The Epithet Jew, Tassels, and Redemption!


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The Epithet Jew, Tassels, and Redemption!

Zechariah 8:
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

One of the messages of this verse is that those of the Ten Tribes who wish to return will be able to do so by acknowledging the Divine Origin of the Rabbinical Oral Law!
This is explained below.
Before we go on let us repeat that we ourselves are not interested in converting anyone to Judaism.
We have no such desire nor do we have the qualifications or where-to-do background for such an issue. This discussion should be considered merely food-for-thought.
We in Brit-Am are concerned with proving who the physical descendants of the Ten Tribes are today.
On a private level we would say to those who are searching to understand Scripture that the Rabbinical Commentaries should not be dismissed.
Concerning the Lost Ten Tribes and their present-day identification Rabbinical Sources have proven themselves to be of great value. They should likewise be considered favorably in other matters.

Some of our articles and statements are for us Articles of Faith; others may be considered learned opinion; and there are those of our pronunciations that are more like insights or remarks for simple consideration. This present article is in the last category.

The Ten Men from every language of the nations may represent the Lost Ten Tribes or they may be simply be Gentiles who will turn their hearts back to the Almighty in the Last Days.
The simple meaning is that the verse refers to non-Israelite Gentiles in general. The Commentary of the Radak opines that the number ten has been chosen as simply illustrative of a substantial number e.g.
ten women shall bake your bread in one oven (Leviticus 26:26).
Also the point that these ten men will come from every language of the nations suggests that the Gentiles of the world are being referred to.
Nevertheless, as we shall see below, an especial relevance may be seen as also applicable to the Ten Tribes.

the sleeve. in Hebrew "canaf" meaning the corner.
This brings us to the mitsvah of tsitsit.
The Hebrews were commanded to put tsitsit (tassells) on the  corners of their garment (Numbers 15:38).

a Jewish man. In Hebrew Ish [Person who is] Yehudi, i.e. a Jew.

Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. Malbim. # Not that they will go to Jerusalem but rather they will go with the Yehudi to learn his religion and faith since they realize that God is with Israel. #

We have above the expression Ish Yehudi, a Jewish Man.
Fishel Mael (Shivtei Yisrael, USA, 1997) discusses the term "Jew" and "Jewish" as applicable, or as sometimes applied to, Israelites in general. The thread of his discussion consists mainly of quoting relevant sources and pointing to the connection between them.

Genesis 49:
8 Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father's children shall bow down before you.

The expression  above "shall praise" in Hebrew is Yoduca i.e. they shall acknowledge you, or they shall own up to the truth that you have.

All Israelites (or at least all those Israelites who keep the Israelite Faith, or are recognizable as being obliged to do so) in the Bible are sometimes referred to as Jews.

Esther 2:
5 In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite.

Rashi: They were exiled with the exile of Judah. All those who were exiled with the Kings of Judah were referred to amongst the Gentiles as Jews, even if they came from another tribe.

The Yemenite Midrash HaGadol (on Genesis 49:8) tells us:
# Said Rabbi Pinchas: The verse (Genesis 49:8 i. e. Your brothers shall acknowledge the truth that you have) refers to the fact that Judah is as his name [connoting acknowledgment of the truth] as his mother said,
# And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Now I will praise [acknowledge] the Lord.' Therefore she called his name Judah [from the root YDA meaning acknowledge the truth and by implication give thanks] (Genesis 29:35). Likewise his brothers will acknowledge him,  #you are he whom your brothers shall praise [Hebrew Yoduca" i.e. they shall acknowledge you] Genesis 49:8.
So too, it says, # yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler [although the birthright was Joseph's]# 1-Chronicles 5:2. They are all called by your name, e.g.
# the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves [and their descendants and all who would join them...] [Esther 9:26]. No-one describes [Israelites as]  Simeonites, or Reubenites, but they do say Yehudim [Jews named after Judah].
Acknowledgement of the Truth is a trait of your Tribe.
Concerning Achan [from the Tribe of Judah] it says:
# And Achan answered Joshua and said, 'Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel...# (Joshua 7:20).
So too, David [also from the tribe of Judah] said:
# I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,'
[And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah] # Psalms 32:5.
Mercy is close to them [since they acknowledge their sins]
# Whoever confesses and forsakes [his sins] will be shown mercy #. Proverbs 28:13.

