Issachar: Tribe of Iyyar

Issachar is the tribe associated with the month of Iyyar, which generally falls between April and May. What does the name Issachar (יִשָּׂשׁכָר) bring to mind?  Anything? Do any famous stories from the Torah come to mind?  Probably not, yet Issachar holds a special place in Jewish tradition.

Issachar was the 5th son of Jacob and Leah, born some time after her other children — so long after that she had already arranged for Jacob to continue bearing children in her line through her handmaiden Zilpah.

Like all of the names of the twelve tribes there are many interpretations of what Issachar means, but the one that resonates most for me is “there is a reward.”  Leah’s hard work and patience has earned  her yet another child. It’s also worth noting the the root שׁכר is associated with earned wages, not just “rewards.”

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