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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Pinchas

Parashat Pinchas

Unique Share in the Torah

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In Parshat Pinchas we meet the remarkable daughters of Zelophehad who present and ultimately prevail in their claim for an inheritance in Eretz Israel. The Tanchuma explains that they were so righteous and wise that the Torah goes out of its way to trace back their lineage five generations to Joseph, "in order to give glory to their ancestors."

All we really know about them is that they wanted the portion of the land that would have been allotted to their deceased father. This action might be labeled, at best, shrewd. Why then do our Sages attribute such greatness to these women?

The Sfas Emes explains that when one acquires a physical place in Eretz Yisrael one also acquires a corresponding aspect of Torah. The Torah and the land are bound together and are interdependent.

Such wise and righteous women did not care about material gains - had they married they would have lived on their husbands' physical portions of the land. However, they did not want to lose their unique share in the Torah. They wanted their Torah inheritance!

When we choose to make aliyah and live in Eretz Israel, we do not simply move to a Jewish land and acquire a new home. We also claim our inheritance in the Torah - that portion which is bound to the land. Come and "claim it and do not let go of it." (Rashi, Devarim 33:4).

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This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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Rabbi Steven Ettinger
Rabbi Steven Ettinger was an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Tax Program at The Thomas Cooley Law School. Currently, he is counsel in international tax matters for PWC in Israel and an Adjunct in the law school in Herzliya.
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