Previous Folio / Baba Bathra Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
Fathers' houses are, in fact, enumerated. but1 [Scripture] had taught us that the daughters of Zelophehad had [also] taken the portion of the birthright. Consequently,2 the land of Israel was [regarded even before the conquest, as if it had already been] in the possession of Israel.3
The Master stated: 'Their sons received [shares] by virtue of the rights of the fathers of their fathers and the rights of the fathers of their mothers'.4 Was it not taught [elsewhere], 'by virtue of their own rights'? — [This is] no difficulty. That5 is in agreement with him who said [that the division was] in accordance with [the number of] those who came out of Egypt; this6 is in agreement with him who said [that the division was] in accordance with [the number of] those who entered the land. If you like you may say: Both statements7 [are in agreement with the view that the division was] in accordance with [the number of] those who entered the land and [yet] there is no difficulty. The one6 [deals with the case of him] who was twenty years of age;8 the other,5 with the case of him who was not [yet] twenty years of age.
SINCE HE WAS A FIRSTBORN SON [WHO] TAKES TWO SHARES. But why?9 [Surely the estates of Hepher] were [only] prospective,10 and a firstborn son is not [entitled] to take [a double share] in the prospective [property of his father] as in that which is in [his father's] possession [at the time of death]! — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: [The double share was] in tent pins.11
Rabbah raised an objection: [It has been taught that] R. Judah said, 'the daughters of Zelophehad took four portions, for it is said, and there fell ten parts to Manasseh!'12 — But, said Rabbah, the land of Israel [was regarded even before the conquest as] in [actual] possession [of those who came out of Egypt].13
An objection was raised: R. Hidka said: 'Simeon of Shikmona was my companion among the disciples of R. Akiba. And thus did R. Simeon of Shikmona say: Moses our Master knew that the daughters of Zelophehad were to he heiresses, but he did not know whether or not they were to take the portion of the birthright — And it was fitting that the [Scriptural] section of the laws of succession should have been written through Moses, but the daughters of Zelophehad merited it. and it was written through them.14 Moses, furthermore, knew that the man who gathered sticks [on the Sabbath day]15 was to he put to death, for it is said, Everyone that profaneth it shall surely be put to death,16 but he did not know by which [kind of] death he was to die. And it was fitting that the section of the man who gathered sticks should have been written through Moses, only the gatherer had brought guilt upon himself and it was written through him. This teaches you
Baba Bathra 119b
that merit1 is brought about by means of the meritorious1 and punishment for guilt2 by means of the guilty.2 Now, if it be assumed [that] the land of Israel was [regarded as being even before the conquest] in the possession [of those who came out of Egypt]. why was he3 in doubt?4 — He was in doubt on this very [question]:5 It is written, and I will give it you for a heritage,6 I am the Lord,7 [does this mean]. 'it is for you an inheritance from your fathers'8 or perhaps [it means] that they9 would transmit [it] but would not [themselves] he heirs?10 And it was made clear to him [that the text implies] both: 'It is an inheritance for you from your fathers; yet you would [only] transmit, and not [yourselves] inherit [it].' And this accounts for the Scriptural text, Thou bringest them in, and plantest them in the mountain of thine inheritance.11 It is not written, 'Thou bringest us in', but 'Thou bringest them in'; this teaches that they prophesied12 and knew not what they prophesied.
And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the princes and all the congregation.13 Is it possible that they stood before Moses etc. and they did not say anything to them [so that] they [had] to stand before the princes and all the congregation? But, the verse is to be turned about and expounded;14 Is these are the words of R. Josiah. Abba Hanan said in the name of R. Eliezer: They15 were sitting in the house of study and these came and stood before all of them.16
Wherein17 lies their dispute?18 — [One] master19 is of the opinion [that] honour may he shown to a disciple in the presence of the master,20 and the other21 is of the opinion that it is not to he shown.22 And the law is [that honour is] to be shown. And the law is [that honour is] not he shown. Surely this is a contradiction between one law and the other!23 — There is no contradiction: The one24 [refers to the case] where his master shows him25 respect; the other,24 where his master does not.
It was taught: The daughters of Zelophehad were wise women, they were exegetes, they were virtuous.
They [must] have been wise, since they spoke at an opportune moment; for R. Samuel son of R. Isaac said: [Scripture] teaches that Moses our master was sitting and holding forth an exposition on the section of levirate marriages, as it is said, If brethren dwell together.26 They said unto him:27 'If we are [to he as good] as son[s],28 give us an inheritance as [to] a son; if not,29 let our mother be subject to the law of levirate marriage!' And Moses, immediately. brought their cause before the Lord.30
They [must] have been exegetes, for they said: 'If he had a son we would not have spoken'.31 But was it not taught: 'a daughter'?32 — R. Jeremiah said: Delete, 'daughter', from here.33 Abaye said: [The explanation is that they said]: 'Even if a son [of his] had a daughter. we would not have spoken'.34
They were virtuous, since they were married to such men only as were worthy of them.35
R. Eliezer b. Jacob taught: Even the youngest among them was not married under forty years of age.36 But can this he so? Surely, R. Hisda said: [One who] marries under twenty years of age beget till sixty; [at] twenty, begins till forty. [at] forty, does not beget any more!37 — Since, however, they were virtuous, a miracle happened in their case38 as [in that of] Jochebed.39 As It is written, And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi;40
- To Next Folio -