Joseph and the Law.
Do Ephraimites have to Keep the Law of Moses in our time as distinct from the End Times?
Brit-Am and the Law of Moses
Returning to Your "Hebrew Roots"
To What Degree is Joseph obligated by the Law?
A Question of Semantics?
b. A Glimpse at The Sources
c. Beginning of The Discussion on the "Brit-Am Now" List with slight Amendations
d. Continuation of the Discussion: Remarks with Brit-Am Answers
Returning to Your "Hebrew Roots"
The Ten Tribes were exiled because they did not keep the Law. At present they do not keep it.
The Simple literal import of Prophecy is that all the Israelite Tribes after they return will keep the Law of Moses.
This mentioned in the Prophecy of Ezekiel (ch.37) and elsewhere.
[Ezekiel 16:53] WHEN I SHALL BRING AGAIN THEIR CAPTIVITY, THE CAPTIVITY OF SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, AND THE CAPTIVITY OF SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS, THEN WILL I BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF THY CAPTIVES IN THE MIDST OF THEM:
Moshkovitz (Daat Mikra) suggests that this refers to
the revival of the Land of Canaan and its ecological healing.
Malbim says here that at the return “Samaria” and “Sodom” (?) will be the most important section of the Israelite nation whereas Judah will be pulled after them and returned through them. He repeats this message in 16:55.
The Lost Ten Tribes will return. Manasseh will return. The exiles of Judah who remained in exile will return together with the Lost Ten Tribes.
Abarbanel (1435-1509): “The Ten Tribes will return to Samaria and its daughter-regions and so will the scattered dispersion of Judah be gathered in from the four corners of the earth”.
[Ezekiel 16:55] WHEN THY SISTERS, SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, AND SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, THEN THOU AND THY DAUGHTERS SHALL RETURN TO YOUR FORMER ESTATE. UNTIL NOW THEY ARE STILL OVERTURNED AND HAVE NOT RETURNED UNTO THEIR FORMER STATE.
This is a message for Judah: In order for Judah to realize herself and to bring back all her exiles and rehabilitate
herself Judah must also seek the Lost Ten Tribes and cause them to return!
This is important to Judah for her own sake! It is also hinting that rehabilitation of the Land itself is somehow connected with the return of the Lost Ten Tribes. See our Commentary on Isaiah 56:8 and Hosea chapter six, where we have explained that according to prophecy: part of Judah would return to the Land and begin to build it up. Then the Lost Ten Tribes would return in two stages together with the remnant of Judah. The first part of this process is well on its way.
"SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, AND SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS SHALL RETURN
TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE": Malbim: [addressing Judah] “For they [the Lost Tribes] shall be the most important section in the returning and you subservient to them, and you shall return through them”.
Abarbanel: “There is no doubt that this promised ingathering will occur in the Times of the Messiah. Until now it has never been fulfilled”.
[Ezekiel 16:61] THEN THOU SHALT REMEMBER THY WAYS, AND BE ASHAMED, WHEN THOU SHALT RECEIVE THY SISTERS,
THINE ELDER AND THY YOUNGER: AND I WILL GIVE THEM UNTO THEE FOR DAUGHTERS, BUT NOT BY THY COVENANT.
Judah must seek to bring the Lost Ten Tribes back. God makes the participation of Judah in the process of returning the Lost Ten Tribes a prior condition for the rehabilitation of Judah herself!
"I WILL GIVE THEM UNTO THEE FOR DAUGHTERS": Judah will have
some degree of directional task to play in helping the Ten Tribes return and showing them the way in which they should go.
"BUT NOT BY THY COVENANT": The Lost Ten Tribes will not necessarily have to convert to Judaism
in our sense of the word though they will renew the covenant between Israel and the Almighty and Judah is
obligated to assist them.
[Ezekiel 16:62] AND I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT WITH THEE; AND THOU SHALT KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD:
God will once again accept Judah and all Israel.
We see from the above that Judah will help Joseph return and play a teaching role in the Renewal of the Covenant BUT it will not be as
Judah at present necessarily understand it. Therefore the time has not come.
The Commentators also stress that even though Judah will have a role to play to bring Joseph back to the future renewed
Covenant the primary role will be played by Joseph.
Whatever the case this is what scripture says and how the Commentators understood it.
There is no reason for either side to feel discriminated against!
It may be said that Judah keeps the law today, or at least that Judah keeps the law as much as possible according to how Judah understands that the Law should be kept.
Prophecies concerning the Ten Tribes indicate that they are being called upon to repent and return. To return implies keeping the Law.
We believe we are entering the End Times and that the Final Return of the Ten Tribes may be quite close to us though no-one can be entirely sure at the moment.
All over the world amongst Christians there is an arousal in the direction of returning to "Hebrew Roots" meaning adopting Biblical injunctions and customs. This return to Hebrew Roots sometimes takes the form of imitating aspects of the Jewish Practice and otherwise by applying their own innovations in the light of private understanding of what Scripture says. This tendency of a "Return to the Hebrew Roots" is ESPECIALLY noticeable amongst Peoples whom we identify as comprised to a significant degree of descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes.
[In our Literature descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes are often referred to, as we find in Scripture, by the generic terms "Joseph" and/or "Ephraim", i.e. these terms refer to all Lost Israelites and not just to the specific tribes known by those names.]
