In this week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, an incident with the five daughters of Tzelafchad – Machla, Noa, Chagla, Milka and Tirtza – is related. Tzelafchad, an Israelite who died in the desert, had no sons. Only sons were entitled to an inheritance; therefore, the daughters of Tzelafchad were not permitted a portion in the Holy Land.
The daughters of Tzelafchad, who were all known to be righteous women, objected to the thought that their family would not have a part in the Land of Israel. They went before Moses, who presented the case to G-d. G-d said to Moses, “The daughters of Tzelafchad speak properly. You shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren” (Num. 27:7).
The above-mentioned episode is just one example in the Torah of the relationship of the Jewish women to the Land of Israel.
When the spies returned from the land of Canaan with reports of fortified cities, armies, and giants, the men decided to turn back to Egypt. But the women remained steadfast in their desire to enter the Land. Consequently, only the men of military age were punished; they were to die in the desert. The women, however, entered the Land.
Tzelafchad’s daughters were descendants of the tribe of Menashe, who had asked Moses for permission to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan. They could easily have obtained land on that side, since the land there was distributed through Moses personally. But, they were not content with such a portion. They loved the Holy Land and wanted a share in it.
The task they had set for themselves was not easy. The established judicial system was comprised of judges over 50, 100, 1,000, etc. The daughters had to approach various judges, each one referring the matter to higher authorities until it was finally brought to Moses, himself.
Tzelafchad’s daughters were willing to try to overcome such a seemingly impossible and tiring obstacle to receive their portion.
This incident can serve as a lesson to us in our daily lives, too. G-d demands that we conduct our lives according to certain guidelines. Yet at the same time, He created and organized the universe in such a way that it seems to preclude proper fulfillment of our obligations of Torah study and performance of mitzvot.
But, with the right approach, we too, can merit a portion in our rightful inheritance. We must be willing to try to overcome the seemingly “impossible” obstacles, just as Tzelafchad’s daughters did. If we undertake it with the same attitude of love as Tzelafchad’s daughters, then certainly we will achieve our goal.