The formation of the 12 tribes of Israel comes from the fact that the entire desire has 12 parts. The desire itself is composed of four phases of development corresponding to the four-letter name of the Creator. Besides that, the desire is divided into 3 lines. And the entire manifestation of this scheme is the Creator.
Four phases times three lines is 12. So the entire society is divided into 12 parts. This is further derived from the time of Jacob. When Jacob was connected to the enormous ego of the next phase, he was “divided” into 12 parts because he could not bear that himself. And all of those called the 12 sons of Jacob began to work on this ego to transform it to altruism and mutual love. That is how the 12 tribes were formed with 12 flags for all the camps.
Question: Does it follow that every leader of a tribe: Judah, Benjamin, Joseph and so forth, is a larger or smaller part of my ego?
Answer: Certainly. A person is a small world! He has everything in him! Every name corresponds to a particular characteristic, and every characteristic has its own unique correction.
Question: What kind of ego did Joseph have, since he was sold into slavery in Egypt: the largest or the smallest?
Answer: Joseph represents the totality of all the types of ego. This means that he didn’t have any ego of his own, so he is called “Joseph the Righteous.” But on the other hand, specifically thanks to the characteristic of the Tzadik (righteous), which does not belong to anyone, he was separated from his brothers. And so he could gather all of their characteristics and enter into Malchut with them, meaning that he could turn to Pharaoh. He gathered them into himself, and so he is called Joseph, which is the symbol of “gathering” (L’Asof).
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 2/11/15