The Religious Jewish Background of Brit-Am.
See also: Yair Davidiy
I once tried my hand at oil painting. Some of the initial results were reasonable while others less so. I then thought of selling them. By chance I met a personable person who had contacts with an Art Gallery. He said he could ensure me a sympathetic reception but the bottom line would be whether my paintings were any good or not. So too, in this case. I can relate that I learnt this and that, went here and there, spoke to so-and-so, and so on. What will count however is what we have to say and how we substantiate it.
This article concerns Brit-Am/Hebrew Awareness and Yair Davidiy since up until now Yair has been the main promoter of Brit-Am and formulator of its policies. This has necessitated contact with some Christian groups and activists (See: :Parallels) since many (maybe most) of our supporters and followers have been Christians though Religious Jews were also always present.
[Just for the record, a separate Brit-Am web-site in the Hebrew Language is intended some time in the future.]
We therefore thought it necessary at this stage to speak of the Jewish roots of Brit-Am.
Yair Davidiy was born Jewish in the technical legal sense but he was brought up in a non-Jewish environment in Australia. As an adolescent Yair acquired some knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish History. At the age of about 22, while still living in Australia, Yair decided to fully identify as a Torah-observing Jew. He associated with Observant Jews of different types. These included those belonging to the Hareidi-Hasidic community ; with Chabad; and with the National Religious (Mizrachi, Bnei Akiva) Synagogues. He learnt something from all of these groups including basic laws (Halachah), general teachings on Judaism and Jewish Philosophy, and the Hebrew Language. Yair also read a large number of books concerning Judaism in English. He then came to Israel in 1974.
In Israel he met Rabbi Yisrael Alter (1895-1977), the then head of Gur (Gerer) Hasidim, and author of the "Bais Yisroel" (pronounced as "Bayit Yisrael" in Modern Hebrew i.e. "House of Israel") which is a commentary on the weekly Torah Reading in the Synagogue. As a result of this meeting, years later, Yair bought the Commentary of Rabbi Yisroel and discovered there important information. Rabbi Yisroel Alter had written that the Children of Israel, especially as associated with Joseph, were known as "Gomer." The only people known elsewhere as Gomer were the Cimmerians and Scythians. This helps confirm our identification of the Ten Tribes with groups who became part of the Cimmerian confederation. See: https://www.britam.org/GOMER2.html. The israelite identity of "Gomer" is also a key to understanding the Prophecies of the Prohet Hosea concerning the Lost Ten Tribes. We have four books on this matter. Rabbi Alter also makes explict mention of the Ten Tribes on several occasions. Other points of value and interest were gleaned from the writings of Rabbi Alter.
An earlier prominent Rabbi of Gur Hasidim was the author of "Sefat Emet," Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847 - 1905). Concerning the confrontation of Judah with Joseph in Egypt, the "Sefat Emat" says that Judah hinted to Joseph that his power of overlordship was "in me" i.e. in Judah. In other words Joseph was able to rule by virtue of the exertions of Judah. On the Ephod [shoulder-piece of the High Priest] there was only the Shoham which is the stone of Joseph. By means of the stone of Joseph all the twelve stones are unified at their roots.
Through Joseph are the Seventy Israelite Clans linked to the Patriarchs. Joseph enabled all Israel to express their Hebrew being!
Rabbi Haim Dynovisz:
Joseph had inner qualities that set him above the Gentile Nations.
"Ever since Israel [i.e. the Jews of Judah in this context] lost the power of Joseph [after the Ten Tribes were exiled] .... they have been in Exile."
Other Chasidic works of value concerning the Ten Tribes include "Netivot Shalom" where he often speaks of Joseph and his symbolic importance; the same points apply to Weekly Talks of the recent Rabbi of Lubavitch. The author of "Pri Tsadik" frequently mentions the Ten Tribes with the Messiah son of Joseph at their head. [His explanations are similar to those of the MALBIM on this point]. There are certainly numerous other sources of equal importance each with their own unique insights and clarifications. [These sources would actually require several full-time qualified Rabbinical scholars searching through them for a few years and even then they would probably only scratch the surface. Granted, most of the source material has now been computerized. The search would therefore be easier than it isued to be but it would still take time and effort.]
After that Yair learnt for about a year in Yeshivah Shelavim, a National Religious type Yeshivah of relatively high standard. Normally they would have required more of a background in Judaism than Yair possessed but Rabbi Meir Schlesinger, the head of the Yeshivah, agreed to make an exception. Following this Yair served in the IDF. During this period Yair became acquainted with some Talmud texts, Mishna, Laws (halacahs), the commentaries of Rashi and the Radak on the Tanach (Hebrew Bible), other commentaries, and the writings of Rabbi Avraham Kook. The Philosophy of Rabbi Kook later enabled us to understand different facets of Lost Ten Tribes of Israel History.
There was a mixing-in by which a portion of the Israelites became assimilated amongst the peoples and swallowed up by them. This mixing of the blood by being taken in amongst the Gentiles, caused a great fermentation. Due to the clarity and strong surge of Israelite life-force the spirit of the Gentiles has been affected. Consequently they have progressively been becoming more and more suited to receive the appearances of Divine Light, of clear revelation and mental lucidity. This phenomenon stands ready to increasingly make its appearance in the world through the light of Israel that is progressing towards revival and ascension. An inner push caused by a renewed [Israelite] spiritual approach would cause all peoples to move forward.
