but I have an 18
>year old son entering Yeshivat Hesder and as Chazal say: Mai Hazit
>dedamach Samik tfai. What makes the blood of your son the Shababnik
>redder than my son the Hesdernik?)

      While I'm not sure Aryeh really intended this as a rigorous
halakhic argument for requiring the Haredim to serve in the army, I have
seen the comment made before in this connection. However, I'm not sure
what weight these kinds of comments can bring unless they have a sound
halakhic basis to them. In our case, from a strictly halakhic point of
view I don't think that "Mai Hazit" is relevant to the discussion. Let's
look at the Talmud in Yoma 82a-b (for parallels, see Pesahim 25a and
Sanhedrin 74a):

   ... for there is nothing that stands in the way of preserving
   live except for idol worship, incest and murder ... And murder
   itself, from where do we know? It stands to reason, for that man
   who came before Raba, he said to him, "The governor of my city
   told me, 'Kill so and so, and if not, I will kill you!'" He said
   to him, "You have to be killed, and must not kill. Mai Hazit
   ("What do you see") that your blood is redder? Maybe the blood of
   that man is redder."

This passage deals with someone is being told to commit murder,
literally, with his own hands. In such an instance he is not to save his
own life at the expense of that of his fellow. But if he performs no act
by himself, his life comes first. Here is what the Tosafot have to say
here (similarly also in Pesahim):

   ... And a murderer himself who must be killed, this is because
   of "what do you see that your blood is redder?", etc. And this
   is where he performs an action. But if he does not perform an
   action, for example where they want to throw him on a child in
   order to kill the latter, and if he prevents them they will kill
   him, and everything of this kind, he is not to be killed, for on
   the contrary, we will say, "What do you see that his blood is
   redder? Maybe your blood is redder". And moreover, the analogy
   is of a verse written which deals with a murderer who kills with
   his hands: "As a man who stands up over his fellow and murders
   his soul" (Deut. 22:26).

The Tosafot explicitly rule that even when someone else is actually to
be killed by one's passive action, he is not to save the life of the
other man with his own. But this is not even close to the case of
military service, in which no one is being told to be the instrument of
the death of anyone else. Even our soldiers who do serve have at least a
99% chance of coming back alive, and the few tragic deaths in action
which do occur cannot be attributed even indirectly to either the action
or inaction of those who receive exemptions.

     In summary, while I certainly agree that men who are not bona fide
yeshiva students have no valid excuse to avoid the army, I don't think
the Talmudic dictum "Mai Hazit" is halakhically relevant to the issue.


Shaul Wallach

From: <frimer@...> (Aryeh A. Frimer)
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 19:04:35 IDT
Subject: The Haredi Shabab

     I did not mean to use Mai Chazit rigorously. If the grounds
Charedim use for an exemption from military service are valid (which I
honestly don't believe they are) - then Mai Chazit is irrelevant.
Regarding Shababnickim, the argument was used merely for its moral
leverage; namely, that the claim that your Shababnick son should not go
to the army because it's dangerous is indefensible when you know full
well that others will have to do the fighting for you.

     Thinking about the problem a bit further though, I remember a great
deal of discussion in the responsa on the Holocaust in which if a group
of children were caught by the Nazis (yemach Shmam) whether you could
save your child if you knew full well that someone else would have to
take his place. Rav Meisels in his introduction to Responsa Mekadshei
Hashem say sit is forbidden because of Mai Chazit. Clearly, to "save"
yourself from Army service knowing full well that someone else will have
to serve in your place is comparable (though I admit the analogy is not
perfect). While the Halachic claim may not be perfect, the moral claim
is clearly there.

     This discussion ignores other relavent issues such as the milkhemet
Mitsva issue in defensive wars.

     We have also not discussed the terrible Hillul Hashem issue - which
is an issur deorayta (prohibition of the Torah) and one for which there
is no Kapparah (atonement). Certainly, safek de'orayta lechumra (in
doubtful cases of the law of the Torah we must be stringent). Why the
people who are machmir (stringent) in everything are so maikel (lenient)
in Hillul Hashem is beyond me!

Aryeh Frimer


End of Volume 8 Issue 35