Transcript from Israel National Radio Interview of Tamar Yonah interviewing Rabbi Avraham Feld and Yair Davidiy of Brit-Am, Jerusalem, Israel.
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The Radio Show
MS. YONAH: Well, Happy, Happy Hanukah to one and all. Apologies for the first two days of this week, where I did not show up to work. It was simply out of fear; I am a California gal, and I am afraid to drive on ice. If there is even an inkling that there may be ice I am afraid to drive, I don't do it. So goes the Tamar Yonah show. We are here broadcasting in the holy city of Bethel, the house of G-d, here at Israel National Radio.
Hello to all of our listeners in Southern Florida, where it is warm and there is never any ice and snow. Hi there, that is www.kolhalev.com.
That's a Jewish/Israeli radio station out there.
We have a very interesting, interesting show today, and this will interest Jews as well as Gentiles all over the world; and that is, whatever happened to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel? Whatever happened to them? Did they just like disperse when the Jews were exiled, and just disappear? So there are different opinions upon if they will come back in the End of Days, the times of the Messiah, or if they are just assimilated and gone.
There are opinions going on, and we are going to be speaking to two experts tonight -- or this morning, if you are here in Israel -- in this field. We have joining us author and researcher Yair Davidiy, and Yair Davidiy is a religious Jew who lives in Israel, for many, many years already, and he has devoted his life to finding out where the Lost Tribes of Israel may have dispersed to.
We also have joining us Rabbi Avraham Feld. He is the co-founder of Brit-Am, which is where Yair Davidiy works on that. It's www.britam.org. He is also the co-founder of the Maccabee Institute. You can go there at www.maccabeeinstitute.org
, and he is a cult buster. That means
that he sneaks into cults, infiltrates, and he gets Jews out of cults that fall into all sorts of weird, weird religions.
All right. So joining us tonight are these two very terrific and brilliant men, and you're invited yourself to call in and ask them any questions that you have about the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Lost Ten Tribes, where you might fit in, whether you are Jewish or Gentile, and what will happen in the End of Days when everyone perhaps is reunited.
Our phone-in numbers, take this down now so that anytime you have a question you can call in: 1-800-270-4288. That's a free phone call from the United States and Canada. From Israel,
1-800-270-428, a free phone call from anywhere in Israel, and you can join us in our virtual studio. Go to our web page at israelnationalradio.com. Go to the upper left-hand corner and
click on the blue area that says enter virtual studio, and follow the instructions. It is very easy and it's a lot of fun, and it is a unique experience to be in the chat room while the show is airing live, and be with people who are listening to the show with you, and make your comments and ask questions. You can even call in through the studio if we don't have a toll free
number for your area.
With no further ado, welcome to the show, Rabbi Avraham Feld and Yair Davidiy from britam.org.
RABBI FELD: Hey, Tamar, welcome and happy to be here.
MS. YONAH: Do we have Yair with us?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes, Tamar, I'm here. Good morning.
MS. YONAH: Okay. Now, you are from Australia originally, Yair, so we will get with your accent here. And again, we only have one line open for callers, so if you get a busy signal, if you want to call in, just keep trying and hopefully we'll be able to get to you for the show today.
All right. The Twelve Tribes, and ten of them were lost. Why don't you, Yair, tell us a bit about how, after the Jews had the Exodus from Egypt and we came to Israel, we made our own land, and then we had our kings, and then we were dispersed. Give us a little bit of the history of how and why the Tribes were dispersed.
MR. DAVIDIY: Okay. Tamar, in the beginning, as we know, there were Twelve Tribes of Israel, and under Kings David and Solomon, much of the land of Israel, much of the promised land of Israel, according to the Bible, was conquered and was settled by the Twelve Tribes. Upon the death of Solomon, when his son Rehoboam took over, there was a rebellion of the northern ten tribes, and they set up their own kingdom, which is often and frequently referred to in the Bible as the Kingdom of Israel, or as Samaria.
MS. YONAH: So you had two Jewish states at that time; you had Judea and you had Israel?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes, and Israel is also referred to in the Bible as Samaria or "Shomron" (in Hebrew), as the Kingdom of Samaria, or sometimes as Joseph, after the leading tribe, the
leading two tribes, or also sometimes known as Ephraim. In all events, this Northern Kingdom was a separate entity for a couple of hundred years. It was quite powerful and quite influential
in the area until it was conquered by the Assyrians, and then the Assyrians took all of the inhabitants, the overwhelming majority of them, at the least, and exiled them to different
places in the Assyrian empire, and they lost awareness of their identity and an awareness of who they were in the eyes of the Jews and the eyes of others also. So they became the Lost Ten
Tribes of Israel.
