The Daughters of Zlophchad pointed out that the inheritance of their father would be passed to a different family because he had no sons. Moshe responds that they, the daughters, will inherit him (Bamidbar 27:1-7). Chazal praise them as cherishing the Land of Israel (Sifrei Pinchas 10).

Later, the members of the rest of the Tribe of Menashe come to Moshe to point out that if the daughters of Zlophchad marry into other Tribes, their sons, who are from other Tribes, will inherit them, and detract from the territory of the Tribe of Menashe. Moshe responds that they are correct, and the daughters of Zlophchad may not (or perhaps should not - Bava Basra) marry out of the Tribe (Bamidbar 36:1-6).

As far as I am aware, no mention is made of the righteousness of the men of Menashe for their attachment to the land. How come they are never praised for their desire to the land?

This question is exacerbated by the fact that the aforementioned Sifrei deduces that the daughters of Zlophchad love the Land of Israel from the fact that they are traced back to Yosef, who loved Israel. In Bamidbar 36:1, the Torah also traces the men of Menashe back to Yosef.

2 Answers 2


The Imrei Emes explained that we see that the daughters of Zlophchad cherished the land of Israel from when they made their request. Zlophchad died as either the wood-chopper of Bamidbar 15:32 or as one of those who attempted to go into Eretz Yisroel after the sin of the spies in Bamidbar 14:40. So Zlophchad died before the decree of the 40 years. And yet his daughters waited until right before they were to enter the Land to make their request. This showed that they weren't interested in being heirs until it was relevant to inheriting a portion in the Land.

Based on this, it could be simply that by the rest of the family there is no such indication - there was nothing about their counterclaim which indicated a special interest in the Land over an interest in just having more property.


You will find that the daughters of Tzelophchad were of one of the Machirite families of Menashe. The Macherites were that half-tribe that wanted to stay on the Transjordan and forgo the land of israel because they though there would be more land for their cattle.

The men of Menashe were not praised for insisting on maintaining the headrights of the Tzelphchad family because they had already demonstrated that they are more interested in material wealth than heritage.

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    The men of Menashe did not ask to be put there - Moshe did so without their initiation. Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 2:38
  • do you have a source? Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 3:27
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    See Bamidbar 32:1-2, 6, 25, 29, and 31, and note which Tribes are involved in the conversation. Then see Bamidbar 32:33. Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 3:34
  • That doesn't imply that Moshe made them go. Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 13:12
  • They never asked to go. I don't know where you see their demonstration of interest in material wealth. I think if you want to impose your assumptions on the simple reading of the text, the onus is on you. Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 13:33

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