The Lost Mispocha of Israel

As I was reading and preparing to write my weekly Random Musing Before Shabbat I found myself drawn into a fascinating world. I decided this week to write about the haftarah for this weekly parasha (portion) of Vayigash. [A haftarah is a reading from the prophets that is read along with the weekly Torah reading in the Jewish tradition. It is said that their origin is from an early time when Jews were not permitted to read Torah publicly, thus readings from the Prophets which had some connection to a theme of the weekly reading were chosen to be read to remind us of that which we couldn’t hear being read. The Torah, that is, the Five Books of Moses, is divided into 54 weekly portions which are read in a yearly cycle following the calendar of the Jewish year. Why 54? Well, that’s a whole other story because a Jewish leap year has 54 weeks….]

Anyway, the haftarah is from chapter 37 of the book of Ezekiel. It contains the famous prophesy that foretells the eventual reunification of all the Israelites, meaning that the so-called lost ten tribes would be part of the reunification.

From these few short verses (Ezekiel 37:15-28) has been born legions of legends, myths, hopes, prayers, and yes, of course, some anti-Semitism. First, there are many peoples that claim to be descendants of the lost tribes from places in Africa, and Asia. There are theories about the British, the Japanese and the Kurds being remnants of the ten lost tribes. Even the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) have a big stake in this.

Just Google for yourself "ten lost tribes" or "lost tribes of Israel" and you’ll see just how extensive the lore is and the theories are. I know that I am going to spend some time exploring all this mythology (and fact?) over the next few years at least.

I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that so much has been made of one short passage. After all, think of all the other things that have come about on the basis of only a few words.

If nothing else, it should certainly teach us to be cautious about what we say, and more so our leaders. (Of course, if we follow the "Motel of the Mysteries" theory, who knows what mundane and quotidian piece of text future archaeologists and anthropologists might stumble upon and choose to try and use to understand our times and culture. So we should all be wary of what we write)

A Happy, Healthy, and relatively Dubya-free secular New Year to one and all.

Migdalor Guy (aka Adrian)

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About migdalorguy

Jewish Educator & Musician, Technology Nerd and all around nice Renaissance guy
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