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20

All Cohanim and Levi'im are descended from the tribe of Levi. During the time of the temple, a Cohen would have to provide documentary evidence of their ancestry in order to serve in the temple (כהן מיוחס). Since the Babylonian exile, all such documentary evidence has been lost (with the exception of perhaps the Rappaport family). Some interesting genetic ...


17

Fascinating! I've always wondered about this myself. BaMidbar Rabbah 2:7 has a list of each tribe and its flag, with the colour, stone, and symbol associated with it, which I believe is probably the original source (or one of the earliest that we'll find) for this. I'd be interested to see what other people come up with. Interestingly, the list is a little ...


14

Abarbanel offers two possible approaches: 1) "לא יסור שבט" does not mean the monarchy, but rather that Yehuda will always be inherently greater and more deserving of respect and leadership than the other tribes. 2) "לא יסור שבט" means that the tribe of Yehuda will be punished continuously throughout their exile (שבט as in "שבט אפי"), referring to the galus ...


13

Chizkuni asks this and offers two answers: The reason the Egyptians were circumcised was because of the hunger of the famine. Yosef however was rich and therefore the only reason he would circumcise himself would be if he was Jewish. Although all the Egyptians were in fact circumcised, the brothers were not aware of this this and would recognize Yosef on ...


12

Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer (Chapter 38) says that when Reuven returned and found the pit empty he accused the brothers of killing Yosef. They then told him that they sold him instead.


12

In addition to what @Danny answered (Cohanim and Levites are from the tribe of Levi), several families claim to trace their lineage back to King David, meaning they are from the tribe of Judah. Since the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the time of the First Temple, 10 tribes were lost and we have no trace of them. The only tribes ...


11

The alternation you are speaking of is between a zakef gadol (on the many, short names) and a 'pashta'-zakef katon (on somewhat longer words). Both of these are really a zakef. When the zakef comes on the first word of a clause, or of a pasuk, as it does here, then there is no place for the servus. This is where we typically see a zakef gadol version of the ...


11

Jacob had twelve sons, and on spiritual matters, we count those twelve. With Levi as one and Joseph as one. (That's for instance what you'd find on the High Priest's decision breastplate.) On financial/land matters, however, Levi did his own thing, and Joseph got a double portion as his sons Ephraim and Menashe. For instance, there were spaces for twelve ...


9

All Cohanim and Levites are from the tribe of Levi; many people have proof of such lineage.


8

I actually saw a dvar torah this week that claimed that the tribe of Gad showed that the others were actually exact by a miracle in Mail Jewish (quoted below). See the quote from Rav Chaim Kanievsky below based on what his father the Steipler Rav told him. Another explanation is that the counts were actually rounded to the nearest fifty or rounded up to the ...


7

The following is how Abarbanel parses the list: והתחיל מראובן כי הוא היה הבכור גם הוא ראש דגל. ואחריו שמעון שנולד אחריו והוא ג״כ בדגלו. ולפי שלא הלך מרגל משבט לוי זכר אחריו יהודה כפי תולדותם ושהוא ראש דגל כמלך בגדוד ואחריו הנכבד מהחונים עמו בדגלו והוא יששכר ואחריו אפרים שהוא ראש דגל ואחריו הנכבד מהחונים בדגלו והוא בנימין. ואחריו זבולון כי הוא בן לאה והיה ...


7

Seems to be here (end of the first column and beginning of the second, ד"ה ענין). Although, if I'm understanding him correctly, it's not that if he had held back there wouldn't have been any further animosity on the brothers' part, just that they would have been able to complete all of the tikkunim that were needed. (Maybe that amounts to the same thing?)


7

The Chidushe Ham'iri to B'rachos 20:2 says that the Keni got land in Israel and calls it "nat'lu chelek baaretz", which makes it sound like he considers it on a par with anyone else's land. They got it in Y'richo, which was in Binyamin. I don't know whether there were any other converts in the midbar (or during the fourteen years of capturing the land, ...


7

Although the Gra is famous for saying that there is remez (symbolism) behind all the ta'amim (trope) in the Torah, simply speaking the ta'amim we use are purely grammatical. There are several levels of "stopper" ta'amim that indicate a pause in the text, i.e. that this word is not connected to the next. Grammatically speaking, zakef gadol and ...


7

Me'am Loez says (citing Zohar Chadash, Eichah) that R. Eliezer is counted among these ten Sages. He was arrested and nearly sentenced to death, but was miraculously spared (Avodah Zarah 16b-17a); he thus corresponds to Reuven, who played a part in the whole drama but wasn't actually involved in the sale.


7

There is a chassidic story (I've seen it in A Treasury of Chassidic Tales by R' S.Y. Zevin; online here) in which R' Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov is told by his rebbe, the Chozeh of Lublin, that he descends from the tribe of Yissachar. Indeed, R' Tzvi Elimelech named his major work "Bnei Yissaschar" in commemoration of this. So there's a rare case of a family ...


