"Lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death."
- Psalm 13:4
"Restore us our Father to thy Torah; draw us near our King, to thy service; cause us to return to thee in perfect repentance. Blessed are thou, O L-rd, who art pleased with repentance"
- Amidah Prayer
We are blessed to be living in the beginning of the regathering of the Tribes of Jacob, in the teshuvah (return/ repentance) movement of our times. At this time, the early contingent of the pioneers of this movement is being called out of their exile in the spiritual wilderness of the nations (Hos.1:6, 8:1, 9:3 & 17). They are journeying homeward to Torah-faith, "one from a city, two from a family," (Jer. 3:15; Isa. 10:20-23). Interestingly, they are coming from both Yehudah and Ephraim. They are repeating the pattern of the two reconnaissance men who returned with an encouraging report about God's promises to the whole nation of Israel (Num. 13:5-16, 14:7-9; Jer.33: 7). They seem to be a very small lot, who will be followed later by the great many of regathered Israel.
Yached Levavenu is calling attention to the Prophets' summoning us to prepare for what we must do in anticipation of this regathering. This article and this website is an effort to marshal that preparation that the pioneer contingent from the returning Lost Ten tribes can do today. It is calling the early contingent of the returning Ten Tribes, particularly those who wish to reassume not just the name of historical Israel, but also the identity of the more-in depth designation of servants of G-d, by which Israel was to be known among the family of man, (Ex. 4:22). For those, it is of utmost importance to return to the Torah, for whoever does not observe the mitzvoth / commandments of the Torah, cannot be in the service of G-d.
The Psalms and the Prophets are replete with calling Israel to return to the Torah. Among these is Psalm 78, written to the children of Ephraim in the last days. It is connected to the dark sayings of old, the secrets G-d has told us in ancient days which we were to understand only at the proper time. They remained dark, unsolved riddles, because they were not to be understood till our days. G-d has reserved them unto Himself to reveal their meaning to their target population at the appointed time. We, who comprise the first contingent to be awakened from the "spiritually dead" are among the pioneers of that target population, the awakening House of Israel. We are beginning to be enlightened to our identity in history and in the closed prophecies of old:
"Give ear O my people to my Torah, incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter riddles / dark sayings: concerning ancient times, of that which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from the children, relating to the latter generation, the praises of the L-rd, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He has done."
Of these mysteries it is written: "The secret things belong unto the L-rd our G-d, but those things which are revealed belong to us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Torah." (Deut 29:29). This saying comes after Moses has reiterated the Covenant, after the section of blessings and curses upon Israel, and before he prophesies of the return of those who will have left the Torah,
(Deut. 30). Moses tells us that the Covenant was made with all of Israel, whether they were physically present or not. Because Israel is of one soul, the implication for us is that we, (the then-spoken-about future latter generation), are beginning to remember what has been written in our souls at Mt. Sinai. We are beginning to remember that we have agreed to live according to G-d's Torah, (Deut. 29:15, Ex. 24:7). Because we did not listen to G-d's
instructions to live by his Torah, we were separated unto the evil of the curses in the Covenant. We were cast out of the Land of Promise and our names were blotted out from history, (Deut. 29:20-28).
Yet, as G-d's servant people in the learning of the quintessential
lesson throughout history, we are His witnesses of the veracity of G-d's
prophetic words. Of His words in the early prophecies in the
Torah and the latter prophecies in the books of the Prophets, we will
say: "It is true!" (Isa. 42: 9-10).
The duration of the curse we brought upon ourselves is beginning to be finished, and we are now finding ourselves studying our identity of old, as the People of the Covenant / Brit Am, (Isa. 40:2, 42:9, Jer. 30:24). We are finding our identity in the prophesied " dark sayings of old:" "...and thou shalt call them to mind among the nations whither the L-rd thy G-d has driven thee," (Deut. 30:1). These secrets are revealed to us now and "belong to us that we may do all the words of this Torah." The Torah is the same and the lesson is the same. We have been exiled that we may learn the lesson of our Covenant at Mt. Sinai, (Deut. 29:18), and that we may not remain the same, i.e. stiff-necked, not willing to hear the Torah and holding on to the gods of the gentiles, (Ex. 34:9, Deut. 9:6, 9;13,31:27, 31:20, 29). At the time of our awakening we are to remember that we contemptuously cast away the Torah: "… they have cast away the Torah of the L-rd of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel," "I have written to him great things of my Torah, but they were counted as a strange thing." (Isa. 5: 24. 30:9, Hos. 8:3,12).
