Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/279

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Paragraph 1- If one says this is my son, this is my brother or this my father’s brother or another person who inherits him, even if he is confessing on people that are not established to be his relatives, he is believed, and that person would inherit him, whether he said it while healthy or dying. Even if he went mute and wrote it in his handwriting that this is his inheritor, we would check him the way we do for divorce documents. He is believed on all properties, whether they were his at the time of his statement or they came to him while he was dying.

Paragraph 2- If someone was established as one’s brother or cousin, and such person said that person is not his brother or cousin, he would not be believed. One is believed, however, to say on someone that is established as his son to say that it is his not son, and the son would not inherit him, even if he had grandsons from that son. Although he is not believed to say he is not his son in the context of lineage, and we would not assume the son is illegitimate on the basis of what his father said, he is believed with respect to inheritance, and this son would not inherit him. If the son died, and the grandfather said on his grandchildren that these are not his grandchildren because their father was not his son, he would not even be believed with respect to inheritance, because his son is not alive.

Paragraph 3- If one says about another that he is his son, and then he says he is his slave, he is not believed. If he first said he was his slave and then said he is his son, even if the son serves the father like a slave, he would be believed, because this that he said he was his slave meant that he is like a slave to him. If they referred to this person as a slave, a son of maidservant or something similar that is only used to refer to slaves, he would not be believed.

Paragraph 4- If one was passing the tax-house and said this is his son and then said it his slave, he would be believed because he only said it was his son to evade the tax. If he first said in the tax house that this was his slave, and then said it was his son, however, he would not be believed. This is only where the individual’s mother was not established as a Jew. If his mother was established as a Jew, however, he would not have no power to say this is his slave.

Paragraph 5- Slaves and maidservants should not be referred to as, “father so and so,” or “mother so and so,” so that a travesty does not come out of it, resulting in a child with bad lineage. Thus, if the slaves or maidservants where very prestigious and they had a reputation and the entire public recognized them and their children and their master’s slaves, such as the slaves of the Nasi, one may refer to them as father and mother.

Paragraph 6- If one had a maidservant and she gave birth to a son, and he treated him like a son and said it is his son and that his mother was freed, and he is a Torah scholar or upstanding person who is careful with the specifics of the commandments, the son would inherit him, even though he is not allowed to marry a Jewish woman until he proves that his mother was freed and then gave birth because she was established in front of us as a maidservant. If he was born from other simple people, and it goes without saying if he was born from those who have completely thrown off the rules on this, the son is presumed to be a slave for all matters, and his paternal brothers may sell him. If the father had no other children besides for him, his father’s wife would receive yibum. There are those who say she should only receive chalitza and not yibum. See Even Haezer Siman 156. There are those who say that when it comes to monetary issues, we apply the principle of one who wants to take money has the burden of proof. This seems correct to me.