web analytics
August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Converted Inheritance

Business-Halacha-logo

Andrew Connor was not born Jewish. He grew up in the Midwest, with almost no Jews around, so Judaism was the farthest thing from his mind. In the course of his military career, though, his unit was served by a Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Hillel. After being seriously wounded and coming close to dying, Andrew had numerous opportunities to discuss the meaning of life with Rabbi Hillel.

Andrew recovered and returned to civilian life. The spark ignited by Rabbi Hillel, though, led him to read about Judaism and have theological conversations with his Jewish coworkers.

At age 35 Andrew met Serena Thompson at a professional convention. She, unlike him, had grown up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and was familiar with many Jewish practices. After knowing each other for two years they decided to get married.

Over the next few years, Andrew and Serena drew closer to Judaism. They decided to covert. Andrew contacted Rabbi Hillel and asked him for directions to begin the process. Rabbi Hillel connected Andrew and Serena with a rav in their neighborhood who was experienced in guiding potential converts.

After studying for two years and participating in Shabbos on a weekly basis with a host family, the guiding rav referred them to the beis din, which interviewed them and completed the conversion process. Andrew adopted the name Avraham, Serena the name Sara. Their young son Ike, who was also converted with them, was renamed Yitzchak, reflecting their new association with Judaism.

“I feel just like the family of our namesakes,” Sara said to Avraham. “The first Jewish family – Avraham, Sara and Yitzchak.”

Three years later, Avraham and Sara were blessed with another son. “Let’s call him Yisrael,” Sara suggested. Avraham willingly agreed. Yaakov was born four years afterward.

The three boys grew up aware of the special privilege of being part of the Jewish people. They were educated in yeshivas, sharing what they learned with their parents.

Some years later, Serena passed away due to illness, leaving Avraham with his three sons.

Avraham wanted his three sons to inherit his estate equally. He had heard a shiur about the importance of creating a will, and of the benefit in attaching documents to make the will halachically valid. He wondered, though, if there was any need for this, since he simply wanted his assets shared equally by his three sons.

He decided to consult Rabbi Dayan on the issue. He met with Rabbi Dayan and asked: “Now that I am survived only by my three sons – Yitzchak, Yisrael, and Yaakov – is there any halachic purpose in creating a will that the sons share the estate equally? Wouldn’t that happen anyway?”

“There certainly is a need,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “In general, a person who converted – such as you and Yitzchak – is considered as a newly born child. This means he no longer has any halachic lineage do his gentile relatives, including his biological father.” (Yevamos 62a)

“What does that mean in terms of inheritance?” asked Avraham.

“Following the logic that a convert is considered as a newborn child, the convert child should not inherit from his biological father,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “The child is not deemed his legal son, halachically.”

“So what happens with the father’s money if a son converted?” asked Yitzchak.

“If the father remained gentile, only his other, gentile children should inherit him,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, the Sages instituted that the converted, Jewish son also inherit his father, lest the son return to gentile ways to procure the inheritance.” (C.M. 283:1)

“And what if the father also converted, such as in my case?” asked Avraham. “Would his child who converted then inherit him?”

“In this case there is no concern of the child reverting back, so there is no need for this institution,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Thus, the Torah law remains intact, and the converted child has no halachic claim to his father’s estate. The father would be inherited only by the children he bore after he became Jewish, who are deemed his halachic sons.”

“So what does that leave me?” asked Avraham.

“Only Yisrael and Yaakov, who you bore after conversion, would have a halachic claim to your inheritance,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Yitzchak, who was born beforehand, has no halachic claim without a will.”

“Would Yisrael, who was first-born after conversion, be considered my bechor, then?” asked Avraham. “Should he be getting a double portion?”

“No,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “If a man had children before conversion his subsequent children do not have the status of bechor [C.M. 277:9]. However, if you want Yitzchak to share the estate, you should prepare an explicit will and attach the appropriate documents to make the will halachically valid. You can contact my office for help in procuring the appropriate forms.”

“Will do,” said Avraham, thanking Rabbi Dayan.

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Converted Inheritance”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Swiss Amb. to Iran Giulo Haas presents his credentials to Iranian Pres. Rouhani
‘US and Iranian Cartoon Doves’ Shown Defecating on Bibi by Swiss Amb to Iran
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The common translation of the opening words of this week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, is: “When you go out to war against your enemy.” Actually the text reads “al oyvecha” upon your enemy. The Torah is saying that when Israel goes out to war, they will be over and above their enemy. The reason why Bnei […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-NEW

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Business-Halacha-NEW

Mr. Steinberg ran downstairs to the ground floor. He saw that the table had fallen onto one of the cars sitting in the parking lot below.

“I don’t understand, though,” objected Mr. Weiss. “If the Torah states that the loan should be remitted, how can Hillel institute that the creditor can collect, against Torah law?”

“So there’s no way to lend past the shemittah year?” asked Eli.

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

The two decided to approach Rabbi Dayan. “What is the halachic status of conquered territory?” asked Shalom.

“Does that mean a person can simply renege after payment was made?” asked Benjy incredulously.

“But I’m already dwelling in the apartment,” said Mr. Gold. “Shouldn’t that count? I’m no worse than a neighbor!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/converted-inheritance/2013/06/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: