The Torah relates at length in the Parshah of Pinchas how the five daughters of Tzelafchad (an Israelite who had died in the desert) saw that they would not receive a portion of the Holy Land according to the way the Torah law then stood. In distress, they entreated Moses for an inheritance in Israel. Unable to answer them, Moses presented their case to G‑d, and the Almighty then gave the law enabling the sisters to receive their rightful share of the Land.

Why did G‑d wait for complaints to arise before teaching the law in this case? The law of inheritance affecting Tzelafchad’s daughters could have been taught ab initio to Moses on Mount Sinai together with the rest of the Torah.

But the sequence was deliberate. Until the daughters of Tzelafchad came forward, G‑d did not alter the status quo; He did not remove the seemingly “impossible” obstacle to the sisters’ receiving a portion of the Holy Land. But when the Almighty saw, by the actions of the five sisters, that Jewish women sincerely and truly desired an inheritance in the Holy Land, then He wrote a special chapter in the Torah through which divine power was granted from that time on (and forever) enabling them to come to the “true peace and inheritance” of our Torah and our land.

The question is often raised: If G‑d wants us to fulfill His Torah and its precepts, why is the path to fulfillment obstructed by so many hindrances and difficulties? How is it even possible to be an observant Jew in today’s environment?

The Almighty demands of us that we be a “holy nation,” that we observe the Shabbat, eat kosher and, in general, conduct our lives according to the guidelines of the Code of Torah Law. Yet, at the same time, G‑d created and organized the universe in such a way that compels us to devote much of our day to preoccupation with material things. We must work for a living; we must sow in order to reap. As a result, the man finds it extremely difficult to find free time to study Torah properly; the married woman feels she does not have enough time to devote to bringing up her children in the ways of the Torah; the single girl feels she cannot adequately prepare herself for the momentous task that lies ahead, of establishing a Jewish home.

To these entreaties for help, these bitter complaints that “we are excluded from taking our rightful share of our Torah inheritance,” G‑d responds as He did to Tzelafchad’s daughters. For the Almighty desires that Torah and its precepts should be precious and dear to the individual, and when one cries out with an anguished heart that he wants to fulfill G‑d’s laws—then G‑d changes the existing difficulties, He “changes the world,” enabling the person to participate in that precept from which he previously felt excluded due to “impossible” hindrances.1