By: Rabbi Avrohom Adler
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Rava said: If their father (after he died) left them a cow which was borrowed by him, they may use it for the entire period for which it was borrowed.
The commentators ask: How are the heirs permitted to use it? The halachah is that a borrower is not permitted to lend the item out to anyone else, for the owner can say, “I do not want my deposit to be in the hands of someone else”!?
The Hagahos Mordechai answers that since it is self understood that a borrower will give the item to his wife and children, this would be permitted even after the borrower’s death.
The Machaneh Efraim asks on this interpretation that if so, it should only be permitted by the borrower’s sons and only if they are supported by the father!? Otherwise, it should be forbidden, and from the halachah, this does not appear to be the case!?
Reb Akiva Eiger answers that the halachah that a borrower is not permitted to lend the item out to anyone else is only l’chatchilah; however, once he lends it out, the owner cannot take it away from him. Therefore, in this case, where the children took possession of it through an act of Heaven, they are permitted to use it.
The Erech Shai answers that the owner may be particular only to say that he did not intend to lend it out to someone else; however, with respect to the death of the borrower, which is not such a common occurrence, he cannot say that if I would have known that my cow would end up by the inheritors, I would not have lent it in the first place. The heirs therefore are permitted to use it.