In both Bamidbar 36:5 and Bamidbar 27:6, we find that G-d commands Moshe regarding 2 different requests from B'not (daughters of) Tzlafhad.

Even though the Torah records these in separate places, and it appears to be written as two conversations, it is possible that both concerns came up at the same time, but for some reason, the Torah wanted to record these as separate events to teach us something else. Were there 2 separate requests?

I could not locate any commentary that says something about this either way. I surmise that B'not Tzlafhad would have thought about all the conditions of inheriting the land in their 1st conversation with Moshe, as they seemed to be "smart" girls.

If, in fact, these were separate conversations, was there some event that occurred that made them realize that there was a supplemental problem?


2 Answers 2


The question in 36:1-4 was not brought by the Bnos Tzelaphchad but by the leaders of the tribe of Menasheh. The daughters of Tzelaphchad had been told that they could marry whomever they wanted. The tribals leaders realized that if they married outside the tribe, then the land that the women inhertited would become part of their husbands' tribes (when their children inherited it). As a result, they asked the question and Moshe stated that in the future, women in this situation would be required to marry within the tribe. The daughters of Telaphchad voluntarily married not just within the tribe but within the family. This made sure that the land stayed within the family.

See Rashi See also Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch on 36:6-7 pointing out that this is a temporary ruling. In fact, the 15 of Av on which this ruling expired caused it to be treated as a day of celebration.

  • 1
    this is a great answer. Would you kindly let me know how they surmised that the ruling took place on the 15 of Av? (As usual, anybody can answer me, please. Thanks.)
    – ninamag
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 2:37
  • @ninamag The medrash states that the ruling no longer took effect on the 15th of Av the next generation, not that it was given on the 1th of Av. It is a tradition, not written specifically. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 4:30

The first place is when they come to Moshe with the original request. At that time, Moshe asks Hashem whether they are right, and Hashem tells him that yes, they are. However, at this point, it is still completely theoretical.

Later on, the Torah actually starts talking about dividing the land, more-specifically, the land on the East Bank, part of which went to the tribe of Menashe. At this point, the elders of Menashe raised their concern about the marriage of Bnot Tzelophchad outside of the tribe.

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