Dividing the Land by Divine lottery
חלוקת הארץ על פי גורל
54.’ To the numerous (large Tribe) you shall increase his inheritance and to the few (small Tribe) you shall decrease its inheritance, each according to those counted of it-לָרַב תַּרְבֶּה נַחֲלָתוֹ וְלַמְעַט תַּמְעִיט נַחֲלָתוֹ אִישׁ לְפִי פְקֻדָיו יֻתַּן נַחֲלָתוֹ(4096=19=10=1).
The verse can be divided so:
- To the numerous (large Tribe) you shall increase his inheritance-לָרַב תַּרְבֶּה נַחֲלָתוֹ (1333=10=1);
- And to the few (small Tribe) you shall decrease its inheritance-וְלַמְעַט תַּמְעִיט נַחֲלָתוֹ (1178=17=8);
- Each according to those counted of it- אִישׁ לְפִי פְקֻדָיו (631=10=1);
- Shall its inheritance be given- יֻתַּן נַחֲלָתוֹ (954=18).
Numerous you shall increase
809=17=8 or + 2 words=19=10=1
Few you shall decrease
The joint gematria the two words is:
- Numerous- רַב =202
· Few- מְעָט =139
Rashi explains here how the process of the division of the Land was executed through a “Divine” lottery (Bava Batra 122.a). Elazar the Priest would wear the “Urim Ve Tumim” (Shmot 28.30) and say by the Holy Spirit resting upon him that if Tribe “x” picks its lot then it will also pick “y” portion of the Land. Then 12 lots with the names of the 12 Tribes were written on them and placed in a box alongside 12 other lots with the names of the areas of the Land and their demarcated boundaries. The Prince of each Tribe would choose two lots from the box and in his hand would come up the name of his Tribe and his divinely allotted boundaries. The lot itself would then speak and detail the boundary for that Tribe as it is written (verse 56 below) “by the mouth of the lot”- עַל פִּי הַגּוֹרָל(Tanchuma 6). The Land was not divided “equally” but by an assessment of its value-its productive parts- בית סאה טוב as against its unproductive parts-בית כור רע. Thus the Land was assessed according to its agricultural value and not to its size (Sifrei 132).
Productive parts/ Beit Seah Tov
בית סאה טוב
Unproductive parts/ Beit Kor Ra’a
בית כור רע
From here we can learn a very important principle applicable in all areas of life, that “fair” is not necessarily “equal” and vice versa. This is the fundamental flaw of the democratic system of government which is hailed as the role model of government. Superficial “equality” breeds inherent unfairness. Essentially “man is still born free but everywhere he is in chains” (Rouseau-The Social Contract) and democracy has not led to true fairness and an equal division of wealth and resources.
Absolute fairness and equality (righteousness) will only return with the rule of King Mashiach who will rule through the Divine Spirit which Hashem divests upon him according the laws of the Torah, an inherent system of Divine equality.
As it is written in the Book of Isaiah 11.1-5:
1.’ A staff will emerge from the stump of Yishai and a shoot will sprout from his roots- וְיָצָא חֹטֶר מִגֵּזַע יִשָׁי וְנֵצֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶה (2261+7 words=18).
2.’The Spirit of Hashem shall rest upon him; a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of Hashem- וְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהוָה רוּחַ חָכְמָה וּבִינָה רוּחַ עֵצָה וּגְבוּרָה רוּחַ דַּעַת וְיִרְאַת יְהוָה (2717=17=8).
3.’ He will be imbued with the spirit of fear for Hashem and will not need to judge by what his eyes see nor decide by what his ears hear-וַהֲרִיחוֹ בְּיִרְאַת יְהוָה וְלֹא לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו יִשְׁפּוֹט וְלֹא לְמִשְׁמַע אָזְנָיו יוֹכִיחַ (2383+11 words=2394=18).
4.’ He will judge the destitute with righteousness, and decide with fairness for the humble of the earth. He will strike down the world with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked-וְשָׁפַט בְּצֶדֶק דַּלִּים וְהוֹכִיחַ בְּמִישׁוֹר לְעַנְוֵי אָרֶץ וְהִכָּה אֶרֶץ בְּשֵׁבֶט פִּיו וּבְרוּחַ שְׂפָתָיו יָמִית רָשָׁע (4529+15 words=4544=17=8).
5.’Righteousness will be the girdle around his loins, and faith will be the girdle around his waist- וְהָיָה צֶדֶק אֵזוֹר מָתְנָיו וְהָאֱמוּנָה אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו(1411+7 words=14=8).