Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It is well known Esav sold his 'birthright' to Yaakov. Can a father decide arbitrarily which son he wants to favor as his bachor? If so -under what conditions?

share|improve this question
Yosef and Reuvein – sam May 2 '14 at 17:14
The chumash says explicitly that he cant make his beloved wife's son the bchor if he isnt – preferred May 2 '14 at 17:15
I'm just thinking about the grounds for a father with one wife simply wanting to ignore the older son. – seekingclarity May 2 '14 at 17:16
Why should it make a difference how many wives he has got. – preferred May 2 '14 at 17:17
does your above citation cover the whole subject? – seekingclarity May 2 '14 at 17:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If a father says "my bechor will not take double" or says "he will inherit like a regular son" it is invalid. It violates the commandment of not diverting inheritance Devarim 21:16

If the son agrees to give up his portion some permit it. Nesivos 281:6

See pischei choshen hilchos yerushah 4:6-8 for a complete discussion .

A firstborn's portion is unchangeable. A non firstborn may be increased since he is receiving an inheritance. A non inheriting relative (daughter among sons) cannot be set to receive an inheritance

The details for actually setting this up and possible workarounds such as writing a halachik will are complex and will often not be done properly without the assistance of professional halachik advisers (Business Halacha Institute and dinonline.org among others.)

share|improve this answer
SO a man cannot completely diss-inherit his son -halachikly anyway. – seekingclarity May 2 '14 at 17:53
@seekinclarity only bechor. Regular son can be chsnged – Yoni May 2 '14 at 18:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.