Tribal Characteristics in a Nutshell

Issachar was the brother of Zebulon and the two were to be associated with each other.
Their mother was Leah, sister of Rachel.
The color of the standard of Issachar was dark blue "close to black".
The stone of Issachar is described as a "sapir" meaning sapphire.The Standard of Issachar depicted the sun, moon, and stars. The Children of Issachar traditionally had the task of determing the Hebrew Calendar which involved astronomical calculations while taking account of agricultural seasons and community convenience: There were certain days when celebrating a feast day would have disrupted the public so these days had to be avoided yet chronological and solar-seasonal consistency maintained. He was symbolized by a donkey. He was born when his mother, Leah, "hired" her husband from Rachel for the night. The name Issachar is derived from the root "sachar" meaning "hiring" and this embodies aspects of the Characteristics of Issachar.

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Issachar along with Judah and Levi had the gift of deciding how the Law should be determined. He is intellectual, a hard-worker, precise, mathematical, technical, or at the least has tendencies in those directions. His need for rational explanations and justifications at the expense sometimes of common sense and intuition may hamper him. He was symbolised by a donkey yet praised for his intellect. Issachar according to one source was supported by his brother Zebulon. issachar may have a tendency to beget accountants and engineers. Some pioneer scientists and researchers who sacrifice a portion of their lives seeking the truth may come from Issachar. They reflect the ideal of the Torah scholar in Jewish tradition. Issachar is not a leader nor aggressive but he is not lacking in initiative. Some great warriors came from Issachar but these were considered exceptions. Nevertheless he is strong and healthy. Issachar inclines to be neutral, not to get involved. He is not a rebel by nature. He can have some attributes of the peasant being phlegmatic and down-to-earth and a lover of nature and the land.
Issachar tends to make a living by adding value, by hiring his services. He works with money and operates by trading favors. He also tends to evaluate people and situations in terms of profit and loss and what his returns will be for the time and effort he puts out. This is not always as mercenary as it may sound since he also can translate his profit-and-loss mentality into the spiritual sphere e.g. gaining a good deed and religious insight will be weighed as more worthwhile than mundane occupation.

Issachar has been described (Fishel Mael, "Shivtei Yisroel", 5757) as materialistic, pleasure-seeking, concerned with business, lacking the discretion of Joseph, an explorer of new fields, interested in discovery, tolerant, comprehending, intellectually-inclined, straight-forward but not lacking in jealousy, tendency to drink and indiscretion, knows his limits, possesses the potential for self-sacrifice. The Princes of Issachar were with Deborah (Judges ch.5) and the women of Issachar may be more dominant than is the case elsewhere.
Many of his are familiar with this type. He knows a lot, tells everything, wants to know everything, understands it all, seeks his enjoyment, makes room for others yet judges them in terms of their utility to himself, may have high principles and many desires, but in the end it is his wife who decides for him.

The Banner of Issachar

Created by Natatie Palik
Available from Mona Hyde


List of Tribes


For more details on the Tribes see under the heading:
Tribes and Israelite Tribal Identifications