Have you ever wanted something very badly? I mean something good of course. You really want it but are not sure if you are entitled to it or how to go about acquiring it. You research and investigate and eventually find the information you need. Armed with the proper information, you are now able to show that you are entitled.

How much do we really love the Land of Israel and how strongly do we yearn to have a share in the land? In this week’s Torah reading Parshas Pinchas, the daughters of Tzlafchad approach Moshe and request a share in the land of Israel. Their father was no longer alive and they had no brothers. They say to Moshe “Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against Hashem in the company of Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from among his family, because he had no son? Give to us a possession among the brothers of our father.”

Moshe is stymied and has to ask Hashem whether they are supposed to get a share. Hashem replies in the affirmative and teaches the laws of inheritance. The Sefer Zikaron comments that the daughters of Tzlafchad understood details of the laws of inheritance that Moshe did not know. Their claim was not just we would like to have a share: they were claiming that they rightfully deserved it. We know this is so because it would have been inappropriate to claim something that you may not be entitled to. They would not have asked for a share unless they were sure they were right.

Rav Henoch Leibowitz asks how is it that they knew the laws even though Moshe did not? Moshe knew more Torah than anyone else? He answers that the daughters of Tzlafchad had a personal bias. They were motivated by their strong love of Israel. They so much wanted a share in the land that it inspired them to research the law in greater depth and come up with the correct answer. Their bias did not cause them to make an error in logic, it inspired them to dig deeper and find the answer. Moshe did not have this motivation and did not research the issue as deeply and as a result did not come up with the answer.

Today marks the last day of our Yarchei Kallah study week, culminating with a Shabbaton with Rabbi Hoch. It has been a week of great inspiration and learning. As we begin the Three Weeks between the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha B’Av, may we use what we have learned to motivate ourselves to a greater love of Torah and Israel and may our deep yearning inspire us to find the key to bringing Moshiach.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shaps and the JET Team