"Jeroboam sacrificing to the Golden Calf" by Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1752 (L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris)
A KOL HA’TOR Presentation
Weekly Bible Reading #9
Year 5773 (2012/2013) – December 8, 2012
Parashat Va’yeshev (And he was settled): Genesis 37:1-40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavors to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
Having followed through the first 8 Readings of the Torah, the ‘Blessing of a Multitude of Nations’ to Avraham, the 9th Reading “Va’yeshev” (‘And he was settled’) now brings us to the finer division of Avraham’s descendants into two Houses.
“The Flight of the Prisoners [of the Ten Tribes of Israel] – painting by James Tissot (1836-1902)
The first section (Genesis 37) deals with Yoseph (son of Ya’acov). ‘Yoseph’, in Rabbinic interpretation, embodies what later would become the Torah rebelling and Judah rejecting Northern Ten Tribes of Israel. As such, ‘Yoseph’ became the mascot reference or group name for the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel, which would become rejected by HaShem and exiled into oblivion amongst the nations of the world.
Chapter 38 deals with the descendants of Judah. Who would become the Second House of Israel. At first glance, this chapter is not a complimentary reference to Judah, who’s first 2 sons (Er and Onan) would be struck dead by HaShem for their wickedness. Further to Judah’s discredit, he then sleeps with Er’s widow, Tamar, after seeing her for a prostitute!
Yet, from Judah would arise the descendents of the “Lion of Judah” with many illustrious leaders to come; like Joshua, King David and a host of others. Both Judah and Yoseph would be “in the line of Mashiach ben Yosef” (Gaon of Vilna, Kol HaTor, ch 1.23).
Just as this Reading relates the terrible division and disunity amongst the sons of Ya’acov in capturing and selling Yoseph, so there would come great division between the Two Houses of Israel which make up the Nation of HaShem. This division would last until the End Time – the Time that Mashiach ben David will come to rule over the nations in the re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom of the G-d of Israel.
The Gaon of Vilna, of blessed memory, in the same section quoted above, sheds the following light on this Reconciliation in the End Time:
Vilna Gaon - “In our deeds and with our prayers we help Mashiach ben Yosef, and by acting with all our strength when the awakening comes from below, we will achieve the unity of Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David who are “the tree of Yosef and the tree of Judah.” At first they will be in your hands individually, and afterwards “they will be united in My hand.”
The unity of both are the foundation for the unity of the Holy One blessed be He and the Shechina, and thus the completion of the Redemption. We at the Kol HaTor Vision (publishers of this Commentary) believe that we are now in the “Time of Awakening” referred to by the Gaon. It is therefore incumbent on us to strive for thus Unity that the Gaon refers to. Whereas our Reading this week introduces us to the Great Division, we should use this knowledge that we are gaining here as stepping stones to Reconciliation and thus the ultimate Redemption (Geulah).
The purpose of these commentaries is to bring realization of the intrinsic Message contained in the Bible and understanding of HaShem’s Plan and Intent for mankind. Only in this way can we hope to comply and work together with each other and with HaShem to reach the ultimate. For this reason we now insert a complete review here on the Great Division in the Nation of HaShem and the reason for it. In this way we will have sufficient information and knowledge to take the right decisions to work towards the ultimate – and above all, to be found worthy of being part of it!
A Rift Extending Across History: Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
The conflict between Joseph and his brothers particularly that between Joseph and Judah, runs like a seam across the entire history of Israel. At times Joseph gains the upper hand, at times Judah prevails, but the schism always resurfaces. Our sages even speak of two messiahs, each with a role to play in the final fulfilment of Israel’s mission—a messiah descended from Joseph, and a messiah from the royal house of David, from the tribe of Judah.
The conflict has its roots in Jacob’s marriages to Leah and Rachel. Jacob’s preference lay with Rachel—she was his first love and the one he regarded as his primary wife. But Leah was the first he married, the first to bear his children, and the one to emerge victorious in the sisters’ competition to provide Jacob with the most sons. All of Leah’s six sons were born before Rachel’s firstborn, Joseph; Rachel had a total of two children, as she died while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin.