MS. YONAH: Okay. Let me just backtrack for just one moment and ask you why the Jewish state split into two.
MR. DAVIDIY: The Jewish state split into two because of -- because --
RABBI FELD: -- taxation without representation.
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes, that's it, because they claimed that the powers of Judah, that the ruling House of David was too favorable towards its own tribe, towards Judah, and also because of taxation. They kind of didn't like it; the taxation was too strong.
MS. YONAH: That is why America was born; they rebelled against Britain because of the taxation, the same thing. Interesting.
All right. So we have our two states, the Assyrians came in, you said?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yeah, and they take over. They conquered the Northern Kingdom, and they exiled in stages all of its inhabitants to different parts of the Assyrian empire. these people, these exiles, actually became quite a powerful influence.
MS. YONAH: So in this Northern Kingdom, that is where ten of the Twelve Tribes were?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes.
MS. YONAH: Okay. So all of these Ten Tribes are dispersed; the Assyrians come in and they say we won, we're exiling you into slavery, we are just kicking you out, and they cannot live in the land of Israel anymore. So what happened? Why are they dispersed everywhere? Why doesn't the kingdom stay together and go to, you know, one country and try to live there?
MR. DAVIDIY: Are you asking from a Biblical perspective?
MS. YONAH: Whatever you know that I don't know, that everyone else doesn't know.
MR. DAVIDIY: So anyway, historically they were taken away into different sections of the Assyrian empire, and resettled. They weren't dispersed so much. That happened later
when the Jews were dispersed. The Lost Ten Tribes were resettled, they were broken into groups and resettled, they were resettled in whole bodies. And eventually they achieved their
independence, asserted their independence within the Assyrian empire, and for a short period they even took over the Assyrian empire, then they were thrown out, exiled to the north, to what
is now Southern Russia, and from there, in the course of the centuries, they moved westward and they populated the areas of Scandinavia, Western France, the British Isles, Holland, and areas like that in Western Europe.
MS. YONAH: All right. Let me stop you here. I want to understand this. So the Assyrians come in, they disperse ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel that they have conquered. Do they
send them into slavery? Or do they let them go wherever they want to be? How did it work?
MR. DAVIDIY: No, the Assyrians had the practice of uprooting peoples and resettling them in different areas of their empire.
MS. YONAH: Okay. That is a military strategy, by the way. It makes people lose their identity, they don't have their land, they don't have their culture. There is also no loyalty to the new place that they are in, and these people. So they just uprooted them, but they weren't sold as slaves; is that what you're saying?
MR. DAVIDIY: No, some of them were [treated like slaves]. Actually a portion of them were taken overseas by the Philistines and Phoenicians, to what is now Spain, and possibly also Britain and Gaul, and
they had to develop the mighty enterprises of the Phoenicians in Spain and in Britain, and those in Spain also eventually were expelled from Spain and moved into the British Isles.
MS. YONAH: All right. So let me stop you again. So are you saying that this happened about how many years ago, we are talking how many thousands of years ago?
MR. DAVIDIY: It's in the period between 740 BCE and 720 BCE.
MS. YONAH: Are we talking about 3000 years ago?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes. A very long time ago.
MS. YONAH: So are you saying that nations like Spain and Germany and France and Britain existed at that time, or were they just barbarian tribes that only later developed into a more
higher level culture?
MR. DAVIDIY: No, at that time in the west there were small kingdoms, some of which were quite well developed. On the whole they were quite barbaric, and it was, relatively speaking,
What I was saying concerning Spain, I was saying that a good portion of the exiles were taken directly to Spain. They were in working conditions of near slavery, to develop the
mining industries and agricultural enterprises, and it was a feudal type of arrangement. From there they were eventually expelled, or they rebelled and they moved out from there. At
that time the area was, relatively speaking, under populated, really under populated, and at that time, they and the Phoenicians alongside them were the dominant element in the
MS. YONAH: All right. If you just tuned in, we are speaking with author and researcher Yair Davidiy, who has written over a half dozen books and many articles. You can go to his
website, www.britam.org. We are also here with Rabbi Avraham Feld, who co-founded Britam with Yair Davidiy, and they are here talking about what happened to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. If you would like to call in, 1-800-270-4288. Let me ask you, Rabbi Feld, whenever the Jews had to move on, they were expelled from different countries, and we all know about the history of the Jewish people, how we have been pushed around, the Wandering Jew. Yet we have always kept together as much as we could. We have always built synagogues
wherever we moved to; we built mikvas, which are the spiritual ritual bathhouses, and we have built Jewish education. What happened to these ten tribes? Why didn't they retain their Judaism in their exile as we have today?
