Does the following idea have any validity? Is it brought down anywhere?

When members of the tribes of R'uven and Gad approached Moshe to unwaveringly request settlement on the east bank of the Jordan, apart from the rest of the nation, Moshe responded emphatically in the negative. He laid out conditions (which entailed participation in the upcoming conquest of the land west of the Jordan) under which they would be allowed to proceed with their bucolic dream. Once they had agreed to the terms, Moshe apportioned the land. All of this can be found in B'midbar 32:1-32.

But when it came time for the actual dividing up of territories, not only were the two tribes who had been involved in the negotiations allotted land, but another (partial) tribe was added - that of M'nashe. Since there was a dangerous endemic mentality among those two tribes who chose to split off for less than righteous reasons, Moshe paired them with a remedial force to counteract their divisive spirit. The tribe whose defining characteristic was unity and in clusion was M'nashe, as exemplified by 5 of its members, the daughters of Tz'lafchad. They objected to the very hint of exclusion of their father's family from the rest of the nation (ibid. 27:4) because they possessed this crucial trait.

  • you could say (and many do) that the daughters of Tz'lafchad exemplified love of the land, since they came to Moshe with a complaint of why should they lose out a part of the land just because their father died in the desert. If so, you could extend your logic to say that is why Moshe put the tribe of Menasheh with them, to make sure the two tribes didn't forget their love of the land.
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 20:27
  • The Netziv says that it was specifically the tribe of Menasheh because they had a large amount of Torah Scholars and you can't live in a place without Torah Scholars. see here: dailyhalacha.com/m/parasha.aspx?id=212
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 20:42
  • Closely related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/61579
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Yes I've definitely heard that before -- and also, putting half of Menashe on one side, so they'd know to stay connected to their cousins on the other side.

It's in the Stone Chumash page 915, quoting Degel Machaneh Ephraim. Wouldn't surprise me if many others say it too.

  • Thanks for the validation! But it only includes the staying connected aspect that could have been accomplished by straddling any tribe over the borderline. Does anyone comment on the specific trait that singled out M'nashe for this purpose, especially citing b'nos Tz'lafchad as a prooftext?
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 16:13
  • 3
    @WAF: the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l points out (Likkutei Sichos 28:215) that Menashe exemplified love for Eretz Yisrael, as demonstrated by Tzelafchad's daughters, and therefore that their being given a territory outside Eretz Yisrel proper was a "preview" of the era of Moshiach, when the borders of E.Y. will be expanded. (Indeed, he says, this is why the Midrash relates Menashe's korban during the dedication of the Mishkan (Num. 7) to their territorial split: in their case, unlike Reuven and Gad, it was to their credit.)
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 18:31
  • 1
    @WAF: Here's a shiur from R' Garelik on that Sicha from Likutei Sichot: theyeshiva.net/Video/View/324/…
    – Menachem
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 21:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .