Pinchas – The Power of the Women of Klal Yisroel

In this week’s Parsha we find the incident of the daughters of Tzlofchad. He died in the desert not as result of the either the sin of the Eigel or the Meraglim. According to Chazal , he either was the Mekoshesh, the first person to be Mechalel Shabbos, or one of those who after the Meraglim did not listen and went towards Eretz Yisroel even though HaShem said not to. Therefore his daughters request that since their father did not have any sons, they should receive his portion in Eretz Yisroel . They even come with a ‘Lomdus’, a legal claim why they should inherit. There is a Halacha of Yibum, which if a married man dies and has no children his wife needs to do Yibum, and marry the deceased husband’s brother. But if has children they inherit him. So therefore they claimed if they are not considered children to inherit, let their mother do Yibum. But if their mother is exempt from Yibum, let them inherit ! Moshe is so impressed by this question that he approaches HaShem to hear the answer .
Based on this, Chazal teach us that we find that the women of Klal Yisroel desired and loved Eretz Yisroel. Where are the unique qualities of the women and Eretz Yisroel that create this bond?
The Kli Yakar in this week’s Parsha explains in the following way . One of the special Mitzvos of Eretz Yisroel is to give Trumah and Ma’aser. This is only in Eretz Yisroel and not in Chutz La’Aretz. Why? One of the differences between Eretz Yisroel and Chutz La’Aretz is where the water for crops comes from. The Pasuk says that in Mitzrayim the water to irrigate the crops comes from the Nile and is transported through the efforts of the people. In Eretz Yisroel the water comes down from the sky and is given to us by HaShem. Therefore in Eretz Yisroel there are two partners in the growth of the crops; HaShem provides the water and man the effort. Since the water that comes from HaShem, we need to repay him by giving His servants his portion, the Ma’aser. In Chutz La’Aretz it is ‘all’ from man’s endeavors so there is no need to give back to HaShem at all. Obviously everything in the world comes from HaShem but this is on the level of what is perceived and what we are obligated to do.
This can also explain a Gemarra in Kesuvos . Even though the obligation of Tzedakah is one tenth, but we are taught that the maximum is up to one fifth. One would think that you could give as much Ma’aser or Tzedaka as you want. Doing a Mitzvah would seem to be good and doing more especially in terms of Tzedakah would seem to be better. So why do Chazal tell us that the maximum we can give it two tenths, or a fifth? Based on the Keli Yakar we can understand this to some degree. HaShem gives us what we need to use in the proper way to support himself and his family. He asks us just to ‘return’ to Him His investment, but nt to impoverish ourselves. The amount to give is one tenth. But a person who understands that even my own involvement is really a gift from HaShem can return to HaShem even that part too. It is a recognition that even my own efforts are really only a gift from HaShem.
The men do not desire to enter Eretz Yisroel. They would prefer to stay in Mitzrayim where as the Pasuk says we can eat the food for ‘free’, exempt from Mitzvoth . They do not want to have to acknowledge that their sustenance really comes from HaShem. But one of a woman’s special Mitzvoth is Challah, which an obligation to recognize that our food comes ultimately from HaShem. That Mitzvah is only in Eretz Yisroel. The women desired to enter into Eretz Yisroel to be able to recognize that everything only comes from HaShem. They also have a special connection to the Mitzvah of Tzedakah . These Mitzvoth represent Emunah, faith in HaShem, that we are not in charge. To take your own money and give it away because Hashem wants you to, is a clear recognition that He is in charge. That is living Emunah.
That is also why the Parsha emphasizes they are from the Shevet of Yoseph. Yoseph is the person who does Tzedakah for the entire Jewish people and all of Egypt. They inherited this trait, and therefore desire to enter into Eretz Yisroel, where Emunah and Tzedakah can be practiced to their fullest.
This is the special Koach of the women of Klal Yisroel to have Emunah and live their lives in that way.


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