7

The Rambam (Hilchos Malachim 1:7-10) Discusses the annointing and appointing of Jewish kings. There (1:8) he says: If a prophet appoints a king from any other tribe of Israel and that king follows the path of Torah and mitzvot and fights the wars of God, he is considered as a king, and all the commandments associaed with the monarchy apply to him. ...


7

Rashi asks this question - and answers it in 2 ways: רש"י: אלה ראשי בית אבותם. מתוך שהוזקק ליחס שבטו של לוי עד משה ואהרן בשביל משה ואהרן, התחיל ליחסם דרך תולדותם (ה) מראובן. (ובפסיקתא גדולה ראיתי, לפי שקנטרם יעקב אבינו לשלשה שבטים הללו בשעת מותו, חזר הכתוב ויחסם כאן לבדם, לומר שחשובים הם): ‏ שפתי חכמים (ה) וא"ת עדיין יש להקשות למה לא התחיל ...


7

After the reign of Solomon, the nation was divided into 2 kingdoms, North and South (the kingdoms of Israel and Judah respectively). The Northern Kingdom (sometimes called "Ephraim") was composed of most of the tribes while the southern kingdom, Judah, was made up mostly of Judah, Benjamin and some of Levi (though I have heard that there were a few ...


6

The question is, “Shaul was not a descendant of Yehudah. How then could Hashem appoint a King and seemingly promise him an eternal dynasty of Kingship if he would observe the Torah, as is implied (ibid., 13:13) where Shmuel says to Shaul, ‘You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of Hashem that He commanded you. For if ...


6

Update on the stones of the hoshen / 12 Tribes, and their identification. This information is from my father's book "The Natural Bible: Judaism and the Environment", which will be published (be"h) by Berman House this spring. Odem: clearly a red stone. Scholars suggest either red jasper, or carnelian sard (a type of quartz). Piteda: some sort of ...


5

If the brothers knew about it, they would have known the reason - that they were forced to do it in order to obtain food. Yosef, as the second in command, would not have been forced due to his position (giving out the food to everyone else). So the fact that he was circumcised would have had to have been for a different reason. ברוך שכוונתי וכו


5

No, and no. The only thing I have written in my hat is my name and number so I can be contacted if I lose it. In general, Jews today do not know what tribe they are from, with the exception of Levites and Kohanim (Jewish priests). Both come from the tribe of Levi, and anyone who is a Levite or a Kohen has a family tradition that they indeed come from the ...


5

To the best of my knowledge, the promise that Ephraim and Menashe would become great is the following verse (Bereishis 48:19 from Chabad.org): יט. וַיְמָאֵן אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר יָדַעְתִּי בְנִי יָדַעְתִּי גַּם הוּא יִהְיֶה לְעָם וְגַם הוּא יִגְדָּל וְאוּלָם אָחִיו הַקָּטֹן יִגְדַּל מִמֶּנּוּ וְזַרְעוֹ יִהְיֶה מְלֹא הַגּוֹיִם׃ 19. But his father ...


5

A person who does not have a Jewish father (whether a convert or a Jew because of the mother) does not belong to any of the twelves tribes. The reason is that tribal membership follows the status of the father. An example is the case of the blasphemer at the end of Parshas Emor (24:10-23) He was the son of an Egyptian man and an Israelite woman of the tribe ...


4

I cannot improve on the other excellent examples, but I can provide an additional source (and one older than the others mentioned so far): עד שלא נבחר דוד היו כל ישראל כשרים למלכות. משנבחר דוד יצאו כל ישראל שנאמר הלא לכם לדעת כי ה' אלהי ישראל נתן את הממלכה לדוד וגו Until David was chosen, all Israel was suitable for the monarchy. Once David was ...


4

Sotah 37a-b In the book Ben Yehoyadah, Rabbi Yosef Hayyim mi-Baghdad's work on the aggadic portions of the Talmud, the author points out that the reward granted to both Yehudah and Binyamin are eternal rewards - the Jewish people's monarchy will always be from the house of King David, and the place of the Temple will always remain on Har Ha-Bayit in ...


4

Revach.net has a nice table of the tribes populations, flags, symbols, and camp locations. Levi's symbol was the Urim V'tumim (High Preist's breastplate). This is based on the Meam Loez (Bamidbar 2:2).


4

As you note in the question, sometimes Levi is excluded (and Yosef split up) and sometimes Levi is included (as is Yosef). Thus, there are two divisions into twelve tribes each. Other examples — you mention the divvying up of the land and the tribal symbols — are the post-exodus desert travels (which was by tribe, with Yosef split and with Levi ...



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