Rachel Weeps For Her Children: The Return of the Ten Tribes


Brokering the unification between Yosef and Yehudah - please see below my contributory chapter in Dr. Rivka Lambert Adler's new book: Lighting Up the Nations - Jewish Responsibility Towards the Nations Today and in the Messianic Era.


The book advocates to fellow Jews why Rivka, myself and other colleagues in this field, engage with non-Jews as part of a worldwide Torah awakening.


More details about the book and where to purchase it at the end of the article.

[I made a few additions to better explain certian concepts, they are marked in blue.]

 


A Brief History Lesson

I always stand amazed at how little we know about our own history. When I made aliyah in 2012, the absorption center invested a lot of time in getting the new immigrants on par with modern-day Israel history. Apparently, there is a huge need for it. We came from all over the world, very much marinated in the history of the countries we lived in; for what it’s worth – they were our homes. Now we came Home and most of us only knew the broad strokes (expulsions, Holocaust, War of Independence, Six Day War, a few prime ministers that stood out above the rest) – those historical points in history that no Jewish consciousness can be ignorant of or deny, but then again - not even that is a given these days.


If that is how it goes with modern day history, then there is almost no hope for the older chapters of Jewish history. So much so that we forgot that more than half of the family got lost a long time ago and we don’t even remember them, never mind miss them.


The situation gets even more dire when recognizing and unifying with them is a prerequisite for the geula shlema (full redemption). We somehow developed divine amnesia, caused and justified by a relentless galut, where we were merely trying to keep head above water. Chazal (Sages) tell us that we even miscalculated dates surrounding the Temples’ destruction due to severe PTSD. Still, we are commanded to remember, and that’s why things got written down. And yet most Jews, even Orthodox Jews, have never sat down and read the full Tanach. We somehow get stuck in Parshat haShavua and its plethora of perushim and the Haftarah that we usually yawn through before Mussaf.


And this is where the gap in the geula process lies, a gap that, when properly studied, can bring much more insight and tolerance on an inevitable but divine process. The gap goes something like this:

Just after the death of Shlomo HaMelech, the Kingdom split into two, the Southern Kingdom, also known as the House of Yehuda (Yehuda and Benjamin) or better known today as the Jews, and the Northern Kingdom or the House of Israel, sometimes also referred to as Yosef or Ephraim. Due to the youthful arrogance of David HaMelech’s grandson, the young Rehavam, an insulted and equally hardheaded Yerovam decided to break away from Yehuda’s authority and dragged ten tribes with him.


Yerovam faced some challenges as Jerusalem, the focal point of connection, stood center in the heart of Israel. So, he started a replacement campaign. He replaced Jerusalem with worship centers in Bethel and Dan, basically telling the Northern tribes that this is their “new Jerusalem”.

He replaced Sukkot with an imitation of some sort, shifting it one month later and he appointed priests not ranking from Levite descent. As his flagship move, he exploited and enforced an already existing weakness in the House of Israel – deviant worship - by replacing God with two golden calves, leading the House of Israel down a steady slope to full-on idolatry. Any of this sound familiar?


Rehavam wanted to take action, but God warned him not to, “for this thing has been brought about by Me.” (1 Kings 12:24), a sentiment and off set of a pattern to be painfully repeated a few centuries later when even the great Rabbi Gamliel told his followers to be hands-off when reports of a new religion reared its head. Happenstance? No. A deeply embedded correlation.


As idolatry took its toll, Hashem did remain true to His covenant with Israel and initiated a plan/event that would remove the idolaters from the Land – the Assyrian Exile. As the Assyrian forces swept over the Northern Kingdom, leaving destruction and ruins in its wake, refugees desperately made their way south to Jerusalem, the fortified stronghold. The ruling King of Yehuda, Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah), had to think on his feet how to keep the influx of refugees safe, as well as prepare the city against the approaching Assyrian war machine. Archaeology testifies to two major feats: the enlargement of the city and the rerouting of the water system. Recent archaeological findings further verified the absorption of the refugee influx.


Seal Impression “Achiav ben Menachem”. Photo:Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, who led excavations in the City of David, discovered dozens of seals, dated to the days of the Judean kingdom prior to the Babylonian destruction. These seals testify to the names which are familiar to us from the Bible during the Kingdom of Israel, and which appear in Judea during the period following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel. One particularly interesting seal mentions a man by the name of “Achiav ben Menachem,” two names known in the context of the Kingdom of Israel.


“These names are part of the evidence of the fact that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and they were assimilated into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration,” according to Uziel.


