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Parsha Points

Parsha Points is a weekly d'var Torah (short sermon) written by Sharona Margolin Halickman which highlights a theme in the weekly Torah portion. Parsha Points focuses on the Torah's relevance to our lives today. Parsha Points often emphasizes the Biblical importance of the land of Israel.

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This Week's Parsha

Did everyone receive their portion through a lottery? Print E-mail

In Parshat Pinchas, Bamidbar 26:55-56 we read:

Only (ach) by lot should the land be divided, according to the names of their father’s tribes should they inherit it. By word of the lottery should this inheritance be divided, with regard to whether they are many or few.

Are there any exceptions to this rule?

Rashi quotes Sifrei 132:

The word only (ach) excludes Yehoshua and Kalev who received special portions. Therefore it is written in Shoftim 1:20: “And they gave Chevron to Kalev as Moshe had spoken, and he drove the three sons of Anak (the giant) from there” and in Yehoshua 19:49-50: “The children of Israel gave a heritage to Yehoshua bin Nun in their midst. By word of God they gave him the city that he asked for, Timnat-Serach in Har Efraim; He built the city and dwelled there.”


The Talmud, Bava Batra 122b comments:


Here it is called Timnat Serach, but in Shoftim 2:8-9 it is called Timnat Cheres:


Yehoshua bin Nun, the servant of God died at the age of 110. They buried him within the borders of his heritage, in Timnat Cheres, in Har Efraim, north of Har Ga’ash.


The Gemara resolves this discrepancy:


Rabbi Elazar said: At first, before Yehoshua arrived in the town, its fruits were as dry as cheres (earthenware), but in the end, after Yehoshua’s arrival, its fruits were rich and would rot (masriach) if left for too long.


Some report the following version:


At first, the fruits were excessively rich and they would rot if they were stored even for a short while, but in the end they were like earthenware, and could be stored for long periods.


The Gemara asks how Kalev was able to inherit Chevron which is an Ir Miklat (City of Refuge) which belonged to the tribe of Levi.


Abaye answers: Kalev received the provinces around Chevron as it says in Yehoshua 21:12: “And the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Kalev ben Yefuneh for his legacy.”


We see that there were exceptions made for Yehoshua and Kalev since they were the two scouts who tried to encourage B’nai Yisrael that it was safe to enter the Land of Israel and could be looked at as the first Zionists.


Just as Yehoshua and Kalev were able to fulfill their dreams, may all those who wish to make aliya have the opportunity to do so.