How did the daughters of Zelophehad present themselves to Moshe (וַתִּקְרַבְנָה בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד), to Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation in Bamidbar 27?

What was the protocol?

Did the daughters prostrate themselves? Were they on their knees? Where they on their feet? Or all of the above, not at the same time but in stages, because "verse 2" appears to say, they were standing, if the verb in question וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה can only mean standing ( וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה ). Can it also mean anything else apart from "to stand"?

I have seen various illustrations, and I just want to know if our Sages had anything to say about it?

  • Does וַתִּקְרַבְנָה suggest what the posture might be? Does it suggest prostration, kneeling, bowed down, etc...? Because by the next sentence, it says וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה. This reminds me of the various Midrashim, Aggadot, Gemora passages, etc., where a certain person starts out prostrated making a request, and then the person, being requested on, tells the requester, to stand up. – ninamag Aug 17 '17 at 2:11
  • Why would you think this is different than any other time in which someone posed a halachic question to Moshe? – DonielF Jul 3 '18 at 4:46
  • @DonielF I do not know if "this is different than any other time" and I do not know if men approached Moshe differently than would women, etc.. – ninamag Jul 3 '18 at 17:42

See Yalkut shmoni, where the episode is explained as having occurred in the Beis Hamidrash, at the time that Moshe was teaching all those gathered, which you have mentioned, the Halachos of Yibum, and they used the teaching as a springboard for their request. Chazal also teach us that Torah must be learned while standing. (besides for Beis Din during a case). This being the case, one can assume that there was no official protocol that would accommodate them, but that they set themselves up as participants in the talmudic discourse, and that they were standing the entire time, together with the rest of the gathered crowd.

  • I believe Yalkut Shimoni is a midrash? I respect it, but I would rather rely on a more authoritative work. – ninamag Aug 16 '17 at 15:01
  • @ninamag judaism.stackexchange.com/q/53349 – DonielF Aug 16 '17 at 18:26
  • @DonielF Thanks for your referral to a different posting about "Midrash". – ninamag Aug 17 '17 at 2:08
  • @ninamag Just trying to help you out here - you’re welcome to go with those who don’t take Midrashim literally. :) – DonielF Aug 17 '17 at 2:13
  • @DonielF I added a comment below my posting, so you know that I have nothing against midrashim. I read them almost everyday. I love them. I am looking for a more authoritative source in regards to a word study of וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה or וַתִּקְרַבְנָה. These two words I specifically quoted on my post. – ninamag Aug 17 '17 at 2:17

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