The Parsha Discussion: Matot-Massei: When a Halakhic Solution Creates a Halakhic Problem

Posted by Alex Israel on July 12, 2018
Topics: The Parsha Discussion, Matot, Massei

Last week we met the daughters of Zelophchad. Their father had an inheritance in the land of Canaan but he had five daughters, no sons. Since inheritance passed through the male line, the five daughters felt that his ancestral holding in the land should be preserved and retained by the family, so they approached Moses:

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 kinsmen! (27:4)

God affirms their argument and responds:

The plea of Zelophchad’s daughters is just: you should give them a hereditary holding among their father’s kinsmen; transfer their father’s share to them. (v.7)

And henceforth the inheritance law explicitly reflects the case of Zelophchad’s daughters:

…Speak to the Israelite people as follows: If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall transfer his property to his daughter. (v.8)

Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Matot-Massei: When a Halakhic Solution Creates a Halakhic Problem.

Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.

About Alex Israel

Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.

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