The question addressed in today’s daf (Nazir 30b) is whether the Nezirut fund of a father (i.e. funds that a father has set aside to pay for the sacrifices he needs to bring upon conclusion of his Nezirut), which a child inherits (after the death of the father and in a situation where the child is also a Nazir), can be treated like other funds that a child inherits from their parent, or whether alternative rules should apply to this Nezirut fund?
In terms of our sugya (Talmudic discussion), it doesn’t reach a final decision and it concludes with the word תיקו. Still, looking beyond the specifics of Nezirut, the broader question of the relationship between why certain funds have been set aside by a parent, and how they can then be used by their child, is one that often arises after the death of a parent. True, the love between a parent and child should be unconditional. But when it comes to money, many parents are quite insistent that the monies that they have allocated for a particular reason only be used by their children for that reason.
Of course, and this is a point that I sought to highlight in yesterday’s post, children are not carbon copies of parents, and the interests of some parents are not always the same interests as their children. Nevertheless, there are parents who use their inheritance to gain leverage over the choices of their children (i.e. if you do X, then you will get Y) – and will often state this explicitly in their (financial) will.
Personally, rather than using a financial will to tell children how to act, I am a proponent of parents writing – and even more importantly, of living a life that reflects – an ethical will. An ethical will does not discuss money or valuables; instead, it is interested in morals and values. It doesn’t tell children what to do in life; instead, it is intended to inspire children to live a good life. There are those who have attempted to control their children through their financial will, and not only have they failed but they have brought greater strife into their family after their death. In contrast, there are those who have attempted to uplift their children through their ethical will, and not only have they succeeded, but they have brought greater harmony into their family after their death.
Ultimately, if you want your child to follow a given path, don’t push them down that path or use any other controlling methods and think that they will stay on it. Instead, showcase the virtues of that path by living it passionately, and trust that, whatever your child chooses, they will be attracted to at least some parts of it.