“The daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, came forward, and his daughters’ names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah,” (Numbers 27:1).
On the words “of the families of Manasseh, the son of Joseph,” Rashi asks why is this necessary? Has it not already said earlier, “the son of Manasseh?” To inform you that Joseph cherished the Land, as it says, “and you shall bring up my bones…” (Exodus 13:19), and his daughters cherished the Land, as it says, “Give us a portion,” (later in verse 4), (Sifrei Pinchas 10).
“They stood before Moses, before Eleazar the Kohen, and before the leaders and the entire congregation at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, saying: ‘Our father died in the desert, but he was not in the assembly that banded together against HaShem, during Korah’s rebellion, he died for his own sin, and he had no sons.
Eretz Yisrael was so dear to them, that they risked everything, demanding from Moses, that they too acquire a portion in the Land.
The Talmud, Sotah 11b says,“Rav Avira taught: In the merit of the righteous women who were in that generation, [the children of] Israel were redeemed from Egypt.”
There are many reasons given, as to what constituted their righteousness. But certainly, their trust in HaShem’s promise, to the Forefathers and Foremothers, to redeem them from Egypt and bring them back to Eretz Yisrael to inherit the Land, is one of them.
According to the great 15th century kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, the Ari’zl, the souls of the final generation before the Messiah’s arrival, are reincarnations of the souls of the generation of the Exodus. (Shaar HaGilgulim, Hakdamah-Introduction 20).
For those who don’t know, Rabbi Levinger (student of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook) was the founding father of the Jewish resettlement of Hebron, along with his wife, Rabbanit Levinger, after the 1967 Six Day War, and a leader of Gush Emunim.
In the spring of 1968, Rabbi Levinger put an advertisement in an Israeli newspaper, for a Passover Seder in Hebron, at an Arab owned hotel that he had rented out. Refusing to leave after Passover, he and his group negotiated with the IDF and the government, first moving to the Military Headquarters building (the Memshal), and eventually getting the Israeli government to agree to develop an empty hilltop just outside Hebron, what became Kiryat Arba, where about 7,500 Jews live today.
Eleven years later, in the spring of 1979, his wife, Rabbanit Miriam, Sarah Nachshon [wife of famed artist Baruch Nachshon], along with several other women and children, entered the till then, abandoned Hadassah Hospital building. It had been unused since the infamous 1929 massacre on the Jewish community of Hebron, by Hebron’s Arabs. After which, the British authorities expelled the surviving Jews from Hebron “for their own good.”
After a protracted struggle with the Israeli government to get the women out, the government agreed to the development of Jewish resettlement within the city of Hebron itself. Which has led to nearly a thousand Jews living in Hebron today.
Then Deputy Foreign Minister, and now tipped as the next Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzippi Hotovely, speaking at the ceremony, praised Rabbanit Levinger, Sarah Nachshon, and the other righteous women, for setting an example to her generation of women, fighting for the Jewish people’s right to Eretz Yisrael today.
Hotovely said she hoped that this government of Israel (after the 1st elections in Sept. 2019) would apply Sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, and that all future governments of Israel would put to rest, the idea of dividing the land, and giving away part of it to others.
Other righteous women of our generation include, Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover, founders of Women in Green. They have spearheaded Ribonut (The movement to apply Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria), and put the issue of sovereignty onto the political agenda.