For the week ending 20 May 2017 / 24 Iyyar 5777

Bava Batra 114 - 120

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library
  • Till when can one retract on finalizing a gift
  • The inability of a mother to inherit from her son
  • The order of heirs
  • The debate with the Tzedukim re an inheritance law
  • Importance of leaving behind a son
  • Grandfather's precedence as heir
  • The three portions inherited by Tzelofchad's daughters
  • How inheritance of Eretz Yisrael was determined
  • Danger of the "evil eye"
  • Who inherited the portion of Eretz Yisrael denied to the meraglim spies and other sinners
  • The Shabbat violator in the wilderness and his punishment
  • How Tzelofchad's daughters presented their appeal
  • The special qualities of those women
  • The child-bearing situation of special women
  • Whether one can revoke his pledge to the Sanctuary

The Daughters of Tzelofchad

  • Bava Batra 119b

The "heroines" of the Torah chapter regarding inheritance are the five daughters of Tzelofchad who initiated the revelation of these laws through their request for a portion in Eretz Yisrael as heirs of their deceased father.

Their righteousness was expressed in the fact that they were so intent on marrying only a suitable mate that none of them became a wife before the age of forty.

Tosefot points out that their father died at the beginning of the forty-year wandering in the wilderness and they married at the end of that period, thus making the youngest at least forty years old. As proof that Tzelofchad died early, Tosefot cites a midrash that identifies the mysterious public violator of the Shabbat (Bamidbar 15:32-36) who was executed for his sin as Tzelofchad, and explains his well-meaning motive. That incident took place at the very beginning, right after the entire generation was condemned to wander and die in the wilderness for accepting the slander of the meraglim spies. Many Jews felt that since they were not going to enter Eretz Yisrael they were no longer obligated to keep G-d's commands. To demonstrate that this was not so, Tzelofchad sacrificed his life to show that responsibility was still in effect.

What the Sages Say

"In Torah gatherings the precedence in seating is granted to the outstanding scholar but at wedding feasts this honor is given to the very old."

  • Rabbi Ami - Bava Batra 120a

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to TalmuDigest

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.