Zot Haberakhah

Pisqa’ 354

Pisqa’ 3541


“And to Zebulon, he said” (Dt.33:18)—

why is [this tribal ancestor] specified?

Because elsewhere it is stated:

“And from a few of his brothers,

he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh” (Gn.47:2)—

but their names were not mentioned there.

[Now we learn that Zebulon] was one of them.2

“Rejoice, Zebulon, in your travels” (Dt.33:18)—

this teaches that

Zebulon was the entrepreneur among his brothers.

He would buy from his brothers and sell to gentiles,

and then buy from gentiles and sell to his brothers.


“And Issachar—rejoice in your shelters3 (Dt.33:18)—

this teaches that

The tribe of Issachar was distinguished in Torah,

as it is said:

“And among the descendants of Issachar

were men who understood the signs of the times” (1Chron.12:33)—

And so we find that

his father [Jacob] praised him,

as it is said:

“For he will see that repose [in the Land] is good” (Gn.49:15).

Another word:

“Issachar—rejoice in your shelters” (Dt.33:18)—

this teaches that

the Chosen Abode was worthy to have been built

in the allotment if Issachar.


“They shall convene the peoples at the Mountain” (Dt.33:19).

On what basis do you say that

nations and kingdoms would gather

to examine the merchandise of the Land of Israel?

For they would say:

Since we’ve troubled ourselves to come here,

let’s go and examine the quality of

the merchandise among the Jews.

They would immediately ascend to Jerusalem

and observe that Israel served a single God,

and consumed a singular diet.

For among the nations,

the god of one was not the same as the god of another,

and the diet of one was not the same as the diet of another.

And they said:

We could do no better than to follow this people’s example!

On what basis can you say that

they didn’t move a muscle until they became proselytes and

presented sacrificial offerings and Holocaust-offerings?

The Teaching states:

“Where they present the sacrificial offerings of the Righteous” (Dt.33:19).


“They suckle from the abundance of the seas” (Dt.33:19)—

there are two that take abundantly

and two that offer abundantly.

And here they are:

The sea and the government.

The sea offers abundantly [of its fish],

and takes abundantly [by drowning the sea-farers].

The government offers abundantly [in public works],

and takes abundantly [by taxation].

Another word:

“They suckle from the abundance of the seas” (Dt.33:19)—

this alludes to the Bay of Haifa,

which hides its treasures for the Righteous

in the coming future.

On what basis can you say that

no ship sinks in the Great Sea—

with its cargo of silver and gold, jewels and pearls,

glassware and every kind of valuable object—

unless the Great Sea vomits into the Bay of Hiafa

treasures for the Righteous

in the coming future?

The Teaching states:

“They suckle from the abundance of the seas” (Dt.33:19).


Said R.Yose:

One time I was walking from Cheziv to Tyre.

                                       I came across a certain elder, and asked:

How do you earn a living?

He said: from the Khilazon-snail.4

I asked him further:

Are they plentiful?

He replied: By Heaven!

There’s a place beneath the sea,

nestled among mountains,

that is surrounded by poison spiders.

And no one can go there without

suffering a fatal bite that rots

his body away on the spot!

I replied to him: obviously this place

is hiding its Khilazon-snails for

the Righteous in the coming future!


“And from the treasures hidden in the sands” (Dt.33:19)—


this refers to the [valuable] Khilazon-snail.


this refers to the [elusive] herring.

“The sands”—

This refers to the [raw material for] glassware.

Insofar as the tribal ancestor of Zebulon had complained

before the All-Present, saying:

Master of the World!

To my brothers you gave countries—

but to me, the seas!

To my brothers you gave fields and vineyards—

but to me, the Khilazon-snail!

He replied:

But in the end, I’ll make them dependent upon you

to supply this Khilazon-snail!

Zebulon replied:

Master of the World!

Who will so inform me?

He said:

I’ll give you a sign—

whoever steals from you,

his merchandise will come to nothing!

  1. [i] H:370-372;JN2: 436-438.
  2. See Pisqa’ 355.1, 5-7.
  3. Heb: ‘oholeikhah; literally, “tents.” Often interpreted in rabbinic midrash as “shelter for study of Torah.”
  4. The source of the dye, techelet, an azure-blue substance used in textile production. According to Nu.15:38, the fringes required on garments must include a fringe died techelet. Cf. Sifre Nu.115 .