The phenomenon of a "Return to Hebrew Roots" in our opinion indicates an instinctive arousal amongst "Joseph" and is a sign of the impending Redemption of ALL Israel. It is as if Ephraimites are feeling it in "their bones" and are beginning to return to their source.
To What Degree is Joseph obligated by the Law?
While the "Return to Hebrew Roots" is a sign of the times and a very positive tendency we may ask how compulsory is it? How far in this direction should an individual member of Joseph who realizes his Israelite Ancestry go?
The Obligations of Joseph in our times include:
Reconciliation with Judah
Justice and Judgment
Becoming a Blessing to Others
Bible Learning and an interest in the Temple
No Substance Abuse
No Sexual Immorality
Studying Your Israelite Origins and supporting
those (such as Brit-Am) engaged in such studies.
A Discussion of these duties is to be found in our article
WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF EPHRAIM?
See also "Ephraimite Criteria" on the National and Individual Levels.
The duties listed above do not include Keeping the Law or aspects of the Law. Nevertheless one may say that a Return to Hebrew Roots does reflect the message of the Prophets and the Divine Will. How far should a person go along this path and should everyone feel obliged to take it are religious questions. This is not the sphere of Brit-Am. It is not encompassed in the Brit-Am Mandate which restricts itself to the Three Rs, i.e.
Research (finding where descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes really are); Revelation (spreading the knowledge obtained through Research); and Reconciliation (working so that both Judah and Joseph draw closer to each other in the positive sense).
Brit-Am recently stated that according to our understanding Joseph in our time is not obligated by the Law though in the future he would be. This is what we believe and what the sources indicate.
It may well be that times have changed, that we are drawing close to the End Times and that many amongst Joseph have been called by Divine Providence to take the first steps.
This is logical and hinted at in Scripture but to what degree an individual member of Joseph should feel obligated in the said direction is not for us to say.
A Question of Semantics?
The Brit-Am statement that Joseph in our time is not obligated by the Law irritated certain Ephraimite supporters of Brit-Am who consider themselves obligated by the Law
and believe that this duty should extend to all of Joseph.
By "Law" however they mean mainly practices mentioned in the Bible to be applied according to their own understanding. Sometimes this is accompanied by a mild imitation of the Jewish custom.
Examples of this Ephraimite application of the "Law" include not keeping festivals of at least part pagan origin such as Christmas, not eating animals forbidden by the Law of Moses, tithing, not working on the Seventh Day (at least not for money), etc.
From a Brit-Am point of view these practices are based on Hebrew injunctions. They are Biblically inspired. They are a step in the right direction. The inspiration, strength, and resultant blessings are all prescient of the Return of Joseph. Those Chosen Few who have merited to go so far are doing a great thing in the private opinion of Brit-Am Director, Yair Davidiy, though other members of Brit-Am may be more reserved on the question.
The people who so act believe they are Keeping the Law and fulfilling an obligation.
This is their prerogative.
Brit-Am has nothing to say on the matter.
In point of view of terminology however for "Brit-Am" "Keeping the Law" means keeping all the Commandments that it is possible to keep today according to Jewish Practice under the direction of Rabbinical Sages.
This is not what the Ephraimites are doing. Neither do they feel obligated to do so.
Brit-Am says they are not obligated.
It follows that fundamentally, we are in agreement.
b. A Glimpse at the Sources
Why the Lost Tribes are not OBLIGATED under the Law today.
If we can we will prepare at a later date, a lengthy detailed article on this subject.
Below is a thumbnail sketch of what such an article would be partially based upon.
It should also be noted that the whole question is still theoretical.
Brit-Am is the ONLY body at present assembling evidence that taken as a whole
will prove who the Lost Ten Tribes are at a practical level.
Other groups and individuals may be working along parallel lines in some areas but their efficacy should be measured
by Brit-Am criteria.
This statement may be contested or its validity may change in the future but it is what holds for now.
The Points as to Why the Lost Tribes are not OBLIGATED under the Law today include:
a. Renewal of the Covenant possibly a Precedent for Re-Acceptance of the Lost Tribes?
b. The Prophets said that the Exiled Ten Tribes of Israel (Joseph) would be divorced and not under the Covenant during
their Exile, e.g. Ezekeil 16:61; Jeremiah 3:8, Hosea 1:9
c. Israelites who accept another religion are expelled in their own lifetime and must reconvert according to some opinions.
This can apply to whole communities and tribes. The said opinions may not be legally binding in all cases but they do have implications
that are taken into consideration.
d. In practice, Descendants of Jews who change their religion after two or three generations are no longer Jews
even if no intermarriage with others has taken place. This is the situation that appears to prevail in practice even though not all authorities will agree with it.
e. Legally the Onus of Proof is on the claimant: Someone who claims that another person has an obligation must prove his case beyond all
reasonable doubt. The one against whom the claim is brought does not have to prove anything.
This means that even if physically someone is descended from Israel (or Judah) they cannot be obligated unless proof that would stand up in a court of law is available. They cannot be considered as "obligated" as long as any reasonable doubt still exists.
f. The Sages of the Talmud declared that the Ten Tribes and all other "problematic" categories (e.g. communities descended from Jewish women taken captive by Gentile Soldiers) would be legally considered non-Jewish. They also declared it a legal principle that the Ten Tribes would return.
They had the authority to make such decisions from the Bible (Deuteronomy ch.17).
It therefore follows that the Lost Ten Tribes when they return will not be obligated by the Law even though
later they will be.