Daughters of Tzelofchad: New Arithmetic

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A father’s death leads to a legal debate about women’s rights, family continuity, what we inherit, and the struggle for justice. The daughters of Tzelofchad reflect the power of ordinary people to speak up, fight for dignity, and change society.

Tzelofchad has five daughters and no sons. Only men can inherit land in the ancient Israelite system, so when he dies, his daughters realize they will be left without any land. Perceiving an injustice, they become legal activists. They bring their case before Moses and God – and they win. Not only will the five daughters themselves receive land, but a precedent is set for female inheritance.

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