Daughters and Distinctions: Part I

For B.E., on the occasion of her birth. The Torah’s laws of inheritance include three invidious (in the sense of “tending to cause discontent, animosity, or envy”) distinctions between males and females: A son has precedence over a daughter in inheriting their parents.1 A father inherits his children, but a mother does not. A husband …

The Serious Consequences Of Playing Favorites

From last week’s parshah: וְיִשְׂרָאֵל, אָהַב אֶת-יוֹסֵף מִכָּל-בָּנָיו–כִּי-בֶן-זְקֻנִים הוּא, לוֹ; וְעָשָׂה לוֹ, כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים.1 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.2 Our tradition blames Ya’akov for fomenting the strife between his sons, and even holds …

True Neutrality

Our previous post noted the idea, attributed to the Sanzer Rav, that Zelafhad’s daughters’ assurance to Moshe that their father had not been involved in Korah’s rebellion constituted “verbal bribery” and thus triggered his recusal from their petition. It turns out (unsurprisingly) that this exegesis is actually at least a millennium old, with its first …