The Joy of Achievement

“…And to Zevulun he said: “rejoice, Zevulun, in your departure, and Yissachar, in your tents…” Devarim 33:18

    ולזבולן אמר שמח זבולן בצאתך ויששכר באהליך – דברים לג, יח

Moshe’s blessing to Zevulun and Yissachar distinguishes itself by its emphasis on their roles being a source of joy, “Rejoice, Zevulun, in your departure, and Yissachar, in your tents.”

This can be explained by the Talmudic maxim, “A man prefers one kav [ameasurement] of his own, to nine  kav of his neighbor’s” (Bava Metzia 38b). I.e., we prefer and enjoy things we have earned through our own toil and effort, even if small, more than we enjoy something which is handed to us without any effort on our part, even if it is plentiful or grandiose.

The Joy of Achievement

In his blessings to the other tribes, Moshe focused primarily on the gifts, spiritual or physical, that G-d would bestow upon each tribe. Conversely, Moshe blessed Zevulun and Yissachar with success in their endeavors. As Rashi explains, “Zevulun… prosper when you go out to trade, and Yissachar, prosper when you sit in your tents to study the Torah.”

Since their blessing emphasized not only the gifts G-d would grant them, but also their effort and participation in seeing those blessings bear fruit, Zevulun and Yissachar had even greater reason to rejoice than the other tribes.


—Toras Menachem 5742, vol. 1, pp. 163-165

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