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An Ethical Will Over A Monetary Or Property Will

1747 words - 7 pages

In todays world an Ethical Will seems almost foreign to many people. A monetary or property Will is a type of Will that people are most familiar with. This deals with ones property being distributed to a younger generation upon or near death.2 The encyclopedia Judaica defines a Will as a, “person’s disposition of his property in favor of another in such manner that the testator retains the property or his rights to it until his death.”5(page65) Some may be unaware that there are different types of monetary Wills. The first is called a Mattenat Bari, which means, “gift by a healthy person.”5 (page 65) The second type is called a Mattenat Shekhiv, “a gift by a person critically ill.” 5 (pg65) The last type is called an Mezavveh Mehamat, “a gift in contemplation of death.” 5 (page65) It is important to notice that in each type of Will, it speaks about a gift given. This is the major difference between a Will and an Ethical Will. An Ethical Will doesn’t give anything with real money value. It is passed down like a montetary/property Will however; an Ethical gives more than just “gifts”. Male or female, husband or wife, anybody who wants to speak to a beloved child, can write it.6 (page26) This version of a will passes on Ethical values dealing with spiritual and moral dimensions of life from one generation to another .1,7 It can also validate ones own life and create a legacy.7 In simplest terms it can be a short letter from a parent giving a family member some helpful advice. It’s a parent’s final word. Jacob Rader Marcus says it best, “it is an ethical instrument.”6
The Ethical Will can be traced back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries onward when it was used for religious and nonspiritual guidance for children.3,4 This literature was seen in the bible, the Talmud, the Apocrypha, but it became much more common during the middle ages and medieval period.5 During this time, Ethical Wills were written in varying lengths for a way of communication from father to son before the death of the father. This gave the son complete knowledge of his fathers insights, experiences, and instructions or order. Some Ethical Wills where short while some were the length of a book. Ethical Wills were greatly used by famous peoples to share experiences from different places and time periods. An Ethical Will answers many different questions that consists of ones wants, dreams and desires. An author of an Ethical Will would typically write about, values, education, thoughts, words of wisdom, life experiences, life’s lessons, regrets, gratitude, decisions, and future change. 3 Only now do Jewish people overlook the ethical will. People forget how the Ethical Will can keep the memory of loved ones for generations to come. “The best pillow is a clear conscience, said one Blumenthal will. Keep on loving me in memory as I loved you in Life.”6 (page32-33)
In Jewish tradition the Ethical Will is usually quite lengthy which dates back to the...

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