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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Pinchas

Parashat Pinchas

A Lesson of Sacrifice

3008
Dedicated to the memory of
Amram son of Sultana
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The daughters of Tzelafhad, descendants of Makhir the son of Menashe, approached Moshe with the claim that since their father had no male heirs, they should be given his portion in Eretz Israel. Moshe brought their case before Hashem, who answered that indeed the daughters of Tzelafhad were entitled to receive their father’s inheritance.

The concern was later raised that if the daughters of Tzelafhad marry out of their tribe, the portion that they were to receive would be removed from the inheritance of Menashe and added to the inheritance of the tribe to which they joined. The daughters of Tzelafhad were therefore instructed that they must marry within the tribe, so that their inheritance not pass over to another tribe.
Tzelafhad’s daughters abided by the decision and married "their uncles’ sons" from "the families of Menashe the son of Yosef" (Bamidbar 36:11-12). The wording suggests that they did not marry their close cousins, descendants of Makhir, but their more distant cousins belonging to the other branches of the family.

Why? Half of the tribe of Menashe - the descendants of Makhir - received their inheritance in Ever Hayarden, the east bank of the Jordan River, along with the tribes of Gad and Reuven. The rest of the tribe received their portion in the west bank of the Jordan, along with the remainder of the tribes. It would appear that the daughters of Tzelafhad chose to distance themselves from their closer relatives and marry their more distant cousins because in that way they would have a portion in Eretz Yisrael proper. What a lesson of sacrifice in order to be able to live in the heart of Eretz Yisrael!

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