Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Rav Amar: No Proof Bnei Menashe are Jewish

Ladaat.net, quoting the Shas weekly Yom Leyom quotes Sephardic Chief Rabbi Rav Shlomo Amar as saying, "Contrary to rumors in my name, the 'Bnei Menashe' are not Jewish without a proper conversion."

This seems to contradict a recent report from Arutz Sheva on the arrival of 51 Bnei Menashe to Israel:
Last year, at the initiative of the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar formally recognized the Bnei Menashe as "descendants of Israel," and later sent a rabbinical court to India to oversee their process of return to the Jewish people. The court formally converted 218 Bnei Menashe back to Judaism, including those who arrived in Israel this week. The remainder will be making Aliyah (immigrating) in the coming days, making it the largest group of Bnei Menashe ever to come to Israel at once. While ensuring the right of any Indian citizen to emigrate freely, and while recognizing the Bnei Menashe as Jews, Indian authorities expressed opposition to the mass conversion carried out in their territory.


Rav Amar continues to say, "There are a few rabbis who claim that there are proofs to their Jewishness. I examined the matter well, but I have not seen sufficient proof for this."

17 Comments:

At Wed Nov 22, 06:26:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Neshama said...

Yaak, I guess some of the other Rabbonim objected, so he had to make a statement. But if "they" went to India and performed 'conversions' then those converted ARE Jewish.

"The court formally converted 218 Bnei Menashe"

Unless "they" (whoever they are) were not acceptable Rabbis (to the other Rabbonim) in the area of conversion.

How does this sound to you?

 
At Wed Nov 22, 11:32:00 PM 2006, Blogger yaak said...

Neshama,
What I believe Rav Amar was saying was that their descendancy from Menashe was in doubt - not whether their conversion was valid or not. He agrees that the conversion is valid.

 
At Thu Nov 23, 12:26:00 AM 2006, Blogger Cosmic X said...

I don't think that the Shavei Israel organization or Arutz 7 claim that the 'Bnei Menashe' can be considered Jewish without conversion or that Rabbi Amar said such a thing. Calling the group "descendants of Israel" means that they apparently have Jewish roots, but that doesn't make them Jewish. There are many people walking the face of the earth today that have Jewish roots but are not halachically Jewish

 
At Thu Nov 23, 01:12:00 AM 2006, Blogger yaak said...

Of course, you're right, Cosmic.
However, now I'm confused. Is Rav Amar now saying that:
a) there's no proof that they're halachicly Jewish, but he agrees that they are definitely "descendants of Israel"
OR
b) there's no proof that they're "descendants of Israel", and there's no question that they're not halachicly Jewish?

I originally thought (b), but maybe he does mean (a), and if so, there's no contradiction to what Shavei Israel says.

Can anyone enlighten me?

 
At Thu Nov 23, 11:48:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, here's a try. There are according to A7 7000 Bnei Menashim in India. A few have come over here to EY and these were halachically converted in India. So I suggest that Rabbi Amar is speaking of whatever percentage of the 7,000 who are still in India and who have not yet gone through the conversion process. Once they have done so, they will also be considered Jewish. Clear?

tribalhorn

 
At Thu Nov 23, 12:59:00 PM 2006, Blogger nava said...

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At Thu Nov 23, 01:14:00 PM 2006, Blogger nava said...

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At Thu Nov 23, 01:40:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Thu Nov 23, 05:00:00 PM 2006, Blogger nava said...

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At Thu Nov 23, 10:27:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nava, I see that you have an eye for the truth. Therefore, please forgive, I must humbly suggest that you acknowledge that the moshiach-stars which "appeared" above New York a year ago were a hoax. Also, people didwalk on the Moon...

Everybody makes mistakes, but who makes mistakes in public, must acknowledge in public. May HaShem be with you.

 
At Fri Nov 24, 10:24:00 AM 2006, Blogger yaak said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Fri Nov 24, 01:25:00 PM 2006, Blogger nava said...

Rav Dahan said that although evidence has been found on Bnei Menashe, he continues to say that never in history is it recorded that Jews lived in Asia.
לגבי 10 השבטים הרב דהן אמר בפירוש שלמרות שעכשיו התגלו ממצאים על שבט המנשה, הוא התעקש שלא היו יהודים שם ואין היסטוריה יהודית שם

 
At Sat Nov 25, 10:16:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_China

 
At Mon Nov 27, 12:27:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Moshe said...

