The Lion and The Wolf

Genesis: Vayechi

The Lion and The Wolf

On his deathbed, the Patriarch Jacob blesses his children with highly allegorical language that hints at future events for each of the 12 tribes. Half of the tribes are compared to animals. Below is a brief list:

Judah: Lion

Yissachar: Donkey

Dan: Snake

Naftali: Deer

Joseph: Bull

Benjamin: Wolf

Out of the six animals, two of them are furry four-legged carnivorous predators. Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach (Hizkuni) reads into the different allegories as they apply to the destinies of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Both of these animals hint at monarchy and leadership. Saul, the first King of Israel was from the tribe of Benjamin. His reign was short-lived. David of the tribe of Judah established a long-lasting dynasty, that we believe will be reinstated in Messianic times.

Hizkuni compares the traits of the two different animals to the two different monarchies. Once a wolf has caught its prey, if his kill is threatened by another animal, it will leave it and not risk injury in fighting over it. Similarly, the tribe of Benjamin, under the leadership of Saul, did not hold on long to its prize. A lion on the other hand is the uncontested king of the wild. It will never leave its kill or retreated when threatened. So too, the tribe of Judah is destined to hold on to the kingship of Israel for eternity.

May we have the courage of the lion in holding on to our eternal principles.

Shabbat Shalom,



To my sister JJ and her husband Dr. Elisha Kahen, on the birth of a baby girl. May they see a pride from her and her siblings.

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