Naphtali

Naphtali

Naphtali נפתלי

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“Naphtali is a hind let loose who delivers beautiful sayings.”  (Genesis 49:21)
Hind: A female deer, especially a red deer or sika in and after its third year.

Naphtali’s land is on the Sea of Galilee (Ginosar). His soldiers were the ones to fight the war in the times of Devorah and Barak, and it was about them that Devorah and Barak sang their song after their conquest over Sisera’s army. 

You should read through the story of Barak and Deborah (Judges 4-5), but here is a synopsis:

The Jews were not doing G-d’s will so the evil king Sisera ruled over them oppressively for twenty years with nine hundred iron chariots. Deborah was a prophetess who ruled over the Jews at that time. She summoned the general, Barak, to bring down to Mount Tabor ten thousand men from the tribe of Naphtali and Zebulun and conquer Sisera. Barak said he would go only if she came along.

Barak descended from the mountain with the 10,000 men. Sisera was afraid. He dismounted his chariot, ran away and Barak felled the entire army by the sword. (This is when Sisera was enticed and killed by Yael). Then Barak and Deborah sang a song of victory.

Naphtali was the one to quickly bring the bill of sale to prove that the sons of Jacob owned the Mearas Hamachpela in order to bury Jacob there.

Naphtali was like the deer the kings sent to each other with messages tied between their horns. So too, Naphtali brought good news to the Jewish people that his land produced fat and sumptuous fruits (ripe grapes, dates, pomegranates, flowers), and the people were happy springtime was bringing forth new life to the world.

Naphtali’s voice was sweet and was used for singing the learning of Torah.

“Of Naphtali he said: Naphtali, satiated with favor, and filled with Hashem’s blessing; go possess the sea and its south shore.” (Deuteronomy 33:23)

Naphtali’s land included the sea of Galilee and was a land of satiation, plenty, and sweet fruit. They would spread nets through the Sea of Galilee and his land was satiated with fish and young birds. Naphtali was always happy with his lot.

Naphtali’s land was quick to ripen its fruit. Whenever anyone came to his land they would give praise to Hashem for the sumptuous fruits, beautiful blooming flowers, and lush vegetation.

They were the first to bring the Bikkurim (First fruits) to the Temple. (Bikkurim: the farmer ties a string around the first fruit to grow on the tree and when it ripens, places it in a basket and brings it to the Temple as an offering of thanksgiving for the new fruits).