August 26, 2003
1. Descendants of David?
2. Questions from
1. Descendants of David?
Have you heard anything about the
following convention to be held in Jerusalem
(originally it was slated for
October 2003, but apparently has been moved to
. . Now Roth, of New Jersey and Jerusalem, is organizing the
gathering of the descendants of King David in more than 2,000
years, to be
held in Jerusalem, June 5-7, 2007.
According to Roth,
there are thousands of Jews and non-Jews who can trace
their ancestry to the
Davidic line. At the convention DNA samples will be
from those in
attendance and tested. Research carried out a few years ago on
descended from the Jewish priestly line of Aharon revealed a
mutation on the
Y-chromosome in some 85 percent of those tested, confirming
of a single common ancestor. Roth hopes that similar dramatic
will result from testing the Davidic royal
Proportionally only a few of the royalty lines are known, the rest
obscured by time. What is known is that 15 Jewish families have
claimed to have descended from King David.
those families trace themselves back to Rashi, who was descended
marriage between King David and Hagit. The families include:
Berdugo, Don Yehiya, Halperin, Harlap, Horowitz,
Rabinowitz, Shaltiel, Shapira, and Weil. Three
families, go back to
from the marriage of Batsheva and
David, which is the messianic line. Those
families are Dayan, Elfandari and
Peretz. . . ."
P.S. Jewish Diaspora
Questions from Rabbi:
referred to your site by a friend. I have some questions if you
so kind to address them.
>1) You appear to be presenting a theory
of inclusion within the Jewish
>people (based upon many Torah citations)
that would possibly trigger a
>belief in the minds of Gentiles
> if they are British/Canadian etc... and not
anti-Semitic... then they
> are presumably of Jewish descent. Is that a
>2) If (1) above is correct...then what
is the Halachic basis for such an
>invitation to Gentiles for them to
believe such.... and possibly present
>themselves as Jews when al pe Din
[according to Law] they may possibly not be?
>3) Have you received
approbation from any Gedolei Torah for your online
so.... may I ask from whom?
>I am not attacking you. I am trying
to understand the ramifications of
>what you are doing.
was of the understanding that only Moshiach is capable of clarifying
>questionable Jewish lineage via Ruach HaKodesh.
appreciate any comments you would care to provide.
1. <<if they are British/Canadian etc... and
not anti-Semitic... then they
are presumably of Jewish descent. Is that a
That is a rather crude
over-simplification of what we are saying but
"Jewish descent" is technically inaccurate. Israelite descent
We are saying that the Lost Ten tribes are amongst
these peoples and that
is where most of the Lost Tribes are and
they find expression. We incline to the view that they are the majority
the population in those areas but even if they are not
our point still
holds. People of Israelite (and Jewish) descent can also be
the odds are lessened.
2. <<what is the Halachic basis for
such an invitation to Gentiles for
them to believe such.... and possibly
present themselves as Jews>>
We distinguish between being of Israelite
physical descent and being Jewish
according to religion and the Law.
emphasize that from a legal religious point of view these people are
"Gentiles to all intents and purposes" (Yebamot 17).
between Jewish and Israelite. For the present they are
legally Gentiles but
in the future they will re-new the
covenant and re-unite with Judah. We have
accredited sources for this
position of ours. At all events it is something
to the Messianic Era and not for now.
3. <<Have you
received approbation from any Gedolei Torah>>:
It depends what you
understand our effort to be. At present we are only
PHYSICAL descent. Even someone who is 100 per cent Jewish with
certificates but whose
great-grandparents converted to another
religion is in a problematic
situation legally as you will see if you
at the early reponsa concerning descendants of Marranos from Spain who
wished to return to Judaism.
[You may well be acquatined with these
sources better than I am].
We repeat: We are not asking people to change
We are not telling Gentiles that they are really
We are saying that many of the people to whom we address ourselves
Israelite PHYSICAL descent.
We are also saying that according to
the prophets these prophets have an
historical ROLE TO PLAY and will
acknowledged Israelites in the future.
If for instance you were to tell
someone that their father was Jewish but
their mother was not you would be
them that physically they were descended from Jews but they are not
We are telling our people something more than this but
the cases are similar.
This is what Maimonides says and how we quote
him in our work, "Biblical
The Messiah Will Tell Us
What Tribe We Belong To
<<NOR A LAWGIVER FROM BETWEEN HIS FEET,
UNTIL SHILOH COME; AND UNTO HIM
SHALL THE GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE
BE>>: The Messiah will enable individuals
from the Lost Ten Tribes to
know what Tribe they belong to.
Maimonides: <In the time of the King
Messiah, when his kingdom shall be
settled and all Israel gathered into him,
he will establish the family
relationship of everyone according to the
divine spirit of inspiration upon
him. As it says, AND HE SHALL SIT AS A
REFINER AND PURIFIER OF SILVER: And
he begins with the Tribe of Levi, as it
says AND HE SHALL PURIFY THE SONS
OF LEVI, AND PURGE THEM [Malachi 3:3] And
he only establishes the family
relationship of Israel according to their
tribes. He makes known who
belongs to this tribe and who belongs to that one
> Rambam: The Laws of
Kings and Their Wars, chapter twelve, item
The above opinion could be contested as to what exactly it means or as
how binding it really is but we accept it as it is.
In our days most of us cannot be sure what tribe we belong to.
We can only
make educated guesses that in some cases may be accurate. The
Messiah or an
agent of the Messianic process will confirm the tribal
identity of all
Maimonides may be understood to say that absolute certainty
TRIBE one belongs to can only be provided
by the Messiah.
Who is "Jewish" and who is not can be decided by legal
hereditary in the light of legal definitions.
Who is of Israelite descent
could also be decided by other processes as
long as no other ramifications
We are telling certain people that with a reasonable degree of
they are probability of Israelite descent.
We also believe that
through study, prayer, leading good lives, and the
results of further
research the degree of intuitive
certainty may be heightened.
I do not
think our approach can be criticized per se. One could make a
on a judgement as to whether our understanding
of Biblical and related
sources together with historical events is correct
says that originally there were 12 tribes of Israel all of
obligated at Sinai. 10 of these tribes were exiled by the
became "lost". According to the sources we quote they are
not NOW obligated
by the Law.
This may be temporary and in the future the obligation will be
FOR NOW there is no practical halachic application
conclusions. Therefore in principle we should not need Rabbinical
since we are not dealing with direct Rabbinical issues.
[This has been the
attitude in effect of Rabbis to whom approaches have
been made on our
We support our claims with Talmudic and Rabbinical sources.
works have been placed before Rabbis. Nobody has condemned us and
from criticism has been extended to us.
Our supporters include Rabbis and
Jews of learning.
All our works have an approbation from Rabbi Avraham Feld
who also took our
case to higher authorities.
Rabbi Feld could not induce
any great authority to come out openly in
support of us
but neither were
any negative opinions expressed about us or about our
bottom line is that there is nothing to condemn or support.
We are not saying
anything that is an innovation in the legal or religious
should read what we say carefully a good sampling of which is available
our web sites including a translation from Nachmanides
and quotes from Rashi
and others. The sources are there to be checked.
us through contributions, and purchasing our products
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