Daily Aliya for Matot-Massei, Shvi’i (7th Aliya)
Aliya Summary: The Jews are commanded to designate six cities of refuge. These cities offer refuge to a person who inadvertently kills another. The murderer must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the serving High Priest. The Jews are enjoined not to take “blood money” from a — intentional or unintentional — murderer who wishes to lighten his sentence. In last week’s reading, G‑d instructed Moshe to give the daughters of the deceased Tzlophchad his portion in the land of Israel. The elders of Tzlophchad’s tribe now protested that this would cause Tzlophchad’s sons — who could possibly be of another tribe — to inherit their mother’s properties, thus possibly transferring land from the portion of their tribe to another. G‑d therefore instructs Tzlophchad’s daughters to marry men from their own tribe, so the land they inherit will remain in their ancestral tribe.
This Aliya is probably the original of the phrase “if it hurts when you touch there, don’t touch there.” Tzlophchad’s daughers realized that if they married outside the tribe, their land would be transferred to their husband’s tribe, and their family would lose it (since it follows the males). G-d response was: Well, then, don’t marry outside your family if you have no sons. The caveat is that this is only a solution if keeping the family land was more important to them than the perfect partner (assuming they might be different people), which is what Tzlophchad’s family chose. But they weren’t instructed as such previously because it required that personal choice, once again proving the flexibility that exists within strict Torah rules.