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19

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 ...


19

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 ...


15

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

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 ...


9

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, ...


9

The Torah lists off the names of the tribes in multiple places. Every time, there are 12: either because Levi is counted, and Yosef is counted as one tribe, or because Levi is not counted, and in those cases Efraim and Menashe are both counted. Thus, we say '12' because that's clearly what the Torah is trying to do - emphasize that however you count the ...


9

No, at present male Gerim and their male children do not have an inheritance in the land of Israel. Inheritance of property comes through the male line, meaning father to son. Male converts do not become a part of any of the twelve tribes. And thus, their male children do not have a portion in the land at this time. This was a case decided by the court of ...


9

To answer the last part of the question that wasn't addressed yet. Is there any significance as to why a specific stone was assigned to a specific tribe? Was it something within the color, or the texture or strength of the stone that made it appropriate? "Hoshen," by ברי"א. Used with permission per CC BY-SA 2.5 This is Rabbeinu Bechaye's explanation. I ...


8

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 ...


8

Like with so many of these questions, there are several approaches as to how to deal with this issue: While this approach is rejected by every commentator I've seen, I think it's worth mentioning at least as a rejected possibility: Yosef wanted to take revenge on his brothers for selling him. Besides for being an unacceptable interpretation because it makes ...


8

You're possibly referring to the Maharsha to Shabbos 55b. To explain how Reuven didn't sin with Bilhah, he explains based on the gemarra in Yevamos that Avaraham's children couldn't marry a shifchah. Therefore, Yaakov freed Bilhah and Zilpah when he married them. The way he freed them was with biah, which simultaneously freed them and was mekadesh them. ...


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

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 Falasha, ethiopian Jews claim that they are descendants of Dan, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_Israel#Tribe_of_Dan). There is a Midrash Aggadah on Bamidbar 26:40, that says that Chusim, Dan's son, was 'black in his body'.


7

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 yellowish-...


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 ...


7

Ashkenaz and Sfard are modern divisions based on where those groups lived during the time of the galus (exile). They have nothing to do with the original division into the twelve tribes. Consider that after the revolt against Rechav'am (son of Shlomo Hamelech) many members of the twelve tribes resettled in Yehudah because they maintained loyalty to Hashem. ...


7

According to Bamidbar Rabba 15 19, Eldad was Alidad ben Kislon and Meidad was Kemuel ben Shaftan. That would put Eldad as the Nasi of Binyamin and Meidad as the Nasi of Ephraim as found in Parshas Masei 34 vs 21 and 24. The idea that they were related to Moshe is found in Targum Yonasan Bamidbar 11 26. There we see that when Amram divorced Yocheved she had ...


7

In the Talmud-GemaraTractate Bava Bathra 109b משפחת אב קרויה משפחה אמשפחת אם אינה קרויה משפחה דכתיב (במדבר א, ב) למשפחותם לבית אבותם The Family of the Father are family the family of the mother are not family as it is written with regards to the Tribal census in Numbers 1,2(one of the 24 books of Tenach): "according to their families through their ...


6

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 ...


6

The Ramban is bothered by this as well, and makes the question stronger - the shevatim were not born that far apart from each other and really all of them could be a son of old age. Rather he explains it as a son who serves the father in his old age, not who was born in the father's old age. The other brothers were off shepherding (and Binyomin was ...


6

Your idea that Yaakov does not favor Binyamin as highly because he is a reminder of Rachel's death is suggested by the Chizkuni: ואם תאמר הרי בנימין בן זקונים יותר, אלא אין אהבת בנימין קשורה בלבו של יעקב כאהבתו של יוסף, לפי שכשילדתו אמו מתה Other commentators address this question as well: R' Yosef Bechor Shor and Ralbag opine that Yosef is called בן ...


6

Nechama Leibowitz used Rabbi Cassuto as a source for his view of the story of Yehudah and Tamar as a punishment for the sale of Yoseph. 3) Measure for Measure Cassuto also believes that Yehudah’s problems in chapter 38 are related to his behavior in the episode of the sale of Yosef. A comparative analysis of the two narratives reveals a number of ...


6

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 ...


6

Sifsei Chachamim brings this question from Rabi Elazar Mizrachi who left it as a question. The Sifsei Chachamim goes on to suggest that this limud is to tell us that Shevet Levi was not even involved in the council to send spies. He quotes Rashi, who's words are now clearer, who says Levi was not with them, but did not say Levi did not go with them.


6

The "birthright" as used here that went to Yoseph is the "double portion". The Artscroll commentary on Reuven cites Targum Yonasan as pointing out that there were three items that had been originally given to the first born. Rashi says: you do not deserve to serve in the superior positions that were designated for you. Targum Yonatan says: But ...


6

From Menashe. See Pesikta Rabbati 3 ובמלכים ירבעם בן נבט משל אפרים ואחרי כן יהוא בן (מנשה) [נמשי] משבט מנשה


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