Torah Commentary

Torah Commentary

Showing Your Work: The Legacy of the Daughters of Zelophechad

There are few biblical passages that speak to the feminist and the progressive Jew in me as much as the story of the daughters of Zelophechad. Five women—Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah—come before the all-male leadership of the Israelites and demand the right to inherit their father’s portion of the Promised Land.

Transitions of Leadership: A ‘How to’ Guide from Parashat Pinchas

Global news seems to be filled with stories related to the transition of power and very different models of what that can look like. In the last month alone, we read that the Israeli coalition government was dissolved, the prime minister of the United Kingdom resigned, and the president of Sri Lanka fled the country.

Confronting Violence and Injustice Against Women

Because women close to me had never confided their experiences of sexual violence, I was shocked when they began to tell me – first one, then another, and another– that they had been raped, sexually harassed, touched without permission, or abused in other ways. Listening to their stories, trying to absorb their pain while controlling my rage, I felt guilty about my own ignorance and inaction. Why was I shocked at a truth that has been true for so long? Why had I never spoken out before? 

Finding Inspiration in the Jewish Women Who Came Before Us

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States this year, Rabbi Carole Balin, Ph.D., is sharing eight chapters of an "alternative Book of Numbers” designed to tell the stories of Jewish women who combined civic engagement with Jewish values in a 40-year struggle “

Revolutionary Women in the Bible and Now

This is exciting. This is a moment of courage and birthing. The birth of feminism: many years before the word feminism was invented and the idea behind it articulated, as we read in Parashat Pinchas, "The daughters of Zelophehad…. came forward." The daughers of Zelophehad asked to inherit their father's land, as he passed away and had no sons.