According to Halacha or Talmud, who takes care of a widow, whose husband had no brothers, and who herself has no brothers and no sons and no daughters?

  • Why do you think there is someone designated to take care of her? Would "the husband's estate" qualify even though it's not a person? – Double AA Jul 19 '17 at 13:48
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    My understanding is that there could possible be designated persons, who of course have the options to opt-out, such as in levirate marriages, etc... My question is directed to those who know the Talmud, Mishna, Halacha, etc...., who might know what ancient Jewish law might say about such. – ninamag Jul 19 '17 at 13:53
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    Surely ancient Judaism had provision for such a widow? – ninamag Jul 19 '17 at 16:38
  • @ninamag are you asking about her financial status, mainly who would provide for her? – Bach Jul 19 '17 at 18:11
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    The estate would have to go to some heir. He would use the estate to take care of her. The only person with no heir is a ger, and she could take posession of the property just like anyone else. – sabbahillel Jul 20 '17 at 0:01

As sabbahillel pointed out, everyone has a heir besides for a convert, so there would always be some distant relative that would inherit the estate. The Rambam states (ishus 18:1-3) that a widow lives off the the assets of the heirs until she gets the kesubah (prenuptial agreement). They have no right to force her to get her kesubah in order that they shouldn't need to provide for her, she gets food as long as she wants to, provided that she does not ask for her kesubah (magid mishna ibid). The Rambam adds that she stays in the house she used to live in when her husband was alive and uses all the objects in the house and even uses the slaves of the house as she used to before.

Rambam Sefer Nashim Hislcosh Ishut 18:1-3

  • For the OP's (and others') benefit, you should probably explain "kesubah". I suspect OP has never heard of this. – msh210 Jul 20 '17 at 3:30
  • @Bach, where can one read online "ishus 18:1-3"? – ninamag Jul 20 '17 at 11:05
  • @ninamag I added the link to the Rambam at chabad.org – sabbahillel Jul 20 '17 at 11:40
  • @Bach just like @ msh210 said, at least to make this post more complete (and not because anybody here "has never heard of this"), can you, in one-sentence or two-sentences, explain "Kesuba", as well as, what is the most appropriate one-word-translation or two-word-translation of "Kesuba" into English. – ninamag Aug 17 '17 at 6:18
  • @ninamag isn't "prenuptial agreement" sufficient? – Bach Aug 18 '17 at 13:43

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