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Characteristics of the Tribe of Reuben

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

[Basic Outlines Only for the Present.  At a later date we may add more details. ]

Note that Rabbi Fishel Mael from whose work the following notes are derived brings sources for everything he says. Since at present we are only providing a skeleton outline of his observations we have not brough the sources.
All of his sources are conventionally accepted Rabbinical religious works. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that as well as being a Torah Scholar, Rabbi Mael is also a professional psychologist. Reflections of his psychological appreciation of reality may be noticed in his work.


Reuben lost the right of the Firstborn (1-Chronciles 5:1). He forfeited the Priesthood and the monarchy. This was not due to his sin with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22) but rather due to his instable tendency to overreact without hesitation (Genesis 49:4).
Nevertheless Reuben retained something of the Firstborn Dignity due to his basic lack of jealousy and his fraternal respect.
The firstborn sons have a quality of expansion. Not only Reuben but also the other firstborn sons to their mothers also showed this attribute.
The firstborn sons Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh lacked the quality of moderation.

Reuben has some similarities to Lot the father of his mother.
Both Lot and Reuben showed a sense of responsibility and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others.
Reuben and Lot both were money-hungry but Reuben overcame this impulse.
Reuben saved Joseph (Genesis 37:21) even though Joseph had usurped his right of the firstborn: Reuben might have benefited if Joseph disappeared.

Reuben and Gad inherited lands east of the Jordan where Amon and Moab dwelt.
Amon and Moab were descended from Lot. Reuben and Gad  also had acquired attributes of Lot.
Lot was the father-in-law of Jacob. His two sons Rachel and Leah were the chief wives of Jacob. 
The handmaidens of Rachel and Leah (Bilhah and Zilpah) were also the women of Jacob.
According to tradition they too were the daughters of Lot but from wives of lower status.
Reuben was the son of Jacob and Leah. Gad was the son of Jacob and Zilpah the handmaiden of Leah.
The Tribe of Reuben in a spiritual sense is considered like unto the son of Judah.
Reuben received the Land of Lot. Judah got Ruth from Moab and Noamah mother of Rehobaum, from Amon.

For More on this Subject:
The Tribe of Reuben.Tribal Characteristics in a Nutshell.
Reuben: Present Day Identifications.

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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