Thursday, July 21, 2005

parshat Pinchas: Giv'at Pinchas

The last pasuk in sefer Yehoshua is somewhat curious. It mentions the death and burial of Eleazar the son of Aharon. Yehoshua 24:33:
לג וְאֶלְעָזָר בֶּן-אַהֲרֹן, מֵת; וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ, בְּגִבְעַת פִּינְחָס בְּנוֹ, אֲשֶׁר נִתַּן-לוֹ, בְּהַר אֶפְרָיִם 33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in the Hill of Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.
Eleazar, and Pinchas, were Kohanim, from the tribe of Levi. Now, the Levites did not get any inheritance in the land of Israel. Why should Pinchas possess land in Har Ephraim, presumably in Ephraim? It does not seem to be part of any Levite city.

Har Ephraim is also where Yehoshua ben Nun got an inheritance. See Yehoshua 19:50:

מט וַיְכַלּוּ לִנְחֹל-אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, לִגְבוּלֹתֶיהָ; וַיִּתְּנוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל נַחֲלָה לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, בְּתוֹכָם. 49 When they had made an end of distributing the land for inheritance by the borders thereof, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun in the midst of them;
נ עַל-פִּי ה נָתְנוּ לוֹ, אֶת-הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר שָׁאָל--אֶת-תִּמְנַת-סֶרַח, בְּהַר אֶפְרָיִם; וַיִּבְנֶה אֶת-הָעִיר, וַיֵּשֶׁב בָּהּ. 50 according to the commandment of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnath-serah in the hill-country of Ephraim; and he built the city, and dwelt therein.

The Sifrei on parshat Pinchas (which Rashi cites on the last pasuk in sefer Yehoshua) has a statement by Rabbi Yehuda that Pinchas acquired this land by inheriting it from his wife. This is the mechanism by which land can shift permanently from one tribe to another.

A daughter can only inherit if there are no sons, so this must have been the case for Pinchas' wife.

Thus, while the daughters of Tzelofchad are mentioned in this week's parsha (see Bemidbar 27:1 and on) as having this problem, and raising the issue, it would seem that others benefited from this as well. In Bemidbar 27:6 and on:

ו וַיֹּאמֶר ה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. 6 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:
ז כֵּן, בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד דֹּבְרֹת--נָתֹן תִּתֵּן לָהֶם אֲחֻזַּת נַחֲלָה, בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵי אֲבִיהֶם; וְהַעֲבַרְתָּ אֶת-נַחֲלַת אֲבִיהֶן, לָהֶן. 7 'The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.
ח וְאֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, תְּדַבֵּר לֵאמֹר: אִישׁ כִּי-יָמוּת, וּבֵן אֵין לוֹ--וְהַעֲבַרְתֶּם אֶת-נַחֲלָתוֹ, לְבִתּוֹ. 8 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying: If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.
ט וְאִם-אֵין לוֹ, בַּת--וּנְתַתֶּם אֶת-נַחֲלָתוֹ, לְאֶחָיו. 9 And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren.
י וְאִם-אֵין לוֹ, אַחִים--וּנְתַתֶּם אֶת-נַחֲלָתוֹ, לַאֲחֵי אָבִיו. 10 And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren.
יא וְאִם-אֵין אַחִים, לְאָבִיו--וּנְתַתֶּם אֶת-נַחֲלָתוֹ לִשְׁאֵרוֹ הַקָּרֹב אֵלָיו מִמִּשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ, וְיָרַשׁ אֹתָהּ; וְהָיְתָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְחֻקַּת מִשְׁפָּט, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה 11 And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it. And it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.'
Now, this arrangement can lead to a transfer of landof inheritance from one tribe to another, as we see at the very last perek of sefer Bemidbar, in parshat Masei, when the relatives of Tzelofchad complain to Moshe that their tribe's inheritance will be lost. Bemidbar 36:

