Now let’s focus on our ancestors in the desert. For them, flags would be more important than ever, for these following reasons:
Bnei Yisrael camped in an orderly fashion divided by tribes, and the flag of each tribe was displayed. This created a sense of order in a place of total disorder – the hot, barren desert.
Flags were of utmost importance when approximately 3 million Jews traveled in the desert. Can you imagine?! Try keeping one group of children together during an outing! No easy task. Indeed, it was the flags that were the key to Bnei Yisrael’s organizational success while traveling with such a huge group.
As mentioned, Bnei Yisrael were about to enter the land of Israel, and war was inevitable. A flag during war was especially crucial, since it helped soldiers stay together, follow commands, and fight efficiently.
Now for something completely different. Here’s a Shazak question… but answer quick!
Who designed the flags of the 12 tribes in the desert?
That’s a great question!
Need a hint?
It’s not the famous flag designer of the lower East Side, by the name of Feivel Flagenhockermacher.
So who was it?
It was none other than our Commander-in-Chief – HaShem!
And another question.
What did the flags in the desert look like?
Need a hint? It didn’t look anything like the flag of Gozo, the second largest island in the Republic of Malta… now did that help?
Help?! You gotta be kidding!
So what’s the answer?
The flags were made of silk, and each tribe’s flag matched the color of their gemstone on the Choshen Mishpat of the Kohen Gadol. If you recall, back in Parshas Tetsaveh, the Choshen had 12 unique stones.
In addition, there was a distinct symbol representing the special qualities of each tribe. For example: Yehuda, a lion; Naftali, a deer; Binyamin, a wolf; and Zevulun, a ship.