Rav Michel Feinstein (nephew of Reb Moshe) gives a new insight into the reason why the Torah prefaced the laws of inheritance with the story of bnos Tzlofchod (the 5 sisters who had no brothers, and feared that their father’s inheritance would be lost to the tribe). After the sisters petitioned Moshe Rabbeinu, a clear set of rules of inheritance was given down from Hashem to Moshe and then to Klal Yisrael. Why did the Torah find it necessary to mention the personal gripe of the sisters? Let it just start with the laws themselves!
Rav Feinstein answers this by teaching us a basic principle: It is not enough to worry about the general population, rather each and every individual is also important. A single person’s complaint must be taken seriously—even if it means petitioning Hashem to get clarity. This lesson is something that should be reinforced during the three weeks.
We see a parallel to this in a gemora in Shabbos (56b), where there is a discussion about Dovid Hamelech, and whether he accepted loshen hara or not. But at the end, his judgement was deemed unfair, for he divided the land between Mephibosheth and Tziva. The gemora comments that this one piece of land which was misappropriated brought about the division of the kingdom and the eventual golus. We see that an injustice, in regard to the property of an individual can have a colossal effect, highlighting the importance of respecting each person’s possessions.
This brings to mind a thought said over in the name of Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro. The Gemora in Gittin tells us of incidents that brought about the churbon. The first of the stories is the famous story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza: A fight between two individual Jews, and an alleged slight to the honor of one of them. Rav Shapiro explains the reason that this episode was chosen to be the first in the series is to point out the importance of the feelings of each and every individual.
During the remainder of the three weeks, let us look at the episode of Bnos Tzlofchod and learn to be concerned about the monies of each person we deal with. Then let us look at the episode of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza and learn to be concerned about the feelings of every individual.
May we merit to be successful in this endeavor and make the remainder of these three weeks the stepping stones to our geula shelayma.