Monday, 27 July 2009

Parsha: How did Hatzi Shevet Menashe Get There?

"Bnai Gad and Reuven approach Moshe about staying in East Jordan.

Question - how did the "half-tribe of Menashe get into the picture?

And why Menashe over another tribe?

I have a surprise answer"

OK clear your minds.

I taught a parsha class for many years @ Cong Mt Sinai in Wash Heights

I found that much of the tribal dynamics had to do with the Matriarchs - viz. Jacob's 4 wives.

I don't have the time or space now but use that as a prism for viewing inter-tribal dynamics...

Now apply that here:

Reuven - Leah

Gad - one of the 2 maidservants (Zilpah)

Q; Whose missing?

A: Rachel

Now proportion:

Leah has 6 sons of

But Levi gets no land leaving 5

So Reuven is about 20% of Leah

Gad is about 25% of the maidservants

Needed? 20-25% of Rachel

Half Menasseh - about 12.5 to 20% depending on how you compute. (Menasseh is MUCH larger than either Ephraim or Benjamin)

So Moses' agenda was to conform East-Jordan to a matriarchical balance. Half (or part of) Menasseh did the trick




Look at the configuration of the tribes in pasrshiyot Bamidbar and Beha'alotecha. They march by matriarch -

Except forGad who gets promoted to replace Levi with Reuven and Shim'on.

This model "suggests" the Torah had a matriarchical proportion re: tribe vs tribe

Since Half-menasseh jumps out of the clear blue sky, I simply plugged them in and voila! It conformed to a an existing model.



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