It is true that the Jews who were exiled to Babylon held within them traces of all the tribes. And this has been the main justification of those shunning the idea that the rest of the Lost Tribes will ever be found again, like water that seeped through the sands of time, unrecoverable. However, this stands against the Talmudic concept of HaTinok sheNishbah[1].


Every child of Israel is a universe in itself and, though we might have lost the ability to trace and track these souls, nothing is impossible for the Almighty. In fact, He made a promise regarding their reidentification. He made quite a few actually.


Then the L-RD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, from where the L-RD your God has scattered you. If any of you that have be driven as far the uttermost parts of heaven, from there will the L-RD your God gather you, and from there He will take you.”

– Deuteronomy 30: 3-4


Where Are the Lost Tribes Now?

The question is, if these sparks exist, where are they currently? Israel-based author Yair Davidiy has done tremendous work in this field, tracing the tribes from their initial dispersal and their subsequent journeys. True to tribal character, it appears that they kept together, and certain behavioral patterns are found in these respective groups. Though they are spread amongst all nations and religions, the biggest bulk seems to exist within the confines of Christianity and, more specifically, the Protestant and Evangelical movements. These individuals usually associate with Yosef and Ephraim. It is noteworthy to mention that there is a small but significant number within the Arab nations too.

If the tribes stick to their ancestral character, it is then also easy to connect the dots that Yosef can be found in most of the world-governing countries in the West, most predominantly the UK and the US. If so, Yosef has provided for his brothers over millennia. It further does not come as a surprise that Zionist Christians have always felt the obligation, and played a key role, helping their Jewish brothers to return to Israel, with tremendous efforts since the 18th century. Studying their motives proves this obligation stretching beyond a missionary agenda, although such an agenda cannot be excluded.


In a most profound study, Israeli mathematician Shaul Kullok discovered that major changes within Christianity correlate and act in the same behavioral pattern that deals with the exits and entrances into Eretz Israel and other major historical events of the Jewish people.


If Yosef and the rest of the brothers are indeed out there, and these studies and behavioral patterns not only support that thesis but indicate where they are located, then we have an obligation to investigate and reach out, and for those doing this, it might even be their very tikkun in furthering the geula. This has been the sole purpose in my working with the nations: to identify my lost brothers and sisters, and to at least put a strong narrative out there of who the Jewish People actually are, negating the anti-Semitic narrative ascribed to us over two millennia.


The bloody history of Christian antisemitism has changed its colors into a more “palatable” deceptive missionizing Hebraic disguise. It is no wonder that proud and God-fearing Jews who never gave up nor in, do not want to have anything to do with, never mind navigate, this new minefield. What Happens Now?

This is where things get complicated. Just as the Biblical narrative is often a prototype of a future event that needs to reoccur, usually on a grander scale, the time is coming soon for Yosef to not only give the reigns and the current seat of power it holds in the world over to Yehuda, but also to again submit under the “mechokek” (lawgiver). This inherently means that Yehuda has faithfully kept the Torah in all its facets, and the Ten Tribes, when rejoining, will have to realign, ridding themselves from all idolatrous notions.


[The only current way to rejoin is through Jewish Orthodox conversion. This is evident in the name of Yehuda that carries the letters of the ineffable name of G-d together with the letter “dalet”, indicating the “door” or way in (יהודה). Ultimately Mashiah Ben David will be able to reallocate and unite all the neshamot (souls) and nitzutzot (sparks) with their tribal and ancestral roots.]

Yehudah whispering in Yosef's ear, giving him an ultimatum

Chazal describe, in impressive detail, the powerful face-off almost of cosmic proportions between Yosef and Yehuda in Egypt and what really went down[2]. The prophets reiterate this in copious accounts, which means we are inevitably going to face a challenging transition. A merger is never easy to negotiate. Everyone is bringing something noteworthy to the table. The prophets gave us the outlines, but we are stuck with figuring out the logistics and the goal to not throw the baby out with the bath water.


In my ten years in Israel, I have spent the majority of it working with those souls braving this no man’s land. What I’ve seen is a very complex dynamic with tremendous potential, but also riddled with pitfalls. I have seen the very dubious, initially hidden, but lately openly flaunted messianic missionary agenda here in Eretz Israel, proudly prancing that they have “arrived” at the pinnacle of all knowledge, being upgraded from what they now call idolatrous Christianity but also knowing just that much more than the blind Jew regarding the Jew’s own faith – leaving poisonous pamphlets in their wake.


I have also seen sincere souls shunning these actions from their fellow Christians, trying their best to build bridges over this gaping chasm, with a hands-off policy regarding missionary work. I have seen the majority of them sincerely challenging the bulk of their own theology.


