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Tribal Names:
The Tribes and Their Names.

[Based on the work ("Shivtei Yisrael") of Rabbi Fishel Mael.]

No Tribe Will Ever Disappear.
Midrash Yalkut Shimeoni, Habakuk (565):
# ... We have a tradition that no Tribe will ever disappear, as Abbaye [in the Talmud, Baba Batra 115;b) says: We learn that no Tribe will be extinguished.
The Rashbam (c. 1085 - c. 1158 CE) learns this from the verse Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

Ephraim equals Jacob; Manasseh equals Joseph.
Joseph in addition to his sons was an independent entity in his own right!

Shnei Luchot HaBrit:
The Tribes numbered fourteen with Ephraim and Manasseh. The Land however was divided into 12 sections. Deduct the Tribe of Levi from the number since the Almighty is his inheritance (Deuteronomy 18:2).
Deduct also Joseph himself since he has the aspect of Jacob [i.e. Israel father of the 12 sons] who is above all the Tribes: For he is Joseph and his two sons are Tribes.

Midrash Lekach Tov (Shmot 20:14): The Ten Commandments are given 13 different titles parallel to the quorum of Israelite Tribes together with Ephraim son of Joseph for Manasseh is considered part of Joseph, cf.
" from the tribe of Joseph, that is, from the tribe of Manasseh.. (Numbers 13:11).

Brit-Am Comment:
We see from this that Manasseh represents Joseph whereas Ephraim (as shown elsewhere) is associated more with Jacob (i.e. Israel in general).
This is also reflected in the other sons of Joseph being mainly absorbed by Manasseh as shown in the Book of Chronicles. We agree with those commentators, such as Nachmanides, who say that Joseph had sons in addition to Ephraim and Manasseh but they were absorbed within the Tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim.
BAC to [Genesis 48:6]

Different Names for the Same Person.

Rabbi Moseh Eisemann points out that at times in the Bible, especially in Chronicles, we find a person with two names: One of these names pertains to his essential self, the other to some event or other in his lifetime. Occasionally both names have the same meaning as Nachmanides (numbers 26:13) observed concerning the son of Simeon who is called in one place Zohar (Genesis 46:10), and Zerach (Numbers 26:13) in another. Both names have the same meaning of enlightenment and illumination. At other times different names may reflect differing aspects of the same person e.g. Jacob who was also known as Israel.

We also find that one name may have several meanings e.g. Reuben and Joseph.
See Brit-Am Comment below.

Brit-Am Comment:
Genesis 29:
32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, The LORD has surely looked on my affliction [Reah -bi i.e. "saw me" but also implying Reu-ben i.e. see a son]. Now therefore, my husband will love me.
Genesis 30:
23 And she conceived and bore a son, and said, God has taken away my reproach. 24 So she called his name Joseph [connected to "Asaf" i.e. take away] and said, The LORD shall add [Hebrew "yosef" i.e. will add"] to me another son.

We see from the two examples that the names of Joseph and Reuben are applied in different ways and attributed different significations in the very same verses.
These different meanings have significance concerning the future fate of their descendants.

Various Applicabilities of the Same Name.
The Book "Emunat Iteca" (Shmot 181) says that each one of the Tribes had a name corresponding to his inner nature and his role in this world. Each one of the names given is connected to the future Redemption.
We sometimes find people with the same names but otherwise quite different from each other.  Each name has different possible applicabilities.

Amongst the Talmudic Sages we find those with the same names as the Tribes. This shows a common denominator in some respect.
The book "Takanat HaShavim" says there is tradition that the author of the Zohar, Rabbi Simeon Bar Yochai, was from the Tribe of Simeon.

Brit-Am Comment:
We saw above that the Tribe of Simeon produced no known leader in the time of Judges and no known Prophet.
Having produced the Zohar however may well be considered of equal importance. The Zohar is not a Prophetical work but it is potentially important.  We however until now have not had much acquaintance with it.

For More on this Subject:
To see more articles based on the work of Rabbi Fishel Mael go to:

To see more Brit-Am articles concerning Rabbinicial Sources and the Tribes of Israel, go to:

To see more Brit-Am articles concerning the Tribes of Israel in general, go to:

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