Fight For Your Right: Pinhas 2021

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: What steps do we take in order to transform a group’s culture? How do we create support from different kinds of people to effect social change?

The women who convince God and Moses to change Israelite inheritance law are five sisters, allegedly with both commonalities and differences:

The Pitch: “The daughters of Zelophehad, of Manassite family – son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph – came forward. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.” – Numbers 27:1

Swing #1: “But further on [in Numbers 36:11, the daughters are listed in a different order]: this is to tell you that they all were of equal worth one with another, and on this account it is that it changed their order [here].” – Sifrei Bamidbar

Swing #2: “When the daughters of Zelophehad heard that the land was being divided to the tribes but not to the women, they convened to discuss the matter. They said, ‘God’s mercy and compassion is not like the compassion of mankind. Mankind favors men over women. God is not that way, His compassion is on men and women alike.’” – Yalkut Shimoni

Swing #3: “The sisters — united in this cause, but so different in talent and temperament — looked … to each other for support. They reached within themselves as well, for each had prepared to handle this day in her own way.” – Vanessa L. Ochs, Ph.D., Sarah Laughed: Modern Lessons From the Wisdom & Stories of Biblical Women

Late-Inning Questions: Do you imagine the daughters of Zelophehad in the same way that our commentators do? How do you think each one helped contribute to their collective argument? What attributes make for the best allies?

On-Deck at TBT: Before you watch July 4th fireworks this Sunday, drive by the Temple that morning from 10:30-11:30 to receive some Independence Day regalia and to give much-needed supplies to City Mission’s pantry. Please see the Temple website for more information.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of working to effect change, a little more about Curt Flood (whom I mentioned last week): an All-Star outfielder, he was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies at a time when players were not allowed to be free agents. Rather than play for a team against his will, he sat out the following season, and barely played again. Unfortunately for Flood, players were only granted free agency after he had retired.

Shabbat Shalom!