Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Josephites request regarding the Daughters of Zelapchad and women in general inheriting property.

Gilead in Chapter 36 in numbers mentions a concern of the consequences of the daughters of Zelapchad and women in general inheriting property if there are no sons. Their concern is expressed in verse 3. "If they marry persons from another Israelite tribe their portion will be cut off. Meaning when they marry a man from another that inheritence will go to the children who will be a from the tribe of the father who is from a different tribe. That in the end will NOT preserve the fathers name. And Moses in the name of God said their plea as well was just and any daughter that inherits property because there are no sons must marry a man from their fathers tribe as God commands the daughter of Zelphchad that they can marry any man as long as it is from their fathers tribe as it says in verse 6.

I never realized this until now. I use to think this was a general prohibition of intermarriage between tribes but that is not the case. A woman can marry from any tribe she wants if she isn't inheriting property. But if she is for the purpose of preserving her fathers name since her father had no sons then in a case like that for this to truly happen she has to marry someone from her specific tribe or else in this next generation her fathers property would go to another tribe.As it says in verse 7. No inheritance may pass over from one tribe to another, but the Israelites must remain bound each to the ancestral portion of his tribe.

So in this case of inheriting property she had certain limitations in who she can marry to truly preserve her fathers name. This part of the daughters of Zelapchad sadly is not well known as I didn't realize it until now.

And the daughters of Zelaphchad did as God commanded. Milhah, Tizrah, Hagolah, Milca, and Noah, Zelapchads daughters were married to sons of their Uncle, which I guess were cousins of theirs to preserve their fathers name.

It is funny that the stone Chumash and the Gemarah really get this wrong. In the stone chumash it mentions that in the Talmud in Taanit page 30a when the land was appointed this restriction was lifted to universal rejoicing that a barrier to the nations unity no longer existed!!! And the 15th of Av was a celebration of this event of course which they think it is a good time to meet your mate. Likely this isn't even true and it seems they seem to think that this was a general command to women that they shouldn't marry with another tribe which may over time cause a unity issue which I once thought not reading it carefully. But that isn't the case. This is only a command for women who inherit property of their father not to marry from another tribe which would then cause the land to be inherited by another tribe.  If anything that is to preserve unity that tribes don't try to use this backhanded way to inherit another tribes land. This would only affect maybe at most 25% of the women if the average family had 2 children you have about a 25% that none of them would be boys. And if more then two even less. So the idea that abolition this to preserve unity shows that are so called male Rabbis are not reading the torah carefully and are impacted by feminism that they don't even see what is being said here that this is only for a minority that inherit land that in inheriting this land they have responsibilities in that.


SouthernBelle Rivky said...

There is some more information on Zelophehad in Wikipedia. Tough name since it is transliterated a bunch of different ways.

Interesting points I thought, the law was to marry within own tribe but encouragement was to stay within family clan, which is what happened in this case though it was not required. Kind of, a little bit like leveriate marriage in reverse in a way.

The other I point I had heard before that this restriction was only applicable for the generation during time frame when land was to be divided up. After that, it didn't matter. Wikipedia goes into other inheritance work arounds briefly, not sure how it was actually practiced.

My other thought is not stated but I think it is kind of implied that women inheriting was meant to provide for the young unmarried daughters so they wouldn't be put into an undesireable marriage too early out of economic survival or not be able to get married at all. Even if her father had died young, an already married woman would have security since her husband was getting inheritance from his father. Maybe the orphaned girls were too young to get married or it was meant they didn't have to be forced ASAP to marry any guy just so they wouldn't be homeless or not ever get married since they wouldn't have a dowry.

Since they didn't have a father or brother, the two closest male relatives that would be expected to take care of them until they got married or became single again through widow or divorce.

The standard inheritance pattern I think would have applied would have been to give to the deceased guy's brothers. The brothers (girl's uncles) may have had their own families and might have used the inheritance on their closest kin instead of trusting to do the right thing by the leaving out the deceased's now orphaned girls. Who if the father had been living, he'd be providing for his daugthers, not his brother's.

Plus a young girl in such a bad situation that she had no family she could be considered a burden when she was old enough to marry.
But by her having a share (though she'd rather have her father around), it doesn't put her at a great disadvantage to her peer's who have intact families and the resources that go with it.

