Dvar Torah on Pinchas

How could the division of the land be done so as to avoid jealousy?

HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l

Judaism HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
INN:Toras Avigdor

To the more you shall give more inheritance...
But by lot the land should be divided
. (26:54-5)

This seems contradictory; for if the division depended on the lot, then no matter how numerous or few one was he gained whatever the lot decided.

One explanation: the lot was for the allocation of land for each Shevet: but each Shevet distributed the land to each person according to the number of his sons.

Another explanation: each tribe was assigned a certain location by means of the lot, but the amount of territory of each location was allocated according to numbers of persons in that tribe.

Thus the tribes could not resent the larger territory which a tribe received, because the number of persons in each tribe was Hashems gift, and this therefore signified Hashems desire to favor that tribe.

According to this explanation, the land was gained by means of two divine testimonials: 1) the lot, 2) and the number of persons in the tribe.

Casting lots seems too ordinary a method to assign the eternal estate of the tribes of Israel, and a direct order of Hashem seems more suitable. But this lot was made with the understanding that the outcome would be nothing less than Hashem's own decision.

Yet, had the distribution of land been made merely by the word of Moshe or some later prophet, there might have been dissatisfaction and complaints that the allocation was influenced by personal motives. The lot removed the possibility of such suspicion.

The nation had full trust in such a casting of lots, and even the death penalty was left to the choice of the Goral in the instance of Achan (Joshua 7:18).

When Achan was designated by the lot as the guilty man, Joshua urged him to confess his guilt and not to challenge the verdict of the Goral, lottery: “Do not slander the Goral, because the land will be distributed according to the Goral, as is written, 'Only by lot shall the land be divided'” (26:55).

Thus when the time came to divide the land, no one arose to question the verdict of the Goral, for everyone had witnessed the truthfulness of the Lot to which Achan subsequently confessed, and by the testimony of the Lot he was put to death, The episode of Achan whereby the Goral's authority was corroborated, was timed to lend authority to the division of the land by the Goral. (Journey Into Greatness)