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​​This Week's Torah Thought

From Rabbi Miller
Pinchas | פנחס

July 14th, 2017
20 Tammuz 5777
To My Dear Students,
In our Torah Portion, Pinchas, we meet the five daughters of Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, who died in the wilderness having had no sons.  Upon the death of their father, the five sisters appeal to Moses that they, as women, should be qualified to inherit his property.  Moses turns to G-d for a ruling.  G-d answers that women have the right to receive property in the absence of male heirs.
Beyond this new understanding of the law is the fact that the Jewish People had not yet entered the Promised Land and were still in the wilderness.  What land was there to inherit?   Canaan was under the sovereignty of the Canaanites!
It is the great faith of the five women that is inspirational.  They did not question whether the foretold entry into the land would come about, nor if the subsequent battles would be successful, nor if the land of their father’s tribe would be made available to them.  They looked ahead with hope and confidence that G-d’s promises would be fulfilled.
This is the way of our People.  In HaTikvah, Israel’s national anthem, we sing, “As long as in the heart within a Jewish soul still yearns, and onward towards the ends of the east an eye still gazes toward Zion; Our hope is not yet lost, the hope two thousand years old, to be a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”  Fittingly, HaTikvah means “the Hope.”
I remember visiting a naval museum in Haifa, which housed one of the ships that ran the British blockade of Palestine.  That blockade prevented the surviving Jews of Europe from reaching Palestine’s shores.  Its name was the Af Al Pi, “Nevertheless and in spite of everything.”  This was the resolve of the five sisters of our Portion: that having trekked through the desert and having survived successive dangers and calamities, they would live on and live in the land apportioned to their family.  There they would settle and prosper and with G-d on their side, nothing could prevent the realization of their hopeful vision. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Miller​