א וַיִּקְרְבוּ רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת, לְמִשְׁפַּחַת בְּנֵי-גִלְעָד בֶּן-מָכִיר בֶּן-מְנַשֶּׁה--מִמִּשְׁפְּחֹת, בְּנֵי יוֹסֵף; וַיְדַבְּרוּ לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה, וְלִפְנֵי הַנְּשִׂאִים--רָאשֵׁי אָבוֹת, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 1 And the heads of the fathers' houses of the family of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spoke before Moses, and before the princes, the heads of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel;
ב וַיֹּאמְרוּ, אֶת-אֲדֹנִי צִוָּה ה, לָתֵת אֶת-הָאָרֶץ בְּנַחֲלָה בְּגוֹרָל, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַאדֹנִי, צֻוָּה בַיהוָה, לָתֵת אֶת-נַחֲלַת צְלָפְחָד אָחִינוּ, לִבְנֹתָיו. 2 and they said: 'The LORD commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the children of Israel; and my lord was commanded by the LORD to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother unto his daughters.
ג וְהָיוּ לְאֶחָד מִבְּנֵי שִׁבְטֵי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְנָשִׁים, וְנִגְרְעָה נַחֲלָתָן מִנַּחֲלַת אֲבֹתֵינוּ, וְנוֹסַף עַל נַחֲלַת הַמַּטֶּה אֲשֶׁר תִּהְיֶינָה לָהֶם; וּמִגֹּרַל נַחֲלָתֵנוּ, יִגָּרֵעַ. 3 And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then will their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of our fathers, and will be added to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they shall belong; so will it be taken away from the lot of our inheritance.
ד וְאִם-יִהְיֶה הַיֹּבֵל, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְנוֹסְפָה נַחֲלָתָן, עַל נַחֲלַת הַמַּטֶּה אֲשֶׁר תִּהְיֶינָה לָהֶם; וּמִנַּחֲלַת מַטֵּה אֲבֹתֵינוּ, יִגָּרַע נַחֲלָתָן. 4 And when the jubilee of the children of Israel shall be, then will their inheritance be added unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they shall belong; so will their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.'
ה וַיְצַו מֹשֶׁה אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַל-פִּי ה לֵאמֹר: כֵּן מַטֵּה בְנֵי-יוֹסֵף, דֹּבְרִים. 5 And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the LORD, saying: 'The tribe of the sons of Joseph speaketh right.
ו זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה ה, לִבְנוֹת צְלָפְחָד לֵאמֹר, לַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיהֶם, תִּהְיֶינָה לְנָשִׁים: אַךְ, לְמִשְׁפַּחַת מַטֵּה אֲבִיהֶם--תִּהְיֶינָה לְנָשִׁים. 6 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying: Let them be married to whom they think best; only into the family of the tribe of their father shall they be married.
ז וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִמַּטֶּה אֶל-מַטֶּה: כִּי אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלַת מַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, יִדְבְּקוּ, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 7 So shall no inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe; for the children of Israel shall cleave every one to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
ח וְכָל-בַּת יֹרֶשֶׁת נַחֲלָה, מִמַּטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--לְאֶחָד מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת מַטֵּה אָבִיהָ, תִּהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה: לְמַעַן, יִירְשׁוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אִישׁ, נַחֲלַת אֲבֹתָיו. 8 And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may possess every man the inheritance of his fathers.
ט וְלֹא-תִסֹּב נַחֲלָה מִמַּטֶּה, לְמַטֶּה אַחֵר: כִּי-אִישׁ, בְּנַחֲלָתוֹ, יִדְבְּקוּ, מַטּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 9 So shall no inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; for the tribes of the children of Israel shall cleave each one to its own inheritance.'
י כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה, אֶת-מֹשֶׁה, כֵּן עָשׂוּ, בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד. 10 Even as the LORD commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad.
יא וַתִּהְיֶינָה מַחְלָה תִרְצָה, וְחָגְלָה וּמִלְכָּה וְנֹעָה--בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד: לִבְנֵי דֹדֵיהֶן, לְנָשִׁים. 11 For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their father's brothers' sons.
יב מִמִּשְׁפְּחֹת בְּנֵי-מְנַשֶּׁה בֶן-יוֹסֵף, הָיוּ לְנָשִׁים; וַתְּהִי, נַחֲלָתָן, עַל-מַטֵּה, מִשְׁפַּחַת אֲבִיהֶן. 12 They were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.
Now, the daughters of Tzelofchad followed Moshe's command, but apparently the wife of Pinchas did not. Perhaps she married him before this command was given, or lost brothers afterward.

