The Sixties Radical-Azriel

Jacob gave us our blessings. These blessings have set in motion what we Jews are supposed to do to bring about the dwelling place for G-d. We each have a divine mission to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.

In his blessing to his son Naphtali, Jacob said that his portion of the Promised Land would be swift to ripen its fruits, comparing this swiftness to that of a deer.

Naphtali is a deer let loose. Genesis 49:21

In his blessings, Jacob compares some of the tribes to wild beasts (e.g., Judah to a lion, Benjamin to a wolf) and others to domestic animals (e.g., Issachar to a donkey, Joseph to an ox). The tribes compared to wild animals are characterized by a passionate love for G‑d and a yearning to escape material existence to cleave to Him. The tribes compared to domestic animals – whose nature is to dutifully accept the work given to them – are characterized by submission to the task of revealing G‑dliness within material existence.

Jacob concludes by blessing all the tribes with the characteristics unique to each tribe individually. Thus, although each tribe preserves its particular emphasis on the Jewish people’s Divine mission, it also can and should incorporate the other tribes’ paths within its own. Therefore, we all embody these two ways of relating to the world, both yearning to transcend it and working to refine it.1

Or HaTorah, Bereishit, vol. 5, 1092a–

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