I was wondering if the inheritance Torah laws were still applicable in western countries like US or France.

First Question

For example, in France, by law a parent can not disinherit one of his children. In this case, there is no possibility for a daughter to get nothing at the death of her parents. Yet according to the law of the Torah, she shouldn't receive any inheritance from her parents.

Does the law of the land override halachic inheritance laws?

This question may already has an answer here

Is there a difference in Israel and other countries?

Second (and most important) Question

This rule is surprising today, when women do not occupy the same place as when these rules were enacted. Perhaps, the inheritance laws were related to the part of the land of Israel that should always remain in the same tribe? Today, it seems terribly unfair to deprive girls of their parents' inheritance. Jewish women, especially in the religious world, have enormous responsibilities; which was not the case at the time when these rules were established.

Can we consider that inheritance laws no longer apply today, given that the situation has evolved enormously?

My question has no provocative purpose, nor does it question the eternity of the laws of the Torah.

I thank you in advance for your clarifications,

  • 3
    You seem to be asking two questions here: 1) does the law of the land override halachic inheritance laws? 2) do halachic inheritance laws only apply in that kind of society, not today's, irrelevant of what the law of the land states? Am I understanding your question correctly? If so, you might want to edit your question and ask the two of them separately, as they're very different questions; answering one will not necessarily answer the other. – DonielF Nov 24 '19 at 21:53
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/92237/… – Mordechai Nov 25 '19 at 18:36
  • What usually happens is is a "halachic will" that gifts the estate to the people named, "effective five minutes before my death." At which point when the person dies, there's nothing to distribute according to halacha. For over a hundred years now the default halachic will has been an even split among all children -- irrespective of gender. Will try to find sources G-d willing. – Shalom Nov 27 '19 at 10:27
  • @Shalom so in practice, nowadays and for over a hundred years, even in the most religious family heritage is split among all children with this trick allowing the respect of the halacha ? – Flora Grappelli Nov 27 '19 at 10:50

The laws of inheritance are specifically called by the Torah חוקת משפט, a statute of a law. The Gemara learns from this that the laws of inheritance are unchangeable, and even if a person expresses his desire for his daughter to inherit him, it has no effect unless a loophole is used (giving a gift to take effect before his death). Changing circumstances cannot change this either, and for the daughter to insist on her secular legal inheritance would constitute stealing from her brother.

Of coarse it probably is appropriate to make a halachicly acceptable will in most cases, so that the daughters will be able to inherit. Also, by the way, bank accounts and institutional investments are more complicated because of the contracts involved.

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    "for the daughter to insist on her secular legal inheritance would constitute stealing from her brother" You have brought no support for this claim and I don't understand how it could be true. Whether the secular state confiscated the brother's property with his permission or not is between him and the state. I'd assume a secular government can confiscate any property with a facially plausible justification. (It might violate Arkaot? But I don't understand how it is stealing.) – Double AA Nov 24 '19 at 22:17
  • My thinking is that the daughter bringing in the court to take property that does not belong to her in Halacha is considered stealing, even if by the secular law she has a right to that property. But it is a good question, so I'm asking it here – Mordechai Nov 25 '19 at 19:25
  • @Mordechai, thank you for your answer! But that does not answer to my astonishment that inheritance rules seem terribly unfair to girls. And to my knowledge, the religious around me do not give an inheritance to their sons only. – Flora Grappelli Nov 27 '19 at 9:52
  • @FloraGrappelli They are not unfair. Every married couple inherits from exactly one ancestor. For every girl from a rich family who marries a boy from a poor family, there's a girl from a poor family who marries a boy from a rich family. Entirely fair to everyone even if it's not what you expected (except to girls who never get married, but they have a claim to continue to be supported by the estate of the father until they do.) – Double AA Nov 27 '19 at 12:37
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    To add more flavor to your answer, I always thought that חוקת משפט means that in some societies it's obvious and is a mishpat, in some societies it's difficult to understand and is a chok, and in all societies it's retzon haB and we follow it. – Heshy Nov 27 '19 at 14:28

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