Pinchas – Shlishi

The Request of Tzelofchad’s Daughters

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d told Moshe that the families enumerated in the census constituted the groups that would divide the land by lottery, each inheriting a portion appropriate for its size.

The Torah then lists the Levite families, including the family of Amram and Yocheved, Moshe’s parents. There were now 23,000 Levites, one thousand more than in the original census. The Levites were not counted among the other Tribes because they didn’t inherit land and would not be part of the lottery system.

Tzelofchad’s five daughters approached Moshe, Elazar and the other leaders of the nation. They had an issue.

“Our father died in the desert. He wasn’t part of the rebellion. Rather, he died because of his own sin.” (As we mentioned at the end of parshas Shlach, there is a tradition that Tzelofchad was the man gathering wood on Shabbos.) “Why should his name be wiped out because he had no sons? Let us inherit his portion.”

The request had merit, so Moshe took it to G-d.

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