I have seen fellow Jews dangerously and sometimes shamelessly overstepping red lines in the name of bridge-building. I have even witnessed some losing their direction due to this irresponsible approach. On the other side of this dangerous feat, I have stood, embarrassed, witnessing the purposeful extortion of facts by Jews, blaming, even framing those few Christians who are making a sincere effort to work together, by the unethical tweaking of their social messages to fit their narrative.


I have also seen Jews proudly representing the Jewish people with no compromise or moving an inch on who we are and what we believe, bringing the truth and beauty of the Am Segula (treasured and cherised people) to a very ignorant, unchallenged and distorted picture that persists among the nations. These colleagues might just be the best frontline defense for the Jewish people, by steadily and patiently changing the current landscape regarding the world’s tainted opinion of the Jews.


If I can put this process into my own words, it is that of loving Father, knowing, and celebrating His sons’ unique strengths and personalities, but also suffering their weaknesses. Remember, God did not choose a man, He chose a nation rooted in twelve brothers. That’s twelve. Not two. (Yehudah and Benyamin).


Knowing that this nation was set for a long, winding journey of tikkun, He set unique safety measures in place to make sure all the nitzotzot (divine sparks) will safely make it to the other side. In His unfathomable wisdom, He harnessed both their resilience, as well as their weaknesses that had to be perfected, into a quintessential algorithm, if you may, and built vessels accordingly that will deliver them on the doorstep of the geula. According to this wisdom and the necessary tikkun they had to make, He placed them in these “vessels” or "Time Pods" respectively.

Reunion

Note to the non-Jewish reader: I am describing this from a Jewish perspective, to help explain to a very wary Jewish audience why we engage with the nations.


The split of the Kingdom was preparation for the transition of the Twelve Tribes, ultimately to unite them in the end as the whole House of Israel.[3] They were placed into two "Time Pods", if you may. The Northern Kingdom went first, primarily because of the idolatry that was running rampant in their midst. The Ten Tribe Time Pod took on the character of the cause of their exile. The sages speak of this as the klippah. We already mentioned those dynamics, including the replacement of and/or a medium to God, Jerusalem and the festivals.


At this juncture, it is important to understand that both Houses suffered idolatry, ultimately falling to the lowest spiritual point respectively BUT also that most of the time, both Houses were only caught up in a deviant form of worship.[4]


Why is this important? Because many sincere souls seek a genuine relationship with God but fall prey to deviant worship due to a lack of knowledge.


The tables of blissful ignorance are turning. Take, for instance, the awareness explosion amongst the nations regarding the persecution of the Jews, so much so that they have called global gatherings, collecting accounts, researching them and ultimately apologizing and genuinely seeking forgiveness from the Jewish People for the atrocities done during the last two millennia. Is it enough? Not even close, but it is a worthy start. And shame on those who want to stifle such efforts.

Threshing [photo: Shutterstock]

Regarding the concept of a klippah[5]: as much as the klippah is the place where the negative forces reside, keeping its content “captive”, it simultaneously provides the necessary protection as the content develops, ultimately allowing it to reach its potential[6]. At the auspicious time, the klippah must be removed in order not to stint its content’s growth. This is the concept of threshing, where the very thing that carried you, assisting in your development, can kill you if not removed in a timely fashion. The same goes for the umbilical cord. At the time of birth, the very life force that sustained you now has to be removed. It is of this that Rabbi Hirsh comments the Haftara of Vayishlach[7]:


“The condition of a child before birth is regarded by our sages as a condition of bliss. The unborn child thinks it will last forever, but when the birth-throes start, out it must come into the raw world. Just so Ephraim believes its present state, … would last forever, and does not see that chevlei yoldah are coming, coming inevitably, reckoned on in advance in accordance with God's Rule regulating the world, just like the natural pains that come when the fruit has reached its maturity. But when these hours of pangs come…, no moment can he remain in the happy condition he had hitherto enjoyed, out he must come unwillingly, into the cold raw world.”


The klippah, womb or Time Pod that the Ten Tribes are in now is their reality and they respond to it with sincere commitment, reaching out to God. They were placed there by Divine decree; it is part of their tikkun. But a birth is inevitable and imminent. In fact, we have seen the redemption of many of these precious sparks already.


