We end the 4th book of the Torah, with a story about the 5 daughters of Zelophehad (in Hebrew it means shadow of fear). These 5 brave daughters ask Moses for the right to inherit their father. Moses does not know what to say (women in the Bible do not have that right nor the right to own property). Moses asks God, and God answers, the girls are right. God sets a new law – daughters can inherit their father’s property.
Our rabbis learn: unlike men, God has compassion for every creature, not only for men.
MATOT MASEI SUMMARY:
Moses explains to the Israelites the laws concerning vows made by men and women. (30:2—17)
Israel wages war against the Midianites. (31:1—18)
The laws regarding the spoils of war are outlined. (31:19—54)
The tribes of Reuben and Gad are granted permission to stay on the east bank of the Jordan River. (32:1—42)
The itinerary of the Israelites through the wilderness from Egypt to Jordan is delineated. (33:1-49)
Moses tells Israel to remove the current inhabitants of the land that God will give them and to destroy their gods. (33:50-56)
The boundaries of the Land of Israel are defined, along with those of the Levitical cities and the cities of refuge. (34:1-35:15)
God makes a precise distinction between murder and manslaughter. (35:16-34)
The laws of inheritance as they apply to Israelite women are delineated. (36:1-13)