Torah: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1) Haftarah: ( I Kings 18-46 -19:21)
The Torah parsha has Pinchas, Aaron’s grandson receiving an award for his zeal. Another census of the Israelites is taken, apportionment of the land of Canaan among the tribes is given. A separate census of the Levites was also taken. This is the portion of laws of inheritance with the case of the five daughters of Zelophechad an Israelite from the tribe of Manasseh dies. There were no sons so the daughters claimed the inheritance of their father and his portion of the land in the Promised Land. The daughters wanted equality of land rights and wealth. This was the first for women to bring such a case before the court. (Numbers 27:36)They won their case, however in order to receive their inheritance they had to marry a man from their tribe. The Torah portion ends with daily and festival offerings.
This Torah portion has the Laws of Inheritance. It is a religious duty for us to act and render judgment regarding inheritance.
The order of inheritance under Jewish law can be summarized as follows:
Sons of the deceased and their descendants, daughters of the deceased and their descendants, father of the deceased, brothers of the deceased and their descendants, sisters of the deceased and their descendants, paternal grandfather of the deceased, paternal uncles (father’s brothers) of the deceased and their descendants, aunts (father’s sisters) of the deceased and their descendants, and according to rabbinic law, a husband can not inherit his property.
While the ancient world was considering the land and wealth of the person, they also chose men over women. Keep in mind the tribal living, and the protection of the community. The sages also tried to protect women and the children from a husband that would take everything and would leave nothing for the welfare of children. Today, we read and hear of inheritances that are outrageous, while others are loving and caring for the surviving family members. Judaism has righteous and moral guidelines, which gives comfort for all individuals.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder