12) If the father intended to give a Shtar Chatzi Zochor but didn’t actually do so

Let us consider a case where a man wrote that he intends to give his daughter a Shtar Chatzi Zochor, but died before he actually managed to write it and hand it over. Both the She’eris Yosef[77] and the Emunas Shmuel[78] write that if the Shtar Chatzi Zochor was not actually written, the daughter gets nothing. Even if the father performed a Kinyan (act of acquisition) to finalise his intentions, it is not binding. (This type of non-binding act is known as a Kinyan Devorim[79].)

It was pointed out to the Nodah Biyehudah[80], however, that it appears from the responsa of the Avodas Hagershuni[81] that the Mahara”m Mintz held that in such a case the daughter would get her share of the estate. The Nodah Biyehudah replied that in fact everyone agrees in principle that even if one intended to give something to another, nothing is valid until the object or shtar is actually handed over. In the case of the Mahara”m Mintz, however, the daughter gets her share for a different reason. We have already mentioned that every daughter gets ten per cent of her father’s estate in order to finance her wedding and marriage (Issur Nechasim). We also mentioned that if we can estimate how much this man would have given, we would give her accordingly. The Mahara”m Mintz ruled that the daughter gets her share in the estate not because of the Shtar Chatzi Zochor (seeing as it was never actually written) but because since the father indicated how much he wished to give her, she gets it as her Issur Nechasim. Even those who rule that we always give her ten per cent and cannot estimate how much the father would have given (even if he married off one daughter in his lifetime, these opinions hold that it is still no indication of how much he would have given this daughter) would agree here, because we need not rely on our estimation – the father himself expressed clearly how much he wanted to give![82]

Nonetheless, the Nodah Biyehudah expresses his reservations about this ruling. Firstly Rabbenu Yonah is of the opinion that daughters above the age of twelve and a half do not get Issur Nechasim. Furthermore, even though the father indicated that he wanted to give her a Shtar Chatzi Zochor at her wedding, he may well have intended to change his mind afterwards, especially bearing in mind that he must have known that even once he would have given her this he could always prevent her from getting anything from his estate by, for example, investing all his assets in land and seforim. As such, we have no absolute indication of how much the father actually would have given her for Issur Nechasim. With the lack of absolute proof, the Nodah Biyehudah concludes that we cannot uproot, so to speak, the Torah-mandated inheritance from the sons, and thus we would not award her the Shtar Chatzi Zochor in this case.

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