Ruminations on the Destiny of the People of Israel, Part II
Today (10 July 2012) is less than three weeks away from the 9th day of the Rabbinic month Av, tish'á b'av, the fast day of remembrance of the destruction of the Temples of Solomon and of Herod - both of which occurred on this day of disaster. It is fitting that I return to the subject of the Destiny of the People of Israel, a subject I considered first in early 2007. The original essay on the topic can be read here, and I strongly suggest you do read it before you continue reading what I write below. It lays out, if nothing else, important definitions that allow one to speak with clarity of the Children of Israel, a clarity that avoids confusion. Like my previous essay six years ago, this essay does not deal with "the 'Arab-Israeli crisis,' the 'Middle East crisis' or any other of the cataracts that stand in the way of free flow of thought, ideas, people and commerce in this part of the world. I’m not writing about peace, I’m not writing about war. I’m not writing about making peace or making war. Those issues are not for this article. I’m writing solely about the destiny of my people, עם ישראל, the People of Israel."
The reason this is worth noting is that Jacob, renamed Israel in the Torah [b'reishít/GENESIS 35:10], was blessed with twelve sons given him by four wives [b'reishít/GENESIS 35:23-26]. In addition to the twelve sons, he adopted as sons the sons of Joseph (his favorite son), Ephráim and Menashé [b'reishít/GENESIS 48:5-6]. These then constitute the Tribes of Israel, as these were the patriarchs who produced tribes. The Torah and Jewish tradition do not generally refer to a "Tribe of Joseph", referring instead to the tribes of his two sons. But amongst the Pashtun, we see a large tribe called Yusufzai - the tribe of Joseph. The Pashtun are the descendants of those Israelites driven from the Land by the Assyrians 2,730 years ago. We see their path to their present homes in Central Asia in this video in Hindi featuring Dr. Navras Ja'at Aafreedi. While most of you reading this have only the vaguest notion of Hindi, the maps repeatedly showing the path of the Israelites driven from the Land make the point rather clearly. The reason I raise this issue is that in the Torah, Jacob gives Sh'khem to Joseph as a possession. [b'reishít/GENESIS 48:22]
Is it possible that the tribe the Pashtun call the Yusufzai came from the city of Sh'khem and its environs? That they called themselves by this name, rather than Ephraim or Menashe? This seems, to me at least, a possible explanation for the title appended to such a large tribe. In attempting to trace the tribes of Israel, the only tribe I have heard no mention made of at all of is issakhár. So, out of the twelve tribes we are able to see the lines of at least ten.
At the moment, a powerful Pashtun nationalism is spreading among the Pashtun, something one can see in videos on YouTube. A large stretch of territory has been renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan in recognition of the Pashtun living in the north of the country. A tremendous resentment is brewing against the Taliban, the Americans and all foreigners who, in the eyes of the Pashtun, have brought nothing but death and destruction to Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. One can look at You Tube videos - or read the work of Professor Fazal ur-Rehman Afridi, who is now a journalist writing from Paris.
It appears to Jack Golbert, an Israeli law professor commenting on the near genocidal death faced by the Pashtun in their own land, that
a striking fact about all of the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel is that they all are in places wracked by war and turmoil. The ground is fairly burning under their feet and they cannot remain where they are, where they have lived for much more than two thousand years. I am impelled to the conclusion that the time has come for their return to the House of Israel, the Torah of Israel and to our national homeland.File that thought away. We'll come back to it later.
If you tote up the number of Pashtun and add it to the number of Jews in the world, you get a grand total of roughly 45 million souls, most of them Pashtun. Up until recently, that is how many Children of Israel I thought inhabited the planet.
I was wrong.
While communicating with Professor Afridi, I was requested to contact a gentleman named Remy Ilona from Igbo Israel Online, an organization in Nigeria. The name sounded familiar, and with a little research, I found out that the Igbo were already known to me as the Ibo. What I knew about the Igbo was that they were from southeastern Nigeria, many of them had been converted to Christianity by the British, were trained by the British as second level administrators there, and then when the Brits left in 1961, were stuck with the task of running Nigeria without the backup of British guns.
The familiar story happened to them as happens to any minority stuck with trying to rule. The majority - Hausa and Yoruba peoples of Nigeria - attacked the Igbo in pogroms (sounds awful familiar), and the Igbo fled most of the country to their homeland, which was then known as the Eastern Region. They declared independence for the region, naming it Biafra. A look at the map will tell you how successful that revolt was.
