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Q&A: Gemstones and Tribes

Q: What are the stones or jewels associated with each Hebrew tribe?

A: There are a few systems in Kabbalah regarding the correspondence between the sefirot and the tribes, but the primary version is that of the central authority of Kabbalah, the holy Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria, in Likutei Torah, parshat Vayeitzei). According to this, the correspondence between the stones, the tribes, and the sefirot (which, if you have read our book The Alef Beit, you recognize as corresponding to the dimensions of Worlds, Souls, and Divinity), are:

keter               Zebulun

chochmah      Isaachar

da'at               Levi

chesed            Reuben

gevurah         Simeon

tiferet             Dinah                                                                           

yesod             Yosef               

malchut          Judah


The tribes and their corresponding stones:

Reuben      odem

Simon        pitdah

Levi            bareket

Judah        nofech

Issachar    sapir

Zebulun    yahalom


Benjamin  yoshfeh

Dan           leshem

Naftali       shevo

Gad           achlamah

Asher        tarshish

Joseph      shoham

There is considerable uncertainty today with regard to the identification of the Hebrew terms for the stones. There is in fact a whole body of literature devoted to this research, and a number of suggestions have been proposed by Torah scholars working in conjunction with experts in the various fields of Hebrew linguistics, archeology, ancient history and the study of stones and gems. Unfortunately, no completely conclusive identifications have been made, and it appears as though we will have to wait for Moshiach's arrival before we know with certainty which stone is which.


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