The Twelve Tribes
Various are the paths of divine service. But to only one destination do they all lead.
Reuben is the prime first. Simeon is ambitious aggression. Levi is the spiritual mystic. Judah is royalty and leadership. Dan is the judge and justice. Naphtali is the fleet-of-foot free spirit. Gad is the holy warrior. Asher is the magnate. Issachar is the scholastic sage. Zebulon is the businessman. Joseph is the challenged dreamer. Menasha is the ability to reconnect, Ephraim allows us to transform. Benjamin, the youngest, is a hungry wolf, ravenous for divine consumption. We all have these tribes within us; the challenge is to harmonize the twelve paths.
As Jews, however, we are also guided by a more subtle calendar, a more spiritual clock: the calendar and clock of history. As Jews, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are as central to our concept of morning, noon and evening as the sun’s arc across the sky; Adam, Moses and King David mark our year as prominently as the turning of the seasons; and the twelve sons of Jacob, progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel, are as basic to our daily schedule as the twelve numerals etched on our clock-face or the twelve spiral-bound pages hanging on our wall.Read More