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Twelve Tribes

Twelve Tribes

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12 tribes, 12 offerings by the Princes, understanding of flag, meaning of name of tribe, and the month and symbols
12 tribes, 12 offerings by the Princes, understanding of flag, meaning of name of tribe, and the month and symbols

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Published by: Rabbi Benyomin Hoffman on Jun 01, 2008
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05/24/2012

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טבש
TRIBE
DAY INNISSAN OFNASI’SOFFERING
FLAGMEANING IN NAMEMONTH/ BODY SYMBOL
הדוהי
YEHUDA
1
ST
ןושאר םוי
T'cheilet 
, the blue dye thatwas used for
tzitzis
; on theflag is embroidered a lion,the symbol of royalty (KingDovid & Moshiach)
His name means to give thanks, inspeech
 NISSAN 
"The new year for kings"; the king rules his people by the power of his speech, as is said "for the wordof the king is his rule."
רכששי
YISAKOR 
2
ND
ינש םויBlack with an embroideredsun and moon; dedicated tothe spiritual world. Black represents a lack of physical possessions.
The master of the "secret" of the Jewishcalendar, "knowers of understandingthe times"; basic nature iscontemplative and serves as the"advisor" to all the brethren
 IYAR
Thought implies contemplation and introspection;also signifies the power of calculation (as in thecalculation of the calendar); the month of counting("
 sefirat haomer 
")
ןולובז
ZEVULUN
3
RD
ישילש םויWhite with the embroideryof a ship; this tribe settlesby the water and conductsbusiness overseas; they arededicated to supporting the
Torah
study of Yissachar;The white represents theirpure business intentions
The
 Arizal 
explains that the origin of the soul of Zevulun is in
keter 
, the levelof the Torah itself, as indicated by thefact that the Ten Commandments possess 620 letters =רתכ (correspondingto the 613 mitzvos together with the 7mitzvos of the sages)
 SIVAN 
Walking (progress, dynamic) means the sense of continuous, ongoing progress. Each law of theTorah is called a
halacha
, from the word "to walk."Our sages interpret the verse: "the walkings of theworld are to Him" (Habakuk 6:4), that he whostudies
halacha
daily will surely merit the world tocome
ןבואר
REUVEN
4
TH
יעיבר םויRed flag symbolizes therevenge to be taken onEdom; symbol is amandrake, a kind of plantthat grows in the wild.
The root "to see"red implies either the fall of man (odem[red] has the same spelling as adam[man]), as in the sin of the golden calf,or the ultimate rise & rectification of man, with the coming of Moshiach
TAMUZ 
The ability to guard and focus one's eyesightcorrectly is the rectified "sense" of sight; thesummer (the period of 
Tamuz 
) is the "holiday" of the eyes; one must "guard" one’s eyes to see onlythat which is good (in the world in general and inhis fellow man in particular) and modest
ןועמש
SHIMEON
5
TH
ישימח םויGreen with an embroideryof a city, representingShechem. Shimon'sconquest of the city of Shechem is considered thefirst in the conquest of 
 Eretz Yisroel 
"To hear" in Hebrew = "to understand,"to integrate into one's consciousness(into one's heart, in addition to one'smind);
 
to change depends upon hisinner sense of hearing. "Hear [
 shemah
]
 
O' Israel...." Inner hearing (
derher 
inYiddish) comes with the deep sense of humility in the soul
 AV 
The general rectification of the month of 
 Av
is therectification of hearing
 