RABBI FELD: Okay, Tamar, I want to take just one second to backtrack. It was 2800 years ago, with the destruction of the Northern Kingdom, there were refugees who ran south, and
they were welcomed with opened arms by King Hezekiah. So within the present day Jewish people are remnants of all of the tribes, because of the refugees that joined the Southern Kingdom of Judah as the Northern Kingdom was falling. So inside of us we do have representatives of all of the Tribes. But what we are saying is that the Prophet Amos, you know, he condemned Judah for not keeping the Torah, the laws, but he also condemned the Northern Kingdom, Israel, because they sold the righteous for silver in Amos 1.
MS. YONAH: What does that mean?
RABBI FELD: You see that keeping the law was like a special quality of Judah. Judah was blessed to be the national head, had the national right of leadership, had the birthright, he was the lawgiver from the times of the Bible in Genesis 49:28. Remember that the Twelve Tribes of Israel were Reuben, Shimeon, Levy, Judah, Issachar, Zevulon, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin,
Gad, Naphtali and Asher. So, they all got blessings from their father, each according to his blessing, which Yair points out in his book, you know, "The Tribes", which has recently been
republished. Judah's role was the lawgiver and the leader of the Tribes. What does it say in Chronicles 1, Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him comes the chief ruler. The birthright was given to -- a different kind of birthright was given to Joseph, and Ephraim and Menasseh, Joseph's sons, were given the status of full tribes.
So the point is, you asked how did the Jews keep the mikvah and all these different laws, they established synagogues, that was their forte. That is what they were in to. But if you remember, the prophet criticized the Ten Tribes, so even in ancient times they had a problem with keeping the law; they had a problem with idolatry. They had a -- they were not 100 percent observant, scripturally observant.
MS. YONAH: Okay. Most of the nations at that time, if not all of them, were pagans and idolaters, and so that would be the "in thing" to be.
RABBI FELD: So when they were exiled they already had a weaker identity, and their exile was really profound, and it was a really a long time ago. The Judah exile, we had 70 years or so of Babylonian exile, and now we are only under a 2000 year exile. The Tribes were about 2800 years of hard exile, and they, as Yair points out many times, and our research shows, that the majority of the ancient Israelites were exiled. They went to the north and the west, and we recognize them through all kinds of studies and through linguistics, through their mythology, through a lot of history and archeology, and they lost the consciousness of who they were.
MS. YONAH: Hmm. Again, if you just tuned in, we are speaking with Rabbi Avraham Feld, and researcher and author Yair Davidiy, whatever happened to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.
It's Hanukah now, all over the world for the Jewish people, and just as we remember on this holiday our identity, this whole holiday is remembered for the first war fought for religious freedom. We are to remember who we are, and why we are here in the land of Israel. And when we want to identify ourselves and remember who we are, we have to look all over the world to see if there are some lost Jews. We know that there people working today, ingathering some of the Lost Tribes. There are cultures and pockets of people all over the world who have Jewish traditions, and they are being discovered today, and these people, a lot of them, are converting back to Judaism and coming to live in the land of Israel. In my community, right here in Yesha, we have Jews from Mexico, people, who, for thousands of years, have kept Jewish customs, but were discovered, and they have done a kosher conversion and have moved to Israel to join the nation back once again.
RABBI FELD: Que felicidad.
MS. YONAH: Yes, right, what happiness. Let's just go over a few things now.
Yair Davidiy, you wrote at least a half dozen books, and in your books you write here that the Tribe of Ephraim went and settled, most of them, in Britain and in the British area; is that what you say?
MR. DAVIDIY: This is correct.
MS. YONAH: All right. So now I remember you saying once when you said Britain is very similar to the words "Brit-Am," which means in English, the national --
MR. DAVIDIY: Covenant. [Covenant of the People]
MS. YONAH: -- covenant, yes. So Britain and brit am are very close together. Can you give us some other examples of some type of connections that you've made between where tribes may have settled on the globe here?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes, Tamar. According to the Bible, the Lost Ten Tribes, or the House of Joseph -- actually, Judah and Joseph split in two. The task of Judah was to keep the law, and to eventually resettle the land of Israel as representing all of the Tribes, and the task of Joseph was to fulfill the other unconditional promises given to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and amongst those promises was the obligation or the prerequisite condition for the fulfillment of the
promises to become one of the most powerful countries on the earth, to be the fear and the glory of all of the nations, to rule over other nations and to uplift them and to be a civilizing influence upon the peoples of the world, and for the need of which -- also according to Rabbi [Avraham] Kook, according to Jewish philosophy -- there was a need for Joseph to go down, to become like an Egyptian, like the original forefather Joseph in Egypt, he became like an Egyptian, and then he became the chief man in Egypt through working through the non-Jewish Gentile environment, taking on the identity almost of a Gentile, and that is what the Lost Ten Tribes were going to do, and what they did do and what they became.