Another possibility was that this was not much land, but rather simply a burial ground - an אחוזת קבר. Perhaps there was an exception that this burial ground did not revert at Yovel. (Not that I know of any current halacha of the sort.)

After all, we see that Avraham, when he was but a sojourner, and had no land (sort of like a Levite), asked for a burial place to bury his wife Sarah. In Bereishit 23:4:

ג וַיָּקָם, אַבְרָהָם, מֵעַל, פְּנֵי מֵתוֹ; וַיְדַבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי-חֵת, לֵאמֹר. 3 And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spoke unto the children of Heth, saying:
ד גֵּר-וְתוֹשָׁב אָנֹכִי, עִמָּכֶם; תְּנוּ לִי אֲחֻזַּת-קֶבֶר עִמָּכֶם, וְאֶקְבְּרָה מֵתִי מִלְּפָנָי. 4 'I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.'
Indeed, Avraham says תנו, and in the last pasuk in sefer Yehoshua, we don't see that he had been apportioned it, or that he had inherited it from his wife, but rather that it was given to him, אֲשֶׁר נִתַּן-לוֹ. Perhaps they gave it to him as a burial place for his family, and it was called after his name.

Alternativelty, perhaps there was some apportioning of land that went on past the strict rules of the goral. I cited earlier See Yehoshua 19:49-50:

מט וַיְכַלּוּ לִנְחֹל-אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, לִגְבוּלֹתֶיהָ; וַיִּתְּנוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל נַחֲלָה לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, בְּתוֹכָם. 49 When they had made an end of distributing the land for inheritance by the borders thereof, the children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun in the midst of them;
נ עַל-פִּי ה נָתְנוּ לוֹ, אֶת-הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר שָׁאָל--אֶת-תִּמְנַת-סֶרַח, בְּהַר אֶפְרָיִם; וַיִּבְנֶה אֶת-הָעִיר, וַיֵּשֶׁב בָּהּ. 50 according to the commandment of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnath-serah in the hill-country of Ephraim; and he built the city, and dwelt therein.
We thus see that Yehoshua, who himself was a member of the tribe of Ephraim, received land from the children of Israel in the midst of them, in the hill-country of Ephraim. This was when they had made an end to distributing the land, so it seems to be not part of the typical distribution. Why would they do this? Well, Yehoshua was their leader, and he should reside in the best place geographically for him to rule. Further, he had led them to inherit the very land of Israel, so in gratitude they would grant him the choice land that he desired as his inheritance.

{We see also that the tribe of Reuven, Gad, and half of Menashe took their inheritance across the Jordan, and received the right to do this in part by agreeing to go to battle in Israel proper at the head (see Bemidbar 31).}

Pinchas was also a member of the ruling elite, and had led the Israelites to war against the Midianites (see Bemidbar 31:6). Perhaps in gratitude for his leadership in battle, and because it made sense to reside in close proximity to Yehoshua, in Har Ephraim, he was granted a small area as an inherit, perhaps post-division by lot, even though he was a Levite.

Update: The gemara which discusses a Biblical derivation (though some Tanaaim hold it is Rabbinic) for a husband inheriting his wife can be found on Bava Batra 111b and on. Giv'at Pinchas is discussed there.

1 comment:

MICHAEL EISENKRAFT said...

WHERE IS THE PINCHAS OF TODAY TO
LEAD ISRAEL UNDER SIEGE AND THE
JEWISH PEOPLE ASSIMILATED IN
GENTILE COUNTRIES AND FAMILIES??

MTRUST18@AOL.COM

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