Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshas Pinchas 5770

Why is the law of inheritance brought in the name of the daughter’s of Zelopahad? What lesson does this teach beyond the laws of inheritance?

This weeks Parsha: Pinchas Bamidbar (Numbers) 25:10-30:1

Instead of posting it in my own words, I am going to quote what Terry (at Yahoo! Answers in response to this question there) posted in the name of Rav Simchah Zissel Broide zt”l

In Prince of the Torah, Rav Simchah Zissel Broide zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva Knesses Yisrael brings this down to R’ Shimon Yosef Meller:

“Rashi states (Bamidbar 27:5) that the daughters of Tzelofchad were rewarded for a great zchus in that a section of the Torah was named after them: the section of “The Daughters of Tzelofchad.” Rebbeinu [R’ Simchah Zissel Broide zt”l] questioned what the daughters of Tzelofchad – Machlah, Noah, Chulah, Malkha and Tirtzah – did that they received this honor that cannot be claimed by any other women, even the Imahos. And to compound the question, nowhere does the Torah even suggest these five sisters were especially righteous!

Rebbeinu answered:

It would seem that if the purpose of the Torah was to bring merit to these five women, the section should have been called “The Parashah of Machlah, Noah, Chulah, Malkha and Tirtzah.” By calling it “The Parashah of the Daughhters of Tzelofchad,” the Torah’s actually doing more honor to Tzelofchad than to his daughters!

According to Rashi (ibid., 27:3), who quotes the Sifri, Tzelofchad was none other than the man who cut the wood on Shabbos in the desert and was subsequently given the death penalty. However, his violation of Hashem’s command was not as simple as it sounds, for Tzelofchad had the benefit of klal Yisrael at heart when he sinned. Tzelofchad understood how extremely difficult for bnei Yisral to embrace thhe enormity of the intricate laws of Shabbos all at once. Therefore, he decided to perform an act of desecration of Shabbos in order to give a vivid example of the gravity of Shabbos laws. That act cost him his life…but that wasn’t all. Willful desecration of Shabbos calls for a much worse punishment – he risked his portionin the World to Come as well! Tzelofchad showed as yet unmatched self-sacrifice for the benefit of the community byy jeopardizing both his life on earth and his life in the World to Come for the sake of klal Yisrael.

According to this, Rebbeinu explained, we can understand why Hashem chose to reward Tzelofchad by naming a section in the Torah after him. Even though he seriously transgressed the laws of Shabbos, Hashem saw his total willingness to sacrifice everything he had – both in this world and the next – for the Jewish people and decided to call one of the parshios in the Torah “The Daughters of Tzelofchad” in his

In addition to this, I am also going to add what it states in Midrash Tanchumah. There it discusses why it is only in sefer Bamidbar, at the end of Moshe’s life that this issue is raised- and why it is only as they are entering Israel that the elders of the tribe of Manasseh become concerned over losing part of their inheritance in the land. First, we need to understand that Moshe seperated from Tziporah and was not with her for the 40 years in the desert. Why not? because Moshe was at such a high spiritual level and had such a high level of prophecy, he had to be ready for G-d tro appear to him at any moment. Other prophets did not have this problem as they generally first had to prepare themselves and only then could they receive a communication from G-d (we see this with Bilaam where he has to sleep to aloow G-d to communicate with him and give him an answer when he wants to answer the messengers of Balak). Moshe, who could receive communication from G-d without preparation thus had to ensure he was pure at all times.

The daughters of Zelopahad seperated from men and remained without husbands until the time they were about to enter Kna’an and the tribes were to take their inheritance. Until the elders saw that they did intend to marry after all and were not intending to remain single, they became concerned that they would marry men from other tribes.

Additionally, the Midrash brings that the laws of inheritance merited to be learnt through the women of Bnai Yisrael. How come? When the nation sinned with the golden calf in the desert, the women did not give their gold and jewellery to the making of it, but held back and did not participate. However, when it come to the donations for the Mishkan, they donated everything- earrings, rings, belly rings, necklaces etc- in fact, they donated so much that Betzalel told Moshe to tell the people they had enough and must stop bringing donations!


June 29, 2010 - Posted by | Torah | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Nice blog- I gotta hand it to you.

    Comment by Gavriel | June 30, 2010 | Reply

    • THanks, though it doesn’t attract the views or comments that the other one does! 😀

      Comment by marcl1969 | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. Other one?
    You mean
    Great site also. I think- I would like to create a site of my own.
    Shavuah Tov.

    Comment by Gavriel | July 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Yep- barely over 3 weeks old and over 3000 hits! It pays to be controversial when blogging LOL

      Comment by marcl1969 | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. LOL- it’s also fun.
    $15 a year is nothin’.
    I would only do it, if I could transfer my blog onto it though- impossible.
    Mazal Tov on your 3000 hits!
    Waiting for this week’s Parsha q from you- this time, I’ll get it.

    Comment by Gavriel | July 5, 2010 | Reply

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