Analytical Adam said...

It doesn't look like you read what I wrote or looked in the torah reading. It WAS REQUIRED for a woman to marry within her tribe is her inherited her fathers property because he had no sons. She could marry anyone within her fathers tribe but she was restricted in this way. This was NOT a general command to women though. Just to women who inherited land due to the fact that there father had no sons and to preserve his name which to do this would require this as well.

Your other comment that the land is to provide for young woman if their father passes I think is absurd and seems to be feminist thinking which this whole thing has nothing to do with feminism and protecting women by giving her property which is not the way to protect women by taking from men. This was NOT ABOUT PROTECTING WOMEN FROM THOSE HORRIBLE MEN IN SOME BACKHANDED WAY. Let us say say the children are young and the father passes and there is a son. So the girls don't inherit. They also are not suppose to sell the land. It has absolutely nothing to do with protecting the woman in any way. It was allowed because the Daughters did have a purpose of preserving their fathers name and it was not some backhanded way for the things you are stating. If a father passes with young children that is a problem for BOTH GENDERS not just girls for crying out loud. Nobody cares about young boys though.

I find it hilarious though that the Rabbis claim to have stopped this when they divided the land as they didn't exist then. Why it wouldn't matter once the land was divided is only if you are a communist that doesn't believe in property rights that for the next generation the land to go to everyone. And of course we can't obey this if men are in exile and don't own property in Israel due to tribal affiliation which it seems the Rabbis support as well since they don't want men to own any property because that will lead to this law which they find sexist although of course their profession they don't have to hire women.

SouthernBelle Rivky said...

Of course I read what you wrote, just looking wikipedia article too.

I have big hard questions for you! I want to see Mr. Adam's really smart answers on this!! I bet Mr. Adam would solve shidduch crisis today if he knows this!!!!

How come on a ketubah even today (though today it is just ceromonial), it lists the downry bas ploni is bringing with her. All her money, property, valuables, household items, etc that her father/family would have given her as presents. Since you've set up your apt, you know all that stuff is expensive! Oh she also needs money to look attractive in the first place to catch a guy's eye. Clothes are make-up aren't cheap, though guys don't know that.

So what if she doesn't have much because she is orphaned or very poor and not that pretty on her own. What guy wants that nebby girl? A guy would hold out for a girl who had family support, so this girl loses out, not her fault. And don't tell me this doesn't happen today, go ask an average girl without a father what very rude financial questions shadchans ask right off the bat. I'm so disguested! Though Mr. Adam knows system better than I do, maybe he know legitimate reason why so nosy. Maybe orphaned guys get same treatment, don't know. Mr. Adam gets super big prize if he answers that!!!***

Not to mention if she did attract a guy, the cost of some dumb overblown wedding which I suppose was less complicated back in biblical times than today, her family is stuck with bill, not the guy. Still tradition stands today men's families don't pay for the wedding, they might buy the alcohol and some flowers, but women's family is really stuck. Why is that?

Nowhere on a ketubah does it lists the goodies a man brings because his family isn't expected to cover that. How come?? Generally man was a bit older and already working when he was married. Women were married off as teenagers in biblical times. Man is only obligated to a standard amount like 100 or 200 zuz he or his estate would pay out which doesn't really sound like much. And whatever the girl brought with her, he or estate has to return. Oh he has to pay for food and clothing too.

Was told the measure of 100-200 zuz is about a or two pound of silver, I don't know this for sure though. As long as a guy can afford a few hundred dollars (the vaue of a pound silver), food and clothing, he can get married.

So back to your issue about no one caring about an orphaned boy. In this case, there is not much of a son needing dowry and paying for wedding since that comes from the girl's family. He can work and make the few hundred dollars, plus afford the cost of living when he's old enough to get married. And he picks out the girl too.

Where is a girl suppose to get her dowry if it's not from her father and women back then didn't work?

Oh and thanks in advance for being such a cool and groovy guy having big discussion. ***I haven't forgetton you already have several really big prizes you haven't claimed. You're the best!!! :)

SouthernBelle Rivky said...

