Before his death, Isaac our Patriarch, wanted to
bless his firstborn Esau with a material blessing
“So may G-d give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth” [Genesis, 27:28]. Rebecca, the loving mother, believed that Isaac was about to deliver to Esau the spiritual blessing, of which he was not worthy, and urged her younger son Jacob to take this blessing for himself. Jacob obeys his mother in an act that is to be considered an act of the Patriarchs that will be perpetuated throughout the generations by the descendants, and brings both a material and spiritual blessing to Jacob and to the Jewish People.
In possession of both blessings, Jacob married both Rachel, who was intended for him, and Leah, who was intended for Esau, thus preparing for the future separation of the People of Israel into two destinies and two kingdoms.
Two kings rose to lead Israel: Judah the son of Leah and Joseph the son of Rachel. Judah is the spiritual leader and Joseph the material leader. Judah strengthens the unique national destiny, while Joseph personifies the universal purpose of the Jewish People that will be revealed at the end of days – that is to be “the light unto the nations.”
The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
When Solomon’s kingdom was divided into two parts because of his sins, as prophesied by Ahijah the Shilonite [Kings I, 11], Jeroboam the son of Nebat of the tribe of Ephraim (the son of Joseph) received Ten Tribes to be the kingdom of Israel. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam of the tribe of Judah, received only the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
This way the dual destiny of the Jewish People became a national reality.
The Exiles of the Two Kingdoms
The Ten Tribes, comprising the kingdom of Israel, were exiled by the Assyrians approximately 135 years before the destruction of the First Temple. The kingdom of Judah was exiled by the Babylonians after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. The Judean exile was scattered to the four corners of the earth [Isaiah, 11:12], while the exile of the Ten Tribes remained in populated concentrations in the region in which they were placed, in general northeast of Israel.
The Locations of the Exiles
When examining sources which refer to the return of the tribes [Isaiah, 11 and 28], it seems that the kings of Assyria exiled the Ten Tribes to the kingdom of Assyria and across the Euphrates river. The general direction is north of Israel, although it may easily be east or northeast.
Reasons for the Exile of the Ten Tribes
Both the bible [Amos 6] and the Sages [Tractate Sabbath 147] state that the exile of the Ten Tribes was caused by materialism and immorality.This spiritual condition, which preceded the exile, evokes the terrible warning of Hosea [7:8]: “Ephraim, he mixes himself among the peoples.”
Life in the Exile
According to Jeremiah [31:20] and Ezekiel [11:14], the tribes in exile retain a few signs and indications which will
serve to identify their past and return them to the Land of Israel.
From the various sources we understand that the Ten Tribes live in exile as gentiles, retaining some vestiges of their Jewishness by which they will be able to return at the End of Days. However, they will require conversion, in order to resolve any problems of forbidden marriages.
The Return of the Tribes by Jeremiah
The Talmud mentions several times that Jeremiah returned the Ten Tribes and that Josiah reigned over them. Rashi explains that Jeremiah returned a small number of the exiles, but that most will remain in exile until the final redemption.
This opinion evoked many discussions throughout the generations regarding if and when the exiles would be redeemed.
Some claimed that the tribes would not be redeemed because they defamed the Land of Israel.
Today, this discussion is no longer a question of faith, but a practical problem of whether we should search for the Ten Tribes and assist them in returning to the Land. Most opinions agree that we are commanded to seek out and return to the fold anyone who has a Jewish soul and is of Israelite origin. Indeed, spiritual salvation is even more important than the physical saving of lives, and the greater the proofs and signs of Israelite origin, the greater the mitzvah in assisting them in return to Judaism.
Amishav’s great mission is to find the Jewish People’s lost and assimilated offspring, convert them, and bring them back into the fold of Judaism in Israel. For this reason, Amishav representatives have explored out to India, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Japan, and other countries to locate descendants of the Jewish People. Amishav has brought Jews from Mexico, Peru, and most significantly about 1,000 members of the Bnei Menashe tribe from Mizoram and Manipur in northeastern India.
Amishav promotes research & publications on the descendants of the Ten Tribes,
which assimilated in the Diaspora and were “lost” to the Jewish people.
Amishav initiates contacts and actions to restore communities to Judaism and Israel,
in order to bring about the Prophetic Ingathering of the Exiled of Israel –