Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daughters of Tzelaphchad as wise as King Solomon

An intersting point in Parshas Mas'ei is that the daughters of Tzelaphchad made sure that even after they had won their case, they would make sure that the "other party" would not fell cheated. The elders of the tribe pointed out that if they would marry into a different tribe, their children (the future inheritors of the land) would belong to that tribe. Thus, the land would be lost to the tribe of Menashe. Hashem stated that the claim was correct and that in future cases, the daughters must marry within the tribe (though anyone they wished within the tribe). However, since the ruling had already been given regarding the daughters of Tzelaphchad, they could marry whomever they wished.

In response to this ruling, not only did the daughters of Tzelaphchad marry within the tribe, they married their cousins (the children of their father's brothers). This meant that their children would be the grandchildren of their uncles and would therefore inherit the land just as they could have done had the land gone to their uncles.

This reminds me of a story about the ruling King Solomon gave in regard to a bitter land dispute. Two people were fighting over a piece of land. Rather than giving it to one or the other (or splitting it which would have made it useless), the king suggested that the son of one of the people marry the daughter of the other. The two fathers would jointly give the disputed land to the young couple as their marriage portion. Neither person would object to his child getting the land and they would both be pleased to see their grandchildren growing up there. Of course, there are people nowadays who would rather see the land destroyed than even go to their children, but these were decent people and once they were able to step away from the dispute, were able to act correctly.

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