Deuteronomy Chapter 33

18And to Zebulun he said: "Rejoice, Zebulun, in your departure, and Issachar, in your tents.   יחוְלִזְבוּלֻ֣ן אָמַ֔ר שְׂמַ֥ח זְבוּלֻ֖ן בְּצֵאתֶ֑ךָ וְיִשָּׂשכָ֖ר בְּאֹֽהָלֶֽיךָ:
And to Zebulun he said: These five tribes whom [Moses] blessed last, namely, Zebulun, Gad, Dan, Naftali and Asher, have their names repeated [e.g., “And of Zebulun he said: Rejoice, Zebulun…”], in order to instill them with strength and power, for they were the weakest of all the tribes. And indeed [for this reason,] they were the ones Joseph introduced to Pharaoh, as it is said, “And from among his brothers, he took five men” (Gen. 47:2). [Joseph took these brothers and not the others,] because they looked weak, so that Pharaoh should not appoint them as his war officers. — [B.K. 92a]   וְלִזְבוּלֻן אָמַר: אֵלּוּ חֲמִשָּׁה שְׁבָטִים שֶׁבֵּרֵךְ בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה — זְבוּלֻן גָּד דָּן וְנַפְתָּלִי וְאָשֵׁר — כָּפַל שְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם לְחַזְּקָם וּלְהַגְבִּירָם, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ חַלָּשִׁים שֶׁבְּכָל הַשְּׁבָטִים, הֵם הֵם שֶׁהוֹלִיךְ יוֹסֵף לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית מ"ז) "וּמִקְצֵה אֶחָיו לָקַח חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנָשִׁים", לְפִי שֶׁנִּרְאִים חַלָּשִׁים וְלֹא יָשִׂים אוֹתָם לוֹ שָׂרֵי מִלְחַמְתּוֹ:
Rejoice, Zebulun, in your departure, and Issachar, in your tents: Zebulun and Issachar entered into a partnership [with the following agreement]: Zebulun would dwell at the seashore and go out in ships, to trade and make profit. He would thereby provide food for Issachar, and they would sit and occupy themselves with the study of Torah. Consequently, Moses mentioned Zebulun before Issachar [even though the latter was the elder of the two], because Issachar’s Torah came through [the provisions of] Zebulun. — [Gen. Rabbah 99:9]   שְׂמַח זְבוּלֻן בְּצֵאתֶךָ וְיִשָּׂשכָר בְּאֹֽהָלֶֽיךָ: זְבוּלֻן וְיִשָּׂשכָר עָשׂוּ שֻׁתָּפוּת, זְבוּלֻן לְחוֹף יַמִּים יִשְׁכֹּן וְיוֹצֵא לִפְרַקְמַטְיָא בִּסְפִינוֹת וּמִשְׂתַּכֵּר וְנוֹתֵן לְתוֹךְ פִּיו שֶׁל יִשָּׂשכָר, וְהֵם יוֹשְׁבִים וְעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה, לְפִיכָךְ הִקְדִּים זְבוּלֻן לְיִשָּׂשכָר שֶׁתּוֹרָתוֹ שֶׁל יִשָּׂשכָר עַל יְדֵי זְבוּלֻן הָיְתָה (בראשית רבה צ"ט):
Rejoice, Zebulun, in your departure: Prosper when you go out to trade.   שְׂמַח זְבוּלֻן בְּצֵאתֶךָ: הַצְלַח בְּצֵאתְךָ לִסְחוֹרָה:
and Issachar: Prosper when you sit in your tents to study the Torah, to sit [in the Sanhedrin] and to [calculate and] proclaim leap years, and to fix the months, as it is said, “And from the sons of Issachar, those who had an understanding of the times” (I Chron. 12:32) [and then the verse continues,] “their chiefs were two hundred”-the chiefs of the Sanhedrin occupied themselves with this, and in accordance with them, the seasons and leap years were fixed [for all Israel].   וְיִשָּׂשכָר: הַצְלַח בִּישִׁיבַת אֹהָלֶיךָ לַתּוֹרָה, לֵישֵׁב וּלְעַבֵּר שָׁנִים וְלִקְבֹּעַ חֳדָשִׁים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דהי"א י"ב) "וּמִבְּנֵי יִשָּׂשכָר יוֹדְעֵי בִינָה לָעִתִּים.. רָאשֵׁיהֶם מָאתַיִם", רָאשֵׁי סַנְהֶדְרִין הָיוּ עוֹסְקִים בְּכָךְ, וְעַל פִּי קְבִיעוֹת עִתֵּיהֶם וְעִבּוּרֵיהֶם —
