Ketubot, Chapter Thirteen, Mishnah Three



The mishnah now begins to list Admon’s rulings.  You will note that instead of the “sons of the high priests” or R. Yohanan ben Zakkai, in these mishnayoth R. Gamaliel is the respondent.

The first ruling deals with a situation in which a man dies and does not leave an estate large enough for his sons to inherit and his daughters to be maintained.  Note that we learned this mishnah already in Bava Batra 9:1.


Mishnah Three

Admon said seven [rulings]:

1)                     If a man dies and leaves sons and daughters, if the estate is large, the sons inherit it and the daughters are maintained [from it].

2)                     And if the estate is small, the daughters are maintained from it, and the sons can go begging. 

a)                                           Admon said, “Just because I’m a male I lose out!” 

b)                                          Rabban Gamaliel said; I agree with the words of Admon.



Section one:  According to Jewish inheritance law, daughters do not inherit if there are sons.  According to a mandatory stipulation written in every ketubah (see Ketubot 4:11), girls are provided for by the man’s inheritance until they reach a certain age, or are married.  If the estate is sufficient, then both of these rules can be fulfilled and there is no problem.

Section two: If, however, there was not enough property, the daughters maintenance takes precedence over the sons inheritance.  In such a case the sons will have to beg at people’s doors.  In what might seem like an ironic statement to some women reading this mishnah, Admon complains that one should not lose out just because he is male.  It is not entirely clear from the mishnah itself what Admon thinks the halakhah should be.  In any case, Rabban Gamaliel agrees with Admon.  We should note that the accepted halakhah is against Admon.