Standing Up for What’s Right
This week’s Torah portion has a lesser-known episode of Jewish history. The Israelites were about to enter The Promised Land and divide it amongst the twelve tribes. A claim of inheritance for part of it was made by the five daughters of Tzeloph’chad.
The daughters of Tzeloph’chad…came close and stood in front of Moshe, and in front of Elazar the High Priest, and in front of the Princes (of the 12 tribes) and in front of the entire assembly at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. “Our father died in the desert … and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be absent from among his family because he hadn’t a son? Give us a possession (of the land) among our father’s brothers.”
Moshe brought their claim before God. God said to Moshe, “The daughters of Tzeloph’chad are totally right – you certainly must give them a possession of inheritance.”
Upon a careful reading of this passage we witness the bravery exhibited by these sisters. The Torah goes out of its way to note that these women did not mail off a petition to the government, hoping that maybe some bureaucrat might take note of their issue. No, they did not go about this in a meek manner but spoke up and made their case in front of all the heavy-hitters: Moshe, the High Priest, Elazar and the twelve tribal princes, all of it in a very public forum “of the entire assembly of people” who happened to be in earshot of the Tent of Meeting.
It was not simply that these women had a justifiable claim for that which was rightfully theirs. What is extraordinary is how much they believed in their claim and their cause by their fearless behavior. It was a bold act of incredible certitude to stand before this illustrious group, and in front of the Tent of Meeting no less. It was a place that would have only added to the intimidation factor given that it was not only the central structure around which the Jewish people encamped but also the very spot that God would speak with Moshe. The Tent of Meeting was a mini Mount Sinai. It was in this setting and before such important people, among the masses as well, that they made their claim.
The founder of Aish, Rabbi Noah Weinberg zt”l used to offer this event as an example of the inherent power that one feels when you know you are right. If you know you are correct and your cause is just, it makes no difference what the society around you may be saying, or in this case, omitting. One should never assume that just because the powers-that-be do not take the initiative to do something, that it should not be done. Right is right even when no one has taken notice.
These women did not consider, “Well one of these great people would have thought of it, if we indeed had a legitimate case”. They were not concerned with the credentials or position of anybody when it came to the fact that their family was being unjustly denied and that they were losing out as the aggrieved party. They were willing to confront and take on the entire powerful establishment, at the seat of power if need be. And they did. And they won.
The heroic act of these great women serves as fearless examples for us in our day and age when we are called upon to defend the land and people of Israel against the lies and distortions made against her. It matters little what the entire world may be saying about Israel and the spurious claims that settlements are the main impediment to peace with the Palestinian. We cannot and should not allow ourselves to be distracted nor swayed by the bias exhibited from the United Nations, European leftists, The New York Times and the world at large who find fault with every detail of Israel.
Today we have a modern day “daughter of Tzeloph’chad” in the guise of Ambassador Nikki Haley who also shows no intimidation or fear at the UN as she proudly and boldly stands among all the world’s representatives in her fearless defense of Israel. She clearly and constantly states the truth against the unjust and bullying claims of that body in their repeated attacks against the Jewish state.
We stand on the side of truth and good and therefore are on the firmest ground possible in our present-day claim for Israel and her right to simply exist in a homeland for the Jewish people and to live in freedom and security like any other nation on the planet. If these women could courageously stand up for their rightful portion of that land and were willing to challenge the greatest leaders ever like Moshe – then we too must do the same today for Israel and stand against those who are not nearly as holy, moral and upright as Moshe and company.
And just as the Torah states that God Himself testified to the truthfulness and justice of Tzeloph’chad’s daughters and proclaimed that they were 100% correct, so too will He do the same for us in our present-day claims for Israel. All that He requires from us is the same bravery and strength of character that these great women had so many years ago… and that Nikki Haley has today.
And who is in your family tree?
Right, you’re bloody well right
You know you got a right to say…
Write your problems down in detail
Take them to a higher place…
Right, quite right, you’re bloody well right