Bava Batra 157 - Inheritance: Who Died First?


Consider the following case. A house collapsed on a son and his father, and it is not clear who died first. The son had nothing, but he had debts and the obligation to pay Ketubah to his wife.

The son's creditors claim that perhaps his father died first. Then the inheritance passed to the son before he died, and they can collect. The father's inheritors claim that perhaps the son died first, thus, when the father died, they inherited his property directly, leaving nothing for the son's creditors.

Beit Shammai say that the father's heirs and the son's creditors divide the money, but Beit Hillel say that the property remains in the possession of the father's heirs. We can understand Beit Hillel , but what is Beit Shammai's reasoning? They say that a loan document is considered as if already collected, which bolsters the creditors' claim.

Art: Ilya Efimovich Efimovich Repin - Cry of prophet Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusalem