Tribal Wisdom, Humility, Courage and Wealth

Kli Yakar Numbers:Bamidbar

Tribal Wisdom, Humility, Courage and Wealth

During our desert wandering, the twelve tribes were grouped into four divisions when they camped around the tabernacle. The Kli Yakar (Numbers 2:3) explains that beyond the logistics and tribal hierarchy involved in the placement, there was a deeper meaning. He states that the tribes were each camped in a different direction representing traits and the order in which man should acquire them in his journey through life. He bases his formula on the Talmud and Maimonides.

The first division, on the eastern front, under the leadership of Judah, included Yissachar and Zevulun. Together they represent the attribute of Wisdom that according to the Kli Yakar is the first step and the foundation of growth and development. 

The second division, on the southern front, under the leadership of Reuven, included Simeon and Gad. They represent the attribute of Humility. This is the second step for any type of true growth.

The third division, on the western front, under the leadership of Ephraim, included Menashe and Benjamin. They represent the attribute of Courage. This is a requirement for success. 

The fourth and final division, on the northern front, under the leadership of Dan, included Asher and Naftali. They represent the attribute of Wealth.

The Kli Yakar quotes the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Shabbat 92a) stating: “The Divine Presence only dwells upon one who is wise, wealthy, courageous and humble.” 

When the four divisions, each with their own traits and strengths are united by the common and central service of God – that is when we approach the ideal.

Shabbat Shalom, 



To the memory of Rabbi Uri Dasberg of Alon Shvut. He died in a tragic car accident this week. He was a scholar of great breadth, a man of sustained action and a leader with deep vision. He was a role-model and an inspiration. Most poignant is that his untimely death has orphaned his two grandchildren, his adopted childen, who had already been orphaned of both parents. May God console his wife, Yehudit, and all of the family amongst the mourners ofZionandJerusalem.

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