David also prophesied of the time to come, when G-d will not keep silence any more and shall intervene in a very visible manner in the affairs of men: "Offer to G-d a thanksgiving and pay thy vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Psalm 50:6-15). G-d is looking forward to the time when we will pay our vows. He also tells us that to be heard for deliverance in times of trouble, one must have paid his vows. G-d is calling us to return to our vows that we made at Mt. Sinai. But how are we to pay our vows, and what vows are we to pay? For prodigal Ephraim, there is only one answer. It is to be true again to the Covenant of the One G-d of Israel, with whom we contracted / vowed at Mt. Sinai. It yet remains for us to live up to the name Isra-El, the people called by His Name (Isa. 43:7). We cannot have our names restored, without being put on the path for the eventual restoration of the rest of our being to obedience to the Torah. This is a major part of Elijah's message to us in the last days. It is also Malachi's last instruction to the entire house of Israel: "Remember ye the Torah of Moses my servant, which I have commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments," (Mal. 3:22). We are to remember, because we have cast away (Ps. 78:10, 37, 69, 81;9), and forgotten the Torah. Because of throwing away that foundation of our service, we had our function as servants and priests suspended:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the Torah of thy G-d, I will also forget thy children."
Jeremiah says that we shall turn to the Torah when we return to the Land, (Jer. 3-14-16). This prophecy when compared to Moses' prophecy of Deut. 30:1-3, probably refers to the masses which shall return in such a manner when the great repentance movements shall sweep our nations. Alternately, or in addition, it may refer to the point many rabbis make that one cannot truly keep [all] the commandments till he returns to the Land. Eventually we shall not only be on site connected with many of the commandments, but also shall receive "a new heart," for a deeper devotion, (Deut. 30:6, Jer. 24:7). However, it remains for us now, the first contingent of returnees from the Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel who are still in the lands of our spiritual exile, to begin to fulfill the prophecy written to us by Moses:
".....and shalt return unto the L-rd thy G-d, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I commanded thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart and all thine soul. Then the L-rd thy G–d will turn thy captivity and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the L-rd thy G-d has scattered thee."
This would indicate that this initial repentance movement is even necessary to 'kick start" the greater return. Solomon prayed for us, giving us wise advice:
"If they return to thee with all their heart and all their soul in the land of their captivity.... then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place their prayers and supplications ,and maintain their cause [right], and forgive thy people who have sinned against thee..."
(II Chron 6:38)
We can see that first we are to begin to return to the Torah, and then we will be regathered. The expediency of this great regathering depends on those who are called to return first. There is always a small group of faithful, sometimes called a "remnant," in whose heart is the response to G-d's call to righteousness, (Isa. 8:16-17, 66:5). They are called "sanctuaries" among whom the Torah is sealed; they wait upon the L-rd, who looks for them and is expecting them to respond when He is calling them, (Isa. 8:14-18).
For the last 2700 years we of the Ten Tribes have been in prisons of spiritual darkness. Isaiah prophesies that the "people of the isles" were to be "hidden in prison houses," i.e. mindsets that keep them imprisoned where "none says, be restored, / be brought back." (Isa. 42:7, 22). The proscribed period of "spiritual" captivity was an extension of the sentence we served starting with our prisoner-of-war captivity by the Assyrians and extended for the next 2700 years over our history of spreading into the Western regions (extremities, islands and coasts) of the world. Till our awakening today, none called for true repentance because no one knew of what we were to repent and to what we were to return. Now, for some the "appointed time," the sentence" of our spiritual captivity is up, and we are touched by the new wave of spiritual awakening that G-d has sent into the world. (Isa. 40:2). We are awakening to the fact that the veracity and the profound significance of the Torah is written deeply in the core of our souls, written there at the time we took our vows at Mt. Sinai (Deut. 29:18), to live accordingly:
"But the Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it."
Now, by G-d's mercies, our ears are being opened, the veils from our spiritual eyes are being removed. Moses and the prophets of old are speaking to us the words they wrote to us, to be read and understood now. They are calling us to return to the Torah of our G-d. Isaiah asks those of us who are awakening to our Israelite identities now:
"Who among you will give ear to this, who will hearken and hear what is to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? Did not the LORD? He against whom we have sinned, and in whose ways they would not walk, neither were they obedient unto His Torah. Therefore He poured upon him His fiery wrath, and the power of war; and it set him on fire round about, yet he knew not, and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart."
G-d reminds us here of the terrible punishments He meted out on us at the time of the Assyrian captivity because we did not listen to His Torah. The prophets write to us about horrific wake-up calls and punishments to come upon the earth if we do not listen to the instruction of the hearts of our fathers reaching out to us at the end of days in "the work of Eli Y-h" (Mal. 3:24, Deut. 31:29). Isaiah and Jeremiah make it clear that some, the few, "the remnant," is called early, to stand in for others to wake up, before other terrible prophecies are to be fulfilled later. The implication is that unless Israel repents, these will be a repeat of the same horrors that came upon us at the time of our being taken captive in ancient times, only at much greater levels and at unprecedented earth-shaking magnitudes from which there will be no escape but by His express protection. As the allotted time for mankind making his own choices is running out, at "the end of days" Israel is told the that the choice is still ours: instruction or destruction.
