1) THE "PARNASAH" OF DAUGHTERS WHO INHERIT AN ESTATE WITH OTHER DAUGHTERS
QUESTION: Rava cites the Mishnah as proof that a husband is considered like an heir (Yoresh) when he gets possession of his wife's property, and not like a buyer (Loke'ach). The Mishnah says that if the older daughters of a deceased person used the money of their father's estate (including the share of the younger daughters) to get married, then the younger daughters may also get married using the money of the estate. Rava explains that this means that they may collect their share of the estate from the husbands of the older daughters. This proves that a husband has the status of an heir with regard to his wife's property (and debts), and not the status of a buyer. Since the husband has the status of an heir, he is obligated to pay his wife's debts (even a debt that is a Milveh Al Peh, with no Shtar). If his status would be that of a buyer, he would not be obligated to pay his wife's debts (when they are from a Milveh Al Peh).
The Gemara attempts to refute Rava's proof and explain that the Mishnah means only that the younger daughters may also get married using the money of the estate, but not that they may take the money from the husbands of the older daughters. The Gemara defends Rava's proof by quoting the Beraisa of Rebbi Chiya which states explicitly that if the older daughters take money from the estate and get married, the younger daughters may collect their share of that money from the husband. This again seems to prove that a husband has the status of an heir and not a buyer.
The Gemara refutes this proof and says that perhaps a husband does have the status of a buyer and, normally, does not need to pay back his wife's debts. However, in this case, her debt has the status of a Milveh b'Shtar, a loan taken with a Shtar (which everyone hears about, including potential buyers, and therefore it may be collected even from a buyer). This is because the money that she took was for her Parnasah, her general support (food, clothing, etc.), and when a daughter takes money from the estate for such a purpose, everyone hears about it (it has a "Kol"). Consequently, even if the husband has the status of a buyer, he should have heard about the money that she took and that she now owes, and therefore he is obligated to pay her debt.
The AVNEI MILU'IM (91:7) asks how can it be that the money for Parnasah which the older daughter took has a "Kol" and everyone hears about it. After all, a daughter is not entitled to take money for Parnasah when there are only daughters (Kesuvos 69a). Only when there are sons who inherit the estate is a daughter entitled to receive money for Parnasah. Hence, the money that the daughter takes from the estate (when there are only daughters) is an ordinary loan from the estate, and it does not matter for what purpose she uses it. How, then, does the loan have a special "Kol" if it is not uniquely for Parnasah? This question is also asked by the KOVETZ SHI'URIM.
ANSWER: The AVNEI MILU'IM answers that when the Gemara refutes the attempted proof from Rebbi Chiya's statement, it understands that Rebbi Chiya's statement does not refer to the case in the Mishnah of a person who passes away and has only daughters who inherit his estate. Rather, the Gemara understands that Rebbi Chiya refers to a case in which there is a son, in which case there is a specific requirement to pay Parnasah to the daughters. (I. Alsheich)
2) SUPPORTING THE DAUGHTERS FROM THE INHERITED ESTATE
QUESTION: The Mishnah teaches that when a man who dies, and who is survived by both sons and daughters, leaves over a lot of property ("Nechasim Merubim"), the sons inherit it and the daughters receive support. When he leaves over only a small amount of property ("Nechasim Mu'atim"), the daughters receive support and the sons must fend for themselves. The Gemara (in the second opinion) explains that "a lot of property" is defined as any property which can provide for both the sons and the daughters as long as the daughters are still minors, until they reach the age of Bagrus. Any property less than that constitutes a small amount of property.
Why does the Mishnah divide the Halachah into two separate cases, one case of "Nechasim Merubim" and another case of "Nechasim Mu'atim"? In both cases, the Halachah is the same: the daughters are entitled to be supported until they reach the age of Bagrus. The Mishnah could have stated simply, "When a person dies and leaves sons and daughters, the daughters receive support, and the sons receive the rest," and this would have included all circumstances.
ANSWER: From the rest of the Gemara and from the words of the Rishonim, it is clear that there is a fundamental difference between the support that the daughters receive when there are "Nechasim Merubim" and the support that they receive when there are "Nechasim Mu'atim." It is necessary, therefore, for the Mishnah to divide them into two separate cases.
In the case of "Nechasim Merubim," the sons inherit the entire estate, as the Torah mandates. They then must provide support for the daughters from the estate, at regular intervals, as the Chachamim enacted. In contrast, in the case of "Nechasim Mu'atim," the entire sum of the daughters' estimated needs for support is allocated to them immediately from the estate (it is separated from the estate and deposited with Beis Din or with an estate manager). Whatever is leftover is inherited by the sons (and if nothing is leftover, then the sons receive nothing). (Indeed, the Gemara (140a) suggests that in a case of "Nechasim Mu'atim," the sons are completely removed from the estate and have no rights of inheritance; if there is anything leftover after the daughters receive their support, then the sons receive it, but not as "heirs" per se. The Gemara concludes, however, that the sons do have rights to inherit the estate; they have a "Tefisas Yad" in the property (RASHBAM 140a, DH Yesomim she'Kadmu). Nevertheless, the daughters still receive a lump sum for their support, and the sons receive as their inheritance the remaining property, if there is any.)
This difference manifests itself in a number of additional Halachic ramifications.
(a) In the case of "Nechasim Merubim," although the sons must take care of the estate and not cause it to be lost through negligence (in which case Beis Din takes control of the estate (NIMUKEI YOSEF; see SHULCHAN ARUCH EH 112:11)), they are permitted to sell the property if there is a great need, even though the daughters will lose their support. This is because the estate is the property of the sons. In contrast, in the case of "Nechasim Mu'atim," the sons are not permitted (l'Chatchilah) to sell the property at all, even for a great need (TOSFOS 140a, DH Yesomim). Even though the sale would be valid if they did sell it (as the Gemara says), it is Asur l'Chatchilah for them to do so, since the daughters' right to receive support comes before the sons' right to inherit the property.
(b) If the father left "Nechasim Merubim" which decreased in value until they became "Nechasim Mu'atim," the Halachah does not change to that of a normal case of "Nechasim Mu'atim," in which the daughters receive their support as a lump sum and the sons receive nothing. Rather, the daughters receive their support (at intervals) together with the sons, from the fund of the estate, since the sons initially inherited the estate (when it was "Nechasim Merubim"). In contrast, when the estate consists of "Nechasim Mu'atim" from the initial moment of inheritance, the daughters receive a lump sum for their support and the sons do not receive ownership of the property (except for what is leftover after the daughters' support has been given to them). (I. Alsheich)