19They will call peoples to the mountain; there, they will offer up righteous sacrifices. For they will be nourished by the abundance of the seas, and by the treasures hidden in the sand."   יטעַמִּים֙ הַר־יִקְרָ֔אוּ שָׁ֖ם יִזְבְּח֣וּ זִבְחֵי־צֶ֑דֶק כִּ֣י שֶׁ֤פַע יַמִּים֙ יִינָ֔קוּ וּשְׂפֻנֵ֖י טְמ֥וּנֵי חֽוֹל:
Peoples: of the tribes of Israel.   עַמִּים: שֶׁל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:
They will call [peoples] to the Mountain: I.e., [people from the tribes of Israel] will assemble at Mount Moriah [on the Pilgrimage Festivals]. Every assembly took place through a “calling” [i.e., a summoning of the people. This is why the verse speaks of the assembly of the people in terms of “They will call”]. And there [at Mount Moriah, in the Holy Temple], the people will offer up righteous sacrifices on the Pilgrimage Festivals.   הַר־יִקְרָאוּ: לְהַר הַמּוֹרִיָּה יֵאָסְפוּ, כָּל אֲסִיפָה עַל יְדֵי קְרִיאָה הִיא, וְשָׁם יזבחו בָּרְגָלִים זבחי צדק:
for they will be nourished by the abundance of the seas: i.e., Issachar and Zebulun [will be nourished], and thereby, they will have spare time to study the Torah.   כִּי שֶׁפַע יַמִּים יִינָקוּ: יִשָּׂשכָר וּזְבוּלֻן, וִיהֵא לָהֶם פְּנַאי לַעֲסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה:
and by the treasures hidden in the sand: Things covered up and hidden by the sand-the tarit [or “torino,” a kind of fish], the snail [from which a sky-blue dye was obtained], and “white glass,” all of which come from the sea or the sand. These were found in the territory of Issachar and Zebulun, as is taught in Tractate Megillah (6a): [Scripture says, “Zebulun is a people who jeopardized his life to die” (Jud. 5:18). [And why?] Because [as that verse continues], “Naftali is on the high places of the field,” i.e., Zebulun complained [to God] about his territory, saying, “To my brothers, You have given fields and vineyards [… while to me, You have given seas and rivers]!” [In reply, God told Zebulun that the other brothers will seek him out because of the hidden treasures contained within the seas and the sands.]   וּשְׂפֻנֵי טְמוּנֵי חֽוֹל: כִּסּוּיֵי טְמוּנֵי חוֹל, טָרִית וְחִלָּזוֹן וּזְכוּכִית לְבָנָה הַיּוֹצְאִים מִן הַיָּם וּמִן הַחוֹל, וּבְחֶלְקוֹ שֶׁל יִשָּׂשכָר וּזְבוּלֻן הָיָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמוּר בְּמַסֶּכֶת מְגִלָּה (דף ו') "זְבוּלֻן עַם חֵרֵף נַפְשׁוֹ לָמוּת" (שופטים ה') מִשּׁוּם דְּ"נַפְתָּלִי עַל מְרוֹמֵי שָׂדֶה" (שם), הָיָה מִתְרַעֵם זְבוּלֻן עַל חֶלְקוֹ — לְאָחִי נָתַתָּ שָׂדוֹת וּכְרָמִים וְכוּ' (ספרי):
the treasures: Heb. וּשְׂפֻנֵי An expression meaning a covering, as it is said, “And he covered (וַיִּסְפֹּן) the house” (I Kings 6:9); and, וְסָפֻן בָאֶרֶז, which the Targum renders as: “And it was covered with a covering of cedar” (I Kings 7:3). Another explanation: they will call people to the mountain: Through Zebulun’s commerce, merchants of the world’s nations will come to his land. Now Zebulun is located at the border, so these merchants will say, “Since we have taken so much trouble to reach here, let us go to Jerusalem and see what the God of this nation is like and what they do.” And they see all Israel worshipping one God and eating one kind of food [i.e., only what is permissible to them, and they will be astonished], because [among] the nations, the deity of one is not like the deity of another, and the food of one is not like the food of another. So they will say, “There is no nation as worthy as this one!” Consequently, they will convert to Judaism there, as our verse says, “there, they will offer up righteous sacrifices” [and all of this will be due to Zebulun’s commerce]. — [Sifrei 33:19]   וּשְׂפֻנֵי: לְשׁוֹן כִּסּוּי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ו') "וַיִּסְפֹּן אֶת הַבַּיִת", "וְסָפֻן בָּאֶרֶז" (ירמיהו כב, יד) וְתַרְגּוּמוֹ "וּמְטֹלָל בְּכִיּוֹרֵי אַרְזָא". דָּבָר אַחֵר — עמים הר יקראו עַל יְדֵי פְּרַקְמַטְיָא שֶׁל זְבוּלֻן תַּגָּרֵי אֻמּוֹת העוֹלָם בָּאִים אֶל אַרְצוֹ, וְהוּא עוֹמֵד עַל הַסְּפָר וְהֵם אוֹמְרִים הוֹאִיל וְנִצְטַעַרְנוּ עַד כָּאן נֵלֵךְ עַד יְרוּשָׁלַיִם וְנִרְאֶה מַה יִּרְאָתָהּ שֶׁל אֻמָּה זוֹ וּמַה מַּעֲשֶׂיהָ, וְהֵם רוֹאִים כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹבְדִים לֶאֱלוֹהַּ אֶחָד וְאוֹכְלִים מַאֲכָל אֶחָד — לְפִי שֶׁהַגּוֹיִם אֱלוֹהוֹ שֶׁל זֶה לֹא כֵאלוֹהוֹ שֶׁל זֶה וּמַאֲכָלוֹ שֶׁל זֶה לֹא כְמַאֲכָלוֹ שֶׁל זֶה — וְהֵם אוֹמְרִים אֵין אֻמָּה כְּשֵׁרָה כְּזוֹ וּמִתְגַּיְּרִין שָׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שָׁם יִזְבְּחוּ זִבְחֵי צֶדֶק (ספרי):
for they will be nourished by the abundance of the seas: Zebulun and Issachar [will be nourished], that is to say, the sea will lavish them with wealth.   כִּי שֶׁפַע יַמִּים יִינָקוּ: זְבוּלֻן וְיִשָּׂשכָר הַיָּם נוֹתֵן לָהֶם מָמוֹן בְּשֶׁפַע:
20And of Gad he said: "Blessed is He Who grants expanse to Gad; he dwells like a lion, tearing the arm [of his prey, together] with the head.   כוּלְגָ֣ד אָמַ֔ר בָּר֖וּךְ מַרְחִ֣יב גָּ֑ד כְּלָבִ֣יא שָׁכֵ֔ן וְטָרַ֥ף זְר֖וֹעַ אַף־קָדְקֹֽד:
Blessed is He Who grants expanse to Gad: This teaches us that Gad’s territory extended far eastward. — [Sifrei 33:20]   בָּרוּךְ מַרְחִיב גָּד: מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה תְחוּמוֹ שֶׁל גָּד מַרְחִיב וְהוֹלֵךְ כְּלַפֵּי מִזְרָח (שם):
He dwells like a lion: Because Gad was near the border, he is therefore compared to lions, for all those who are located near the border must be mighty [like lions, in order to protect themselves from attack]. — [Sifrei 33:20]   כְּלָבִיא שָׁכֵן: לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה סָמוּךְ לַסְּפָר, לְפִיכָךְ נִמְשַׁל בַּאֲרָיוֹת, שֶׁכָּל הַסְּמוּכִים לַסְּפָר צְרִיכִים לִהְיוֹת גִּבּוֹרִים (שם):
