Yevamot 38 - Widow's inheritance

A woman whose husband died and who is awaiting a yibum or chalitzah from the husband's brother is in some measure this brother's wife. How do they share in money?

For example, if she gets an inheritance from her father's family, she has full control over it, and can sell it or give it away, and her late husband's brothers cannot get it back. However, what happens if she dies? Since it is uncertain whether she is a wife or not, half of the property that constitutes her inheritance goes to her father's family, but the other half goes to the husband's brothers - that is the opinion of Beit Shammai.

However, Beit Hillel use a different method: in a case of doubt the money remains in the possession of that one who possesses it right now.

For example, her Ketubah - money that she gets upon divorce or the death of the husband - remains in the possession of those who own it - that is, the husband's heirs.

Similarly, the property that she brought in and that was assessed at a certain sum, also called a dowry, remains in the possession of the one who own them. However, who possesses it? Our ruling does not say - and it is in itself a further disagreement: some say it is the husband's heirs, some - that it is the wife's heir, and yet others - that both sides possess it, so they would divide them. These and similar laws are discussed in more detailed in the Talmud sections dealing with inheritance .


Art: Her Future Dowry by Antoine Jean Bail