One of the first things I discovered from Mr. Ilona was that the white mainstream media never really reported on what was a genocide in Nigeria. The second significant thing I discovered from Mr. Ilona was that the "hopey changy Jesus salvation thing" (the Christianity the British shoved down their throats) wasn't working out for the Igbo - who have begun to return to their Israelite roots in a big way.
That's right. I didn't make a mistake typing. I wrote "Israelite roots".
Apparently for millennia, the Igbo have been keeping Israelite (or if your mind can't stretch that far, Jewish) customs. The big difference is that they have appeared to have lost all of their Hebrew, and, given that they have a four day week, do not have appeared to have kept the Sabbath in any way that a Jew would recognize it.
But when you look at the numbers, you have another 15 to 30 millions, living all over the world, but mostly in Nigeria. There is an article in Wikipedia dealing with "Igbo Jews". According to this article, there are about 30,000 Igbo practicing Judaism in one form or another. How accurate the article is per se is not all that important. Christianity, the faith of the overwhelming number of Igbos, is based on a fellow who showed up about 2,000 years ago in Israel who was allegedly the messianic redeemer. His claims and authority were rejected by Jews in what was then the Kingdom of Iudaea, a Roman puppet state, and he wound up nailed to a cross - the fate of hundreds of thousands of Jews under the rule of the Roman savages.
The point is that once messianic Redemption does occur, and it appears that it will occur relatively soon, Christianity will have outlived its usefulness. So will Islam, for that matter. Those people who are not Children of Israel, will take to obeying the Seven Commandments of Noah. Those of us who are Children of Israel will be attempting to obey the Torah Moses gave us. And one of the jobs of the messianic Redeemer will be to figure out just who is and who isn't a Child of Israel. If we take the most generous estimate of the Igbo population, and assume that they are of one of our Tribes, we need to add another 30 millions to the 30 million Pashtuns and 15 million Jews.
But there is more. Here, however, it gets really tricky.
When we look at the Book of Ezekiel, we learn that the Hebrews living in Judea, the high priests especially, had become sun-worshipers [yehezkél/EZEKIEL 8:15-17]. When I spoke with a Pashtun woman about what religion the Pashtuns followed at first, she said that they too, were sun-worshippers. So, we can come to the reasonable conclusion that our ancestors had departed the worship of the G-d of Israel, and at least some of them had become sun worshippers.
I thought it worth following up, at least on You Tube, and found a series of seven videos dealing with this precise topic. It is evident that the material from the videos highlighted in the previous paragraph were pulled from the seven videos linked to in this paragraph. And, in watching it, I saw fewer distortions in perception.
The series of seven videos talks of 7,000 families, totaling up to about 190,000 people, who came to Japan along the Silk Road - this at a time when the total population of Japan was about 6 million people in all.. It displays similarities between Hebrew script and one of the ancient Japanese scripts, and quite a number of similarities between Hebrew words and Japanese words. It talks of a "Gion Festival" where an ark, covered in gold, carried on two poles as was the ancient Ark of the Covenant, is hauled about for a month or so, . claiming that this analogous to a "Zion Festival", supposedly from the days of King Solomon.
But these are not the real issues. The real issues are "who are the Children of Israel in Japan?" and "how much of this is real?" This is an issue for far wiser men than I. What I can say is that if there are a significant number of Children of Israel amongst the Japanese, the image of Children of Israel being "your typical white man" will have been permanently erased. If there are, say 20 million Children of Israel amongst the Japanese, then our numbers will have been increased to nearly 100 million people - and we will look like a cross-section of the entire world we will be expected to lead. How this will sit with the types who think we should all look like pale wraiths clothed in black doesn't really bother me a whole lot. They need their world-views shaken up badly.
In concluding this, I'm forced to return to a Biblical adage - "the people will starve for lack of vision". The Jewish people lack for vision. We don't lack intelligence or imagination. If we did, we would not be the leaders of technology or science that we are, nor would we have survived against military enemies far stronger than we are. We should have been defeated decades ago, suffering, if we were suffered to survive at all, in a backward morass of the Arab world, wounded indignity heaped upon indignity and going backwards on the planet, as our Arab neighbors are.