Parashat Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1


By Baruch

Parashat Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1

Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

We are now in the period of time between the 17th of Tammuz and Tish B’Av, the three weeks between when Nebuchadnezzar broke through the walls of Jerusalem and the destruction of the First Temple (Also the Second Temple was destroyed by Titus on the same date— the ninth of Av). There are three special readings from the Prophets (Haftarah) during this period.

In this week’s Torah reading, the daughters of Zelophehad asked Moses if they could inherit their Father’s land, seeing that there were no sons. Normally the land passed from the father to the sons. Moses went before HaShem to seek a response to the daughters. G-d agreed to the daughters’ request. However, at the end of the book of Numbers in Parashat Masei, men from the same tribe rose up before Moses with a concern (See Numbers chapter 36).

This concern was based on the situation that if the daughters married to men outside their father’s tribe, then the land would be incorporated into their husbands’ tribe and the inheritance that HaShem originally gave each tribe would be altered. Please note that these men were not motivated from a personal standpoint; rather their concern was rooted in the order that HaShem had established for dividing the Land of Israel.

The Scripture is most clear that the concern that these men raised was pleasing to G-d. Moses responded that if the daughters wanted to inherit their father’s land, they could do so only if they married within their own tribe (Numbers 36:5-10). Failure to do so would mean that they would forfeit this inheritance.

This passage demonstrates that there are consequences to the choices that one makes. Moses makes it clear that the daughters could marry whom they wanted, but if they chose outside their tribe, they could not keep their father’s land. Today, I would imagine that people would expect that they could marry whom they wanted and keep the land. We tend to reject the concept that there are real physical implications to the spiritual decisions that one makes. People are more focused on their plans and purposes for their lives, rather than on G-d’s order. We wrongly believe that G-d wants to bless us in our choices; instead of submitting to His larger plan in which He invites us to participate.

What I gather from this section is that it was G-d’s will for them to marry within their tribe, but because we were created to have free will, one may marry whom he or she wants. Yet this choice of our way rather than G-d’s way can have a high cost to it. It is very significant that one reads,

Just as HaShem commanded Moses, thus did the daughters of Zelophehad.”

Numbers 36:10

In other words, they heard what G-d’s will was and although they were free to make whatever decision they wanted, they were quick to obey His plan. Good advice for you and me.

Shabbat Shalom

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