One of the issues that is discussed on today’s daf 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 Elazar a man inherits his wife’s estate only on a Rabbinic level, while Rabbi Meir understands that such an inheritance is Biblical. Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Beroka 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 Yoḥanan ben Beroka 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 graveyard from his wife, which must be returned to the family for reasons of pegam mishpaḥa (family flaw) – embarrassment or humiliation of the family.
The Rivan and Meiri 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 stranger’s 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 Yoḥanan ben Beroka 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:
If one sells his grave or the path to his grave, or the place where visitors would comfort his mourners, or the place of his eulogies, the members of his family may come and bury him in his ancestral plot against the purchaser’s wishes, so as not to harm the family name.