1) AGADAH: WHO WAS "KORCHA"?
OPINIONS: The Gemara cites a Halachah in the name of Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korcha. Who was Korcha?
(a) TOSFOS (DH u'Matu) quotes the RI who says that "Korcha" was another name for Rebbi Akiva. He was called "Korcha" because he was "Kere'ach," baldheaded. The Gemara in Bechoros (58a) relates that Ben Azai said that "all of the wise men of Yisrael are before me like the peel of a garlic except for this bald one (Kere'ach)," presumably a reference to Rebbi Akiva. Rebbi Akiva had a son named Yehoshua, as is evident from the Gemara in Shevuos (6a).
(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU TAM who disputes the Ri's conclusion. Even if Ben Azai would have said this phrase in a jesting manner, it is unreasonable to assume that the Chachamim would refer to a Tana's famous and righteous father based on his baldness. A number of sources, both in Navi and in the Gemara, indicate that baldness is not considered beautiful, and to be called bald is considered an insult.
Moreover, Rabeinu Tam cites the Gemara in Megilah (28a) to prove that this Rebbi Yehoshua could not have been the son of Rebbi Akiva. In that Gemara, Rebbi asked an aged Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korcha to bless him. Rebbi Yehoshua blessed Rebbi that he should live half of his own years. According to Rabeinu Tam's calculation, if this Rebbi Yehoshua was the son of Rebbi Akiva, then Rebbi would have been 60 years old when Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korcha was 140 years old. Why would Rebbi Yehoshua bless Rebbi that he should live for only another ten years (as half of Rebbi Yehoshua's years at that time was 70)? Also, if Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korcha was Rebbi Akiva's son, then it makes sense that Rebbi was actually 84 years old at the time of this blessing.
Finally, Rabeinu Tam quotes RABEINU NISIM who says that he found a Midrash in Bereishis Rabah which says that the statement of Ben Azai in the Gemara in Bechoros refers to Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah, and not to Rebbi Akiva.
Rabeinu Tam therefore says that "Korcha" is the name of a person, like the name "Korach," and does not denote baldness. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) THE ELEMENT OF "DIN" IN THE PARSHAH OF INHERITANCE
OPINIONS: The Beraisa says that the verse, "v'Hayesah li'Vnei Yisrael l'Chukas Mishpat" -- "And it will be for Bnei Yisrael a statute of judgment" (Bamidbar 27:11), teaches that the entire Parshah is one of "Din," judgment. To what form of judgment does the Beraisa refer?
(a) The RASHBAM (DH Orah) explains that the Beraisa refers to the Parshah of the division of inheritance. The division of inheritance has the Halachic status of "Din," judgment. This means that all of the laws that apply to judgment apply to inheritance as well.
The HAGAHOS ASHIRI (#2) questions the Rashbam's explanation. According to the Rashbam, when will a case of inheritance have the laws of "Din"? If the parties involved do not agree on the division of the inheritance, then it is obvious that a Beis Din is necessary and the laws of "Din" apply. If the parties involved agree on the division of the inheritance, then no Beis Din is necessary!
RAV GERSHON EIDELSTEIN shlit'a (in SHI'UREI REBBI GERSHON) explains that the Rashbam refers to a case in which the inheritance is detailed, and one of the parties wants to take his share without consulting the other party. In such a case, that party must go to Beis Din to secure his portion.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Orah) explains that the Beraisa refers to the law that the people in the presence of a man who wants to divide his estate may be made into judges to establish the division of the estate against the will of the potential heirs. The heirs cannot say that they want the division to be established only in the presence of the Beis Din ha'Gadol or the main Beis Din of the city. The ROSH explains that included in this law is that the Beis Din present is also the Beis Din that may resolve any doubt which may arise in the language of the person's statement.
Tosfos points out that the case is not actually a case of inheritance, but a case of a "Matnas Bari" -- the gift of a healthy person, which does not have any unique laws. This is in contrast to a "Matnas Shechiv Mera" -- the gift of a deathly ill person.
How does Tosfos know that the Beraisa is not referring to a Matnas Shechiv Mera? Tosfos explains that the special laws that apply to a Shechiv Mera (for example, the law that his words alone are a binding Kinyan) are only mid'Rabanan and not mid'Oraisa. Since the Beraisa is discussing the intent of the verse, it cannot refer to a Matnas Shechiv Mera, the laws of which are mid'Rabanan.
If, however, the subject of the verse is a Matnas Bari, in what way is related to inheritance at all? Tosfos explains that since a Matnas Bari is often formulated in such a way that the gift takes place only upon the death of the benefactor, it is similar to inheritance. Moreover, according to the view of Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah (130a), a Matnas Bari contains an element of inheritance. Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah maintains that when a person says that someone who is a relative of his should inherit him, even if there is a closer relative alive, his words are valid and the more distant relative inherits him. (Y. MONTROSE)