Rabbi Avigdor HaKohen Miller and the Lost Ten Tribes
Reply to Rabbi M.
1. Introduction. What the Ten Tribes are about?
2. Who Was Rabbi Miller?
3. Rav Avigdor Miller on The Ten Lost Tribes, TAPE # 908
4. Brit-Am Comments: What are the Ten Tribes Today?
1. Introduction. What the Ten Tribes are about?
The article below reveals an answer given by Rabbi Avigdor Miller about The Ten Lost Tribes.
It is not what Brit-Am teaches. Nevertheless it is worth knowing about and reading the answer of Brit-Am to it.
Brit-Am in accordance with Biblical and Rabbinical sources understands the following Scenario as explaining what the Ten Tribes are about.
Abraham Isaac and Jacob were the forefathers of the Israelite nation.
Jacob was re-named Israel. He had 12 sons. These sons forefathered the 12 Tribes of Israel. One of these was Joseph who had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Each of these became Tribes in their own right.
Technically speaking there were actually 13 Tribes but Scripture keeps to a quorum of 12.
The Israelites went down to Egypt and were subjected there.
Moses led the Hebrews out and into the Wilderness where they received the Torah.
In the Wilderness they offended the Almighty several times especially in the sin of the Golden Calf and in not wanting to conquer the Land after the 12 spies brought aback a bad report about it.
These offences were to have negative repercussions later.
The Hebrews conquered the Land, made Jerusalem the Capital, and built the Temple.
They were expected to keep the Law, learn the Torah, subdue all the Land, drive out the pagan inhabitants, and eventually cause all of humanity to better its ways. These tasks were too big for them. They were not at a high enough level and neither was the world ready at the time. Consequently they were divided. One half, headed by Judah, would henceforth retain the Torah and have to develop their understanding of it and put it into practice.
The other half, led by Joseph, were to descend to the level of the heathen, become like them, intermix with them, and then evolve upwards drawing the Gentiles upwards with them.
This is what has happened. The Jews kept the Torah and developed means of applying and understanding it.
The Ten Tribes led by Joseph conquered most of the World at some stage or other, except for some of the Land of Edom. Lands they did not conquer were strongly influenced by them through their example, economic and cultural dominance, or in other ways. Relatively speaking despite much that is still seriously lacking most of the world is more civilized today than it was centuries ago. The Ten Tribes are largely to credit for this.
At some time in the future the two halves need to re-join became unified with each other. Until then each side should do what it can. Becoming aware of who the Ten Tribes really are is a necessary step forward.
2. Who Was Rabbi Miller?
Wikipedia (adapted) tells us:
Avigdor HaKohen Miller (1908 - 2001) was an American Haredi rabbi, author, and lecturer. He served simultaneously as a communal rabbi, Spiritual Supervisor of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, and as a teacher in a Hareidi Girls College.
Rabbi Miller authored several books about Jewish history, Jewish thought, the pernicious falsehood behind Evolutionary Theory, and other subjects. Over a span of 50 years, more than 2,500 lectures by Miller in English were published as tape cassettes, as well as several in Yiddish. He gave most of his lectures in his Midwood synagogue. During his lifetime he influenced a large number of Jews mainly of Modern Orthodox type. After his death h\is followers have continued in various ways to promote his heritage and teachings. Miller sought to awaken his audiences to the fundamental principle that there is a plan and purpose to every minute detail of life in this world, and he wished to make them happy and excited about its benefits. He was against the State of Israel in principle though many of his students made aliyah and belong to both the Hareidi and the National Religious camps.
Rabbi Miller was outspoken in his belief that the Holocaust was a divine response to Jewish cultural assimilation in Europe. He wrote:
# Hitler was not only sent by Heaven, but was sent as a kindness from Heaven... Because assimilation and intermarriage are worse than death ... and the German Jews and others ignored the Torah-teachers and refused to desist from their mad race into assimilation, the Nazis were sent to prevent them and rescue them before they were swallowed up by the nations. #
Forwarded by Amnon Goldberg:
Are the aseres hashevatim [Ten Tribes] still living nowadays?
Now that's a question that there's a misunderstanding about. Some people think that there is somewhere in the world where the ten shevatim [Tribes] are concealed and we don't know where they are. Don't believe it!
There was a time when such a thing was a possibility. When the world didn't have any communication, so you could live in a certain village and not know what's in the next village. Some people never travelled to the next village all their lives. And therefore, there were places that were separated, isolated, and there could have been a place where some of the aseres hashevatim [Ten Tribes] lived. But today we know the entire world already.
Today the aseres hashevatim [Ten Tribes] exist but not in any separate groups. They are mixed among us today. You will not find them in any individual groups. And so, when the navi [Prophet] says , that they'll all come together, "those who were lost in the land of Assyria and they who were scattered in the land of Egypt" (Isaiah 27:13), it only means that we will all come up together to Yerushalayim and then Hashem will point out which one of us is from are from Reuven, which ones are from Shimon and so on.
But it is impossible today that a shevet [Tribe] should be hiding some place because we know the entire world. And if they are hiding then it's a very big avlah [misdeed] of theirs: Why are you hiding?! Why don't you come out and join the Am Yisroel [People of Israel] today? Let's say there is a shevet hiding somewhere in the middle of Africa, "From beyond the rivers of Cush" (Zephaniah 3:10)# beyond some African rivers#. They know about us today, everybody knows. So why shouldn't they come up to Yerushalayim today? Why shouldn't they come and buy a shas [entire set of the Talmud]? They should buy the Vilna Shas [a much revered set of the Talmud] ! What are you doing there behind the rivers of Kush [Africa]? It's impossible today that a shevet should be hiding!
# Zephaniah 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Cush
My worshipers, My dispersed ones,
Will bring My offerings.