MS. YONAH: Will these people be gathered back to the nation of Israel in the End of Days?
MR. DAVIDIY: That is what the prophet Ezekiel says, and that is what most, almost all, of the Jewish authorities also say.
MS. YONAH: What about Jews who are afraid of Gentiles clinging onto a belief that they are part of the Jewish nation, their roots, that they stem from these roots, that they use this in Replacement Theology, where they become the "New Jews", and they are the "Real Jews"? What do you have to say about that to answer the fears of many Jews?
MR. DAVIDIY: That phenomenon does exist. It is a problem in Christianity in general, without connection, without any connection whatsoever to the idea of the Lost Ten Tribes. This idea exists in Christian theology, and it is called Replacement Theology, and it is a problem that they have, or that we have with them. On the whole, I can only say from my experience, which can also be seen from our website, and it can be seen from letters we have received from our e-mail list, the overwhelming majority of people nowadays in America, or in the West in general, who believe that they descend from the Lost Ten Tribes, who sympathize with Brit-Am, and with our presentation of this subject, the overwhelming majority of them are pro-Jewish, and they are for the State of Israel, and they want a strengthening of the State of Israel, and this message can only
help the State of Israel and only help the Jewish people.
MS. YONAH: So you're saying that any Gentile around the world who believes that he did stem from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, that it's a positive thing because it makes them feel
closer to the Jewish nation, and therefore he supports the land of Israel, the State of Israel, the Jewish people more, and will be there, one of the people on our side to fight for our rights?
MR. DAVIDIY: Exactly. In 95 or 96 percent of the cases, that is what happens. You do get some people who take it, and who try to take this doctrine, or this belief, and try to pervert it to anti-Semitic purposes, and they are the ones who often receive all the publicity, but they are a small minority. Whatever you do, whatever you do, whatever you say, you always get these types who are trying to interpret it in the opposite direction from which it is intended. This is unfortunately an aspect of human nature.
MS. YONAH: All right. Well, we are almost at a news break, so let's just quickly run through the different tribes.
I am going to name the tribe, you tell me where you believe, through your research, that these tribes arrived to and have integrated into. Ephraim, you said went to --
MR. DAVIDIY: To the British Isles.
MS. YONAH: All right. Menashe.
MR. DAVIDIY: Menashe also went to the British Isles, but the overwhelming majority came from the British Isles and they moved to the U.S.A. Also there was a good portion -- a significant portion of Menashe was in Germany, but the overwhelming majority of Menashe in Germany moved to the U.S.A. in the 1700s and 1800s.
MS. YONAH: Reuben.
MR. DAVIDIY: Reuben would have been France.
MS. YONAH: All right. We're going to have to stop here, and we will continue it when we get back from the break. Again, if you have any comments or questions for Yair Davidiy or Rabbi Avraham Feld from www.britam.org, you can call in at 1-800-270-4288. It's a free phone call in the U.S., Canada and Israel. 1-800-270-428. We'll be right back.
MS. YONAH: Whatever happened to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel? David Johnson writes on a website: According to the Bible, the Jewish leader Jacob had twelve sons. Each of these sons were Rueben, Shimeon, Levy, Judah, Issachar, Zevulon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph and Benjamin, and became the father of a separate tribe, and -- okay -- and Benjamin became the father of a separate tribe, sorry -- known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, they settled on both sides of the Jordan River. In 722 BCE the Assyrians conquered Israel and the Ten Tribes were exiled. They were, quote, "lost to history." The Tribes of Benjamin and Judah remained, maintaining Jerusalem as their capital. Most Jews are believed to be descended from these Tribes. What became of the Lost Ten Tribes? Scholars have claimed to discover their descendants in North and South America, England, China, Japan, Burma, Africa, Arabia, Persia, Central Asia and Siberia, among other places. Other writers assert that they were never lost to begin with, and that they returned to live with the Tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Despite the confusion, evidence linking certain isolated peoples to Judaism is strong. In South Africa genetic testing has determined that men of the Lemba Tribe, a black, Bantu speaking people, have the Y chromosome of the Jewish priestly class, the cohenim. It is rare among non-Jews. The Lemba observe kosher-like dietary laws, and seem to be more Middle Eastern than African, and they may have come from Yemen.
Now, we have also Ethiopia. We see in history that in the last 20 or 30 years here, we brought in Jews from Ethiopia, and we have brought in Jews from the most eastern places of India, where Jews look Chinese. We have Jews that have come from Mexico. So we are seeing the ingathering of the exiles and Lost Tribes. And here to tell us more about this is Yair Davidiy, author of over a dozen books. You can go to his website, www.britam.org, as well as the cofounder of Brit-Am, Rabbi Avraham Feld, and they are here talking to us about what happened to the Lost Tribes, and what it means today. Are people discovering their roots, and if so, what does that mean?
Welcome back to the show, Rabbi Avraham Feld and Yair Davidiy.
Okay, we have a lot of phone calls, but just before we go to them, I just want to go very quickly. If you can just give me just the countries without any commentary, because we don't have time. So we said Ephraim was Britain, Menashe is from America and also Britain, Reuben is from France. Shimeon, where did the Tribe of Shimeon go to, according to your research?
MR. DAVIDIY: Mainly amongst the Jews and also amongst the Welsh and Irish.
MS. YONAH: All right, Levy, or Levi.
MR. DAVIDIY: Mainly amongst the Jews.
MS. YONAH: Judah.
MR. DAVIDIY: Amongst the Jews, mainly.
MS. YONAH: Issachar.
MR. DAVIDIY: Finland and Switzerland.
MS. YONAH: Zevulon.
MR. DAVIDIY: Holland.
MS. YONAH: All right. Gad, the Tribe of Gad.
MR. DAVIDIY: Sweden.
MS. YONAH: Asher?
MR. DAVIDIY: Mainly in Scandinavia and also in Northern Scotland, Scotland in general.
MS. YONAH: Interesting. Benjamin.
MR. DAVIDIY: Mainly amongst the Jews, and also among the British and Normans.
MS. YONAH: All right. And the Tribe of Dan?
MR. DAVIDIY: Denmark and Ireland.
MS. YONAH: And the Tribe of Naphtali?
MR. DAVIDIY: Norway, Scandinavia in general, and also in Scotland.
MS. YONAH: Interesting. All right. So this is according to your research. So let me just, if I can, just read a couple of book titles that you have written. Again, you have written the book of "Biblical Truth", a book called "Origin", a book called "Ephraim", another book called "Joseph". Let me put it this way. "Ephraim, the Gentile Children of Israel"; "Joseph, the Israelite Destiny of America"; "Origin, You, Too, Are From Israel, You, Too, Are the People"; "Biblical Truth, The Lost Ten Tribes in the West". Again, you can go to the website to order the books, which is www.britam.org. Our lines are full, so let's go to a caller and free up the line for someone else.
Joining us from South Carolina we have Itzac. Welcome to the show. What is your comment or question for Yair Davidiy and Rabbi Avraham Feld?
CALLER: First of all, Tamar, I would like to say Hag Sameach [Happy Holiday] to you. The question that I have for Mr. Davidiy is: Is there any chance that Gere Tzedek [Righteous Converts] are considered part of the Lost Tribes of Israel?
MS. YONAH: Okay. Gere tzedek is a convert, a righteous convert. So you're asking again if a righteous convert what?
CALLER: If there is any possibility that someone that obviously is not of Jewish descent, if a Gere Tzedek, a righteous convert, is there any possibility that they may be part of the Lost Tribes of Israel?
MS. YONAH: All right, good question. And what is your answer, Yair Davidiy?
MR. DAVIDIY: Rabbi Feld can also comment on this, and perhaps he can give a better answer than I. But our impression is that the overwhelming majority of Gere Tzedek are people who are identified with Judah in general, and are either descended from Jews, or they are members of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
RABBI FELD: I concur 100 percent with that. There is like 144 or so descriptions of what were the lost tribes. So all of our research and analysis ultimately ended up that they would be found in the west and the northwest, Western Europe. So if a person was from the United States or England, so his ancient roots were in the Lost Tribes. But you know, the Talmud says, "A gere shenitgayere," "a convert who converted." So really, the proper language we think should be a Gentile who converted. So there is also our concept that the convert's soul was already originally among the Jewish people, was when Israel was in Judah, was already there, but it just got lost somehow, and now it is a Convert that Converted [i.e. a Convert from the beginning].
MS. YONAH: Let's go to our virtual studio. Right now in our virtual studio we have people from Tennessee, Garden Hills, St. Louis, San Fernando Valley, which is in California, Montreal, Canada, New York, Tucson, Arizona, Virginia, New Jersey. Where else do we have here? From Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, Missouri, Taiwan -- Louis from Taiwan, welcome to the show. We have then Judea here in Israel, Bristol, Indiana, Las Vegas and Belfast, Ireland. All over the world is here, New York, another from Canada, Washington, DC, South Carolina and Saginaw. Welcome to the show, everybody.
Let's go now to Ruhama from Tennessee. Ruhama, what is your comment or question for Rabbi Avraham Feld and Yair Davidiy?
Let's see if you can get Ruhama from Tennessee on.
CALLER: Hi. Thank you so much for your work, Mr. Davidiy. I have appreciated it over the years, and also to you, Rabbi Feld, for your great support. I was wondering, Mr. Davidiy, if you could tell us maybe what kinds of things we would see in these people who are quote-unquote, "coming back," coming back out of the Lost Tribes, or finding themselves. What kinds of markers should we look for? Thank you very much.
MS. YONAH: Thank you for your question. Yair.
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes, I understood the question. I would just like to say that in Jewish thought, that the Lost Ten Tribes technically are considered "Gentiles, for all intents and purposes", [even though] they are descended from Israelites. This means that they are not obligated by the Laws of Moses or by the laws of Judaism. If they wish to return, they have to do so according to rabbinical instructions and in the full legal sense of the way, and also, on the other hand, they also should be judged by the same criteria as Gentiles, compared to other Gentiles, and not the criteria of Jews. In general, it was said that the Sons of Israel, the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, would procure the blessings that the prophets said; they would rule over the nations so that they would become a civilizing influence over the world, and that on the whole, compared to other Gentile nations, they would be more merciful, they would have a sense of social justice, they would help the Jewish people, they would help the Jewish people to return to their land, and there is a whole series of different criteria, which in general apply to them, and these can be seen on our web site.
MS. YONAH: All right. Again, 1-800-270-4288. We have a line open if you want to try again to call in. 1-800-270-4288, which is a free phone call from the U.S. and Canada.
According to some more research, in Ethiopia, some 65,000 Ethiopian Jews from different groups have moved to Israel since 1974. Israel's Chief Rabbis believe they are descended from the Lost Tribe of Dan. Others say that they are descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Many Ethiopians were so isolated that they thought all Jews were black, so there are some very, very interesting things going on there.
So Yair, there are many Gentiles today that write me here at Israel National Radio, Tamar@internationalradio.com, and they tell me that they're from -- that they're an Ephraimite, that they're from the Tribe of Ephraim. What does that mean?
How can someone trace their lineage back almost 3000 years, when Jews who are from the Spanish Inquisition, just 500 years ago, are finding it difficult to find out whether they in fact really have Jewish ancestry?
MR. DAVIDIY: What these people are saying, Tamar, as far as I understand it, when they say they are from Ephraim, they mean that they are either physically descended from the Tribe of Ephraim, or that they belong in general to the Northern Tribes, which in Biblical terms -- this is, for instance, in the book of Jeremiah, and other Biblical books -- that they fit generally as Ephraim. The return of Ephraim in the prophets means a return of the Lost Ten Tribes in general. They are saying that they feel in their hearts and in their souls that they are descended from Israel, and they belong to the peoples whom we have identified as descending from the Lost Tribes of Israel, and they are certain that they, too, are a part of this. And historically and Biblically, this belief is justified. But as far as a legal lineage, undisputed legal genealogical lineage is concerned, there is no proof.
MS. YONAH: There is no proof. So you're saying they have a feeling and an awakening in some way, and therefore they will hold onto this idea that they are from the Tribe of Ephraim?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes. And this awakening was prophesied by the prophets that it would occur, and it is justified. It is justified, and it is a real phenomenon, and there are people who have this feeling, and it is good for the Jewish people [and] that they are our long lost brothers who are awakening in this direction.
MS. YONAH: Well, what will happen in the End of Days to the people who believe that they are -- that they stem, you know, that their ancestors were Jewish?
MR. FELD: Tamar, as Yair points out, and as I have pointed out many times, the descendants who attached themselves to Israel will receive an inheritance alongside other Israelites, non-Jews. In Isaiah 55:6, the ingathering will be in stages, in Isaiah 56, and in our commentaries, all our rabbinic literature understood that Judah will return first of all, and rebuild the land, and later members of the Lost Ten Tribes will return. The Lost Ten Tribes will help Judah rebuild the Temple, and this is all predicted in numerous places in the prophets, and the Talmud explains it. A redeemer will come to Zion, which every religious Jew says every day, and to those who return away from sin in Jacob, right, and it also means the Ten Tribes. Then Judah will be astounded to see all these people return, they will say, Where did these come from? I was alone
and persecuted, and driven from country to country, why did they not help me, all these millions of people? And then the Zohar confirms Isaiah, speaking of the Lost Ten Tribes, and it refers to Isaiah chapter 11, where he speaks of the reunification of Judah with Ephraim.
This is all written out by Yair and researched, and all of the rabbinic authorities would go for this. Isaiah returns to speak of the company of Judah, and says that those who oppressed the Jews had in effect denied the existence of the G-d of Israel, for example, the islands, the isles shall wait for the salvation of G-d. The non-Israelite Gentiles will no longer be allowed to occupy and degrade Jerusalem, as the Arabs do now, and Isaiah predicts that the future Messiah, a descendant of David, the day will come when he will deliver Israel. And as part of this whole drama, Isaiah foresaw the reconciliation between Judah and the Lost Ten Tribes, and the Lost Ten Tribes will be in the areas where the British and North Americans and their kin now are. And they would do things that these people did, and they are the ones who fit all of the descriptions.
We're seeing their rumblings, and we can hear the footsteps of the Messiah. We see a lot of the signs of redemption, and these people should be given special status. We should recognize them, not just as a regular Gentile tourist coming to have a good time, or bathe in the Dead Sea, but they should be recognized with a totally different status, as a searcher, just like in the old days before they got more and more secular and Hellenistic. The Ministry of the Interior would recognize someone who comes to Israel who wants to become Jewish, they would give them consideration, and extend their visa without any problems, for as long as the conversion program is. Today they are terrified and they realize that religious converts threaten their political power structure.
So all of these people that feel this affinity towards "Am Israel" [People of Israel], that feel G-d speaking within history, within the march of time in bringing us back, should be recognized as somebody different, and have different kinds of considerations. But you should know that that is minus any missionary activity. When this whole idea is -- it neutralizes tons and tons of anti-Semitism in the world, when people realize where they come from. They should feel, why should I side with a neo-Nazi theology? Yair Davidiy's writings changed the anti-Semitic British Israel Society, they changed their covenant, do you understand?
They changed their constitution when they saw that Jews could understand where the Tribes have come from. It made a profound effect on anti-Semites; it neutralizes anti-Semitism. It makes it -- you know, different people like Rav Kahana, said the world is so much Bible believing, and that's what we share in common with everybody. We are differentiated concerning the law, but we are united in being accountable to G-d, like Heschel said. We are the objects of G-d's own concern, precious in his eyes, and the concepts of what ails us may be different but the anxiety is very similar. In times of need we have the same feelings of shame, of sorrow, of sighing, the same necessity to obey and do what we must. All mankind can find meaning and proximity to G-d through the Bible.
Remember what it says in "Tana deVey Elyahu", a famous rabbinic work, "I call Heaven and Earth to bear witness that any person, Jew or Gentile, man or woman, freeman or slave, if his deeds are worthy then the divine inspiration will descend upon him". Remember the prophet and sage, Joel? In Joel 3, "I will pour out my spirit on all flesh".
So this gives tremendous hope, you know. It gives hope that when you see Israel coming back in the hills -- the Talmud in "Sanhedrin" says when you see the hills blooming, it's a sure sign that redemption is happening. The want of the ingathering of the Jewish people, and the rebirth of a semblance of a Jewish state gives us faith in the eventual ingathering of the Lost Tribes. And the unity with Judah that will be manifested, many rabbis have said that the survival of holiness in the history of the Jews is a verification of the Bible. The Bible is a unifying factor for many of us. Of course, we don't believe it can be understood properly without oral explanation, but its revelation to Israel continues as a revelation through Israel.
When the Protestant pastor, Christian Gelhart, was asked by Frederick the Great, "Herr Professor, give me proof of the Bible, but briefly, for I have little time", so Gelhart answered him, "Your majesty, the Jews". The existence of the Jews is indeed testimony to the G-d of Abraham, and loyalty to the laws of Moshe is a light illuminating those who practice them and those who are aware of them. But so, too, is the revelation of the identity of the Lost Tribes, a witness of the presence of G-d in the world and in history. Many of us enjoy a shared commitment to the Hebrew Bible, the commandments, justice, mercy, contrition, sensitivity to the sanctity of life, recognition of the involvement of G-d in history and prayer, and whatever else we can gain through Torah knowledge. So these are the times when we all stand together and see our faces in the mirror, the anguish of humanity and the helpless perplexity of the individual, and the need for divine guidance. We are called to praise G-d and do what is required of us. We have a task in this life of fulfilling his commandments. Knowing our tribal identity can help us realize it as individuals and our national past are resolved.
MS. YONAH: I am going to jump in here just because we have a lot of people waiting with questions, and we only have about five minutes left of the show.
RABBI FELD: All right. I just want to say, just like the revelation of people coming back to the land is a big deal?
So the Tribes, with this feeling of awakening, is a big deal, and the Jewish people need to be educated to this so they can recognize it in their history.
MS. YONAH: All right. Well, thank you. Carolyn has written us and she asks: Is it possible that the European monarchs could be from the Tribe of Dan, and in particular, Juan Carlos of Spain? I heard this is so, and if so, it could be of importance in the very near future. Who would like to comment on that?
RABBI FELD: Yair, be my guest.
MR. DAVIDIY: I never heard of this so I can't tell you, I'm sorry.
MS. YONAH: Let me go to a similar question.
RABBI FELD: But Tamar, we do -- first of all, there are just regular Jews from the Tribe of Judah that were assimilated through persecution and torture, and temptation for a better life, and became a part of the Spanish citizenry, and some of them became part of the Spanish aristocracy. And as Yair pointed out, Jewish slaves from 2800 years ago ended up in Spain there, and they could be remnants from the tribes in Spain that were there as part of the western countries. We can't say specifically about this particular fellow.
MS. YONAH: Okay. This question garners the same answer. James from Michigan is asking: Do they think that the Queen of England is a Jew, and do they think that the Stone of Scone is the same stone that was written by Moses and water came out?
MR. DAVIDIY: No, Tamar. As I understand, according to Scottish tradition, the Stone of Scone was the stone, was the rock, upon which Jacob slept when he had the dream of the angels coming up and down, according to the [simple meaning] that is where you are, in Bethel; or in the region of the Temple, according to another interpretation. In all events, the Stone of Scone, according to tradition, is the stone upon which Jacob was promised to become a great and mighty nation, and spread to all the corners of the earth, and upon this stone, the monarchs of Britain receive their coronation, and whether or not -- and this legend has some variations. Whether or not it is correct or not, whether or not it is correct, I can't say, but the very fact that the legend exists is significant.
Concerning the monarchs of Britain or the monarchs of a great number of western nations, researchers indicated that they were descended from the family of David in one way or other, that they were people from the family of David, who also joined the Lost Ten Tribes and ruled over them, and they gained rights of the aristocracy over western nations, and the British monarchs are descended from them.
MS. YONAH: All right. Let's go to New York. We have joining us now Shulamit. Shulamit, welcome to the show. What is your comment or question for Rabbi Avraham Feld or Yair Davidiy?
CALLER: Hi. Thanks so much for having me. I was waiting on hold, and it was really close. I have two questions, but I know that we have so little time so that I will ask just one. Basically I just want to know about the Sambation River. Like when I was younger I used to always like hear about it, like there was like rocks coming down from it and that the Ten Tribes were lost behind it, and like no one would be able to enter it, like until Messiah would come, and he would bring back like all the Ten Tribes, and like then I hear that there's like Menashe from like America, and I'm all like, I mean, how does that work? I just wanted to know like what exactly that river was, and it's just like, was there any truth behind it.
MR. DAVIDIY: The Sambation River, the Sambation River was a river in the Talmud and in the Midrashim beside -- alongside of which and beyond of, the Lost Ten Tribes would be found. Historically, the Sambation River was a river originally in Iraq, and the name Sambation was later given to the Don River in southern Russia, in the time of the Khazars. The Don River was known as the Sambation River, and the Khazars, incidentally, were descendants from the Lost Ten Tribes, a small break-off group of them, from the Tribes of Menashe and the Tribe of Shimeon who converted to Judaism. Most Jews are not descended from them, but a small portion of Jews are. They were a forerunner of all the other tribes who will eventually return.
As I said, the Sambation River was the Don River, and it was that for several hundred years, a good portion of the Lost Ten Tribes were in that region amongst the Scythian peoples, and eventually they moved westward.
MS. YONAH: All right, Yair, let's try to -- we have about one minute left to the show, so I need you to answer quickly. Someone is asking here: What do you think about those who call themselves Christians, and who, despite all odds, still love and support Israel by all costs? How do they play a roll in the end-time prophecies, noting that they are -- he writes here, noting that they are Christian, but still love the Jewish people all the way? That is from Edward from San Fernando Valley, California.
MR. DAVIDIY: I would say that a good portion of them are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. Some of them may simply be Righteous Gentiles, and they have a theological difference with the Jewish people, and these differences will be resolved at the time when the Messiah comes, and all differences will be worked out. In the meantime we should all do as well as we can according to our understanding, according to a belief in G-d, following the Bible and supporting the State of Israel and the Jewish presence in this area because that is the will of the
Bible, and it is the will of the Almighty, and other questions we can put aside until the Messiah comes and works them out then.
MS. YONAH: All right. Yair, you have an e-mail list that people can sign up for if they are interested. Can you tell people how they can sign up for that e-mail list?
MR. DAVIDIY: Yes, they can go to our website which you have mentioned several times, and they can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be happy to answer any questions that people have, and also they can participate in our internet e-mail discussions.
MS. YONAH: Thank you so much again, www.britam.org. You can get a hold of books, articles, also things that are happening today. You can reach Rabbi Avraham Feld's book on Mohammed and Islam today. All of this, lots of information on www.britam.org. Thanks so much for being with us, Rabbi Avraham Feld and Yair Davidiy at britam.org.
What happened to the Lost Ten Tribes? Well, you may find out in the End of Days.