Characteristics of the Tribes According
to Rabbinical Sources.
and the Twelve Tribes
Rabbi Nathan and the Twelve Tribes
2. Rabbi Nathan on the Individual Tribes followed by
Comments in the light of Brit-Am Tribal Identifications.
3. Conclusion and Related Articles.
Duration: 31. 08 minutes
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A Bratslav Rabbi wrote an article involving individual Tribal Characteristics. These observations are compared with the identifications of Israelite Tribes with specific nations as found in the book, "The Tribes. The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples" by Yair Davidiy.
Rabbi Nathan Sternhartz of Breslov (1780-1844), also known as "Reb Noson", was the chief disciple and scribe of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov the founder of the
Breslov branch of Hasidic Judaism. Rabbi Nachman (1772-1810) of Breslov is also
known as Reb Nachman of Bratslav.
The following article is based on an excerpt from the writings of Rabbi Nathan
("Likutei Halacot", Orach Chaim, Tefilah 5:3). We have summarized, elaborated
upon, and paraphrased the original somewhat while endeavoring to give over the
The Twelve Tribes are paralleled by Twelve Blessings that comprise the middle
section of the weekday (not Shabat or Festival) prayer said three times daily by
2. Rabbi Nathan on the Individual Tribes
Twelve Blessings for Twelve Tribes
The Twelve Middle Blessings parallel the Twelve Tribes descendants of the Sons
of Jacob. The Children of Jacob represent the aspect of a Complete Staff
[Unified Stick, cf. Ezekiel 37] which is the main aim of prayer, i.e. to unite
the individual with the rest of Israel before the Almighty.
We should be aware of our Hebrew Ancestry, learn the Bible, and act well.
The Twelve Blessings parallel the Twelve Sons of Jacob:
The First Blessing of the Twelve Middle Blessings starts with, "You Give to Man
Knowledge". This pertains to Reuben.
The birth of Reuben is described in the Torah:
[Genesis 29:31] AND WHEN THE LORD SAW THAT LEAH WAS HATED, HE OPENED HER WOMB:
BUT RACHEL WAS BARREN.
[Genesis 29:32] AND LEAH CONCEIVED, AND BARE A SON, AND SHE CALLED HIS NAME
REUBEN: FOR SHE SAID, SURELY THE LORD HATH LOOKED UPON MY AFFLICTION; NOW
THEREFORE MY HUSBAND WILL LOVE ME.
The Blessing "You Give to Man Knowledge" represents Reuben who was named for
the quality of Perception (Genesis 29) and whose named connotes "See a Son" [in
Hebrew, "Reu-ben", Beracoth 7] . Sight (perception) is an aspect of discernment
and knowledge as it says, "MY HEART HAD GREAT EXPERIENCE OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE
[Eccelssiastes -The Preacher 1:16].
In Hebrew the expression translated as "HAD GREAT EXPERIENCE OF" is "Rah" which
literally translated means "saw", i.e. "my heart saw much knowledge and
wisdom". cf. "And the eyes of both of them were opened" (Genesis 3) which is
connected with knowledge and knowing as Rashi explains.
We identify Reuben with elements who settled in France. Intellectual perception amongst the intellectuals in France is often of a high standard.
In addition many of the Franch have an instinctive empathy for others and an innate understanding of, and sympathy with, human nature.
The Blessing of Repentance, "Return Us" parallels Simeon whose name is reflected
in the expression of his mother when he was born, "God heard that I was hated"
[Genesis 29:33] AND SHE CONCEIVED AGAIN, AND BARE A SON; AND SAID, BECAUSE THE
LORD HATH HEARD I WAS HATED, HE HATH THEREFORE GIVEN ME THIS SON ALSO: AND SHE
CALLED HIS NAME SIMEON.
This applies to a Penitent who at first is trapped in transgression and is
hateful in the eyes of God and himself but then God helps him. The penitent
arouses himself to repentance. God has mercy on his disgrace as it says "BECAUSE THE
LORD HATH HEARD I WAS HATED".
MY WOUNDS STINK AND ARE CORRUPT BECAUSE OF MY FOOLISHNESS [Psalms 38:5]. The
sinner is corrupt and disgraceful in his own eyes.
THE POOR IS HATED EVEN OF HIS OWN NEIGHBOUR [Proverbs 14:20] This applies to
someone who is poor in Torah and good deeds. We pray and request that the
Almighty will have mercy, hear us, and enable us to repent and return for we are
hateful because our deeds are bad. We want the Almighty to hear us and help us
return with true contrition to HIM.
[In the Blessing of Moses to the Tribes (Deuteronomy ch.33) Simeon is
omitted. Judah however in some cases encompassed the Tribes of Simeon (Joshua ch.
2). The Sages said that the presence of Simeon is hinted at in the Blessing
to Judah which begins with "HEAR, LORD, THE VOICE OF JUDAH". The word "HEAR" in
Hebrew is "Shema" which sounds similar to the Hebrew pronunciation of Simeon ("Shima-on").]