Fishel Mael brings sources saying that the term "Yehudi" (Jew) refers to the quality of denying false gods.
See "Shivtei Yisrael" (pp. 192-202) by Fishel Mael.
The Israelite Tribes
Selected Essays Based on the Work of Fishel Mael.

In the end times the truth of Judah will be acknowledge by everyone:

Isaiah 2:
3 Many people shall come and say,
'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.'
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

Isaiah 60:
1 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

This is also the primary meaning of Zechariah 8:23.

Zechariah 8:23 has a secondary message. The non-Israelites or the Ten Tribe members will take hold of the corner of the garment of the Jewish man.
This corner bears the tassell i.e. the tsitsit (plural: tsitsot, Numbers 15:39).

Numbers 15:
38 'Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. 39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.'

The Sages taught based on the Hebrew passages and their own traditions (also usually hinted at in the Hebrew verses) that the tassels had to be specially made threads placed on the four corners of every four-cornered garment made of wool or linen. The tassels were to be white or otherwise the same color as the garment and they were to include a special blue thread made from the dye of a specific sea creature. If the dye was not available then the tsitsot were to be attached without the blue thread.
Recently attempts have been made to identify the dye in question and to revive its usage.
Guide to Tsitsit with Tekhelet
Including Photo and Diagrams

Religious Jews place tsitsot on the corners of their prayer shawls (tallitot). Also many Jews wear a four-cornered undergarment with attached tsitsot.

These tsitsot are nowadays made from wool. The threads are woven according to a set formula and the tassels are then attached according to tradition based on Scripture.

Occasionally in Jerusalem one meets non-Jews who have adopted Hebraic customs. Usually they belong to some group or other though sometimes they are independent.
Some of these place colored tassels on the fringes of their garments. These tassels are imitations of the Jewish ones but obviously with deviations both in their mode of production and application.

A Rabbi in Jerusalem told me that he met an American non-Jew with blue, red, and white fringes tied to his belt.
He asked him what they were for and received the answer that they were in  fulfillment of the commandment of Numbers chapter 15.
The Rabbi then said that at that moment he thought of Brit-Am and my humble self.
Other similar incidents involving the tsitsot have involved us.

Because we say that the Ten Tribes are now to be found amongst Western Peoples we are identified with those non-Jews from the West who deviate from Jews and invent practices of their own.
The non-Jews who invent their own version of the tsitsot usually do not know Hebrew and do not know the sources.
Sometimes they say that they are following the Karaites but really they mean that they think they know better than the Orthodox Jews followers of Rabbinical Tradition.
The Christian Messiah is reported to have urged his followers to obey the Pharisees because they sit in the Seat of Moses (Matthew 23:2) i.e. they have the authority that Moses had. On other occasions he also may have spoken disparagingly of the Pharisees. This is assuming that the original documents were not subsequently doctored. In any case, it is the disparaging remarks his followers sometimes choose to emphasize. The Pharisees are identified with the Rabbis. Israelite Tribal Christians may seem to feel that doing what the Rabbis say might be construed as being unfaithful to their own Savior. At the same time they feel they should keep the commandments so they invent alternatives.
This is fair enough.
It is a free country.
Nevertheless it is irresponsible.
It is both somewhat offensive and in the eyes of others a possible cause of derision.
And there is no authority for it!
Rabbinical tradition does not always claim to be based on the Bible but in fact it is.

Zechariah 8:
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

Personally, I do not know if non-Jews should wear tsitsot.
My guess is that some Rabbis might not approve it.
The Rabbis are usually against imitations of Judaism that set themselves up as alternatives.
Nevertheless if it is to be done then (in my opinion) it should be done as the Rabbis say.
The same applies to everything else.
We need to try to bring Judah and Joseph together. Where there are differences then let us differ but why create division when there is no need for it?
Rabbinical Judaism in the eyes of most Jews (including many of the non-relgious) in Israel is considered the only valid Judaism. They are correct. The Rabbinical scholars are usually genuine, learned, and dedicated. This does not mean that they necessarily have to be automatically heeded but at least their opinions should be respected.
See Also:
King David and the Oral Law.


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Yair Davidiy
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Jerusalem 91004