Some Pointers About Reunification
By: Steve A. Mathe
Representative for Brit Am in Southern California
Representative for Brit Am in Southern California
Recently we have read several emails that Yair Davidiy has forwarded to us from concerned and hopeful readers about the reunification of the people of Yosef and Yehudah. These inquiries portend to be a "siman tov," a good sign, for these concerns represent the deepest yearnings from our souls for re unification of all the tribes of Israel . They are the primordial voices written in our bones, which now cry out for wholeness, to be reunited with our missing parts. These initial utterances for reunification are emanating from the very core of who we are as a people, who are to be reunited as an integrated entity, the commonwealth of the Twelve Tribes Israel.
Yet, with all our hopes and good intentions, the ways to that unification are yet unknown to us, and are fraught with a great many seemingly insurmountable difficulties. The road ahead to reintegration at this time is not laid out for us and is not easily seen upon first glance. These difficulties are so great, that we, the small initial contingent to arise to consciousness about our identity, can at times say: "Our bones are dried and our hope is lost." This utterance voices the deep despair that strikes us when we realize how far away we are from any "reunification" at this time. We are fragmented into many denominations, philosophies, theologies, interpretations and approaches upon our awakening. It is utterly impossible to reconcile all these views with each other, much less with what the Torah and the Prophets expect from us. This is only to be expected, if we look at the resurrection process in the Book of Ezekiel.
The Valley of Dry Bones is a visual metaphor of the resurrection of the whole house of (northern) Israel , (Ez. 37). The Ten Tribes, under the banner of Yosef, are depicted by Ezekiel to be arising from 2700 years of spiritual death, from being forgotten by all, and from having become "lost" to their brethren Yehudah, to the world, and to themselves. In the first stage of the resurrection process, we are shown as awakening to our identity. We have all discovered through the work of Brit Am and to some extent other current works that promote the identity of latter day Israel that this information that changed our consciousness came to us by Divine design. Our awakening can be likened to someone shouting, "Wake up!" and shaking us to consciousness. This is the "noise" and "shaking" / tremor, done to us by G-d to wake us up to who we are. Then the various bones come together, a metaphor for our inner framework being "reassembled" after having been disjointed and scattered for over two millennia. This takes time, as we sort out our inner selves and we find our "core identities" as descendants, i.e. children's children of our Israelite forefathers. However, what we are to do next is not so clear to us from this vision. However, G-d has not left us without directions as to what we need to do first to find our spiritual bearings. The Prophets tell us that in the last days we will be diligently studying and researching, and then understand the coordinates for finding our way back to G-d, (Isa. 34:15, Jer. 30:24, 23:20, Psalm 78:6). We can take some initial cues as to what we need to do from Ezekiel who was spared in the Babylonian persecution for this purpose. He was commissioned to be our watchman some 2600 years ago, (Ez. 3:17), over a century after the northern kingdom of Israel went into captivity. Ezekiel writes extensively to us, the northern and the southern houses of Israel , all the twelve tribes of the House of Israel in the latter days. He is expressly sent to us, "the children of the captivity," for G-d wants to see whether we will hear or we will refuse his instruction, (Ez. 3:11).
According to tradition, the tribes of Ephraim and Menashe were the first ones to break loose from the City of God when the Ten Tribes seceded from the kingdom. Today, they seem to be in the forefront of the first ones to be awakened from their spiritual death. Therefore it behooves us,the people of Brit Am, to move toward reunification by looking to the directions left for us by the Prophets and our father Yaakov. Coupled with the fact that we were cast out of the Land due to worshipping other gods and not keeping the Law / Torah, heeding the Prophets' directives are most important to orient us upon our awakening from spiritual darkness. Those directions are not necessarily about making associations between our various organizations, or between Yehudah and the returning Ten Tribes. Those are relative micro-details that will work out after we make moves to reconcile ourselves, i.e. reunite ourselves with the Torah's and the Prophets' directives, to reaccept and observe the commandments we have cast aside. This is most important, for Ezekiel and the rest of the Prophets charge us with a "split consciousness" concerning our allegiance to the Torah. For this reason G-d has prophesied through Jeremiah, "And I will give them a heart to know me that I am the L-RD, and they shall be my people, and I will be their G-d: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart." (Jer. 24:7). Therefore, the "reunification" that we need to seek first is within ourselves. This emphasis implies that for Ephraimite returnees at this time it is of paramount importance to make spiritual aliyah first, before making a permanent physical aliyah to the Land. The framework that supports that inner reunification needs to be sought first. The essence of this inner reintegration is all summed up in G-d's command to us: "Return unto me, and I will return unto you." (Mal. 3:7).
Our history shows us that G-d allowed the second Temple to be destroyed due to a pervasive lack of unity, brought about by what we in retrospect call sin‘at chinam / baseless hatred, which developed between the ideologically warring factions of Yehudah. When the very framework that held Yehudah in an integrated unity together was torn asunder, the Shekhinah, G-d's perceivable Presence, left the physical Mikdash / sanctuary, for there was no spiritual framework left to support the spiritual Mikdash. Eventually, even the physical edifice was literally destroyed in 70 C.E., as a result of this spiritual neglect. Ejection from the Land followed.
Rav Joseph Breuer calls Ezekiel the "the prophet of our exile, our guide through our exile and the prophet who also will lead us out of our exile," (The Book of Yehezkel, p. 329). Ezekiel tells us that we will be caused to repent, and will be given "a new heart" and a new spirit that will enable us, i.e. "realign" our hearts to keep G-d's commandments and judgments out of a love-for-G-d motivation, (Ez. 36:25-27). G-d says that all these will be done to us so that we, and the nations may learn the quintessential lesson for this planet: "that I am the L-rd," (Ez. 37:6, 36:36). Yet, this inner realignment and reunification of our heart is impossible without G-d's holy Spirit to empower, guide and literally ensoul us. This is why we are depicted by Ezekiel saying, "Our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts," (Ez. 37:11). The literal translation of the Hebrew last phrase nigzarnu lanu is "we have been cut off for us." To give us a fuller sense of implied Hebrew meaning, the sense of this difficult-to-translate passage in an expanded form can be: "As far as we are concerned, there is nothing in us to give us hope, like a withered branch cut off a tree, or a limb from a body, our thread of life has been cut off." We, the initial contingent to arise, in order to further energize the coming-to-life and return process of the Ten Tribes, must have this missing Divine ingredient of the holy Spirit / Shekhinah added to our Israelite "being." Only then will we be able to perform our Israelite doing now, i.e. the task of finding our way back to observing the Torah, reuniting with Yehudah and the Land.
As the firstborn from the graves of apostasy and idolatry, we have two main obligations. Our primary focus needs to be on reunification with G-d's directives, to realign our selves with the commandments. They regulate our relationships with the G-d of Israel whom we have forsaken, and secondarily regulate our relationships with each other. We are also to bring the identity information and the warnings of the Prophets to our brothers so that as many as possible of our people may wake up and repent early. Doing so by the pioneering first contingent will help our people to avoid the looming severe and harsh wake-up calls the G-d of Israel has on His prophets' schedules to shake and shock us out of our complacency. We, the initial contingent to arise from the congregation of the dead, are to take this message to heart, that G-d's firstborn people were not to be split in their consciousness, but are to be one, a unified and integrated entity, as He is one, (Ez. 14:22-23). To this purpose, we at Yahed Levavenu / Unite Our Heart believe it to be G-d's will that we unite in helping each other in the return process. For this reason the website Yached Levavenu was organized, that we may focus on the "Elijah challenge" of the Prophets, and to draw down the Shekhinah, G-d's holy Spirit into our prayers, efforts and ourselves, to reunify and thusly "re-inherit ourselves," (Ez.22:16, Artscroll's Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1175). We invite you to visit Yahed Levavenu / Unite our heart, and join with its efforts.