Instructions given in writing by a father to his children in anticipation of his death. The term ‘ethical will’, now widely used to describe published works in this genre, seems to have originated with Israel Abrahams, who called his famous collection Hebrew Ethical Wills. But the term is very imprecise in that the concerns of the writers of these documents were religious as well as ethical and they often give instructions regarding such matters as the procedures to be followed at the writer's burial. The Hebrew term is simply tzavaah (‘testament’), the term used for wills in general.
Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).