If one sells his grave and the road to his grave, or his halting place and the place for lamentation, the members of his family come and bury him per force, so as not to cast any reflection on the family.
One of the issues that is discussed on today’s daf (=page) relates to questions of inheritance, and specifically to the status of property that a husband inherits upon the passing of his wife. The Gemara explains that according to Rabbi Me’ira man inherits his wife’s estate only on a Rabbinic level, while Rabbi Elazar understands that such an inheritance is Biblical. Rabbi Yohanan ben Berokah teaches that if one inherits his wife’s estate, he returns it to the members of her family and allows them a deduction from the purchase money.
The Gemara explains that although Rabbi Yohanan ben Berokah agrees that a man inherits his wife’s estate on a Biblical level, in one specific case the property must be returned to her family. This is the case of a man who inherits a cemetery from his wife, which must be returned to the family for reasons of pegam mishpahah – embarrassment or humiliation of the family.
The Rivan and Me’iri explain that it is derogatory for a family that strangers should be interred in their graveyard; Rashi sees the problem as the fact that members of the family should have to seek burial in a strange graveyard. For this reason the husband should arrange to return the cemetery to his late wife’s family and accept payment from them for it. The “deduction from the purchase money” mentioned by Rabbi Yohanan ben Berokah refers to the value of the burial plot where his wife was interred, inasmuch as he is responsible to pay for his wife’s burial plot.
In support of this explanation, the Gemara quotes a baraita that teaches: