"Brit-Am Now"-283

August 26, 2003
1. Descendants of David?
2. Questions from Rabbi:

1. Descendants of David?

Have you heard anything about the following convention to be held in Jerusalem
(originally it was slated for October 2003, but apparently has been moved to
June 2007).

". . . . Now Roth, of New Jersey and Jerusalem, is organizing the first-ever
gathering of the descendants of King David in more than 2,000 years, to be
held in Jerusalem, June 5-7, 2007.

According to Roth, there are thousands of Jews and non-Jews who can trace
their ancestry to the Davidic line. At the convention DNA samples will be
from those in attendance and tested. Research carried out a few years ago on
male Kohanim descended from the Jewish priestly line of Aharon revealed a
mutation on the Y-chromosome in some 85 percent of those tested, confirming
existence of a single common ancestor. Roth hopes that similar dramatic
will result from testing the Davidic royal line.

Proportionally only a few of the royalty lines are known, the rest have been
obscured by time. What is known is that 15 Jewish families have traditionally
claimed to have descended from King David.

Twelve of those families trace themselves back to Rashi, who was descended
from the marriage between King David and Hagit. The families include:
Berdugo, Don Yehiya, Halperin, Harlap, Horowitz, Katzenelbogen, Lurie,
Rabinowitz, Shaltiel, Shapira, and Weil. Three families, go back to
Solomon's line
from the marriage of Batsheva and David, which is the messianic line. Those
families are Dayan, Elfandari and Peretz. . . ."

David Cruz

P.S.   Jewish Diaspora Database

2. Questions from Rabbi:
>I was referred to your site by a friend. I have some questions if you
>would be so kind to address them.
>1) You appear to be presenting a theory of inclusion within the Jewish
>people (based upon many Torah citations) that would possibly trigger a
>belief in the minds of Gentiles that:-
>  if they are British/Canadian etc... and not anti-Semitic... then they
> are presumably of Jewish descent. Is that a fair characterization?

>2) If (1) above is correct...then what is the Halachic basis for such an
>invitation to Gentiles for them to believe such.... and possibly present
>themselves as Jews when al pe Din [according to Law] they may possibly not be?
>3) Have you received approbation from any Gedolei Torah for your online
>  If so.... may I ask from whom?
>I am not attacking you. I am trying to understand the ramifications of
>what you are doing.
>I was of the understanding that only Moshiach is capable of clarifying
>questionable Jewish lineage via Ruach HaKodesh.
>I would appreciate any comments you would care to provide.
>Rabbi M Y

1. <<if they are British/Canadian etc... and not anti-Semitic... then they
are presumably of Jewish descent. Is that a fair characterization?>>

That is a rather  crude over-simplification of what we are saying but
correct with reservations.
"Jewish descent" is technically inaccurate. Israelite descent is more
We are saying that the Lost Ten tribes are amongst these peoples and that
is where most of the Lost Tribes are and where
they find expression. We incline to the view that they are the majority of
the population in those areas but even if they are not
our point still holds. People of Israelite (and Jewish) descent can also be
anti-semitic but the odds are lessened.

2.  <<what is the Halachic basis for such an invitation to Gentiles for
them to believe such.... and possibly present themselves as Jews>>
We distinguish between being of Israelite physical descent and being Jewish
according to religion and the Law.
We emphasize that from a legal religious point of view these people are
"Gentiles to all intents and purposes" (Yebamot 17).
We distinguish between Jewish and Israelite.  For the present they are
legally Gentiles but in the future they will re-new the
covenant and re-unite with Judah. We have accredited sources  for this
position of ours. At all events it is something that applies
to the Messianic Era and not for now.

3. <<Have you received approbation from any Gedolei Torah>>:
It depends what you understand our effort to be. At present we are only
emphasizing the probability of
PHYSICAL descent. Even someone who is 100 per cent Jewish with impeccable
certificates but whose
great-grandparents converted to another religion is in a problematic
situation legally as you will see if you look
at the early reponsa concerning descendants of Marranos from Spain who
wished to return to Judaism.
[You may well be acquatined with these sources better than I am].
We repeat: We are not asking people to change their religion.
We are not telling Gentiles that they are really "Jewish".
We are saying that many of the people to whom we address ourselves are of
Israelite PHYSICAL descent.
We are also saying that according to the prophets these prophets have an
historical ROLE TO PLAY and will be
acknowledged Israelites in the future.
If for instance you were to tell someone that their father was Jewish but
their mother was not you would be telling
them that physically they were descended from Jews but they are not legally
We are telling our people something more than this but the cases are similar.

  This is what Maimonides says and how we quote him in our work, "Biblical
Truth", p.195:

The Messiah Will Tell Us What Tribe We Belong To

SHALL THE GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE BE>>: The Messiah will enable individuals
from the Lost Ten Tribes to know what Tribe they belong to.

Maimonides: <In the time of the King Messiah, when his kingdom shall be
settled and all Israel gathered into him, he will establish the family
relationship of everyone according to the divine spirit of inspiration upon
he begins with the Tribe of Levi, as it says AND HE SHALL PURIFY THE SONS
OF LEVI, AND PURGE THEM [Malachi 3:3]  And he only establishes the family
relationship of Israel according to their tribes. He makes known who
belongs to this tribe and who belongs to that one >  Rambam: The Laws of
Kings and Their Wars, chapter twelve, item 6.

The above opinion could be contested as to what exactly it means or as to
how binding it really is but we accept it as it is.

             In our days most of us cannot be sure what tribe we belong to.
We can only make educated guesses that in some cases may be accurate. The
Messiah or an agent of the Messianic process will confirm the tribal
identity of all Israelites.

Maimonides may be understood to say that absolute certainty regarding WHICH
TRIBE one belongs to can only be provided
by the Messiah. Who is "Jewish" and who is not can be decided by legal
processes or hereditary in the light of legal definitions.
Who is of Israelite descent could also be decided by other processes as
long as no other ramifications were involved.
We are telling certain people that with a reasonable degree of certainty
they are probability of Israelite descent.
We also believe that through study, prayer, leading good lives, and the
results of further research the degree of intuitive
certainty may be heightened.
I do not think our approach can be criticized per se. One could make a
decision based on a judgement as to whether our understanding
of Biblical and related sources together with historical events is correct
or not.

Brit-Am says that originally there were 12 tribes of Israel all of
whom  were obligated at Sinai. 10 of these tribes were exiled by the
Assyrians and became "lost".  According to the sources we quote they are
not NOW obligated by the Law.
This may be temporary and in the future the obligation will be renewed but
FOR NOW there is no practical halachic application
for our conclusions. Therefore in  principle we should not need Rabbinical
approval since we are not dealing with direct Rabbinical issues.
[This has been the attitude in effect of Rabbis to whom approaches have
been made on our concern].
We support our claims with Talmudic and Rabbinical sources.
Our works have been placed before Rabbis. Nobody has condemned us and
protection from criticism has been extended to us.
Our supporters include Rabbis and Jews of learning.
All our works have an approbation from Rabbi Avraham Feld who also took our
case to higher authorities.
Rabbi Feld could not induce any great authority to come out openly in
support of us
but neither were any negative opinions expressed about us or about our
The bottom line is that there is nothing to condemn or support.
We are not saying anything that is an innovation in the legal or religious
You should read what we say carefully a good sampling of which is available
from our web sites including a translation from Nachmanides
and quotes from Rashi and others. The sources are there to be checked.


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