As Jacob’s firstborn, Leah’s son Reuben is initially slated for leadership in all areas of Jewish life. But Reuben sins and his firstborn’s rights are transferred to three of his brothers: the priesthood goes to Leah’s third son, Levi; the kingship to Leah’s fourth, Judah; and the “birth right” (the right of the firstborn to a double portion in his father’s heritage) to Joseph. Thus Joseph’s descendants comprise two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and receive two territories in the Holy Land.
(Reuben’s sin is itself an outgrowth of the Leah/Rachel rivalry, as Reuben interferes in his father’s marriage arrangements in protest of Jacob’s giving precedence to Rachel’s maid, Bilhah over Leah.)
Jacob transfers his love of Rachel to her son Joseph, demonstrating his greater preference toward him over his brothers—as he had demonstrated his preference of Rachel over Leah. The brothers’ jealousy is augmented by Joseph’s dreams, which Joseph insists on repeatedly describing to them and to his father—dreams which foretell his mastery over them. This the sons of Leah are determined to prevent at any cost. Shimon and Levi plot to kill Joseph; Judah prevents this, but oversees his sale into slavery.
But the brothers’ victory is short-lived. Soon they find themselves in Egypt, at the mercy of a harsh viceroy who, unbeknownst to them, is their banished brother. They prostrate themselves before him in fulfilment of his dreams. Judah confronts Joseph, but finds his considerable physical might and intellectual prowess bested by his younger brother. Then comes the moving scene in which Joseph reveals himself to them and is reconciled with them.
Joseph is now the undisputed leader of the fledgling nation. He is their protector and their source of sustenance. Even Jacob bows to him.
When the people of Israel emerge from the Egyptian exile, it is under the leadership of Moses and Aaron, both Levites. But it is Joshua, a descendant of Joseph, who leads them in their conquest of the Holy Land. Several generations later, another descendant of Joseph, Gideon, liberates them from foreign rule and governs them. For 369 years the Tabernacle, which as the forerunner of the Holy Temple serves as the spiritual epicenter of Jewish life, is situated at Shiloh, in the territory of Joseph. When the people of Israel ask for a king, a descendant of Rachel, the Benjaminite Saul, is endowed with the crown.
Then, after centuries of Josephian ascendancy, the pendulum swings once more. David, the scion of Judah, is anointed as king; his struggles with King Saul are a replay of the age-old Leah/Rachel rivalry over the leadership of Israel.
For seven years David reigns in the Judean city of Hebron, while a son of Saul is the recognized king in the north. But then the sovereignty of David is accepted by the entire people of Israel. David makes his capital in another Judean city; Jerusalem. His son Solomon builds the Holy Temple on a part of the city which straddles the boundary between Judah and Benjamin. The schism seems to be healed, the people united, with the leadership firmly in the hands of Judah.
But once more the conflict resurfaces. Following Solomon’s death, Jeroboam, a descendant of Joseph, leads a revolt against the royal house of David. He even gets other tribes descended from Leah to join him in the renunciation of the Judean leadership. For the next 240 years, the Holy Land is split into two kingdoms; the northern kingdom of Israel, encompassing ten breakaway tribes under Josephian leadership, and the southern kingdom of Judah. (Interestingly, the tribe of Benjamin remains loyal to the Judean throne.) The sons of Joseph are simply not prepared to accept the sovereignty of Judah.
(This is most emphatically illustrated by the following Talmudic account (Sanhedrin 102a):
Sanhedrin 102a - “G‑d Himself grabbed Jeroboam by his robe and said to him: ‘Repent, and I, you and the son of Jesse [King David] will stroll together in the Garden of Eden.’ Asked Jeroboam, ‘Who will walk first?’ ‘The son of Jesse,’ [answered G‑d. Said Jeroboam,] ‘If so, I’m not interested.’”
