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Pop Quiz: From what tribe were the daughters of Selofhad?

by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"According to the lottery shall one's inheritance be divided" (Bemidbar 26:56)

After forty years in the desert, the Israelites were ready to enter the new land, which was beautiful, fertile and challenging. The new generation was ready, willing and able to accept that challenge. The plan was to divide the land according to the tribes and the families of those tribes. Hashem told Moshe that there would be lots drawn, to determine which portion would be given to every tribe. Rashi says that when the Torah says "al pi hagoral," it should be taken literally. That according to the mouth of the lottery shall the land be divided. This was a miraculous lottery! It actually spoke! The Kohen would draw one ticket with the name of a tribe from one box and then draw another ticket with the boundaries of a portion of the land written on it. This would indicate that tribe so and so would receive this portion. But that wasn't all. The lottery would speak and say, "I, the lottery, say that this portion with these boundaries will go to this tribe!"

Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch asks, why is there such a need for the miracle? He explains that technically, the lottery could work on its own merit. The lottery was a mechanism that all of the tribes agreed to abide by, and whatever portion would come out would be accepted by all. However, how would they know that it was right? How would they know that this was the best for each and every tribe? It wouldn't be right that this Holy Land should be divided with any doubt at all. Therefore, a Divine voice from Heaven would validate and agree with this draw. It was saying, "This portion is right for you. On the other hand, a voice alone was not enough. It was also necessary to have the lottery in order to have the agreement from all parties. It shouldn't be a heavenly coercion, but something mutually agreeable to all. In short, it was perfect.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if on your way to work you would hear a heavenly voice saying that this job is for you! This house is for you; this spouse is for you; this child is for you; this car is for you. How much more content would we be. This is what Hashem wants for me! Well, my friend, our Torah is teaching us that it isn't only that one lottery that was Divine, but everything we have and do is Divinely ordained. Step lively! Meet your day head on. This is what Hashem wants for you.
Shabbat Shalom.

by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

The daughters of Selofhad approached Moshe and asked for an inheritance in the land of Israel. Although their father had passed away without leaving any sons, they insisted on having a share in the land of Israel and Moshe had to ask Hashem for a ruling on this matter. The answer was immediate: the daughters of Selofhad are correct and they deserve a share in the land, and moreover, the laws of inheritance are given here on their behalf.

We see from here that when a person feels he should have something coming to him, he should spare no efforts to try to attain it. Especially in the realm of spiritual achievements and attainments, we must not just sit back and let things pass us by. If we want to have an "inheritance" in the activities of our synagogue and community, such as classes, lectures and special minyanim, we must step up and ask for it, just as the daughters of Selofhad did. They merited inheriting the land and having the laws taught through them. May we merit attaining all of what is coming to us by showing interest in the important things in life.
Shabbat Shalom.


"Reuben was the firstborn of Israel. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, the family of Hanochi" (Bemidbar 26:5)

The Torah tells us that "it is not good for a person to be alone." This, said Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin, teaches us that we should choose family life over living by ourselves. Besides the joys of a family and the many practical benefits, a family serves as a training ground for a person to build up his love for other people. A person has a natural love for his father and mother, his wife and children and other relatives. Through this love he learns to feel and express love through acts of kindness for his friends, acquaintances and other people. When the entire Jewish people were in the wilderness, it was as if they were one big family living in one place. The only separation was the division of the people into tribes even though they all lived close together. For this reason when the Torah gives an accounting of the nation in the portion of Bemidbar, there is no mention of families, only of tribes. But in Arbot Moab they were counted right before the division of the land of Israel. They would now be spread out throughout the land and would be separated from each other. Now they were counted according to their families. This was to hint to them that they should keep their family ties even though each person had his own property. By this means they would live in peace and harmony and their love for others would spread.

(Growth Through Torah)

Answer to pop quiz: Menasheh.

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