דג
GAD
6
TH
ישיש םויWoven from black andwhite threads. A troop of soldiers is embroidered onthe silk cloth. The tribe of Gad faces the uncertaintyof battle with great trust in
 Hashem
G
ad means "camp," the special talent isto organize a "company"; also means"good fortune"
 ELUL
Relates, in Kabbalah, to the thirteen principles of mercy that are revealed in the month of 
 Elul 
, inorder to arouse the soul from its root (its "goodfortune") to return to G-d
םירפא
EFRAIM
7
TH
תבשRed-violet with a youngbull representing Yehoshua
Efraim is the son of Joseph, thearchetypal soul of the power to procreate in marital union
TISHREI 
Adam HaRishon - Touch (contact, marriage) is theonly of the five common and general senses whichis not centered in the "face" of man (but rather inthe tips of his fingers)
השנמ
MENASHE8
TH
ןושאר םויViolet; a wild ox isembroidered in the silk torepresent the descendantGideon, the Judge
Deriving from the word "to forget"(literally "to leap, up and away"),Menasheh implies the power of theTzadik (Joseph) to make us forget thehardships, trials and tribulations of thisworld, with the coming of Moshiach.By the power and sense of Menasheh,all of the pain of this world willtransform and metamorphose into the pleasure of the Messianic era.
CHESVAN 
The sense of smell is the most spiritual of allsenses. The Hebrew word for "smell," rei'ach, iscognate to that for "spirit" (ruach). Our sages teachus that smell is the one and only sense that "thesoul enjoys and not the body." "Soul" (neshamah)is a permutation of Menasheh, as mentioned above.The sense of smell is the only sense (of the fivecommon senses) that did not participate, andthereby was not blemished or polluted
BENYAMIN9
TH
ינש םויColors of all the othertribes; a wolf isembroidered on the flagrepresenting the eagernessof Heaven to "snatch" the
korbanos
, consuming themwith the Heavenly fire
The only tribe who was born in the landof Israel. The land of Israel is the placewhere one most experiences Divine providence and G-d's absoluteomnipresence. In the words of theZohar: "There is no place vacant of Him;
 
through the
korbanos
of the
 Bait  HaMikdash,
all the
Shvatim
(tribes) are brought together 
 KISLEV 
The sense of sleep is the tranquility and restfulnessthat comes with trust and security in G-d and HisDivine providence
 
ןד
DAN
10
TH
ישילש םויAn opal-colored flag andthe serpent embroidered onit both allude to the mightyShimshon who showsstrength and cunning whendealing with the
 Pelishtim
Dan means "to judge"; likened toa snake, which bites with thevenom of anger. The "evil eye" isthe eye of the snake; therectification of Dan is hisengaging in the battle of holyanger against evil anger  Nachash ("snake") = 358 =Moshiach. The holy power of Dan reflects a spark of Moshiach;the Zohar states the commander-in-chief of the army of Moshiachwill come from the tribe of Dan
TEVES 
The sense of holy anger, or righteous indignation(the rectification of the month of Tevet) is theability of the soul to arouse one's goodinclination to become angry at one's evilinclination; In Chassidus we are taught that onemust direct his left ("evil") eye towards himself (with the holy anger of his innate good againsthis innate evil), to lower and subdue his ego,while simultaneously directing his right ("good")eye towards outer reality (by which power hehelps reality perfect itself).
רשא
ASHER 
11
TH
יעיבר םויPearl color silk. Upon it anolive tree is embroidered.Asher's portion in the landof 
 Eretz Yisroel 
is filled witholive trees, descendants'daughters are destined tomarry
 Kohanim Gedolim
and kings
The name "Asher" means"pleasure" and "happiness." Our father Yaacov blessed him: "fromAsher comes delicious [lit. fat] bread, and he shall provide thedelicacies of the king"; the olivetree, which gives the goodly oilwith which Asher's portion inIsrael was blessed. Of the sevenspecies in Israel, the olive is thesixth, which, in Kabbalah,corresponds to the sefirah of yesod, the "Tzadik, foundation of the world." Olive oil representsthe potent seed of the Tzadik to bear and sustain blessedgenerations of Jewish souls
 SHVAT 
The rectified sense of eating is the special senseof the Tzadik, as is said: "The Tzadik eats tosatisfy his soul." This verse continues: "but thestomach of the wicked is always lacking." Thesoul-oriented Tzadik feels "full" and happy witha little; the body-oriented rasha (wicked-one)never feels "full."
ילתפנ
NAFTOLI
12
TH
ישימח םויColor of diluted wine. Adeer is embroidered on theflag. The descendants of Naftali study
Torah
fromthe mouth of the
 Sanhedrin.
In Kabbalah, the name Naftali isread (as two words):
nofet li
,"sweetness is to me."
 ADAR
The mitzvah
 
on
 
Purim to reach the level of the"unknowable head" by drinking wine etc., isexpressed, in the words of our sages, as: "one isobligated on Purim to become sweet, until he isunable to differentiate between 'cursed beHamen' and 'blessed be Mordechai

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