On the door of the Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem are several square plates which appear to symbolize the twelve tribes.

היכל שלמה סמלי השבטים כניסה

I'm having trouble figuring out which tribe each of these plates corresponds to. Perhaps I would have an easier time if I understood the Hebrew titles on the images. Several (but not all) of the images appear to be based on the imagery from the blessings Jacob gives his sons in Genesis 49.

Here are the ones I believe I have identified...

Levi (ephod)

היכל שלמה סמל שבט לוי

Genesis 49 doesn't mention ephods or the priestly nature of Levi, but I think this one is clear, regardless.

Judah (lion)

היכל שלמה שבט יהודה

Zebulun (ship)

היכל שלמה סמל שבט זבולון

Issachar (donkey)

היכל שלמה סמל שבט יששכר

Dan (serpent)

היכל שלמה סמל שבט דן

Asher (rich food)

Left-most plate in the below image:

אריה בין סמלי השבטים

Naphtali (deer)

היכל שלמה שבט נפתלי

Benjamin (wolf)

היכל שלמה סמל שבט בנימין

Have I misidentified any of the above images?

Unidentified tribes & plates

So, that leaves Reuben, Simeon, Gad, and Joseph, and the following plates which don't seem to line up with the imagery in Genesis 49:

היכל שלמה שבט אפרים היכל שלמה סמל שבט שמעון היכל שלמה סמל שבט ראובן היכל שלמה סמל שבט גד

Which plate goes with which tribe, and why?

Thanks to zeevveez for the great CC BY 2.0 pictures!

  • 2
    Did you look at the title of the images?
    – Double AA
    Oct 28, 2014 at 20:47
  • 2
    I bet the Reuven one is Dudaim.
    – Double AA
    Oct 28, 2014 at 20:48
  • 2
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! I'll bet you can find the information you want in the answers to this question.
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 28, 2014 at 20:51
  • 1
    Shimon is the city gates
    – user6591
    Oct 28, 2014 at 20:59
  • @DoubleAA, you're right. I don't know Hebrew, but Google Translate appears to do a decent job with the names in the image titles. Oct 29, 2014 at 0:22

2 Answers 2


As @DoubleAA suggested, the answer is on the pictures "web title", which I see when resting the mouse on each image.

From right to left, you have Gad, Re'uven, Shimon and Ephraim. You don't have a pic for Menashe.


Left to Right: Bow and Arrow with sheaves of wheat and ox at top (Ephraim/Joseph); Arched building/ castle (maybe referring to the Shechemite kingdom where Simeon led the revolt to rescue his sister Dina from the rapist prince (Shimon/Simeon); Mandrakes (Reuven/Reuben); tents (Gad).

  • Thanks for explaining the images! That's exactly what I was looking for. Your answer helped me find this website: karinforeman.com/description-of-gad-%D7%92%D6%B8%D6%BC%D7%93 ... and elaborating on your answer a bit, on Joseph's plate the sheaves of wheat are bowing over, representing the dream he had. Reuben found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother. Without your answer I had no idea that those were mandrakes in the picture. Thank you! May 4, 2023 at 14:12

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