And if the shevet is so mixed among the gentiles that they don't know who they are, then they are like goyim; they really are goyim. They are "ovdei avoda zara" [worshippers of idols]. It's impossible that a shevet of ovdei avoda zara will be brought back to us, no.
Only that in the days of Eldad haDani, in the days of the earlier Rishonim [early authorities], there were still communities that were unknown to the world. Columbus didn't know about America; there was a whole world he didn't know about. And therefore when Eldad haDani reported that he had met certain shevatim, yes, in his time it was very possible. They had no contact with the rest of the world; there was no printing, there were no shasim [copies of the Talmud], no newspapers lehavdil [on the contrary], and they knew nothing about the world. So it was possible for a shevet [tribe] of nidachim [outcasts] of Reuven or Shimon who were still alive some place and they maintained all their loyalty to Hashem; certainly.
But now that we know everything and the whole world is one world, it's impossible that there should be a shevet concealed somewhere and they still are willing to remain in hiding. If they would remain in hiding today it would be a very big criticism of them.
And therefore, as we said in the beginning of today's talk, all the shevatim are mixed among us today. And these are the shevatim that were
# lost in the land of Assyria and they who were scattered in the land of Egypt #; but today they are mixed among us. And one day we'll all come together and "worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 27:13).
4. Brit-Am Comments: What are the Ten Tribes Today?
It is important to note that Rabbi Miller was important but not representative! He had great influence but was not really considered authoritative. His often controversial remarks were generally considered of interest but not necessarily authoritative at least nopt on every issue.
He can be disagreed with.
He claims that the Lost tribes today are intermixed together with the Jews. This opinion exists but it is that of a minority.
It is fiercely contradicted by Nachmanides and Abarbanel and others.
He has accepted a false concept about a real phenomenon and then rejected the concept because his appreciation of it was a false one to start with!
In the Middle Ages there were different ideas concerning the Lost Ten Tribes.
False or mistaken reports claimed that somewhere, in some isolated place, beyond the Mountains, lived the Ten Tribes. They were described as being observant of the Torah and similar to the Jews of that time only isolated.
Rabbi Miller is saying that since we have travelled all over the world and not found anyone like that then the Ten Tribes are not there but rather within the Jewish People.
This however is not what Scripture tells us.
We understand the Prophets as saying that the Ten Tribes will get LOST and lose consciousness of their ancestry.
"From beyond the rivers of Cush" (Zephaniah 3:10)
is not referring to people in Africa. The term "Cush" could mean Africa but it was also applied to Central Asia and to India.
The Anglo-Saxons, Scythians, and others were once in that region as explained in detail in our work "The Tribes," and in other works of ours.
Eldad Ha-Dani was probably a Khazer. he lived around 800 CE. The Khazars were a mixture of Jews whose fathers had abandoned their religion, Gentiles with traditions they descended from Israel, and probably also some who were simply Gentiles. Many of they had begun to observe Jewish customs and wished to be recognized as Jews. The Rabbis of that time apparently used their legal authority, declared them all legally Gentiles to prevent confusion, and then converted them! See: Hebrew Warriors.
Eldad wrote about the Ten Tribes among the Khazars. He also collated legends and tradition from other areas including Ethiopia. He jumbled all these together. What he wrote was copied down and generously added to.
Numerous versions of what he wrote exist. These collections are valuable since here and there they may contain correct information or hints to it.
Rabbi Miller says that IF the Ten Tribes are "ovdei avoda zara" [worshippers of idols] then " they really are goyim."
This is correct according to the Law.
Even a Jew who worships idols after a few generations is considered the same as a non-Jew. [Most Jews for some reason are not aware of this, see Eliyahu of Vilna in his commentary to the punishment for an apostate city, Deuteronomy 13:15].
The Prophets (e.g. Hosea and Jeremiah 3:8 , Divorced) speak of this.
The Ten Tribes when they return will need to RENEW THE COVENANT!
It is what the Jews from Ethiopia usually do.
This is virtually the same as conversion.
The Israelites in the Wilderness did this on more than one occasion.
The Ten Tribes exist. When they return they will renew the Covenant and once again be obliged to keep the Law.
This whole process will be conducted by Prophets or similarly inspired emissaries of the Almighty. At present such personages are not around.
The Messiah will tell each Israelite which Tribe he or she belongs to.
Physically however the Ten Tribes are with us and concentrated in certain specific areas. We can point to this and show where and who they were.
This is a beginning. It needs to be done.
The Ten Tribes when they return will do so as a group, one body of returnees.
No-one is being called upon to convert as an individual unless they feel an inner compulsion to do so.
They who say otherwise are misleading.
The Lost Ten Tribes in our day are being called upon to realize who they may well be. To Repent and learn the Bible.
Separate from Judah
[Isaiah 11:12] AND HE SHALL SET UP AN ENSIGN FOR THE NATIONS, AND SHALL ASSEMBLE THE OUTCASTS OF ISRAEL, AND GATHER TOGETHER THE DISPERSED OF JUDAH FROM THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH "
[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. "
Malbim (on Micah 2:12): re "AND SHALL ASSEMBLE THE OUTCASTS OF ISRAEL, AND GATHER TOGETHER THE DISPERSED OF JUDAH" (Isaiah 11;12). The Jews were Dispersed and Scattered. They need to be gathered togather. Israel, meaning the Ten Tribes, on the other hand were not scattered only cast out from where they were. They do not need to be gathered togeher only assembled and brought in.
Unknown to Judah
In other words, the Jews will ask where were all those now identified as Israel when the Jews needed help and were alone? According to the Midrash (Pesikta Rabati 32;10) this reaction of the Jews will take place WHEN THEY SEE THE THREE EXILES OF THE LOST TEN TRIBES RETURNING!