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1. Tana Kama: If a person says, "Reuven should inherit me," when Shimon is in fact a closer or equal relative, his statement is invalid.
2. Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah: If Reuven is a relative, but Shimon is just as close a relative, his words are valid (in the case in #1 above).
3. Shmuel and Rava rule like Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah.
4. Rava: Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah's reasoning is based on the verse, "And it will be on the day he bequeaths to his sons."
5. Abaye: This is derived from the context of the prohibition against denying a firstborn a double portion.
A BIT MORE
1. This is because his stipulation conflicts with the Torah's law of inheritance. Even if the heirs are equal, he cannot favor one over the other, because the Torah states that when there are two sons they both inherit.
2. Accordingly, if a man has two or more sons and he says that only one should inherit him, his words are valid. One opinion in the Gemara states that Rebbi Yochanan maintains that this is a valid statement even when one Reuven is less of a relative (regarding inheritance) than Shimon, or even not a relative at all.
3. The primary explanation of the Gemara (according to the Rashbam and Tosfos) is that they rule like Rebbi Yochanan regarding a son among sons, and not like the opinion that this applies even when Reuven is less of a relative (regarding inheritance) than Shimon, or even not a relative at all.
4. This implies that as long as he chooses a son to inherit him, his statement is valid.
5. By saying that a person may not deny his firstborn a double portion, the Torah implies that he may deny his ordinary son a portion if he states that a different son should inherit him.
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