Dvar Torah Parshat Pichas 2008 5768 דבר תורה פרשת פנחס

The Daughters of Tzelafchad asked Moshe for the legal right to inherent their father’s portion in the Land of Israel. Their father had died in the Wilderness and had no sons. Moshe told them to stand by and he will consult with Hashem. In another instance we find that people who were religiously defiled (TAMME) wanted an opportunity to participate in the Korban Pesach. Here too Moshe tells them to stand by and he will consult with Hashem.

In two other cases where Moshe needed guidance from Hashem he did not tell the people involved to wait while he consulted. In the case where one of the people cursed the name of Hashem and in the case where an individual was found picking wood on Shabbat, Moshe instructed that these two men should be placed in detention until Hashem instructs him what the penalty should be. Why did he not immediately consult with Hashem?

A suggested answer is that in the first two cases the individuals were righteous people. The daughters of Tzelafchad wanted to own land in Israel. The defiled people wanted a share in performing the sacrifice of freedom. Their interests were laudable. Hence Moshe sought an immediate answer. In the other two cases the individuals had transgressed the law and had to be punished. He was not in too great a hurry to punish them.

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