Daily Tanach, Tuesday: Shoftim Chapter 11-Part 2: The rule of Yiftach

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.       Yiftach makes a pack with G-d:

  • Yiftach travels to Amon to wage war: The spirit of G-d resided on Yiftach and he crossed the Gilad and land of Menashe, towards the land of Amon.
  • The pact-Consecrating his first greeter to G-d: Yiftach made a vow to G-d that if He would hand over the nation of Amon into his hands, then the first thing to leave his house to greet him upon his peaceful return home, will be consecrated to G-d and offered as an Olah sacrifice.

2.       The battle and victory over Amon:

  • Yiftach approached the nation of Amon to battle them and G-d handed them into his hands. He smote twenty cities of Amonites, from Aroer until they got to Minis. The nation of Amon became subjugated to the Jewish people.

3.       Yiftach returns home and is greeted by his daughter:

  • Yiftach returned to his home in Mitzpah and his daughter came to greet him with tambourines and dance. She was an only child, as he had no other sons or daughters [of his own or from her, as she was not yet married[1]].
  • Yiftach realizes that he must consecrate his daughter: When Yiftach saw his daughter, he tore his clothing and said: Woe my daughter, you have frozen my blood, as I have made a vow to G-d and cannot retract it. The daughter replied to her father that he should do with her as he vowed, as G-d has granted them vengeance against their enemy Amon.
  • The daughter of Yiftach goes away for two months: She asked her father to allow her to go for two months down to the mountains with her friends in order to mourn her state of virginity. Yiftach agreed, and so she was sent for two months away. She and her friends went to the mountains to mourn her virginity. After two months she returned home to her father and he did with her the vow that he vowed. The daughter of Yiftach did not know any man [i.e. marry] throughout her life [and lived a life of seclusion in a special house built for her[2]]. [Alternatively, some say that she was literally sacrificed as a Karban Olah to G-d.[3]]
  • The annual visitation to Yiftach’s daughter: It became a set custom amongst Israel for the daughters of Israel to annually pay a four-day visitation to the daughter of Yiftach Hagiladi, in order to comfort her.

[1] See Metzudos David, Radak 11:34

[2] See Meiam Loez 11

[3] See Radak 12:7 that he killed his daughter; Meiam Loez ibid

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