Monday, January 4, 2016

Written Torah blessings for the Tribes of Israel

I would like to talk about blessings of the Tribes of Israel, specifically about blessings of Jacob(Genesis 49) and Moses(Deuteronomy 33). Its interesting to note that for some reason Simeon is absent from the Deuteronomy blessing, probably because Jacob said that he would divide and scatter them in Israel.

I want to elaborate a little about importance of the blessings to Tribal identification.

Tribal identification is done by "the house of the fathers" (Numbers 1:2). So Hebrew lineage is defined by blood, by the father. This is why, for example, coverts do not get to belong to any tribe and do not get the portion of the land of Canaan.

However, there is an interesting incident recorder in the Written Torah. Its Exodus 32:25-29.

After the people built a Golden Calf, which was sanctioned by High Priest himself (Aaron), Moses saw that everybody got perverted, including Levites and High Priest. To restore order, Moses had to quickly identify who was on his side, so he says "'Who is for Yahuah--unto me!". Please note, as it is very important, that Moses did not call the Levites, he called to anyone who was on his side, yet only all Levites came out. This was a miracle, or rather a prophetic event by which Levites were separated from the rest of the Hebrews to serve God in the Tabernacle. 

The reason why such miracle has happened because Tribal affiliation can be determined by the blessings, which in case of Levites says:
YLT Dt 33:8 . And of Levi he said:--Thy Thummim and thy Urim are for thy pious one, Whom Thou hast tried in Massah, Thou dost strive with Him at the waters of Meribah; 
YLT Dt 33:9 Who is saying of his father and his mother, I have not seen him; And his brethren he hath not discerned, And his sons he hath not known; For they have observed Thy saying, And Thy covenant they keep. 
YLT Dt 33:10 They teach Thy judgments to Jacob, And Thy law to Israel; They put perfume in Thy nose, And whole burnt-offering on Thine altar.
YLT Dt 33:11 Bless, O Jehovah, his strength, And the work of his hands Thou acceptest, Smite the loins of his withstanders, And of those hating him--that they rise not! 
As you can see, this is exactly what happened in Exodus 32:25-27. Levites rejected their kin from other Tribes and slaughtered them for unrighteousness before God. And for doing so they received a blessing(Exodus 32:29). 

As you can see, Levites are identified by dedication to God and Written Torah, even if their parents or kin is against that, and they are true teachers of the Written Torah, not the Rabbis as we have today.

To illustrate an example, tribe of Zebulun is defined by their affiliation with the sea(Gen 49:13). They are basically fishermen of Israel. Tribe of Issachar are tent-dwellers (Deut 33:18), Dan is a tribe of Judges (Gen 49:16), e.t.c.

So even though blood line is important, the blessing is also very important, so if your blood-lineage is not clear you can use the blessings to try to determine your heritage. 

Hopefully, as DNA technology advances, we will be able to reconstruct tribal blood-line and say who is who. There is already some progress been made in this direction. See this Wiki.

PLEASE NOTE that blood-line by a father line is a REQUIREMENT. Only blood-line can be used to claim heritage of Israel. A convert is not entitled to anything according to the Torah.

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