Sunday, December 16, 2007

Inheritance Based Upon the Testimony of only One Witness

The Gemora (Kesuvos 107a) cites the following case: If one witness said that the husband had died; since she is also allowed to remarry with one witness, she can be supported on the basis of this witness. However, his sons and daughters cannot split the estate based on the testimony of a single witness. They therefore do not have right to receive support from the estate.

Tosfos comments: That the Gemora in Bava Metzia (38b) states that when we hear that he has died, we can send down relatives to his estate; that is only to eat the produce, but he is not permitted to sell the property. So too, over here; we allow them to be sustained from the produce, but they are not allowed to sell the estate in order to be supported.

The Tashbatz writes that one witness is believed to allow the relatives to inherit the estate since it is something that will become public knowledge, and we are not concerned that he will lie. That which the Gemora says that we do not allow an inheritance based upon the testimony of one witness; that is only when the witness testifies that he heard about the death from another witness. Nevertheless, even this testimony will be valid to permit the wife to remarry.