There is another side to this coin. Yehuda was also set into its own Time Pod, one that had been buffered with ample halacha pertaining to the galut (exile). These very halachot are now bringing strain within the transitioning into the geulah. You don’t have to look further than the kitniyot quibbles during Pesach. When these halachot that were vital to the survival of the Jewish people in galut are not correctly understood within their meticulous context, they become grossly misinterpreted by those outside of Judaism, and let’s face it, have driven many of our own into assimilation due to the lack of Jewish education. Moreover, it has become a favorite tool in the hands of those self-hating Jews who have set up shop in Israel, painting their fellow brothers as blind fools, stirring the Messianic missionary agenda amongst the nations.


Specific protocol was built into both Time Pods in order to keep them from interfering with one another. Yehuda, being commissioned as the mechokek was the guardian of the full Torah, Written and Oral. It had to cultivate and keep it for more than 2,000 years at a great personal cost.


Yosef, or the Ten Tribe counterpart, had to be kept at arm’s length, as it naturally gravitates to alter the holy writings according to its current deviant state. Having a diluted form of the Written Torah in Greek and subsequent translations into almost all other languages around the globe allowed Yosef to keep the essence of the Torah alive in their consciousness and enable it to reach the four corners of the world but did not allow them to touch the multi-dimensional universes embedded in the Torah that can only be unlocked through the Hebrew language.


They were even taught that the Oral Torah is detrimental and should be avoided at all costs – which has proven very effective, but again, at a very high cost on Yehuda’s side being relentlessly persecuted for guarding it. The way that the sages “programmed” these protocols within both these “Time Pods” was masterfully done, but that is beyond the scope of this article. It is worth mentioning that even an exit strategy exists with markers embedded within this protocol[8].


So when the auspicious time comes, nothing can stop the extraction of the sparks from their Time Pod. A sure sign is the sudden, unstoppable urge amongst a chosen few in the nations to start learning Hebrew, to study the significance of the chagim (festivals), to get back to the root – their roots, to dig deeper. Of course, things will be mixed up and messy in the beginning. Show me a birth that isn’t. But where the sages bemoaned the inevitable descent into darkness in the beginning of this process, this time the same words come as a comfort. If this is from God, you cannot stop it.


Rabbi Hirsh beautifully describes this in his commentary on the Rosh Hashana Haftara[9]:

“The reason why just this chapter has been chosen for the Haftora for Rosh Hashana lies deeper. The choice was fixed out of an extremely delicate consideration, out of the deepest feeling of brotherhood. We, who are assembled as members of the House of Jacob before our Father, yes all of us whom we know for over two thousand years as our Jewish brethren, the bearers of the tradition, the teachers of our people, the arrangers of our prayers, we all descend from the exiles of the Kingdom of Judah. The ten brother-tribes, who earlier had already set aside the bond of the Torah, really had never been very tightly bound by it, they had forsaken the Father's house early, they have been missing for thousands of years. As the first to renounce God's Laws, the first to secede from Zion, to sink back into the night of idolatry, but also as the first to be overtaken by the doom they had brought on themselves, do they live in our memory. Is it not then a stroke of touching tenderness that the wise arrangers of our Divine Service should have taken care that the sons of assembled before their God on Rosh Hashana - after the figures of their great ancestors Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah have been called up before their eyes as everlasting shining examples, should also remember in love their missing brethren? For that, they chose this word of the Prophet which, as no other, announces just the future also of these children of the House of Jacob who have been estranged so long. It sees them, how they "come up" to Zion, to God, to "our God from the mountains of Samaria memories of Ahab! It shows us Ephraim, from whom the defection started, as God's "firstborn", and Israel (the kingdom of Israel L.L) coming back to God as one of His children; shows us Rachel weeping for her children alas, just the tribe of Joseph, coming from her were the first in the defection; - Although withdrawn from our sight, from the mother's eye looking down from heaven they are not hidden, she sees her children, but the mother misses the Father, she misses God in the homes, the lives, the hearts of her children, therefore "she weeps bitterly", and therefore "she refuses to be consoled". Rachel is also Our mother, her children are also our brethren, on Rosh Hashona we remember them and long for the time of reunion to arrive. But it must be a reunion as God has promised here. Not that we come to a compromise with them in the defection. But rather, on the day when we examine ourselves before God, and work seriously on ourselves to become more and more in truth sons and daughters of Zion, we look forward to the time when they too will come back, "as children, to their original home" back to the ground of God's Torah. That is the thought of reunion and peace which, at the beginning of every New Year, makes the sons of Judah who have remained faithful and who are working on fortifying themselves, at making themselves grow ever stronger and firmer in their faith - hope and pray for the time of their reunion with all their brethren of the House of Israel.