I have seen a film and have read an article regarding the Bnei Menashe. According to the film and article, the Sephardic Chief Rabbinate has stated that there is good reason to believe that there is some Jewish ancestry in the Bnei Menashe, but they still require conversions. The Sephardic Chief Rabbinate send emissaries to investigate them and, ultimately, sent rabbis to teach them and convert them. According to the film, the Bnei Menashe were basically pagans that migrated from parts of Asia to northeast India. Their tradition states that their holy book was taken from them in China, but that one day someone would come and restore their tradition to them. When Christian missionaries came in the 1800s, the stories that the Christians told them sounded familiar, so they all converted to Christianity. Only in the 1950s did some of them come to believe that they were descended from Jews. As one example of Jewish-sounding things in their tradition, they have a song, which predates the Christian missionaries, that goes like this:

"We must keep the Passover festival
Because we crossed the Red Sea on the dry land
At night we crossed with a fire
And by day with a cloud
Enemies pursued us with chariots
And the sea swallowed them up
And used them as food for the fish
And when we were thirsty
We received water from the rock"

The movie shows them as dedicated to Judaism, and wanting to convert and move to Israel, but held up by Indian and Israeli politics. I came away with the impression that the Chief Rabbinate thought that these people are probably descended from the tribe of Menashe, but either way they want to convert and live their lives as religious Jews with all their hearts and souls.

 
At Mon Nov 27, 04:05:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Neshama said...

I still think this whole conversion business is being challenged greatly, to be super cautious. This is an explosive topic among the various Rabbinical authorities.

Either the 'conversion' is being challenged by others and making it difficult for him, so he backtracks, because of who did the conversion, and now doubts their ancestry. But if he once said something and it is documented, there's no getting out of it.

However, to say that Jews were not in asia (from Nava) is mind-boggling. When the 9 Tribes were taken away from Eretz HaKodesh, they were taken far away and I don't think they stayed there. I think they migrated along the 'Silk Route" eastward and on to the far east. Look at the following information sites:

http://www.moshiach.com/features/tribes/japan.php
http://haruth.com/jw/JewsAfghanistan.html
http://www.haruth.com/JewsoftheWorld.html

I find this extremely fascinating.
P.S. Check into mpaths and see if you can help out over there.

 
At Tue Nov 28, 02:11:00 PM 2006, Anonymous sara said...

It wasn't 9 tribes but 10 and it was Rav Dahan Shlita that said it.
There is absolutely no concrete history of Jews in Asia. Plenty of speculations but nothing concrete!!!

We don't know the 10 tribes whereabouts. The Gemara talks about them being in behind the Sambation river when they were exiled by the Assyrian king.

It could be that Bnei Menashe are 1 of the lost tribes and are returning now, as it was prophesized at the end of days - but regardless, they need conversion becuz their Judaism is doubted. The same conversion halachot applies to Ethiopians and Marronos.

 
At Tue Nov 28, 04:49:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Neshama said...

Sara - TU. Indeed it was 10, that was a typo, obviously. I recognize your name associated with Nava?

However, If you do some research YOURSELF you may be able to find much information claiming (not proving) many peoples in remote areas being possible remnants of the Lost Tribes. How can they return to Eretz HaKodesh in fulfillment of the prophecies of the erev Moshiach days we are living in if no one is found. You can read for YOURSELF about the organizations, as well as Rabbi Avichail Eliyahu, who are searching them out. Are you familiar with the following:

Moshiach and the Ingathering
Regarding Moshiach's task of collecting the dispersed of Israel, R' Menachem Mendel of Rimanov asks:
"Are we to suppose that Moshiach tzidkeinu will go to all the places where Israel is dispersed, to all the corners of the earth, and collect its members like a shepherd...?"
He answers as follows:
"The Moshiach, with his eleveated state of holiness, will conentrate his thoughts on exalted meditations and awesome forms of unification of Hashem's Names. Among the latter will be an especially petrifying and awesome form of unification which will produce the effect of gathering together all those that are born from the Jewish nation, who are dispersed over all the lands. Of their own accord they will feel compelled to come to the Holy Land. [Here he quotes Hoshea 11:11]
"At this time, each member of Israel will experience a faintness and trembling in his heart, which will hasten him to fly and reside in the place where he will be directed. This is what will be accomplished by Moshiach with a single thought concentration and by invoking a unique holy form of unification of Hashem's Names which "no eye will have seen" or known other then Moshiach himself, whom we aspire to have in our midst speedily in our days."
From the collected teachings of the Holy Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov (1745-1815)
translated by Dov Levine, published by Ktav

Do a google on the Pashtuns of Afghanistan.

This is an extremely exciting and interesting area of research.
In light of the special times that we live in, we all need to be so much more positive. There is an old Yiddishe/Chassidishe vort to the effect that if you think good and it will be good.
Wishing everyone a burning desire for achdus.

 

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