tearing the arm [of his prey, together] with the head: Anyone slain by the Gadites could be readily identified: they used to cut off the head together with the arm in one blow. — [Jonathan Ben Uziel]   וְטָרַף זְרוֹעַ אַף־קָדְקֹֽד: הֲרוּגֵיהֶן הָיוּ נִכָּרִין, חוֹתְכִים הָרֹאשׁ עִם הַזְּרוֹעַ בְּמַכָּה אַחַת:
21He saw the first portion for himself, because there, the portion of the lawgiver is hidden. And he came at the head of the people; he did what is righteous for the Lord, and what is lawful with Israel."   כאוַיַּ֤רְא רֵאשִׁית֙ ל֔וֹ כִּי־שָׁ֛ם חֶלְקַ֥ת מְחֹקֵ֖ק סָפ֑וּן וַיֵּ֨תֵא֙ רָ֣אשֵׁי עָ֔ם צִדְקַ֤ת יְהֹוָה֙ עָשָׂ֔ה וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֖יו עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
He saw the first portion for himself: He saw fit to take for himself territory in the land of Sihon and Og, whose land was the beginning (רֵאשִׁית) of the conquest of the Land.   וַיַּרְא רֵאשִׁית לוֹ: רָאָה לִטֹּל לוֹ חֵלֶק בְּאֶרֶץ סִיחוֹן וְעוֹג, שֶׁהִיא רֵאשִׁית כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ:
because there, the portion of the lawgiver is hidden: For Gad knew [through Divine transmission,] that within his territory would be contained a portion of the field designated for the burial of “the lawgiver,” namely Moses. — [Sotah 13b]   כִּי־שָׁם חֶלְקַת: כִּי יָדַע אֲשֶׁר שָׁם בְּנַחֲלָתוֹ חלקת שְׂדֵה קְבוּרַת מחקק, וְהוּא מֹשֶׁה (עי' ספרי; סוטה י"ג):
of the lawgiver: That portion [of the field, where Moses was buried,] was hidden (סָפוּן) and concealed from every creature, as it is said, “And no man knows his burial place” (Deut. 34:6).   סָפוּן: אוֹתָהּ חֶלְקָה סְפוּנָה וּטְמוּנָה מִכָּל בְּרִיָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ל"ד) "וְלֹא יָדַע אִישׁ אֶת קְבֻרָתוֹ":
And he came: i.e., Gad came.   וַיֵּתֵא: גָּד:
at the head of the people: The Gadites marched before the armed forces in the conquest of the Land, because the Gadites were powerful, and so it is said [of them], “Pass over, armed, before your brothers” (Deut. 3:18).   רָאשֵׁי עָם: הֵם הָיוּ הוֹלְכִין לִפְנֵי הֶחָלוּץ בְּכִבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ גִּבּוֹרִים, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר "וְאַתֶּם תַּעַבְרוּ חֲמֻשִׁים לִפְנֵי אֲחֵיכֶם וְגוֹ'" (יהושע א'):
He did what is righteous for the Lord: Because the Gadites substantiated their words, keeping their promise to cross the Jordan [and remain there to help their brothers] until Israel had conquered and divided [the Land among the tribes]. Another explanation: And he came-And Moses came. [Similarly, the remaining clauses:] “At the head of the people,” and “He did what is righteous for the Lord,” also refer to Moses. — [Sifrei 33:21]   צִדְקַת ה' עָשָׂה: שֶׁהֶאֱמִינוּ דִבְרֵיהֶם וְשָׁמְרוּ הַבְטָחָתָם לַעֲבֹר אֶת הַיַּרְדֵּן עַד שֶׁכָּבְשׁוּ וְחָלְקוּ; דָּבָר אַחֵר — ויתא מֹשֶׁה ראשי עם, צדקת ה' עשה עַל מֹשֶׁה אָמוּר (עי' ספרי):