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Pinchas- For the Love of the Land

Posted on כ׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (July 2, 2010) | in Pinchas | by

From Rav Frand and the Talleli Oros- The daughters of Tzelafchad came to Moshe to ask for their deceased father’s portion in the Land of Israel, since their father had died without sons to inherit his portion. In tracing the lineage of the daughters of Tzelafchad, the Torah seems to provide redundant information. The pasuk says that they were “the daughters of Tzelafchad, son of Chefer, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Menashe” and then that they were “from the family of Menashe son of Yosef” [Bamidbar 27:1]. Why was it necessary to emphasize the fact that they descended from Menashe son of Yosef twice?

Rashi asks this question and answers that the emphasis indicates that love of Eretz Yisrael is genetic. Yosef loved the Land of Israel and insisted that his bones be returned there. This love for Israel/Eretz Yisrael ran in his family such that his descendants (Tzelafchad’s daughters) insisted that they be given their fair portion in the Land. The wife of the Sefas Emes asked her son (the Imrei Emes) a question on this Rashi: What is the proof that the daughters of Tzelafchad loved the Land of Israel? Perhaps they were just interested in their inheritance as a monetary matter.

The Imrei Emes gave his mother a very good answer. There are two opinions regarding the identity of Tzelafchad. One opinion is that he was the chopper of wood [Bamdibar 15:32]. Another opinion is that he was from the group who tried to force their way into Canaan after the decree of the spies [Bamidbar 14:40]. Either way, Tzelafchad died in Parshas Shlach, prior to beginning of the decreed 40 years of wandering. His death occurred some 38 years prior to the events in Parshas Pinchas. If Tzelafchad’s daughters were interested in their father’s estate from a strictly financial perspective, why would they have waited 38 years to ask for it? Inheritance is not limited to land. What about his cattle? What about his other property? Apparently, they were not interested in that. It was only now, when they were on the doorstep of Eretz Yisrael that they came pressing their claim for inheritance of their father’s portion. This is the demonstration of their love for the Land. They were silent regarding the cash and moveable property. However, their inheritance in the Land of Israel mattered greatly to them. They inherited this affinity to the Land from their great grandfather, Menashe son of Yosef.


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