It is evident that Judah cannot shy away from this task. And perhaps by studying the plethora of commentaries[10] by the sages on this very subject, we can carefully and responsibly work towards this inevitable and ultimate union.


Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity...for there the L-RD commanded [commands] the blessing, even life forever.

(Psalm 133:1 and 3)


Footnotes:

[1] Tinok shenishba bein hanochrim, translates as, "An infant captured among the gentiles." This happens when an individual is not responsible for his actions and sins due to his being raised in a place or situation where the Jewish law is unknown to him. The concept originated from the time of the exiles. The child however stays Jewish through the maternal line. [2] See Midrash 3 in Appendix A [3] See Ezekiel 37: 15-28. [4] See Rabbi Chaim Klein’s book God versus gods [5] The concept of the klippah is a very high Kabbalistic concept that I touch on here in a very crude and basic way. A simple translation would be a husk or peel, such as can be found around fruit. [6] This paradoxical dynamic can be found throughout Judaism, for example the Yetzer Harah which is our biggest challenge to overcome, but without it we can’t survive in this world. [7] “The Pentateuch” - Rabbi S.R. Hirsch Translation and commentary on the weekly and festival Haftarot [8] A well-known mashal within the Christian writings is that of the (younger) prodigal son who shuns his inheritance and end up with the pigs (idolatry) but ultimately realising his mistake and returning to his father’s household. A very often skipped over character in this mashal is the elder brother who never deviated or left his Father’s house. Ultimately the younger will return, but the older brother will retain the heritage. Zech 2:12 and many other psukim speak of Yehuda being God’s portion. [9] “The Pentateuch” - Rabbi S.R. Hirsch Translation and commentary on the weekly and festival Haftarot [10] See a few Midrashim on Unification below.


 

Some Midrashim on Unification

1


“Behold thou art fair, my love, yea pleasant, also our bed is green” - Song of Solomon 1:16.

“Israel says: Behold thou art fair, my love When you will take retribution from the worshippers of idols. Yea pleasant when you pay the reward of those who fear you. Also our bed…: These are the “Ten Tribes.” In Hebrew bed is “eres” while ten is “eser” and uses the same letters, and “our bed” (erseynu) sounds like “our ten” (esereynu). They are those who were exiled beyond the Sambation River. The exiles of Judah and Benyamin [i.e. the present-day “Jews”] are destined to go unto them and bring them back in order to merit with them the Messianic Era and life in the World-To-Come. This is as it says, “In those days the house of Judah shall go unto the house of Israel and they shall come together out of the land of the north unto the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers” (Jeremiah 3:18).

-Yalkut Shimeoni, Song of Solomon 905.


2


# By way of nature, if a person takes a bunch of reeds and tries to break it in two at one go, he cannot do it. If the reeds are separated one by one even a child can break them. We thus find that Israel and Judah will not be redeemed until they be united in one confederation, as it says, [Jeremiah 3:18] In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.

When they are united, they will be able to receive the presence of God almighty (Tanchuma, Nizavim, 4).


3


Isaiah 11:13 - “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off, Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim

# Concerning who did Isaiah pronounce this prophecy. He was speaking only concerning Judah and Joseph. Said Rabbi Shmuel son of Nachman in the name of Rabbi Yonathan, when Joseph and Judah were arguing (Genesis41:18) the Holy Angels said to each other, Let us go down and see what is happening. Usually when a bull and a lion confront each other the bull retreats before the lion. In this case a bull (Joseph) and a lion(Judah) are arguing and there is a standoff. Jealousy will continue to abide between these two until the Messiah comes, as it says, “the envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off, Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim” - Isaiah 11:13, (Midrash Tanchuma, VaYigash, 4).




4


# In the past Jeroboam the son of Nebat who was from Ephraim hated King Rehoboam who was from Judah. There was a controversy between them. In the future there will be peace between these two anointed leaders. They will not be jealous of each other. Concerning them, it says: “the envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off, Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim” - Isaiah 11:13

(Midrash Brayshit Rabati).


5


# Everywhere you find these two tribes (Judah and Joseph) hating each other and antagonistic to each other, etc. May we infer from this that even the future Anointed Captain of War (who will arise from Joseph) and the Anointed Messiah (who will arise from Judah) will (Heaven forbid) be jealous of each other? No. There will be no antagonism between them, as it says, “the envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off, Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim” - Isaiah 11:13, (Midrash Agadat Brayshit 63).


 

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The prophets Isaiah and Zechariah teach that all of humanity will eventually come to know, understand and believe that there is but one true God. To the Jewish people specifically, God assigned the task of sharing that knowledge with the rest of the world.