Women’s Rights

The generation of those who rebelled against the Lord in the desert has died. A new generation is prepared; they had no experience of Egypt, since they were born during the Exodus.

The Bible’s first instance of women’s rights is in the account of the five daughters of Zelophehad. This man had no sons; the daughters came to Moses requesting justice for them, so that they could have the inheritance of the family, which usually passed along by the sons alone. They present a delicate balance between assertiveness and yielding to the final decisions left in the hands of the Lord through his servant Moses.

Joshua is selected as the one to lead the people into the Promised Land. 27:14 recalls how the Lord denied entry to Moses, because he complained. Reflect on yourself in this regard.

The Sabbath Torah Portion — Pinhas (Phineas)

Numbers 26:52—28:15

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Showing off Your holiness 27:14
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Beginning tomorrow, the Firestarters from the new edition of
The Bible Through the Seasons for families will be posted daily. 

One thought on “Women’s Rights

  1. The daughters of Zelophehad were brave women. They dared to go against the social norm and speak up for themselves. They sought justice and land that would not have belonged to them or their clan otherwise. They went directly to the top, to Moses and through Moses to God. What would have happened if they did not? If they were not married they possibly would have been made part of their uncle’s household. Even so, it is likely that they would have been seen as a burden, perhaps even scorned because the clan “lost” land because of them. They may also have been scorned because they dared to speak out for themselves. As women in this situation it may have been more difficult to find a husband.

    Yes, the daughters of Zelophehad were brave women seeking justice. Evidence of belief in the justice of God can be found in their action. Why else would they have gone directly to Moses?

    Discrimination? There is no room for that in God’s love. Moses did not rebuke the women for daring to ask to be included in the division of land. He did not chastise them for not going up an appropriate chain of authority as women should. He did not tell the women to go away because their issue was insignificant. No. Moses went directly to God without hesitation. God answered not only with justice for the daughters of Zelophehad, but for all women in the same situation in the future.

    So often people discriminate thoughtlessly, over sexuality, nationality, religion, physical differences and more and more supposed reasons. God doesn’t, ever. Jesus spent most of his time with people who society discriminated against. God’s love is freely given to every person, every single person without fail, without discrimination. How do we dare deny the value of a person who God loves, a person God created? How do we dare think that we know the value of a person better than God does?

    Pray for an open heart and a mind of wisdom. Pray that God reaches inside us and cleans our very selves so that we have room for respect and acceptance of every person.


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