Friday, July 22, 2022

an ownership stake

1) R' Tzadok haKohen (Pri Tzadik Pinchas #9) writes that the fasts of 17 Tamuz and 9 Av always fallout on the same day as the first of Pesach to teach us that there is a parallel between the days.  Pesach is the chag of redemption that led to kabbalas haTorah. So too, the breaking of the luchos on 17 Tamuz ultimately led to a greater kabbalas haTorah, as had we only had the first luchos, everything would be Torah sheb'skav and we would have no need for ameilus in Torah to figure things out on our own.  Because those luchos were broken, Torah shebaal peh came into the world.  The gemara darshens that Hashem said to Moshe "y'yasher kochacha she'shibarta."  (Parenthetically, when I once mentioned this gemara to sefardim I pointed out that kavyachol Hashem must be an Ashkenazi, otherwise He would have said 'chazak u'baruch' and not 'y'yasher koach.') Because of the churban on 9Av, we will once day have a Beit haMikdash that comes down from shamayim.  These fasts are steps toward greater redemption, just twists in the road to get us to our destination.   

R' Leibele Eiger (Imrei Emes, last piece on the parsha) quotes the pasuk

 הָלוֹךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכֹה נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶׁךְ הַזָּרַע בֹּא יָבוֹא בְרִנָּה נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו.

and points out that if you take the first letter of each of the first three words, the gematriya = 21, which corresponds to the three weeks of bein ha'metzarim.  We are crying during this time because we don't see the fruits of our labor yet and everything looks barren.  The destruction, however, is part of the process of planting, נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶׁךְ הַזָּרַע, and ultimately we will reap the rewards.

2) Rashi comments (27:1) that the Torah traces the lineage of Bnos Tzelafchad back to Yosef because:

וסף חיבב את הארץ, שנאמר: והעליתם את עצמותי (בראשית נ׳:כ״ה), ובנותיו חיבבו את הארץ.

It's not that they wanted a portion in Eretz Yisrael as an investment, because they knew the housing market would go from expensive and rise to outrageous, but rather they wanted a portion simply because of a tremendous love they had for the land.   

Why was this quality of love of the land felt by the Bnos Tzelafchad more than anyone else?  R' Moshe Tzvi Neriah points out that it was Yosef's children alone who were  raised from birth in galus.  The children of all the other shevatim were born in Eretz Yisrael.  When Eretz Yisrael is home, you take it for granted.  For Yosef, it was not home, and therefore he didn't take it for granted.  He had to make a deliberate effort to teach his children a love of Eretz Yisrael and he didn't assume it would be passed to them by osmosis.  Interestingly, at the end of P' Matos we read that it was Menashe's children and grandchildren who took the initiative in conquering territory assigned to them.  They didn't wait for reinforcements.  They, more than others, pushed ahead with the conquest.  

How does their request for a portion of land in Eretz Yisrael demonstrate their love for the land?  It's not like they faced a choice at this point of going to Eretz Yisrael or returning to Mitzrayim.  Where else were they going to go?  If their petition to Moshe was denied, they still would have gone into Eretz Yisrael!  The only difference is that they would be living with their husband and family in his portion of the land rather than having their own piece of the pie.  

My son last year quoted R' Wagshal from the Mir as addressing this issue, but I want to add my 2 cents.

The simple answer (see Netziv, Malbim) is that for Bnos Tzelafchad who were from sheivet Menashe there was in fact some other place else to go -- Eiver haYarden, where other members of their sheivet settled.  Because they requested davka land in Eretz Yisrael proper, it shows they did not just want any portion to call their own, but they wanted to be specifically in Eretz Yisrael.

But I think there is something more here as well.  Ran Nedarim 28a quotes the view of Tos that dina d'malchusa dina does not apply in Eretz Yisrael:

כתבו בתוספות דדוקא במלכי עובדי כוכבים אמר דדינא דמלכותא דינא מפני שהארץ שלו ויכול לומר להם אם לא תעשו מצותי אגרש אתכם מן הארץ אבל במלכי ישראל לא לפי שא"י כל ישראל שותפין בה

Ran relates dina d'malchusa to the fact that the gvt, as occurred not infrequently in our history in galus, can expel residents who choose to disobey its laws.  We are just vassals of the state, and must therefore obey its dictates.  However, writes the Ran, this sevara does not apply in Eretz Yisrael.  Our right to Eretz Yisrael is not based on having the approval of a benevolent king, Jewish or not, who chooses to allow us to remain there.  We are not subjects of the state, we are partners in the state.    

A lot of companies give stock options or shares to their employees for the simple reason that when employees have an ownership stake in the company, it gives them a vested interested in the company's success and they will therefore work harder.  I say this b'peh malei as someone who is not living in Eretz Yisrael yet: aino domeh showing love for Eretz Yisrael by making it the place you take your vacations, the place you may spend some of the chagim, the place where you have an apartment to use during a midwinter or summer break, to showing your love for Eretz Yisrael by making it the place you call home.  שא"י כל ישראל שותפין בה.  It's different when you are not just a customer of the business, but you are a partner.  

No question that Bnos Tzelafchad would have lived in Eretz Yisrael anyway.  But they wanted more than that -- they wanted to be partners in Eretz Yisrael.  That's what having your own cheilek means. 

Moshe Rabeinu was not able to pasken for the Bnos Tzelafchad because  נתעלמה ממנו הלכה, as Rashi writes.  Moshe received whatever instructions he needed, whatever Torah he knew, directly from Hashem.  He was a subject, so to speak, of the king, the King of Kings, and just followed the rules as given. Yehoshua and the next generation did not have that same benefit -- they had to work to figure things out themselves.  They were  more like partners with the RBS"O, kavyachol, in making Torah shebaal peh, not just copyists.   לפי שא"י כל ישראל שותפין בה, building Eretz Yisrael requires figuring out for yourself how to implement the Divine plan in practice, with all the messy details involved in building a functioning state and society.  We are partners with the RBS"O in working things out.   נתעלמה ממנו הלכה because running a partnership is not the role of a Moshe Rabeinu, it's the role of the next generation.  This is why the parsha of Bnos Tzelafchad is immediately followed by the appointment of Yehoshua, as it server as the signal to Moshe that it was time for a new leader.  (See the last Sefas Emes on the parsha for a much deeper spin on this idea.)

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