Pinchas: Numbers 25: 10 – 30: 1
This week’s Torah reading, Pinchas, deals with the division and inheritance of land. The land is to be divided based on tribal size. The patriarch of each family within each tribe will be assigned a parcel of land. When this is announced five remarkable young women, the daughters of Zelophehad, approach Moshe to ask for their late father’s portion of land. Their argument is that just because their father had no sons it is unjust that the father’s name and legacy should disappear.
Zelophehad’s daughters, Mahla, Noa, Hogla, Milca and Tirza speak to Moshe at the entrance of the “Tent of Meetings” a most public place. The priests, the assembly and the public can witness the events. The five sisters present the case with a solution within their opening statements. They speak of loyalty to family and perpetuating their father’s name rather than referring to their personal stake.
Moshe is unsure of what he should do and what ruling to make. He turns directly to Gd. Gd unequivocally supports the young women’s proposal saying, “The plea of Zelophehad’s daughters is just”. Gd then immediately announces new laws governing inheritance, and including daughters. It is a wonderful testament to the Jewish attribute of considering a situation and coming up with a just solution.
Samaria Ostraca- 8th B.C.E. pottery shards with Noa and Hogla as town names
Mahla, Noa, Hogla, Milca and Tirza teach us that when we see an injustice we must represent ourselves favourably. By seeking justice respectfully and not giving up, positive change can occur. These five sisters worked together to present a strong front. Their actions were important enough to merit their names being mentioned four times in the Bible: Numbers 26:33, 27:1 , 36: 11, Joshua 17:3.
If you suffer an unfair occurrence consider a good solution, present it, and stand up for your rights! (Just take a look at what Nitsana Darshan- Leitner is achieving through Shurat haDIn! http://israellawcenter.org/ )
Have a just and rewarding week, Laya