Historical legends tell us about the ten mighty tribes of Israel exiled by the ancient Assyrian Empire. Our scriptures identify their exilic settlements by name, but no one knows where they’ve gone. How did millions of Jews simply vanish?
Dear Rabbi Kaplan, Thanks for the clarification, I did not understand it when thinking the other way around... I have always wondered why Jews from nowadays Irak/Iran are called Sephardic by some people, when actually we (meaning Spanish and Portuguese Jews) seem to be separated by more than just geographic distance. I am sorry if you understood I implied you were merely speculating. I am aware that several academies were founded in the pre-Rambam period (in Cordoba for instance) and other places of the Al-Andalus Caliphate, many by central figures from Babylon well-known by all of us. I have read something on this topic, but if you have some suggestions I would certainly appreciate. Thanks again!
Ll. Nisa Switzerland
January 3, 2014
Thank you for your meaningful and insight: feedback. Just to clarify: when speaking of the orgins of Sephardic vs Ashkenazic Jews, I refer not to genealogy but rather to the Torah traditions like the liturgy of prayer and specific Minhagim related to the of observance of Mitzvot etc. And that is fairly well documented, rather than mere empty speculation... Much more to say... No more time or space :-)
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario
December 29, 2013
Educational material by Rv. Kaplan is usually excellent. This audio class though had some surprising points. For instance: 1. Even though the author states that it's maybe pure speculation, the Sephardim may come from Babylonian Jewry, while the Ashkenazim may come from Israel... When the Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple in 70 CE they took thousands of slaves to Hispania (=Sefarad), being this the biggest recorded input of Jews in the Iberian Peninsula... Also the Arabs brought thousands of Jews with them when they conquered Iberia, most of which came from North Africa and not from Mesopotamia or Persia, which conform a full-part branch of Judaism. I know sometimes we tend to include them in the Sephardic group, but historically and culturally they are groups far apart. 2. The portrait of the Rambam and his statue in Cordoba, Spain, are not based on him at all! The portrait was printed in a 17th or 18th century edition of his work. We have no idea how he looked like.
Ll. Nisa Switzerland
December 19, 2013
Thought Provoking Class
Thank you Rav Kaplan for this class. My daughter is fascinated by this subject. Can you suggest works in English online or in book form so she can learn more about this subject. B'Kavode Rav,
Don Zusya Goodman
March 29, 2011
Ten Lost Tribes
This topic has been fascinating no end even outside the Jewish community. Where have all this tribes gone? Same applies to the idea of 'chosenness', to become one of the elected. How about the rest of the humankind? 'I called your name and you are mine!' This implies that you are G-d's child forever once you have been baptized, the non-Jewish way of a being 'chosen'. Then of course there is the obligation to live your life according to the commandments + love other human beings in the same way you love yourself. As for me, the Lord's Prayer and the commandments are a solid rock for the veneration of the Creator of the World - there is no need to believe in the dogma of trinity! Isn't the dispersion of 10 tribes a good reminder for Jewish people, that they should not be confined to their community too much and that there exists an opening to mankind? There is always the possibility that a gentile could be connected to one of the lost tribes - you never know!
Brigitte v.Ungern-Sternberg Berlin, Germany
August 23, 2010
is there any truth that maybe the souls of the lost tribes still are holy and will come back to judiasm in the last days.
Mrs. Catherine Cronin
August 1, 2010
the lost tribes
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is a Rabbi who is blessed with the wonderful gift of being able to impart his vast knowledge in a way that everyone, no matter what level they are on/at, can comprehend. i have had the honor of attending the Rabbi's lectures/shiurim in person and always leave enlightened, uplifted and inspired.
Rivkah Michal Kahn toronto, ON
August 27, 2009
I have never heard any rabbi discuss ancestries that go back to Judah that the kings of Europe had. There is one from Iceland (Priam, Thor, Odin), two from Britain (Zerah, Darius, Brutus, Beli Mawr), and (Zerah, Darius, Antenor, William "the Conqueror,") one from Ireland (Pharez, David, Tea Tephi), and one from France (Zerah, Darius, Charlemagne). Then, their descendants all married each other. Consider the Icelandic Langfedgatal's connection to the Chaldeans through ancestors like Moda (a Hebrew word) and the Icelandic Magi, part of the Chaldean/Zoroastrian religion with their ancestor Thor. 1 Maccabees 12, says, "Darius our bretheren." There are so many sources! I count over 20 sources from the Middle Ages and earlier. Then, there is the fact that Presidents usually descend from kings. The same tribe has been ruling the the world for all recorded history. This data combines easily with the idea of the scepter in Genesis. I don't know how rabbis can avoid discussing this!
Craig Hamilton Sandwich
March 19, 2009
why are you european jews racists?
I am a jew of italian(saphardic-mother)and ethiopian(father) descent.Because of you mostly rascists european jews I was persecuted as a child. but my mother told me not to believe the lies. A jew is a jew is a jew! I will be a rabbi in about 3 to 5 years.The Torah is written on my heart! Scriptually you are in great error. iwas born in manitoba,and I will return after my yeshiva is completed.my HASHEM rebuke you stearnly for saying ethiopian jews are not jewish. One day I will refute all you rascists jews on this issue. Just to let you know. 90% of us jews have goy in thier bloodline! We see this especially in our jewish women who marry goyim and call thier children full bloded jewish! this is rabbinical(men's oral tradition)judaism NOT tanakh judaism! read d'varim 7:3 it says daughters and sons. this destroys the false clam that our rabbinical fathers taught us,that you are jewish through the mother. BUT you are right concerning the so-called black hebrews. May G-D have mercy on you
reed cockrell-cohen minneapolis, mn
July 15, 2008
Thank you Rabbi Kaplan for a most enlightening lecture.
A comment about Italy: Italy is considered Ashkenaz but native Italian Jews use a different Nussach than Ashkenazim or Sefardy and call it Nussach Italky. If one were to daven in the Synagogue in Florence for example that is the nussach used. I visited Ostia Antica which is where the Jews lived at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple and indeed there are there the ruins of what is said to be the first shul out of Israel and also ruins of a mikveh.
There are a lot of communities in Italy, Ashkenaz, Sefard, Sefardi, and chabad. There have been many waves of immigration to italy throughout history. Many jews found refuge there from the inquisition and more recently after the Holocaust a lot of Jews came and settled there.