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We are reading this Shabat parshat Pinchas. In this parsha the Torah mentioned the daughters of Tzelofchad as follows:

וצלפחד בן חפר לא היו לו בנים כי אם בנות ושם בנות צלפחד מחלה ונעה חגלה מלכה ותרצה (Bamidbar 26:33)

and:

ותקרבנה בנות צלפחד בן חפר בן גלעד בן מכיר בן מנשה למשפחת מנשה בן יוסף ואלה שמות בנתיו מחלה נעה וחגלה ומלכה ותרצה (Bamidbar 27:1)

Parshat Pinchas tells us also that Tzelofchad had no sons, only daughters (Bamidbar 26:33).

It is interesting to note that there are no extra words (but the letter Vav) in between the names of Tzelofchad's daughters, whereas, still in the same parsha, the word את is found before each of Aaron's sons' names:

ויולד לאהרן את נדב ואת אביהוא את אלעזר ואת איתמר (Bamidbar 26:60)

The Midrash (Bereshit Rabba 22:2) gives an explanation for the words את in Bereshit 4:1, as twin sisters were born with Kayin and Evel.

Does anyone know if the Talmud/Chazal/Midrash/Kabbalah make such a drasha on the words את in the case of the Aaron's sons? What does the Torah want to tell us here?

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    Would your question be any different if the entire story of Tzelofchad's daughters was nonexistent? – Alex Jul 5 '18 at 15:10
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    But is your question simply that anytime the Torah lists children with the word את it might be indicative of unnamed twin daughters? Or does the fact that Tzelofchad's daughters are listed without את add something to the question? – Alex Jul 5 '18 at 15:16
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    For example, Bereishis 6:10 lists Noach's sons with the word את and Bereishis 25:19 lists Avraham giving birth to Yitzchak with the word את. Would you have the same question in those cases? – Alex Jul 5 '18 at 15:19
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    You can edit the question to clarify whether you are asking if the word את by children is always indicative of something else, or whether you are asking why the Torah sometimes lists children with את and sometimes without. – Alex Jul 5 '18 at 15:21
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    I think it's quite valid to ask how generalizable the drasha in B"R 22:2 is. I agree with @Alex that the first half of this post, about the daughters of Tzelofchad, seems irrelevant and distracting. You wouldn't expect to see את there, since they're not listed as the direct objects of a verb, whereas the other lists that do use את are lists of direct objects of a verb (e.g. ויולד). – Isaac Moses Jul 5 '18 at 15:24
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Firstly, a similar Drash is made on the Shevatim, that they also had twin sisters born with them. However, I searched and did not find anyone who makes this Derasha here for Aharon.


In a short Shu"t sefer of Rav Chaim Kanievski's, an asker bothers him repeatedly asking how it could be possible that Moshe and Aharon had no daughters, and were thus not Mekayem the Mitzvah of Peru Urvu. Rav Kanievski responds by saying that Aharon had daughters, and I believe he quoted one of the following two similar Pesukim as proof, where Hashem is speaking to Aharon:

וְזֶה־לְּךָ֞ תְּרוּמַ֣ת מַתָּנָ֗ם לְכׇל־תְּנוּפֹת֮ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ לְךָ֣ נְתַתִּ֗ים וּלְבָנֶ֧יךָ וְלִבְנֹתֶ֛יךָ אִתְּךָ֖ לְחׇק־עוֹלָ֑ם כׇּל־טָה֥וֹר בְּבֵיתְךָ֖ יֹאכַ֥ל אֹתֽוֹ׃ (Bamidbar 18:11)

כֹּ֣ל׀ תְּרוּמֹ֣ת הַקֳּדָשִׁ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָרִ֥ימוּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ לַֽי״י֒ נָתַ֣תִּֽי לְךָ֗ וּלְבָנֶ֧יךָ וְלִבְנֹתֶ֛יךָ אִתְּךָ֖ לְחׇק־עוֹלָ֑ם בְּרִית֩ מֶ֨לַח עוֹלָ֥ם הִוא֙ לִפְנֵ֣י י״י֔ לְךָ֖ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ֥ אִתָּֽךְ׃ (Bamidbar 18:19)

Despite the simple meaning not being that it is referring to Aharon's literal daughters, but rather to those who marry in as well as future generations, Rav Chaim felt that this proved that he had daughters.

  • how it could be possible that Moshe and Aharon had no daughters, and were thus not Mekayem the Mitzvah of Peru Urvu along with a lot of other great rabbis such as the Chazon Ish, Seridei Eish, Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rashi, et al. – Alex Jul 5 '18 at 17:05
  • @alex I feel the same way – רבות מחשבות Jul 5 '18 at 17:41

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