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Yiftach’s Daughter

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Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

Nisan 12, 5769
Question
In Seifer Shoftim, what exactly happened involving Yiftach and his daughter- please give me the differences of opinion and cite sources. Thank you very much.
Answer
According to Chazal in the Midrash [Tanchuma Bechukotai 7] the sacrifice is to be understood literally, Yiftach offers his daughter as an offering to Hesham. Chazal of course see his actions in a negative light and rebuke him for acting in an opposite way to the Torah's. The commentators on Tanach [Radak Ralbag] understand the sacrifice to be that his daughter could not marry and was dedicated to the service of G-d without having a family of her own. This is not the only case where Pshat and Drash seem to contradict.
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