G. Brin, "The Status of the First-Born in Genealogical Tables", BM 24 (1979), 255-259 (Heb.). - Examination of biblical genealogies reveals that the first-born son is not only the first mentioned but is frequently the only son whose own descendants are enumerated. This custom, as well as the right of the first-born son to inherit a double portion, is known in the Nuzu documents as well. (B.S.J.)

Sinai Deutsch, "The Validity of a Will Drawn up in a Foreign Court" (Heb), Diné Israel 12 (1986), 206-239. - S analyses validity attributed by Jewish Law to a will drawn up according to the Laws of the State. Such validity must be granted both on the Jurisdictional level, i.e. recognition of authorities empowered to give the will validity and uphold its execution, and on the internal level of validating the testimonial capacity of witnesses otherwise not recognized in Jewish Law (Pesuke Edut). S traces the development of three parallel talmudic sources of recognition. The first is the dictum of the Amora Samuel, the Law of the Land is Law, the second is an extension of the talmudic recognition of documents drawn up by foreign courts, and the third is a tendency in the Talmud to give recognition de facto to prevalent customs of tradesmen, which, though at variance with substantive Jewish Property Law, nonetheless are accepted norms, relied upon for the transferral of property. S shows that according to some modern Responsa, a grundnorm of Gemirut Da'at (subjective intention) may be inferred from these categories, wherein the sufficient condition for recognition is the intention and reliance of the Testator that his will, in its present form, will be upheld, though the specific form, including the witnesses and the appropriate jurisdiction, may be at variance with substantive Jewish Law. S further posits that since intrinsic difficulties inhere in the extension of Gemirut Da'at to all forms of property transfer, a preferable theory may be found in drawing a basic distinction between substantive Jewish Law applying to the will in Jewish Law, which is an immediate, in rem transfer of property, as opposed to the will in other systems, which is only a commitment or intention to transfer property, thus less stringent in its formal requirements. (M.J.P.)

O. Irshai, "The Apostate as an Inheritor in Geonic Responsa - Basics of Decision-Making and Parallels in Gentile Law" (Heb.), Shenaton Hamishpat Ha'ivri 11-12 (1984-1986), 435-461. - The article discusses the earliest measures in the Geonic period taken against an apostate, i.e. his ability to inherit his father's estate. The leading responsum is that of R. Natronai Gaon, who headed the Sura Academy from 853-858 and held that an apostate could not inherit his father. This decision departs from the plain sense of the Talmud (Kiddushin 17b-18a) and includes elements of an ideological and homiletical nature. The author analyses the responsum in detail and discusses the negative reaction to it on the part of other Geonim. This is followed by a general discussion of inheritance by apostates in Geonic halakhah. The last section is devoted to the influence of Moslem law on R. Natronai's decision and a Geonic responsum regarding the status of the apostate in succession law. (D.B.S.)



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