Did Jews Ever believe the TTs Were in the West? (3 May, 2015, 14 Iyar, 5775)
Mark Williams wrote:
When Did The Jews Start Thinking The LTTs Were In The East?
And why? More importantly why has any reference to them believing they
were in Europe been expunged from the libraries of the World?
I sense Judah is being lead on a wild goose chase. By for what reason?
And by whom?
These questions need answering.
We have no proof that any such sources were ever expunged from anywhere.
If you have evidence to the contrary please inform us.
ALL (as far as we know) Jewish sources saying or indicating the TTs were in the west were brought to light by us, i.e. by Brit-Am.
We did this in our work "Ephraim" followed by additional sources in our other works and on our web-site.
The sourcs had existed but they were in Hebrew or in obscure journals and no-body paid any attention to them or realized their importance.
[Since we came along others have plagiarized what we wrote which is to be expected though more credit should have been given to us.
Credit is important since among other things it means increased interest in our work in general, more supporters, and perhaps additional funding without which functioning is difficult to say the least.
The feeling is that certain Ephraimite writers try to diminish our stature because we are Jewish.
Not only Ephraimites however but also academics appear to use our sources.
Perhaps this is for the best?
If we had to choose we would prefer that our sources be used and we not be acknowledged than that they be ignored altogether.]
British Israelite literature of about a century ago did quote from a few apostate Jews but they did not really say much.
Also some of their sources are questionable.
They say, for instance, that Maimonides referred to the Ten Tribes being in the west. He may have done so in one of his Responsa , as claimed, but I could not find it anywhere.
That source should accordingly be forgotten unless someone can come up with an acceptable reference.
What are the sources?
(1) Rashi on Obadiah 1:18 concerning the Ten Tribes being Zarephath meaning he says, France.
Other commentators such as Abarbanel saying more or less the same and adding that the term Zarephath encompasses the Island of Britain.
Nachmanides says that the TTs are in "Zarephath meaning he says "the ends of the far north". Chavel the editor of Nachmanides in the Hebrew edition implies that this means the northwest extremities of Europe.
[ There are however Jewish sources that claim Rashi was referring to Jews i.e. the Jews of France etc descend from the Ten Tribes. We understand it differently.]
(2) Post-2nd temple period Jewish legends saying the TTs are in the Isles of the Blessed meaning Britain and/or Ireland as we have explained.
(3) Jewish Arab traditions (i.e. Arab sources of Jewish origin) concerning the people of Aed (meaning the Ten Tribes) etc which are the same as no.2 above.
Also legends concerning the Sons of Moses being in France and/or the Isles of the Blessed etc and the implications concerning the TTs etc.
Hebrew Isles. Ancient Knowledge and Josephus (a source brought to our attention by Mark Williams).
Aed and the Lost Tribes in Britain. The Lost Ten Tribes in Celtic and Arabic Lore
THE LOST TEN TRIBES AND TSEREFAT
Britain, France, and West Europe in Explicit Prophecy
There may well be much than this available that is waiting to be unearthed. Even what there is could seem like a lot if presented well.
Nevertheless it is not that much and much of it still needs our commentaries and explanations to be appreciated.
Even so, taken together with the Biblical Proofs it is quite powerful.
The value of Jewish sources also lies in their affirmation of Brit-Am explanations of Biblical texts.
We may say that the Biblical texts mean "this and that". This is usually the literal meaning.
Others however can come along and say they mean something different.
Even though we may obviously (at least to our mind) be in the right a lot of time and energy is saved when we can point to a revered Jewish traditional commentator who explained the text the same as we do.
After the above, why do Jews believe the TTs are in the east?
First of all the TTs were taken at first mostly to the east.
Halah, Habor, the River of Gozan, Hara, and the Cities of the Medes, are in a northwesterly direction from the Land of Israel.
Only later did they move westward.
[The additional exile of Israelites by ship to the west is an understanding developed by us though others (e.g. Abarbanel, Yehonatan) may have hinted at this possibility.]
Secondly there were legends and reports in the Middle Ages of the TTs being in the east. Some of these reports may have been genuine.
As an example consider Bukharia which is now part of present-day Uzbekistan.
# Bukharan Jews
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedi
# Among Bukharan Jews, there are two ancient theories of how Jewish people settled in Central Asia. Many Bukharan Jews trace their ancestry to the Tribe of Napthali and to the Tribe of Issachar of the Lost Tribes of Israel who may have been exiled during the Assyrian captivity of Israel in 7th century BCE. There is another tradition stating that Central Asian Jews are descendants of the Israelites who never returned from the Babylonian captivity after exile in the 6th-5th century BCE.
Modern sources have described the Bukhara Jews as, for example, "an ethnic and linguistic group in Central Asia, claiming descent from 5th-century exiles from Persia". #
We think the "modern sources" quoted above are correct in this matter.
Most Bukharan Jews did come through Persia and are part of Judah.
There had however been elements from the TTs in that area.
People pick up the traditions of the Land they dwell in.
So too in other cases.
Thirdly it should be remembered that Jews when searching for the TTs are looking for Jews.
They are not looking for pagans or Christians.
Rabbi Eliyahu was a pioneer in Israel in searching for the Ten Tribes. All the other more or less follow in his footsteps.
In a conversation years ago, with Yair Davidiy, Rabbi Eliyahu said he wants people who may or may not be descended from Israelites but at least have some belief to that effect, some Jewish-type practices, and who also are prepared to convert to Judaism.
He said he wants to look across the table and see someone who is prepared to believe in One God and keep the commandments.
Therefore even if he is mistaken regarding the TTs no damage will have been done.
Concerning the present Jewish approach to the TTs being in the west:
What proof is there?
Biblical Proof such as that propounded by Brit-Am?
This is not known about, not considered, and may be ignored or contested.
This is open to interpretation and at present seems to be against the idea.
This is conventionally considered either weak or non-existent.
The proofs adduced by Brit-Am are not sufficiently known about and there is much academic prejudice to overcome.
This exists but may be attributed to other factors.
And if Jews did acknowledge the TTs to be in the west, what then?
People in the west do not want to know.
They may be offended by the idea.
Some of them hate Jews and openly say so.
Those who might listen are mostly Religious Christians.
These strongly want to convert Jews to their own beliefs.
The natural reaction of Jews is to expect those identified as TTs to want to convert to Judaism. A few do and righteous converts from those areas have been doing so for centuries.
Most however would not and would be vehemently, even violently opposed to the idea.
What then is the solution?
There isn't one.
The truth lies in this direction.
It appears that Divine Providence wants work done on this matter.
We can do what we can and let forces beyond us sort it out.
The Mishna (Ethics of the Fathers, ch.2) says:
# You do not have to finish the work but neither are you a free agent not to carry it out. #
Or the quotation in full according to the version of Gil Student:
20. Rabbi Tarfon said: The day is short, the task is great, the laborers are lazy, the wage is abundant and the master is urgent.
21. He used to say: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task. Yet, you are not free to desist from it. If you have studied much in the Torah much reward will be given you, for faithful is your employer who shall pay you the reward of your labor. And know that the reward for the righteous shall be in the time to come.