The breach persists to this day. A century before the destruction of the first Temple, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, overran the northern kingdom of Israel and exiled the ten tribes to an unknown place. They were never heard from again. The rest of Jewish history, as we know it, is the story of the surviving tribes of Judah and Benjamin, a significant part of Levi (whose priests and Levites lived in cities throughout the Holy Land), and a small number of Jews from the other tribes who lived in the kingdom of Judah.
But the prophets promise that there will come a time when the rent halves of the people of Israel will be reunited. The messianic age will be heralded by a messiah from the tribe of Joseph and a Davidic messiah from the tribe of Judah; ultimately, however, the sovereignty of Judah will be established once and for all. In the words of the prophet Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 37:22–25 - “I will make them into one nation in the land . . . and a single king shall be over them all . . . My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have a single shepherd… and My servant David shall be their prince forever.”
To make this week’s Prophetic reading relevant, we have to look around us at what is happening. Here in Israel there are ominous signs (Dec. 2012). Our government has just conspired with the enemy’s conditions and seem to continue bowing before their demands which are becoming more and more suicidal for us as a nation.
The news media reports that warships of various nations are entering the seas around us – USA, Britain, France, and Iran. Arab dictatorships are being toppled one after the other in the name of ‘democracy’, by a consorted force of Western capitalist-Arab interests. They are being replaced by even more fundamentalist Shariah Law Islamic dictatorships.
Syria is now on the list while preparing poison tipped rockets. In all this, our Israeli government and the media are taking a lame duck attitude of wait and see – obviously not having alternative cards to play.
With this in mind and considering how often these long past selected Prophetic sections commonly have virtual applicable application to the news of our time, the ominous message may not be so co-incidental as we would wish it to be.
Amos 2:13; 3:1-2, 6-8 – “Now then, I will crush you as a cart crushes when loaded with grain …Hear this word, people of Israel, the Word HaShem has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.
When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not HaShem caused it? Surely the Sovereign HaShem does nothing without revealing His Plan to His servants the prophets. The lion has roared—who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—who can but prophesy?”
Threatening and scary as the future may seem to us right now, let us NOT forget HaShem’s Promise to Avraham of uncountable numbers of Israelites to re-settle the domain of their forefathers – the Greater Israel (! – talk about explosive topics!)
- Let us not lose out of sight the miraculous phenomenon of a debilitated Judah having rebuilt a model world leading nation and country in just 60 years – on a foundationless, desert and swamp infested desolate countryside!
- Let us BLESS Judah for this!
- Let us not forget that it is according to the Prophecies of HaShem!
- Let us NOT forget the rest of these Prophecies of even greater to Come! – the 2nd Exodus!
- Let us sculpt His Eternal Promises on our minds and in our souls:
Genesis 28:15 - “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this Land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Kol HaTor Vision for a re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom in Greater Israel
You Might Want to Refer to the 2012-2013 Yearly Kol Ha’Tor Parashat Portion Reading Index for future Kol Ha’Tor Commentaries
You might Want to Read Destination Yisra’el’s Kol Ha’tor Series on “Judah the Mechoqeck”
To understand more about the Return of the 10 Tribes of Israel to their Homeland in Shomron (Samaria), Israel, Contact “Kol Ha’Tor”, the Voice of the Turtledove.
Here is a joint Orthodox Jewish and 10-Triber Mission to bring awareness of the imminent fulfillment of the Biblical Prophecies regarding the Redemption of all Israel (12 Tribes Re-conciled and Re-United). This super Event of all Times will entail Establishing the Shomron (the Ancient Bible Heartland of the Patriarchs) and the Judean Wilderness as part of the Land of Israel, and preparing the “Land” for the Return of the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel and then the Redemption of All Israel.
For inquiries about Kol Ha Tor Ministries for the Lost Tribes of Israel, Visit – “Shomron Lives!”, a Spiritual Retreat and Guest House in Samaria, that hosts Shomron (Samaria) Tours to reacquaint the Returning Lost Tribers of the House of Israel.