Shalom! Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, and Tzippora; these are the names of the women in the Torah that you probable recognize. But what about Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzahb better known as the daughters of Zelophehad? In this week’s Torah portion, the daughters of Zelophehad petition Moses, Eleazar the priest, the chieftains, and the whole assembly, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for their right to inherit their Father’s property rights in the Land of Israel. Zelophehad’s daughters argued that were they not to inherit, then Zelophehad’s name would be lost to his clan. Moses took their case to God. God told Moses that the plea of Zelophehad’s daughters was just, and that they should be granted their father’s hereditary holding (Wikipedia). The daughters of Zelophehad are amongst the few women that we hear about in the Torah and we should be proud that they saw an injustice and stood up for what is right.
This Shabbat, we announce Rosh Chodesh, the coming of the new moon. Rosh Chodesh has long been considered a special holiday for women. There are a number of reasons. First, according to legend, the holiday was a reward given to the women of Israel because they refused to surrender their jewelry for the creation of the Golden Calf (which, the biblical book of Exodus says, the Israelites worshipped in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt). Because of their righteousness, the women were exonerated from working on Rosh Chodesh (myjewishlearning.com). Click here for more information on Rosh Chodesh.
This Friday evening, I have chosen settings for many of the prayers that we chant by women composers. I hope that you will join me in song as the women did with Miriam at the Red Sea in celebration of Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh.