At the Mechanic

mechanic.jpgWhile my car-dvar-producing-mind is in the ‘mind mechanic shop’, in other words G‑d didn’t send a car dvar into my head this week J  I will share a lesson from the portion minus the car angle.

 

So the daughters of Zelophechad approached Moses and stated that their father had died leaving behind only daughters. They requested to receive their father's portion in the land of Israel. Moses relayed their request to G‑d. But why did Moshe bring their case before Hashem and not come up with the law on his own?

 

The answer that G‑d gave, that if there are no sons then the daughters inherit is not rocket science, so why didn’t Moshe figure it out on his own, by interpreting the law just like many other times and like rabbis do until this day? Why did he have to consult with Hashem?  

 

Rabeinu bechaya brings down an answer as follows:

If you look at the statement of the daughters in 27:3, they point out that their father died but not because he challenged Moshe together with Korach. He died from other causes. They were saying that their father sided with Moshe and not with Korach in that famous dispute.

 

So Moshe felt that he had been bribed. Not with money but with words. And so he recused himself from the case and deferred to Hashem. In Hebrew it is called being nogeah bedovor, having an interest in the outcome, in other words a conflict of interest.

 

This teaches us a psychological truth. We may think that we are being totally objective, but even minor things may be having an impact on our decisions and opinions. We may be choosing the easier route as opposed to the correct route. If we are unsure of our total objectivity in a situation, we should recuse ourselves and seek counsel from someone who is wiser than us.

 

Shabbat shalom

Rabbi Levi