"Bnai Gad and Reuven approach Moshe about staying in East Jordan.
Question - how did the "half-tribe of Menashe get into the picture?
And why Menashe over another tribe?
I have a surprise answer"
OK clear your minds.
I taught a parsha class for many years @ Cong Mt Sinai in Wash Heights
I found that much of the tribal dynamics had to do with the Matriarchs - viz. Jacob's 4 wives.
I don't have the time or space now but use that as a prism for viewing inter-tribal dynamics...
Now apply that here:
Reuven - Leah
Gad - one of the 2 maidservants (Zilpah)
Q; Whose missing?
Leah has 6 sons of
But Levi gets no land leaving 5
So Reuven is about 20% of Leah
Gad is about 25% of the maidservants
Needed? 20-25% of Rachel
Half Menasseh - about 12.5 to 20% depending on how you compute. (Menasseh is MUCH larger than either Ephraim or Benjamin)
So Moses' agenda was to conform East-Jordan to a matriarchical balance. Half (or part of) Menasseh did the trick
Look at the configuration of the tribes in pasrshiyot Bamidbar and Beha'alotecha. They march by matriarch -
Except forGad who gets promoted to replace Levi with Reuven and Shim'on.
This model "suggests" the Torah had a matriarchical proportion re: tribe vs tribe
Since Half-menasseh jumps out of the clear blue sky, I simply plugged them in and voila! It conformed to a an existing model.
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