Pinchas and the Pitch 

In a conversation this week with Corey Cutler, the heads of Fundraising for the Foundation for Jewish Camp, we got to talking about the art of the fundraising pitch  and Pinchas, this week’s Torah Portion. In preparation for entering into the new land the Israelites had a lottery to determine who would get what property. There we read:

Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah.  And they stood before Moshe, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, at the door of the tent of meeting, saying. ‘Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not among the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he had no son? Give unto us a possession among the brethren of our father.’ ( Numbers 27:1-4)

The daughters of Zelophehad nobly presented their case to Moshe. Corey pointed out how they must have prepared, they went together, they defined their common cause with Moshe, and they made their pitch short and sweet. 

I was intrigued  by their fear of their father’s legacy disappearing because of an oversight. To me it seems that this is what gave their pitch gravity to Moshe. Even if Moshe could not relate to these women, how could Moshe not empathize with Zelophehad? For many philanthropists one of the motivators to invest beyond a common cause and a relationship with the person making the pitch is establishing their own legacy.  

As I discovered in my conversation with Corey, all of us involved in not-for-profit work need to learn from the  example of the daughters of Zelophehad. 

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1 Response to “Pinchas and the Pitch ”


  1. 1 Corey Cutler July 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks for the shout out Avi. One could also draw the conclusion from these women is “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Too often the fear of even asking, eliminates the opportunity to cement a legacy.

    At the end of the day, we all want to be remembered for our good deeds and work. What Zelophehad’s daughters did was a mitzvah.


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