Friday, February 8, 2008

The Lost Tribes

In addition to the rebuilding of the temple and the return of the Jewish people to Israel, one of the events that will occur in the messianic era will be the reunification of the lost tribes of Israel with Levi and Yehuda, the two tribes that remain today with a Jewish identity and communal life. There are various opinions about what will occur. Some say that remnants among the Jewish community will rediscover their lost lineage. Others say that the lost tribes mixed among the nations will rediscover and return to their ancient lineage.
Each of Jacob's twelve sons, as well as his grand-children from Joseph, constituted a separate tribe with distinctions in custom , religious practice and character. They spanned a range of occupations from priestly to scholarly and mercantile. In the best of times, they complemented each other and worked well together. There were notable departures from this ideal as well, which led to the division of the Holy Land into two kingdoms, with Israel and its ten tribes lost until this day.
The Jewish people is supposed to be a light to the bations of the world , not only through teaching, but also through our individual and collective example. The last hundred years has seen many fratricidal wars and ethnic conflicts, from the Balkans to Rwanda, Greece and Turkey
as well as the Congo and Northern Ireland.
In order to speak to someone about their problems, it is most helpful to have struggled with the same difficulties as well. Alcoholics Anonymous, and support groups for various sicknesses operate on this premise.
If the Jewish people were a monolith, it would be difficult to speak to the concerns of Serbs and Croats or Hutu and Tutsi. The beauty of our division into twelve very distinct tribes is that we can model to the world a society in which differences both embraced and maintained by the Jewish people strengthen rather than weaken us. It is this possibility as much as the joy of discovering long lost relatives that makes me long for the reunion of the twelve tribes.
I find some pale consolation in learning about various Jewish languages still spoken by Jews such as Yiddish, Ladino, Aramaic and of course the revived language of modern Hebrew.
Some of the tithes as well as the sacrifices can no longer be offerd in the absence of our temple , the Beth HaMikdash. But we are promisedin commentary on this week's Torah portion of trumah that Tzedakah, which translates into English as charity will hasten the end of our long exile. Likewise, even in the absence of the full roster of twelve tribes, we can still approach our differences within families, communities and the Jewish nation in a constructive way. we should find strength, where possible in our diversity. Where this is not possible, we should differ firmly but without acrimony where principles are at stake . This, our sages promise will also hasten the end of our long exile.
All Rights Reserved Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe. Sphere: Related Content

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