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Characteristics of the Tribe of Simeon

[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 he says.
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.


Simeon has a connection to hatred (cf. Genesis 29:33).
This was to have negative and positive implications all of which Simeon could experience:
Hated by his brothers and father's house. Hatred of self.
Simeon had hatred of the deeds of Esau.

Simeon was the son of Jacob and Leah.
Simeon reflects aspects of his mother.

Rachel and Leah were sisters, both were the chief wives of Jacob who was to be renamed Israel.
Rachel has aspects of "Jacob", Leah of "Israel".

Isaac (the father of the twin-brothers, Jacob and Esau)  loved Esau since Esau displayed his own quality of "gevurah" i.e. heroism, self-assertion, and manhood.

Jacob had attributes closer to those of Abraham.

Leah was in a sense more suited to Esau than to Jacob. This applies when we realize how Esau would have been if  he had have overcome his negative side.
Because Esau did not overcome as he should have Leah hated him even more.
Leah hated herself since she realized the potential closeness of her own self to Esau.
When Jacob through deception gained (in place of of Esau) the blessings and the birthright, Leah feared that Jacob had altered his personality to be more like that of Esau.
Leah only achieved perfect union with her husband Jacob after Jacob had received the name Israel.

King David would have been suited to have been born the twin brother of Jacob instead of Esau. David had the "admoni" reddish characteristic (1-Samuel 16:12) of Esau (Genesis 25:25) as well as the "gevurah" heroic quality of Isaac.

Simeon has aspects of hiddeness and concealment. No Judge or King emerged from Simeon.
Simeon had qualities more like unto those of his mother Leah, than any of the other tribes.

Simeon and Levi wiped out the males of the city of Schechem because the local prince had abducted, raped, and abused their sister (Genesis ch. 34).
Jacob condemned them. Nevertheless it is not so simple.
The Coat of Arms of Simeon depicted the city of Schechem (Midrash Bamidbar Rabah 2:7). This implies that there was still something praiseworthy about the deed.
Simeon and Levi had turned to God for counsel rather than to their father.
Levi later vindicated himself showing the purity of his original intention (Exodus 32:26).
Simeon was the opposite (Numbers 25:14).

The city of Schechem was in the future territory of Joseph.
The weakness of Joseph is a tendency to homicide rather than sexual promiscuity.
The crime against Dinah (sister of the brothers and daughter of Jacob) entailed not only sexual abuse but also violence and theft of person.
The prince of Schechem, was also named Schechem. Until his time, following the Flood, mankind had circumscribed their behavior in such matters. Schechem set a precedent and opened up a pattern of behavior that would be followed by others. This compounded his transgression.

Simeon and Levi had employed the emotion of Anger as a tool in avenging their sister (Genesis 49:5).
This went against their natural inherited personalities.
Simeon has the quality of loving-kindness. His task is to draw in non-Israelites who convert and become part of the Israelite Nation.
Even though there may have been some justification for what was done against the people of Schechem the way it was done contradicted the task of Simeon.
A mixed multitude (in Hebrew "erev rav" cf. related English expresion "riff raff") attached themselves to Israel when they came out of Egypt (Exodus 12:38). They joined onto Israel through Simeon.
This was a misguided attempt to correct what had happened at Schechem.
[Should the public fornication with Midianite and Moabite women (Numbers 25) in which the Tribe of Simeon later participated also be considered in this context?]

Honor and pride lead to sexual transgression. Simeon and Levi are susceptible to this. That is why Jacob did not want their congregation to be associated with him (Genesis 49:6).

Jacob separated Simeon and Levi from each other (Genesis 49:7). Joseph had also separated them (Genesis 42:24). They were to be scattered throughout all the other Tribes.
Nevertheless Simeon and Levi needed each other and the one complemented the other. They were buried together. Everywhere where groups of Levites were to be found there too would be members of the Tribe of Simeon.  Simeon and Levi both shared a trait of rebellion. Scattering them throughout the other tribes was intended to weaken this rebellious characteristic.

Different Midrashim and related sources indicate that a large portion of Simeon together with elements from Judah were to be assimilated amongst Manasseh east of the Jordah. Simeon was to be influenced by Joseph. This is induicated by the use (in some contexts) by Simeon of the bull as a symbol even though the bull otherwise represents Joseph.

For More on this Subject:
The Tribe of Simeon.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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