Tribal Characteristics in a Nutshell

Judah was the fourth son. His mother was Leah.
His stone, the nofach, may have been a bluish carbuncle commonly taken to mean a garnet. His color was blue.
His symbol is a lion. He was compared to both an old and a young lion at one and the same time. Today Judah is represented by the State of Israel.

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The name of Judah contains word-roots connoting "acknowledge, own up to, give thanks for".
Judah gives the Law and interprets it.
Judah understands things, researches them and faces up to the answers.
Judah is not afraid of being contradicted or proven wrong. He looks for it.
Judah is a natural intellectual. He believes in effort more than in innate right.
Judah enforced a stronger standard of morality amongst the women of his household than what he himself exhibited when he had intercourse with a what to him was a strange female he met on the road.  When given the option to acknowledge his own transgression or not he acknowledged it.
This shows both a hypocritical streak alongside the ability to acknowledge his own fault and rectify it.
Judah kept apart from his brothers and chose as his best friend a non-Israelite.
Judah was not favored by his father, nor by his brothers, nor by his rank-at-birth yet he in effect took over the leadership. He showed initiative, self-sacrifice, preparation to take a risk,  responsibility, and salesmanship.
Judah has good and bad traits like all the other tribes.
On the negative side:
Judah gives in to momentary impulse. He takes risks, gambles.
He is avaricious seeking to make money by selling Joseph.
On the other hand he is also generous.
He made himself surety for Benjamin and was prepared to be enslaved to save Benjamin.
Judah is sensitive to what people say about him.
We could go on and give more negative traits of Judah but in many cases we would be wrong.
What is more the enemies of Judah are liable to take anything we say and misrepresent it.
Not only would the enemies do this but also some who consider themselves the friends.
Certain people are obsessed with Judah.
Judah is vulnerable.
This has also become a quality of Judah: vulnerability and the need for extra sensitivity.
His vulnerability arouses the predatory instinct in others. It is not for nothing that most nations of the world vote against Israel in the UN. The basic animal instinct of the heathen is hard to deny.
Judah is compared to an old and young lion at one and the same time having the attributes of both.
If given the choice Judah would not have it any other way. 
Together with his vulnerability Judah has the potential to take on all comers.
Because of this there is a heightening of the natural tendency for Judah to be concerned for the "underdog" everywhere.
The French philosopher said that the Jews are like everyone else but even more so.
This is true in itself and also points to a tendency towards exaggeration and extremism.
The Sages said that Israel (meaning in the context especially Judah) is either way above everybody else or way below.
The Messiah will come from Judah.
Judah has the qualities of royalty and Messianic tendencies. Judah is a reformist wanting to correct everything and improve everything, testing everything.
This tendency is what the world needs but when directed in the wrong direction it is liable to be destructive.
Judah is also a mirror of others.  Judah at times seems forced at adopt for himself the stereotypical image the Gentiles have determined for him. He bears their sins (Isaiah ch.53).
The heathen nations impute to Judah their own faults, weaknesses, and transgressions.
Judah himself can be affected by this.
The Psalms of David reflect the spiritual strivings of mankind in general but beyond that especially of all Israel and in some instances specifically those of Judah.
The Lost Ten Tribes are in need of Judah as Judah is in need of them.
Judah is to be found primarily amongst the Jewish people but descendants of Judah are also scattered throughout the Gentile nations with small pockets of concrete entities being found amongst the Ten Tribes.
The Jews also include most of the tribes of Benjamin and Levi with many from the other Tribes alongside converts. All this serves to mitigate and modify the expression of Judah itself in the Jewish People.

The Banner of Judah

Created by Natatie Palik
Avalaiable from Mona Hyde


List of Tribes


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