Zevulon (זְבוּלֻן), also pronounced Zebulon, is the sixth son of Jacob and Leah. His name comes from the word “zeved” (זֵבֶד), which means dowry or gift. Leah saw him as G!d(dess) endowing her with a good dowry with her six sons (Gen 30:20). His standard, based on the blessing Jacob bestowed upon him in Genesis 49:13, generally contains a ship as Zebulon was considered a sea-faring tribe.
As we know from the lesson in the month of Iyyar, Zevulon is cosmically intertwined with his brother-tribe of Issachar. Zevulon is the merchant that supports the scholarship of Issachar. Zevulon is a tribe of movement and travel, which explains the “sense” of the month being, “walking.” According to Inner.org, this refers “not only to physical walking but to the spiritual sense of progress or development.” It’s also clear how both the mazal, or astrological sign, and tarot card relate to Zevulon. The mazal is Gemini, also known as the twins, and the tarot card is “The Lovers.” Both of these relay the idea of partnership, interdependence, and important relationships.
Humans are not, generally, solitary creatures — and Judaism is not a solitary spiritual path. It’s a tribal religion. We rely on each other, we pray together, we rejoice together, and we care for each other’s dead. Zevulon is the merchant who sails the world and brings back experiences to share with Issachar and the rest of the tribe. But, while Zevulon’s core role is a merchant — it doesn’t release him (or us) from the responsibility of learning Torah engaging with Judaism.
The lessons I find in Zevulon are that no matter where you go, or what you do in life, Judaism and Jewish spiritual practice should be at your center. We all engage with this in different ways. We all find different aspects that move our souls. At Sinai, at Shavuot, the Torah tells us that G!d(dess) spoke to each of us separately and we all heard different words — but together. The job for us all is to find those things that do connect us to the tribe, and remember that there are others to whom we can turn to help us find our way.
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