This week in the Torah

there is a great section about the daughters of Tzelafchad, and their claim to inheritance of the Land of Israel.  It’s a very packed section and there is much written on it, but today I saw a few things that were spectacular.  The Sifrei says (I’m paraphrasing here because I’m too lazy to go find and open the book again) that the daughters were righteous because they first talked together to gather advice from each other and then they went to Moshe to claim their portion.  This was written ‘way before any of the feminist or post-feminist psychologists saw how we women work  collaboratively.  That would have been enough, except I had time to look at things further.

Then the Maharam says something amazing about the language that is used “Ken Bnot Tzlafchad dovrot” which is very unusual in many ways.  Besides that G-d is agreeing with this sisterhood, the word dovrot is odd, since it is present tense, but is usually translated as “[Yes, the daughters of Tzelafchad] speak right”, but it’s a different form.  There’s a sense first of all that they speak right always, since it’s in the present tense.  But what the Maharam says is that it is the language of (okay here I’m forgetting exactly where it was also used, I think in Kings I or II) “dovrot bayam“, which means they are steering straight, like on the water.  They’ve got the right path ahead of them and they are holding onto the vision of getting to Eretz Yisrael and living there.  They are connected to their great-Zayde Yosef, and they have the vision that will keep them always connected.

I will keep reading this and I will keep being inspired by great women, G-d willing.


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