Hardly anyone reads Numbers for pleasure, so most of us miss the marvelous history in chapter 27 of the five daughters of Zelophehad
: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
After resolving the inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad
, Moses addressed the Lord: 'Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them, and who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd' (Num.
Like the daughters of Zelophehad
, they're more likely to face peril when it comes to making a living: While the number of companies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation continues to risethe number of Fortune 500 companies that earned top marks from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, a leading benchmark of workplace equality, shot from 13 in 2002 to 305 last yearthere's still no federal legislation in place to safeguard this most basic of rights.
But then you hit verse 33: Now Zelophehad, son of Hep her, had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad
were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah; then the census goes on its humdrum way as if nothing has happened.
Have you heard of the daughters of Zelophehad
? Society of their day stated that women couldn't inherit wealth.
Challenging conventional inheritance laws, Moses sides with the daughters, setting a legal precedent: "Rightly the daughters of Zelophehad
He pointed out that keyn also means "right": "Keyn benot Zelophehad dovrot": "The daughters of Zelophehad
are right" (Numbers 27:7).
ve-Datan vaAviram.) Finally, regarding the statement by the daughters of Zelophehad
that their father was not part of Korah's band (p.
In addition to some rather esoteric material (the second census, the daughters of Zelophehad
, the festival calendar, the route to the promised land, and the tribal territories), this part of Numbers also contains the story of the brazen serpent, the Balaam account, and the sin at Baal Peor.
The story of the daughters of Zelophehad
appears twice in the Torah (Book of Numbers): the first time in chapter 27 and the second time in chapter 36.
To dispel any conclusion that the Book of Numbers as a source for Jewish law presents only negative case histories, we should consider the story of the daughters of Zelophehad
This type of connection between law and narrative can be seen in the case of the daughters of Zelophehad
, who appealed to be allowed to inherit their father's portion in the land of Canaan.