Jacob’s Blessing for Benjamin
Benjamin is a vicious wolf
בִּנְיָמִין זְאֵב יִטְרָף
(blessing this tribe to be ferocious in battle)
(Genesis 49: 27)
One can make a sardonic comparison to
Isaiah’s (11:6) famous messianic prophecy:
“A wolf and a lamb
will live (peaceably) together”
וְגָר זְאֵב עִם-כֶּבֶשׂ
referring here to Israel’s (now the Lamb) future
relation to its 70 enemies (now the Wolf)
who will be around
but won’t (be able to) harm, being toothless.
The problem is that so far
the “Wolf” in the painting
has not yet read Isaiah.
(perhaps he does not translate
well into Arabic or Persian)
Oops! Poor Dumb Lamb!
It is interesting to note that Moses’ blessing
for Benjamin in the last Parsha of the Torah:
VeZot HaBracha – וזאת הברכה
has a more peaceful connotation
and relates to the Tribe’s future location
(actually a small protrusion into the boundary of Judah)
upon which the Holy Temple in Jerusalem would stand.
Perhaps to achieve again this exalted vision
we need first the “realistic ferocity” of Benjamin the Wolf.
לְבִנְיָמִן אָמַר יְדִיד י-ה-ו-ה יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח עָלָיו
חֹפֵף עָלָיו כָּל הַיּוֹם וּבֵין כְּתֵפָיו שָׁכֵן
About Benjamin he said: May God’s beloved
dwell securely with Him (in the Bait HaMikdash).
May the Divine Presence cover (and protect) him
forever and dwell among the high places.
The other Blessings which Jacob bestowed
upon the Tribes largely inspired my painting
on the Names of the Twelve Tribes
incised on the gemstones in the Kho-shen חשן
(the Breastplate of the High Priest)
More information about the Secrets of the Names of the Tribes
Benjamin is also associated with the month of Kislev
according to Sefer Yetzira
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