Brit-Am Now no. 1213
26 August 2008, 25 Av 5768
1. Question on Manasseh and "Bnei Menashe" of Burma
2. Is it a shame to be a descendant of the tribe of Dan?
3. Approaching the Rabbinate regarding Joseph


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1. Question on Manasseh and "Bnei Menashe" of Burma

Hello Yair -
I have a question for you.  Through the years I have read your web page with such interest.  I know that you say that the tribe of Manasseh is the one that primarily migrated to the United States.  Somehow I thought they would look like the Europeans.  Today I read the following in 

News Item:
1st time: Entire 'Lost tribe of Israel' allowed 'home'
Indian group believes its lineage includes biblical patriarch Joseph


Bnei Menashe men in India reciting traditional Jewish prayer (photo: Shavei Israel)
JERUSALEM ? After years of diplomatic wrangling, the Israeli government has given permission to a community of Indian citizens who believe they are one of the "lost tribes" of Israel to move legally to the Jewish state.
This decision, first reported in Israel's
Maariv newspaper, clears the way for the arrival here of 7,232 members of the Bnei Menashe. They believe they are the descendants of Manasseh, one of the biblical patriarch Joseph's two sons and a grandson of Jacob.
Yesterday the Jerusalem Post and
Haaretz newspapers quoted an official in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office denying the government approved the immigration of the Bnei Menashe, stating Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, whose office oversees the process of immigration and absorption, refused to sign off on the deal.
But a source close to the immigration negotiations affirmed to
WND the Bnei Menashe indeed have been cleared to move to Israel. The source said government officials were upset the story was leaked to Maariv before the approval decision was formally announced. The source added Olmert's office even had a press release written and ready to go announcing the decision.


A group from India claims to be from the tribe of Manasseh and have been granted entrance to live in Israel. 
 I know you are a busy man.  When you have a moment to spare could you please explain this to me?  Thank you so much!
 Frances (Fort Worth, Texas)

Brit-Am Reply:

These people in our opinion are not from the Tribe of Manasseh.
Even if they were they would represent a break-away group from the main body
who intermixed with other people yet retained some kind of hazy tradition of Israelite ancestry.
The tradition the so-called "Bnei Manasseh" have of being Israelite is in fact quite doubtful
and may be the invention of one of their members who died of alcoholism.
They were originally pagans and then converted to Christianity.
Their "Bnei Manasseh" identification is probably linked to a Christian context.
It is a common phenomenon amongst new converts of pagans to Christianity
that they seek a more literal identification than that intended by whoever missionized them.
 See our article:
The Burma Blues
Who is Israel? The Burmese or "Danny Boy"?

2. Is it a shame to be a descendant of the tribe of Dan?
Cynthia wrote:

Do you think the tribe of Dan will return to Israel ? Is it a shame to be a descendant of the tribe of Dan  even if you also are descended from some  of the other tribes ?

Brit-Am Reply:
 Tribal affiliation in principle is determined by the father and one has only one Tribe to which one belongs.
It is no shame to be descended from Dan.
I myself now think I MAY (or may not) be descended from Dan.
Dan however has weaknesses of his own that it is worth being aware of.
Dan in tradition was more pulled to idolatry than other tribes and more involved with non-Israelites and absorbed their values.
On the other hand Dan also had virtues of his won.
Dan was a warrior, a guardian of the rear, a peace-maker amongst the tribes, an avoider of fraternal conflict yet definitely not weak or afraid, a doer of justice,  affinity with Judah though extremely different, etc.

3. Approaching the Rabbinate regarding Joseph

 Shalom Yair,

Should not the Rabbinate be petitioned to accept the ten tribes into Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] in order that the Shekinah [Divine Presence] of OUR ETERNAL WILL RETURN TO US?

Brit-Am Reply:
No person has spoken to the Rabbinate [Rabbinical authorities in Israel] on this matter and they are not liable to do so.
The Rabbinate will not accept anyone who was not born legally Jewish or who does not wish to convert to Judaism no matter if they are of Jewish descent or of the Ten Tribes.
We emphasize again,
There is no point in trying to change this NOR is anyone trying to do so.
This applies for Brit-Am and anyone else.

Divine Providence does however want the awareness of Israelite ancestry amongst the Ten Tribes to be aroused.
This is what we can do and what should be done at present.
Brit-Am has the tools and the approach to do this, possibly better than others.
The approach of Brit-Am is also that most acceptable to Judah.
There are some people who would prefer something different, something better, but for the time being this is what there is.
True work involves the presentation of facts, recognized reference sources, and valid opinion.
Emotional identifications are also of value but not permanently.
An analogy is applying for a business loan,
If one goes to the Bank for a loan it is best to have some collateral. Failing that if one has a business plan and is able to present it logically and coherently there still remains a chance of the application being accepted. An appeal to the emotions may obtain a sympathetic hearing or it may not but a positive answer is unlikely. Saying that one needs the money and is certain of being able to return it but not being sure exactly how does not make a good impression.
Even if the person in charge should be convinced and want to help you they have to make reports that others must confirm.
So too,  claims to belong to the Lost Ten Tribes should be accompanied by evidence and not based solely on instinctual identification.
Brit-Am works to provide that evidence.
The best work of Brit-Am in presenting our approach is "The Tribes" followed by "Origin" which in some ways summarizes information in "The Tribes" along with additional material.

A  Warning from the Past into the Future
"And you shall drive out the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein; for I have given the land to you to possess it. But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those that you let remain will be as thorns in your eyes, and as pricks in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land in which you dwell. And it shall come to pass, that as I thought to do unto them, so will I do to you."  (Parshat Masei - Numbers 33: 53, 55, 56)


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