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Characteristics of the Tribe of Naphtali

[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. ]

The following notes are derived from the work of Rabbi Fishel Mael. He brings sources for everything said below. Our own understanding and opinion do not necessarily coincide.

Naphtali is associated with the Hebrew month of Adar.
Fishel Mael finds much in common between the characteristics of Naphtali and the events of Purim that took place in the month of Adar.
Naphtali is always counted last of the Tribes.
The symbol of Naphtali in Hebrew was an "ayalah" (Genesis 49:21) i.e. a female deer, i.e. a doe or hind.
The doe represents alacrity and speed.
Naphtali had an inner happiness and contentment along with a desire for progress.
Naphtali had an urge for inner stengthening and constant renewal.
Naphtali could be associated with horse-riding.
The well-known city of Tiberias by the shores of the Sea of Galilee is in the territory of Naphtali. Its Hebrew name is Reket.

Nachbi [Nahbi] was the name of the representative of Naphtali amongst the 12 spies sent to spy out the Land of Canaan.
Numbers 13:
13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi;

Nachbi was responsible more than any of the others for the bad report the spies brought back!
The name Nachbi is linked to the root "cHBI" i.e. hide. Nachbi hid the goodness of the Land in his report.
The representative of Asher was also to blame.
The spies of Asher and Naphtali were least grateful for what was promised their tribes in the Land of Canaan.

In the blessing to Naphtali it says:
Genesis 49:21. Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words.

"beautiful words" in Hebrew is "Imri [words of] shefer [beauty]"
Four Different Explanations have been given for this:

a. Midrash. The etymological link between "shefer" (beauty) and shofar:
The Blowing of the Shofar  and the particular understanding that Naphtali had of the Torah which was given at Sinai with the sounding of the Shofar.

b. Midrash. "beautiful words"  i.e. song.

c. Words of Torah in general.

d. Midrash (quoted in the Commentary  "Tsror Ha-Mor"):  Leaders of Naphtali would send gifts of fruit to the rulers and through flattery and placation mollify the bad reports that had been received concerning themselves.

For More on this Subject:
The Tribe of Naphtali.Tribal Characteristics in a Nutshell.

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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