Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
This week's parasha is Pinhas. Towards the beginning of the parasha we read the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. After Moses instructs the people on the division of the Promised Land once they enter it he also informs them that the land will pass from father to son so that it will remain within the tribes. Upon hearing this the five daughters of Zelophehad confront Moses with the fact that their father died in the desert leaving behind only daughters. Given the new laws their land would be lost from their family. They believe that they deserve to inherit the land by stating "Let not our father's name be lost to his clan just because he had no son! Give us a holding among our father's kin!" (Numbers 27:3-4). Moses brings their case before God who declares that their claim is just and that they should be allowed to inherit their father's share of the land. The law from that time on is that if a man dies without sons the land shall pass to his daughters.
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