"It is due to this relative advantage (of Joseph having been assimilated to the ways of the Nations) that Esau can only be defeated by the Children of Rachel (Joseph and Benjamin) (Midrash Breishit Rabah 73;7). This is as the saying goes, 'The axe that chops down the tree itself has a wooden handle' (Talmud, Sanhedrin 39;b). " Rabbi Avraham HaCohen Kook.
The Zohar says that by Joseph being prepared to fight (in the End Times, Obadiah 1:18) on behalf of all Israel he shows that there is no rancor on his part against his brothers who had sold him into Egyptian servitude (Genesis 37:28). Due to his natural purity of heart Joseph will merit to be victorious. Joseph therefore has the task of representing all of Israel and of acting on their behalf.
Rabbi Kook in his "Eulogy in Jerusalem" said that Joseph will take upon himself aspects of materialism otherwise associated with Esau in order to defeat him.
The Divine Purpose for the Exile and Division of the Tribes
We also came across the commentary of Rashi to the Biblical Book of Obadiah 1:18 explaining the Biblical text as saying that the Lost Ten Tribes went to France. Other Commentators (e.g. Abarbanel, Radak, Nachmanides, Iben Ezra) said the same or something similar, extending the areas of Exile to other parts of Western and Northern Europe including the British Isles, see Tserefat Meaning France.
Yair got married and moved to a mixed Hareidi-National Religious neighborhood known as "Yismach Mosheh," near Kiryat Ono. There he began to attend a daily lesson on the Talmud through the 'Daf Ha-Yomi" program. This goes right through the Talmud over a period of ca. 7 and a half years. Yair has completed this program two or three times. We also studied Maimonides ("Rambam") and attended lessons given by Rabbi Ratson Arusi, later Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Ono.
In the days of the Messianic King: When his kingdom shall be settled and all of Israel gather unto him, he shall then give the Tribal-genealogy of each one. He shall do this through Divine inspiration. As it says, HE SHALL SIT AS A REFINER AND PURIFIER (Malachi 3:3). He will purify the Tribe of Levi first.as it says, "till there be stood up a priest with Urim and with Thumim" (Ezra 2:63). He gives the genealogy of Israel only concerning which tribe each one belongs to.. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, The Laws of Kings, ch. 12, no.3).
The Sages (Talmud, Kiddushin 70;a) also said:
"When God decides to let it be known who belongs to which Tribe, he clarifies firstly who belongs to the Tribe of Levi, as it says, And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi... (Malachi 3;3)".
We had become acquainted with the "Daat Mikra" (Hebrew-language) series of Modern Religious commentaries on the Bible. We recommend this commentary to others and still make use of it. We moved to Beer Yaacov. There Yair was responsible for the local mikva and his wife was the supervisor of the womens mikva. These positions were highly responsible and required halachic knowledge. Later Yair became a religious scribe ("Sofer") which also needs much knowledge and an awareness of how to apply the law in practical terms. We had also become familiar with the literature of Braslaver Hasidim which has a value of its own. Yair learned in a part-time Kollel programs in the Talmud. Yair also learnt regularly with Rabbi Menachem Jacobson who was the local Rabbi and head of an important Girls College ("Seminar") in the area. The teaching of Rabbi Jacobsen helped us apply creative solutions from Torah sources to historical conundrums. See Yair Davidiy.
Eventually, after he had moved to another place, Yair prepared a manuscript (precursor to "The Tribes") about the Ten Tribes. He rang Rabbi Jacobson up, told him about it and then sent a summary to him. The Rabbi was positive and supportive. He also tried to make contacts in order to perhaps promote this study. For sundry reasons however Yair and the Rabbi lost contact.
We had moved to Shiloh. In Shiloh we began to go through Midrashic texts as well as learning more Tanach with the Commentaries of Abarbanel and others.
Over the succeeding years we went along the same path growing in knowledge and understanding. We also had begun accumulating texts and sources indicating that the Lost Ten Tribes were to be found among Western peoples. THIS IS WHAT STARTED US OFF ON THIS PATH IN A SERIOUS WAY! Later intensive historical and related studies helped confirm what the Jewish religious texts had already shown. The Lost Ten Tribes were to be found among Western peoples!
We moved around, eventually publishing our first work "The Tribes" while in Sussia, south of Hebron, as related in the article Yair Davidiy. During all this while, we were adding to our knowledge and finding new sources of pertinence. The Commentaries of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch and the Natsiv were of great value to us.
Several years later, in Jerusalem, we became close to Rabbi Mordecai Machlis attending many of his communal meals, his prayer group at the Kotel (Western Wall), and regular lessons in the Tanach. Rabbi Mordechai has most of our books, appears to have read them, and think well of them.
At present we dwell in the Ultra-Orthodox city (ca. 70,000 inhabitants) of Beitar Ilit. We continue to learn. We often attend a part-time Kollel (organized learning-group) where we learn with a study partner. Rabbi David Feldman heads the Kollel. Rabbi Feldman has supplied Brit-Am with many new sources of value concerning the Lost Ten Tribes and related matters. Our articles on the characteristics of individual Tribes reflect this input.
All this helps show that we are on the right track and that our explanations and identifications are substantiated by Rabbinical Sources. They deserve to be considered and accepted. Many more Rabbinical sources are regularly utilized in our reseachers as may be seen by what has been published on our web-sites. "Safer Ha-Shevatim" by Rabbi Fishel Mael has proved invaluable.