[Deuteronomy 33:7] AND THIS IS THE BLESSING OF JUDAH: AND HE SAID, HEAR [Hebrew:
"Shema"], LORD, THE VOICE OF JUDAH, AND BRING HIM UNTO HIS PEOPLE: LET HIS HANDS
BE SUFFICIENT FOR HIM; AND BE THOU AN HELP TO HIM FROM HIS ENEMIES.
This aspect of being heard and repentance is recalled in the phrase "HEAR, LORD,
THE VOICE OF JUDAH, AND BRING HIM UNTO HIS PEOPLE" [Deuteronomy 33:7]. This
concerns the Repentance of Judah. Judah confessed his transgression with Tamar
(Genesis 38:26), repented, and through his example caused Reuben to repent his
transgression with Bilah (Genesis 35:22, Sotah 7). Reuben was the first to
repent and set the Precedent (Midrash Breishit Rabah 84). From this we learn
that "HEAR, LORD, THE VOICE OF JUDAH" is referring to Repentance. The voice of
Israel will be heard. All of Israel [in some cases] may be subsumed under Judah
who will all repent and return. In the [Hebrew] letters of the words "HEAR,
LORD" is contained a blessing for Simeon as explained in the Commentary of Rashi.
We may deduce that the "HEAR, LORD" refers to Simeon who represents the aspect
of Repentance. This explains why the Blessing requesting we be enabled to repent
We identify Simeon with groups who were scattered amongst the other tribes. Ireland and Wales especially seem to have been blessed with elements from Simeon. We do find amongst some of them a tendency to drink or otherwise misbehave but later regret it, or even regret it whilst they are doing it.
The Blessing, "Forgive Us", parallels Levi from whom emerged the Priests (Cohens)
and Levites who were continuously occupied with the Temple Service whose aim is
to atone for and induce forgiveness on the sins of Israel.
We identify Levi with groups who were scattered amongst the other tribes, the same as Simeon. A good portion of Levi however eventually found its way to Judah. Amongst Judah we find many who dedicate themselves full-time, often at great personal self-sacrifice, to learning the Torah. This parallels the task of Levi in ancient times.
The Blessing, "Look Now Upon Our Oppression", concludes with the expression
"Redeemer of Israel". This parallels Judah from whom will come the Messiah, the
Redeemer of Israel. He will be a Righteous Redeemer.
We identify Judah with the present-day Jews.
The Blessing, "Heal Us", parallels Issachar. The Tribe of Issachar was much
occupied with learning the Torah (Talmud, Yoma 26). The Torah is a healing
medicine for every person.
We identify Issachar with Switzerland and possibly also with Finland, at least in part.
Both the Swiss and the Finns have Research acheivements. Switzerland is an international center for researchers. Traditionally many recipients of Nobel Prizes etc live in Switzerland though they usually not born there. Switzerland is also known for its medical centers and breaking-ground innovations in certain fields of healing e.g. rejuvenation.
The Blessing, "Bless This Year", relates to Zebulon who was a merchant and with
the profits of his trading helped support Issachar.
We identify Zebulon with the Netherlands. Holland is a trading center and through its ports an entrepot for all Europe. Merchant ships played an important role in Dutch history.
The Blessing, "Blow With a Great Shofar", is for the ingathering of the Exiles
especially for the gathering of they who were cast out. This parallels the tribe
of Dan who was the last of the Tribes in the line of marching and would gather
up those of the other tribes who had fallen behind.
We identify Dan with Denmark and also with elements in Ireland and elsewhere. In the Second World War the Dutch Underground asked the Jews in Denmark not to try to escape but to rely on them. They then gathered together all the Jews, organized shipping, and passed them (as wards of Denmark) over to Sweden for the duration of the War.
Amalek- Archenemy of Israel
Amalek [the arch-enemy of Israel] always pursues after the camp of Dan. Amalek
bears the aspect of sexual immorality. This is called "Pegem Habrit" (impairment
of the covenant) because it weakens the bond or covenant between Israel and the
We pray that God will have mercy upon us and gather together our dispersed in
the physical and spiritual sense. In one sense the Dispersion was due to the
impairment of the covenant or sexual immorality and its rectification is the
responsibility of the Camp of Dan.
We identify Amalek with many of the Jew-haters. Amalek is an offshoot of Edom whose presence became important in Europe especially Germany.
Dan may be related to Denmark and elements in Ireland. Denmark was one of the pioneers in open European Sexual promiscuity. Ireland contains quite a few enemies of the Jews and of the State of Israel. Both of these phenomena could indicate the presence of Amalek. Denmark is geographically adjacent to Germany. I heard from a Norwegian lady that the Danish character shows German influence in the negative sense. This is expressed by denying God and immoral behavior.
