HALACHOS OF A BANK ACCOUNT INHERITANCE
August 9, 2017
Beis Moshiach in #1080, Halacha 2 Go

Selected Halachos from the One Minute Halachaproject

By HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Shlita
Mara Dasra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights

DOES THIS BRIS NEED A DO-OVER?

A non-Jew may not be a mohel (ritual circumciser); only someone who is obligated to perform the mitzvah of bris mila (ritual circumcision) may perform it on others. If there is no Jew available to perform the bris mila, then the bris must be postponed—even beyond the eighth day—until a Jewish mohel can be found.

Someone who was circumcised by a non-Jew does not require a second bris, for there is no halachic requirement for a bris to be done lishma (for the sake [of the mitzvah]). According to the Rema (Rabbi Moshe Isserles 16th century primary commentary on the Shulchan Aruch), however, in such a case at least hatafas dam bris ([a small amount of] blood drawn from the bris [site]) is required. There is a machlokes (difference of opinion) as to how the Mechaber (Rabbi Yosef Karo, the 16th century compiler of the Shulchan Aruch) rules. Many authorities leave room for leniency if there is merely a doubt whether the mohel was a non-Jew.

mumar (apostate) may not perform a bris. This refers to a Jew who does not observe the entire Torah, one who is mechalel (desecrates) Shabbos, or one who is a mumar regarding the mitzvah of mila specifically—he himself not being circumcised. However, according to virtually all opinions, even if a mumar was the mohelhatafas dam bris is usually not required.

There are communities which ban a doctor from performing a bris, even on his own son. This was instituted as a safeguard against it becoming the standard for doctors to be mohalim, regardless of their observance of the Shabbos or their concern to perform brissin in the proper halachic manner. Strictly speaking, a Torah-observant male doctor may perform the bris—as long as he does it according to halacha—and may be the first choice if no other expert mohel is available 

DOES A BECHOR GET A DOUBLE PORTION OF A BANK ACCOUNT? 

bechor (a firstborn son) receives pi shnayim (a double portion) of his father’s inheritance. However, he is entitled to a double portion only of assets that were b’muchzak (in his father’s possession at the time of his passing). A bechor does not receive a double portion from assets b’raui (that have not been actualized yet). There’s a discussion among poskim whether stocks, bonds (corporate and government), bank accounts, and insurance policies are considered muchzak or raui. While there are a range of opinions on the matter, the following is the consensus among poskim:

Shares of stock in a company have the status of muchzak; they are considered to have been in the father’s possession at the time of his passing since they confer ownership in the company.

Bonds have the status of raui, since it is considered a debt owed to the father. 

Bank accounts are raui. One reason for this is that banks usually invest the depositor’s money, and don’t hold it at the bank; the money would therefore not be considered as being in the father’s possession at the time of his passing. This is the position held by most poskim despite the fact that these days money in the bank is generally more secure than if it were kept at home. 

The proceeds of a life insurance policy are considered raui, since the money isn’t paid out until the passing of the insured.

In any inheritance case the particulars of the situation should be addressed in a din Torah, or through a neutral party such as a rav, who would arbitrate among the brothers in a fair manner al pi Torah (according to Torah).

BRACHA FOR GRANOLA BARS 

When we eat one of the five types of grain for which Eretz Yisroel is praised—other than in the form of bread—we usually say the bracha borei minei mezonos, and the bracha acharonah (after blessing) of al hamichyah. This bracha acharonah is also called mei’ein shalosh (an abridged form of benching), and is recited only on foods that Eretz Yisroel is praised for. 

When the grains are eaten whole, as in standard granola bars, or in puffed wheat cereals, it is not considered derech achilaso (the usual way grain is consumed, since it’s usually ground), and therefore the bracha is ha’adama. 

The question then arises: which bracha acharonah should we say on such items? We can’t recite the bracha acharonah of mei’ein shalosh, since Eretz Yisroel hasn’t been praised for the consumption of these grains in this form (when they are eaten whole). Ordinarily, we say borei nefashos after eating food which is a ha’adama—and indeed this is the mainstream view. Nonetheless, Rabbeinu Tam writes that whenever we say the bracha of ha’adama on one of the five types of grain for which Eretz Yisroel is praised, perhaps we should recite a special bracha acharonah, “Al ha’adama v’al pri ha’adama”. However, he acknowledges that no such nusach is found in any source.

In order to avoid this issue, there are two options: a) to eat items like granola bars exclusively as part of a meal with bread, after which the unabridged birchas hamazon is recited, or, b) to eat a small amount of this kind of food at a time, taking care not to eat a k’zayis or more within a time-span of achilas pras (approximately three-seven minutes; in other words, we can eat several kezaysim, but not more than a k’zayis within each achilas pras time-span). If eaten in this manner, we make no bracha acharonah. In the event that a person did eat a full shiur outside of a bread meal, the bracha acharonah of borei nefashos should be said.

MEZUZAH WHEN RENTING IN CHUTZ LA׳ARETZ

When renting a house or apartment in Chutz La׳aretz (outside of Eretz Yisroel), one is not obligated in the mitzvah of mezuzah until 30 days have passed. However, it has become the custom to affix mezuzos right away for any of the following reasons: even if one isn׳t obligated yet to affix mezuzos, he fulfills a mitzvah when he affixes them; according to some opinions, if it׳s a long-term rental there is an obligation to affix mezuzos right away; so that the mezuzah should protect the inhabitants from potential harm; or because it׳s a spiritual matter not to live in a home without a mezuzah.

The proper procedure is to put up mezuzos upon moving in (whether physically or when moving in one׳s belongings) without a bracha; after 30 days have passed, one mezuzah is removed from a room that requires a bracha. The mezuzah is given to a sofer to check, and then re-affixed. Preferably, it should be replaced with a more mehudar (enhanced) mezuzah.

While making the bracha for putting up this mezuzah, one should have in mind (to include) all the other mezuzos that were put up right after moving in. Following this procedure allows for the spiritual protection of mezuzos on all doors right away, as well as the opportunity to make the bracha after 30 days, as required. 

The above halacha applies only if renting a house or apartment in Chutz La׳aretz. However, if renting a home in Eretz Yisroel, or if one moves into their own home even outside Eretz Yisroel, all mezuzos have to be put up right away—with a bracha. 

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Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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