Searching for G-d is a process of coming near, after a long period of estrangement. The "lost Ten Tribes" of Israel have been separated from G-d's communication for many centuries (Hos. 3:4-5, Deut. 30:18). Because we have turned from G-d's instructions, the Torah, He has turned His face from communicating with us (Isa. 59:2). Yet in our captivity, while we were far from Him, and not being heard, in His mercy, He has preserved us. He has decreed to us:
"Keep silence before Me O Islands; and let the people renew their strength; let them come near, then let them speak, let us come near together to judgment." (Isa.41:1)
We were sent into captivity in order to realize we have to return to the Torah: "… and the isles shall wait for His Torah." (Isa. 42:4). The penalty for idolatry was death. Because the G-d of Israel has a plan for us, we were not extinguished as a people. Rather we were condemned, sentenced to be spiritually dead: " 'Those who forsake me will be inscribed for earthly depths' -- for they have forsaken the L-RD, the Source of living waters." (Jer. 16:13). When after 2700 years we awake from our spiritual graves, we are depicted as not having spiritual strength or viability. The whole house of Israel is saying: "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts." (Ez. 37:11). When we begin to be awakened by Him, though we have little spiritual strength, He encourages us with His promise of help:
"…but thou Israel art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend… Fear not thou worm, Jacob, and ye few of Israel, I will help thee, saith the L-RD and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
This is why we have to ask for that help, the spirit of repentance. This Divine help is specifically promised to the returnees when they seek it out with our beginning repentance and prayer. As a lot, we as the early reconnaissance "spies" of the returnees from the lost Ten Tribes have little spiritual standing, or strength. Yet G-d favorably looks upon our beginning efforts to return to Him in earnest repentance and desire to do service. G-d asks: "Who among you will give ear to this? Who will hearken and hear in the time to come?" (Isa. 42:4,18, 22-23). Will you be among them? Will you seek the G-d of Israel early? (Hos.5: 15). Are you among the ones that hasten to respond to G-d's call? (Isa. 49:17).
G-d says that Joseph was cast into a pit, "wherein there was no water." (Gen. 37:24). This small detail about the lack of water in the pit is not inconsequential; it has great prophetic significance for us. Joseph's descendants will also be "prisoners" who will be set free in the latter days. They shall be loosened from their spiritual graves, the "pits wherein is no water," (Zech. 9:10). Though Joseph was and is fruitful as his name (Yoseif / Added Increase), implies and birthright requires, (Gen. 49:22), he was to be characterized as living in a spiritual drought, i.e. dried up by the east wind, (blowing him West), blowing from Babylon, the land of idolatry, (Hos.12:1,13:15). Amos prophesies:
"Behold the days come, saith the L-rd G-d, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but the hearing the words of the L-rd."
Hosea prophesies with a play on words about Ephraim, whose name means "fruitful:"
"Ephraim [will say], 'What more need I have for idols?' I will respond and look to Him, I am like an ever-fresh cypress of Lebanon. From Me shall your fruit be found."
Water signifies G-d's holy Torah and also his holy Spirit that suffuses it, (Jer. 2:13). He is inviting us to the living "waters," (Isa. 55:1), to impart us life, for we were "slain with thirst," (Hos. 2:3) and ended up in the valley of dry bones to this day, (Ez. 37: 1-2). Allegorically, we are crying out "Our bones are dried and our hope is lost." We shall not truly "live" till G-d reanimates us with His holy Spirit, (Ez. 37:14, Isa 55:3). The early contingent to arise from the Valley of dry Bones can now have that life-giving water from the Torah by whose words we can truly "live," (Deut. 8:3). The Shepherd of Israel promises us that he shall lead us by the straight paths, springs, and rivers of water, (Isa. 42:16-17, 43:19, 44:3, 48:21, 49:10, 55:1-3, 58:12). In the third millennium of our spiritual death, G-d promises to raise us up:
"After two days will He revive us, in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shell we know if we follow on to know the L-rd: His going forth is prepared as the morning and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the land."
This is the rain to come in the latter day work of EliY-h, which is characterized by spiritual drought, as was the Land in the former work of Elijah, (I Kings, 17:7, 18:1-2,41,45). Hosea counsels us: "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy, break up the follow ground: for it is time to seek the L-rd till He come and rain righteousness upon you." (Hos. 10:12). Are you thirsty for the Spirit of G-d? Cry out to G-d for it, for He promises to give it to us:
"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring." (Isa. 44:3)
Ephraim traditionally has had issues with the Torah and Yehudah, thinking he is superior to Yehudah, (Isa. 11:13). Ephraim has abrogated the status of Yehudah with a replacement theology of their own making, and called themselves by the misappropriated appellations of Yehudah. However, at the time of learning about their true identity, the G-d of Israel squarely rebukes (and identifies) the northern House of Israel, who want to be known as having founded their successive and superior daughter religion on the mother religion of Judaism. G-d prophesies that Ephraim will protest at the beginning of their calling and will say: "They cry unto Me: 'My God, we Israel know Thee.'" (Hos. 8:2). The implication is, "Don't we know thee?" They will refer to their supposed knowledge of the G-d of Israel, in that they praised Him with songs and knew Him in their theologies: "Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues." (Psalm 78:36). But G-d says:
"Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not."
"My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. When all this comes true-and it surely will-then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
(Ez. 33:31-33 DBY).
If you are having hesitations about returning to the Torah, read and study all of Psalm 119, and note verse 142: "…thy Torah is the truth." The precepts of contention of modern Ephraim are the same as the precepts of ancient Ephraim: "the doctrines and theologies" of gentiles," which are void of observance of the Torah, (Psalm 78:37-38). We have forsaken the Rock of Living Waters, and have made ourselves cisterns, (man-made receptacles), that hold no life-giving water, (Jer. 2:13). If you are identifying as returning from the Ten Tribes, you may need an attitudinal healing that only G-d can do. Give yourself the benefit of doubt and take Elijah's challenge, and ask G-d with no-holds-barred about what you should do about His calling to return to Him. Solomon teaches us about Biblical psychology; he tell us that tough we may be spiritually asleep, our heart, i.e. subconscious mind is awaiting G-d's voice to spiritually wake us: "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh…" (Song 5:2). Ask that He speak to your heart, i.e. your subconscious mind, your Soul, early, as He promised, (Hos. 2:14, Psalm 119:34).
Daniel writes of the time of the latter days, when "Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand [the prophecies and their lessons]." (Dan.12:10). Hosea also writes on the same principle to the Ten tribes: "Whoever is wise, let him understand these things: Whoever is prudent, let him know them; for the ways of the L-rd are right,
and the just walk in them: but the transgressors shall stumble in them." (Hos. 14:9). Daniel, Hosea, David in Psalm 107:43,
Solomon in Prov. 9:10, many of the prophets, e.g. Micah 6:8, teach us that wisdom and understanding come with
"walking in the paths of the Torah." Remember that the keeping of His instruction, the Torah, restores, i.e. converts
/ changes us to where we should be, (Psalm 19:7). Nothing else does. G-d
defines us as blind and deaf, servants and agents of His, who think they know
G-d but are in need of being "brought back" to Him. (Isa. 42;18-22,
Hos. 8;2, Ps. 78:36). The G-d of Israel is calling us home to our identity to reassume our forfeited position as
his servants, a "holy nation of priests" among the children of G-d (Ex. 19:6; Deut. 7:6-9, 30:8; Isa.
66:2, Hos. ). Ezekiel tells us that we have lost our original Israelite national
and tribal identities for having departed from the Torah. Our identity was
expressly tied to keeping and observing the Torah, and we will not regain it, i.e. "reinherit ourselves" [in that identity] till we return fully to the Torah:
"Then shall I scatter you among the nations and disperse you among the lands and remove all your
contaminations from you. Then you shall be caused to reinherit yourself in the sight of the nations,
and you shall know that I am the L-rd."
(Ezekiel 22:15, ArtScroll Chumash)
Ask the G-d of Israel who forms, and shapes the souls of man, to speak to yours about it, (Zech. 12:1, Isa. 42: 5). He will swiftly answer. It is time to return to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Yaakov with our whole heart, (Joel 2:12-13). He desires that for the sake of its righteousness, the Torah be made glorious again among us, (Isa. 42:21). Take the first step and do what you can; He will empower you to take the rest. Ask Him to show you the way you should go. He will guide you with His eye, (Palm 32:8).
Are you like "the captive exile [who] hastens that he may be loosed and that he should not die in the pit?" (Isa. 51:14). Is this response to the Torah in your heart? Ask G-d to speak to your heart to help you sort out things in your heart. Beseech G-d along with
Yehudah: "I am mindful
of thy presence O L-rd; have mercy on me while I am still in captivity, set me free and stir my heart to love thee." He never refuses but swiftly answers sincere seekers of repentance and righteousness. He will surely answer.
"Open my heart to thy Torah, that my soul may follow your commands."
- From prayer before reading the Torah
Suggestions for what to do:
Contemplate the points in this article and ask yourself if they could possibly refer to you. Give yourself the benefit of doubt and talk to G-d about the points in this article. Ask Him to reveal and confirm to you where you need to change in order to return to the Torah according His will. Ask Him to speak to your heart. He will swiftly point you to the way you should go. Please share with us any answers you receive and concerns you may have about returning to the Torah.