Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Chayei Sarah
Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Dayan Yehoshua Grunwald
November 9, 2023
And Avraham gave all that he had to Yitzchak.
Chazal say that Avraham observed the entire Torah, including mitzvos deRabanan like eiruv tavshilin. Sfarim ask that the Gemara says one should not redirect an inheritance from one son to another, even if the former is undeserving (Bava Basra 133b; Shulchan Aruch C.M. 282:1), so why did Avraham bequeath everything to Yitzchak and exclude Yishmael and the bnei Keturah?
The Mizrachi answers that when Hashem told Avraham that Yitzchak would be considered his seed (Bereishis 21:12), this meant Yitzchak was his only heir.
The Da’as Zekeinim answers that both Avraham and Yishmael were geirim, who are not halachically related to their biological kin, so Yishmael was not entitled to Avraham’s yerushah. Although the bnei Keturah were born after Yitzchak (who was not a convert), Avraham gave the inheritance to Yitzchak before they were born.
The Sdei Chemed (quoting Ahalei Yitzchak) and the Be’er Sheva answer that the reason one may not redirect a yerushah is that even if the one son is currently wicked, perhaps he or one of his descendants will ultimately do teshuvah. But Avraham knew through nevuah that neither Yishmael nor the bnei Keturah would produce any righteous descendants.
The Levush answers that although redirecting one child’s inheritance to another is forbidden, giving it as gifts to others is permitted. (Others disagree.) Avraham gave Yitzchak as a gift what would have gone to Yishmael and the bnei Keturah.