Oh of course I can't let slip by Mr. Adam quick reference to 15th of Av. Tu B'Av is coming up!!!!! I wish Mr. Adam would do a big post on that.

So what's girl suppse to do??? Maybe it will be my lucky day, bunch of events going on that weekend. In Mr. Adam's state too. Could be Mr. Adam's lucky day!!! :)

SouthernBelle Rivky said...

I left something out in big post I really wanted to add.
I think it was really super smart of Mr. Adam to point out they didn't have rabbis yet back in that time period. Mr. Adam doesn't let sneaky stuff slip by him!!! Unless you count Moses which I would, but not rabbis like today. Though there was something in Yithro I thought where Moses appointed some dayans which are like rabbis when he was getting overwhelmed with work. Though that might be later time period even though it is earlier parsha. Maybe Mr. Adam remembers that and can clarify.

And I obviously did read to point out that an orphan girl with no brothers sort a little bit like leveriate situation where a widow has no children since the preserve the deceased's lineage, there's also restriction on who to marry. In terms of the original property division, I thought the general idea sounded like it would be that divided by tribe, then members of same family clans in same tribe were nearest each other. So normally guy's field would be near his brother's and cousins. It makes sense both if the orphaned girls kept their father's property not just in same tribe (which was the law) but also close in clan, it would also preserve family harmony. Wikipedia added the bit about encouraging staying within family clan which as you pointed out did actually happen since they married their cousins.

So marrying within extended family in addition to following law of staying in tribe also have benefit of staying close by her (and therefore her father's) relatives. So the father would be better remembered by members of his own extended family who knew him. I never wrote it was taking away from men. The orphan girl has no father or brothers to take from, though you could argue had the law not been amended, the father's brothers (girl's uncles) would have inherited. So you could say orphan girl is taking away from uncle, but the girl is really the closer next of kin even thouh she is female. That is not feminist like you are saying, it is more fair the closest relative inherits.

Versus a possible scenario you alluded to in original post. You came up with it, not me. There is higher risk an orphaned girl who no one looking out for her could be taken advantage of if she was allowed to marry anyone. A random bad guy who saw an unsuspecting sad girl with no family left who inherited property (there could be bad motive for a bad guy take advantage of orphan and acquire land for his tribe). Requiring the girl to marry in tribe and encourage stay in clan eliminates ill gotten gaining. So we are in agreement on this. On a practical level, how often would a girl be hanging out guys from other tribes anyways.

I never said it applied to all girls, you are the one that said it was news to you. I never said it applied to everyone. It wouldn't be that common of a situation (i.e. would have to be orphaned young, unmarried AND have no brothers less likely back then since families were much larger), though a little bit more common than leveriate (widow has no children [male or female] AND there's an available brother of the deceased to marry). That isn't feminism but more like a needed exception to the rule. That is why the law was amended to take care of this situation. Not sure how I write this is different then how you wrote it.

So I have big tricky question for Mr. Adam. See if Mr. Adam come up with good answer like he normally does. What if a father dies leaving behind one son and five little girls (too young to get married). The son inherits according to the law (we agree on this), but what happens to the girls until they are able to get married.

Analytical Adam said...

I do stand corrected here. I was wrong in that you were stating that them marrying their cousins they were not required to do which is true although they were suppose to marry with their tribe. Which I should have read the post carefully instead of posting.

I do have to honestly say though I really feel (and you have mentioned it to me as well) that it has NOTHING to do with protecting women as you stated as in many cases this wouldn't be the case if there was one son and they were left as orphans. The issue here was to preserve their fathers name and not some other issue which the torah warns not to take advantage of a woman who is a widow but for that reason you don't change general property laws that would hurt all men even men who do fear God as that isn't fair to them. And since they were doing it for that altruistic reason God agreed with it. If God felt in their heart it was for other reasons I don't think it would have been supported and in general using one issue for a completely issue never really works.

Analytical Adam said...

I did want to apologize here as it was ME who really didn't read your comments carefully not the other way around when you mentioned that the daughters of Zelpchad married their cousins which is true as they were not required to do this. Only required to marry with their tribe. It is funny that this comes out right by Tu B'Av.