Thursday, November 09, 2006

וְאָבִֿיו קָרָא לוֹ בִנְיָמִין

About ten months ago, if you remember, I wrote a post about Efrayim and Menashe, and how their grandfather Ya‘aqov's reversal of his hands upon blessing them corellates with the geography of their eponymous tribes' territories in The Land:

Menashe, blessed with the left hand, inherits the North.
Efrayim, blessed with the right hand, inherits the South.

This is all relative, after all; there were tribes north of Menashe and south of Efrayim; however, Efrayim was the southernmost tribe in the eventual Northern Kingdom.

What I noticed this week, though, is that this geographic corellation extends to the third tribe of Rahheil, Binyamin. Binyamin, whose name means "son of the right", was also the tribe with the rightmost, i.e. southernmost territory out of the three tribes of the House of Rahheil!

See map here or other places on the Web.

מנשה
אפרים
בנימין

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pretty standard throughout rabbinic literature, at least through the medieval period. Their maps had East 'upwards,' where we would put North. Just for an example, see last week's parsha where Avraham tells Lot, if you go right, I'll go left, and see Unkelus there.

11/12/2006 12:22 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Actually, Binyamin doesn't mean "son of the right". The name actually means "son of the south", or "the southern one". The whole "son of the right" thing is the result of translators who didn't understand that yamin means "south", as well as "right".

It's why Yemen is called Yemen, and it's why the Arabic word for "north" is "Samal".

11/17/2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Exactly, that's my point.

11/17/2006 12:13 PM  

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