Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Catagorizing the Shevatim

Someone pointed out to me an interesting question from the beginning of Parshas Shemos. The Torah groups the Shevatim into three pesukim. Posuk 1 is Reuvein, Shimon, Levi and Yehuda.
Possuk 2 is Yisascher, Zevulen and Binyamin. Posuk 3 is Gad, Asher, Dan and Naftali. Why are Yissascher and Zevulen who are B'nei Leah, put with Binyamin? They should be with Reuvein, Shimon, Levi and Yehuda.

I was told that Rav Yochanan Zweig answers that if we look at the numbers that went down to Mitzrayim, B'nei Leah excluding Yocheved numbered 32 and B'nei Rochel numbered 14. Furthermore, Yisacher and Zevulen had 9 between them. Now we know that after Leah had her first 4 kids, Rochel should also have had 4 children. Leah was zocheh to 2 more as a reward for giving up the dudaim. The extra 2 children she had was Yisacher and Zevulen. If you take the 9 people from Yisaacher and Zevulen away from Leah and give it to Rochel, they both wind up with 23. This is what the posuk is hinting to in the beginning of Shemos

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