The Blessing, "Return Our Judges", parallels Naphtali:
NAPHTALI IS A HIND LET LOOSE: HE GIVETH GOODLY WORDS [Genesis
GOODLY WORDS or "words of pleasantry" meaning pleasant sayings to clarify the
judgment and to establish counsel. The word translated as pleasant in Hebrew is
"Shepher". This root is related to the Latin and English word "super". In Hebrew
it is also used in verbal form and pronounced as "shipar" meaning to improve. "GOODLY WORDS" (Hebrew: "Imri Shepher") connote words that improve the situation
and lessen contention. This quality is connected to Royalty since the main point
of Kingship is the judgment that emanates from it as it says "The king by
judgment will establish the earth" (Proverbs 29).
We identify Naphtali with Norway along with some of the Irish.
Norway does have Royal Characteristics. The Norwegian Monarchy appears to have its own status as far as thse matters go.
The Norwegians are not known for their orators.
The Irish however are.
Per head of population the Irish (both Protestant and Catholic) have probably produced more great writers than any other people.
One of the greatest works of Irish Literature is said to be Ulysses by James Joyce (1922).
[I myself only managed to read a few pages of this work which is available for free, online.]
The hero of this work is Leopold Bloom, an Irishman of part Jewish descent, who lives in Dublin.
Great works of Literature in a sense may express the soul of the nation. It is interesting that Ireland felt the need of a Jewish participation.
The Blessing, "On the Righteous", parallels Joseph the Righteous One.
We identify Joseph with mainly with the English-speaking peoples of British Descent. This includes those of America.
These peoples are not always as good as they would like to be depicted. A lot of criticism can be directed against them. The element of righteousness however does exist amongst them. This may be seen even in their entertainment.
British (and to some degree American humor) presupposes an order of justice. It is assumed that things should go in a certain order according to set principles. When they seem not to do so in a ridiculous manner then it may be depicted as funny.
Nevertheless the idea of justice exists and that it should be in place is there. When it is lacking then it needs to be rectified or laughed at.
We are so used to this principle and it seems so self-evident to us that we are not usually conscious of it. With other peoples however it is not so accepted and often lacking.
The Blessing, "On Jerusalem", parallels Benjamin in whose section was located
most of Jerusalem.
We identify Benjamin with part of Judah, possibly the Ashkenazic section associated with Jews who settled in Germany.
Jerusalem is the Holy City, the main city of the Israelite Tribes, and the future world capital. We should all support the present State of Israel along with the increased settlement of Jews in Jerusalem and in Judah and Samaria. Close to 600,000 Jews now (2013) live in the so-called west bank including East Jerusalem. The Arab population is given as 2,600,000 though the real number is probably something like 1,500,000 or less. The Arabs should be encouraged to emigrated and enabled to do so.
The Blessing, "For the Flourishing of David", parallels Gad since Elijah comes
from Gad. Elijah will hasten the Redemption.
[Malachi 4:5] BEHOLD, I WILL SEND YOU ELIJAH THE PROPHET BEFORE THE COMING OF
THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD:
[Malachi 4:6] AND HE SHALL TURN THE HEART OF THE FATHERS TO THE
CHILDREN, AND THE HEART OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR FATHERS, LEST I COME AND SMITE
THE EARTH WITH A CURSE.
We identify Gad with Sweden. The people of Sweden stand out more for their obvious potential rather than known acheivements. At present Sweden supports the Palestianinas against the Jews. So do other Scandinavian countries. This is treasonable and unjust. They should repent, get their acts together, and start acting like Hebrews.
Malachi 4:6 indicates that disastrous punbishments may overtake the Israelite Nations if they do not correct themselves. Turning THE HEART OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR FATHERS indicates becomeing aware of Israelite ancestry and acting positively as a result.
The Blessing, "Hear Our Prayer", parallels Asher (Genesis 30)
[Genesis 30:13] AND LEAH SAID, HAPPY AM I, FOR THE DAUGHTERS WILL CALL ME
BLESSED: AND SHE CALLED HIS NAME ASHER.
The name Asher in Hebrew can suggest affirmation which is what we receive when our prayers are answered.
"Asher" also connotes blessing and happiness.
[Deuteronomy 33:24] AND OF ASHER HE SAID, LET ASHER BE BLESSED WITH CHILDREN;
LET HIM BE ACCEPTABLE TO HIS BRETHREN, AND LET HIM DIP HIS FOOT IN OIL.
In Psalm 144 the Hebrew words "asher" meaning "which" and "ashrei" meaning
"happy" or "blessed" are repeated throughout. These Hebrew expressions resemble
the name of "Asher" and it is suggested that this Psalm pertains to that
Scandinavia, Scotland, and Ireland all seem to contain elements from the Tribe of Asher. The Tribe of Asher was to be happy, rich, posesses oil (petroleum?), and have womenfolk who were beautiful inside and out. Asher was also to bring forth formidable warriors.
3. Conclusion and Related Articles:
We have taken a few points from Rabbi Nathan and looked at them in thel ight of our other findings. These other findings are our main points.
A comprehensive explanation of our Tribal Identification may be found in our work, The Tribes. The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples.
in Rabbinical Sources
Joseph in the Eyes of the Rebbe