Reply to a Query on Mashiach ben Yoseph and Kol HaTor (24 February, 2015, 5 Adar, 5775)
1. Letter from Ovadiah
2. Extracts from Kol HaTor by Ovadiah
b. Is Kol HaTor a Genuine Work?
c. What is MbJ according to this source and the teaching of Rabbi Avraham Kook?
d. The Brit-Am Understanding and MbJ
1. Letter from Ovadiah
Ovadyah <email@example.com> wrote:
Re New Article. Messianic Conundrum
Messiah son of David from the Ten Tribes?
Thanks for some very informative quotes, Yair,
You mention the Gaon of Vilna but do not quote from his source.
To my limited knowledge, the Gaon offers the most comprehensive sources regarding Messiah ben Yosef. He formulated the "999 Foot Steps" of MbY in the Scriptures and his 156 attributes, quite a feat compared with anything else that I have read. The book was written by one of his disciples and translated into English by a leading Jewish scholar in Israel, Rabbi Yechiel bar Lev.
A nagging question that some Ten Triber commentators raise is, that if the Ingathering has started, where is MbY then? This question certainly begs a response, contemplation, reconsideration
This book, 'the Voice of the Turtle Dove', based on The Song of Songs (regarding the Ingathering) offers an overwhelming amount of information and insight from one of our greatest Sages ever regarding this 'mystery' figure of the Messiah ben Yosef. The book is unfortunately out of print, but we are in the process of assisting Rabbi bar Lev with reprinting it. Hence we named our Restoration Vision after this concept of "Kol HaTor" - the Voice of the Turtle Dove"
The Gaon's book is a hidden gem on a much concealed Topic
We will appreciate your informed comments in this regard.
KOL HATOR Vision for the Restoration of the 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel
2. Extracts from Kol HaTor by Ovadiah:
Ch. 2 "It is a commandment and manifold obligation for every man of Israel, for all those engaged in gathering in the exiles, certainly for anyone who bears any responsibility whatsoever in administering public affairs in the Holy Land, even more so everyone engaged in settlement of the Holy Land, all of them must learn to know and understand well, profoundly and completely, all 156 aspects and characteristics of the MbY through whom the ingathering of the exiles will occur as part of the beginning of the Redemption."
In light of the fact that so little is known about MbY, compared with MbD, it seems that we have some AWAKENING to take place. The Gaon is adamant that MbY is responsible for the BEGINNING of the Redemption, MbD for the end part. The Gaon claims to have met with MbY in Vision and that the beginning of Redemption started in 1740 (at the time of the Vision).
Pg. 25 "All the deeds concerned with Ingathering exiles in the Land of Israel in general, and in Jerusalem in particular, every general and private act, everywhere of everyone together or separately, all these depend on the existence and success of MbY, (which) depends on the Awakening from below "
Our article concentrated on the Malbim and on Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato rather than on the Gaon of Vilna who was only mentioned incidentally.
Nevertheless, the Gaon of Vilna did speak about MbY, see Aderet Eliyahu ch.2 as quoted by Rabbi Chaim Chanon (Chazon Ha-Naviim [Vision of the Prophets], Jerusalem, 5774) p.302 who brings additional sources.
We referred to the work "Kol HaTor" (Voice of the Turtledove) in our article, Messianic Conundrim.
# The above explanation [of the Malbim] would also appear to be consistent with that indicated (but not stated expressly) in different sources including that of the work "Kol HaTor" attributed to a disciple of Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna and said to reflect his views. #
We also discussed the work along with a detailed discussion concerning Messiah son of Joseph in our books Ephraim and Joseph.
A .pdf file is available on the web for a translation of the first chapter of Kol HaTor.
b. Is Kol HaTor a Genuine Work?
Some time ago, we had begun to approach Kol haTor with mixed feelings. Parts of it seemed genuine enough and other parts less so.
There is a short but good Wikipedia article summarizing the situation:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The text has become popularized amongst the adherents of Religious Zionism who perceive parallels between current and recent historical events and those forecast in the book. They maintain that we are currently in the years right prior to the full Redemption and that the indicators established in Kol HaTor are currently being manifested. However some anti-Zionists have disputed the authenticity of Kol HaTor, particularly Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch who is a direct descendant of the Vilna Gaon and is the rabbi of the GR'A Synagogue in [Har Nof] Jerusalem which primarily follows the traditions taught and espoused by the Vilna Gaon. Rabbi Shternbuch argues against the work on theological grounds as well as textual grounds by drawing attention to certain words in the text that only a speaker of modern Hebrew would utilize.
In short taking everything together and our own impressions we get the following:
Kol HaTor is based on the writings of the Gaon of Vilna and those who followed him. The book is valid in so far as it reflects a line of thought that did exist. It also seems to quote from other works not all of which are available. The version in our hands however may have been edited recently. How much has been added is not certain. Even what may have been added may have value since those involved knew the subject matter.
The book is not easy reading and its message is not always clear. It has become quite popular but many of its strongest supporters may not have read it all the way through.
c. What is MbY according to this source and the teaching of Rabbi Avraham Kook?
The book, Kol HaTor, in effect says that MbY [Moshiach ben Yoseph] is more of a spiritual thing. MbY represents rebuilding the material infrastructure of the State of Israel. Anyone and any thing that helps in this direction participates in the spirit of MbY.
That was ALSO the view of Rabbi Avraham Kook who lived long before Kol HaTor in its modern form was published. We quoted relevant verses from Rabbi Kook on our website and also in our books.
The teachings of Rabbi Kook and his son Rabbi Tzvi Yehudi Kook (whom I met several times) form the ideological basis of the National Religious movement in our time.
The Vilna Gaon may also have thought in this direction.
d. The Brit-Am Understanding and MbY
We understood MbY [Moshiach ben Yoseph i.e. Messiah son of Joseph]to represent the Lost Ten Tribes since several sources indicated that MbY would emerge from the Ten Tribes.
The task attributed to MbY paralleled that which we understood to be the work of Joseph.
Britain and the USA and the offshoots of Britain are the nations of Joseph.
Historically at different times Britain and the USA helped create and build the up the State of Israel.
The USA supported Israel and was her main ally for a good while, and still fulfills this role on the whole.
The best friends of Israel at different times have been Australia and Canada both of which are also nations of Joseph.
We thus find nations, whom we identify as Joseph, fulfilling the role attributed to MbY. This does not mean that they come in place of MbY but rather that if MibY is to emerge from them (as may be so) then they are already preadumbrating his future undertaking.