The prophet Isaiah teaches us that an ingathering of the exiles will herald the day of Redemption, for "You will be gathered up one by one, O Children of Israel; It shall be on that day that a great shofar [ram's horn - LB] shall sound, and those lost in the land of Assyria and foresaken in the land of Egypt [and from all the other countries of exile and dispersion - LB] will come [together - LB] and bow down to Hashem on the holy mountain of Jerusalem (Isaiah 27:12-13).
Cherokees coming home: The skeptics don't want to see the writing on the wall, because once a person acknowledges G-d and the eternal truth of Torah, then that person is behooved to make urgent changes for the better. One can act like an ostrich, and put his or her head in the ground, and pretend not to see the imminent redemption. But, one can't deny the evidence that has been rolling in from all over the world, that we are seeing Isaiah's prophecy fulfilled before our very eyes. From a bulging mailbag, I've discovered that Tsa La Gi is not alone; I've heard from for other Cherokee descendants who have concerted or are in the process of converting to Orthodox Judaism (what I call Orthodox is what many others term ultra-Orthodox; Orthodox means that one observes all the laws of Torah). Let me share with you an excerpt from amazing letter from an extraordinary woman, now living in Jerusalem:
...I am convinced that not only was my soul on Mount Sinai with the rest of the Jewish souls when G-d revealed himself and gave us the Torah, but that there are genetic links to the People of Israel throughout my ancestry. I am a fifth-generation Texan; I had a Cherokee great-great grandmother by the name of Laura Broken Bow. I wondered many years ago if the Trail of Tears was not the last stage of assimilation for this "lost" tribe. The similarity to past Jewish experience could not be simply coincidental...I and three of my four children are halachic converts to Judaism and I am personally acquainted with many, many more converts with the same background including another entire family who hails from Oklahoma. The Lost Tribes are returning---some quietly (like us), some more publicly (like the Bnei Menasha from India and the Jews from Ethiopia)---but nevertheless returning, B"H! DST, Jerusalem
Cherokee Elder, an original drawing by artist Kathy Baker. Could this brave's great great grandchildren be learning Torah in Jerusalem today? You bet!
Imagine, Laura Broken Bow's great-great granddaughter is now an Orthodox Jewish mother in Jerusalem. Isaiah's prophecy is in the works - Moshiach and the rebuilding of the holy temple are only a matter of time. Back in America, Tsa La Gi feels it too. Here's what he writes in his most recent letter to me:
Rabbi, I believe that we will see many glorious things ahead. One wonders how glorious it will be to see the complete wonder of the re-established tribes of Israel, repentant and in complete submission to G-d, as they become a light to all nations! I seriously hope I live to see that day, so I can revel in the glory of it, and cheer for the people of Israel as they are sought for wisdom by all the peoples of the world. What a wonderful world that will be! Meanwhile, we have a few bumps in the road to face, and a few more clashes with despots to endure, of that I am certain. I hope no one loses hope or faith in the process, because the outcome is well worth the trials.
Tsa La Gi, with his cogent powers of analysis, hit the nail on the head - the battle is not to lose hope or faith in the process of anticipating redemption. Redemption will require absolute commitment and strength of faith; a person won't be able to skirt both sides of the fence. That brings us to Afghanistan.
Who's afraid of redemption? The Fundamentalist Christians and the missionaries are, because they know that Moshiach will destroy the twenty centuries of lies that they've used to persecute us. The Cherokees don't upset the Fundamentalist Christians and the missionaries so much, because the number of Cherokees returning to Jewish roots hasn't yet reached four figures. On the other hand, Afghanistan - and particularly the Pathans - make them tremble in their boots.
Pathan children - they look strikingly similar to Yemenite Jewish children
The Pathans: The Pathans are proud of several things - one, they've never assimilated; two, they acknowledge their roots from the tribes of Israel (some claim to be Benjaminites while others claim to be Menashe; I concur with the latter opinion); three, although they are offically Moslems, they wear a fringed garment that resembles tzitzit, keep their heads covered, observe the Sabbath, and circumcise their sons at exactly 8 days old. The Pathans are fiercely brave and totally committed, having succeeded to drive the Russian Army out of Afghanistan.
The eyes of conviction: Pathans are no-nonsense and no-compromise
The Pathans have totally frustrated the Christian missionaries. One major group of USA missionaries who have completely struck out in Afghanistan writes, "Since their entire way of life is opposed to change, the Pathan present one of the strongest challenges to the Christian Church today. Much intercession is needed if they are to be successfully reached with the Gospel."
This morning, I had the privilege of davening with Rabbi BT (hidden tzaddik and kabbalist from Ashdod, who disagreed with Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu and maintained that the Disengagement would happen, as part of the greater redemption process). After the services, I approached Rabbi BT and told him about all of my findings as to the lost tribes, and particularly the Cherokees of the USA and the Pathans of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Rabbi BT said that all of the latter are certain descendants of Israel, and many of the former. He also told me that Moshiach will ingather those of the Lost Tribes that haven't fallen victim to Christianity. Do you know what that means? Fifteen million Pathans will recognize the truth of Moshiach, and all will be coming home to Israel.
An end to Disengagement: Modern Israel is also plagued by American-style assimilation. The secular Israelis, eager to live a cheap imitation of American-appetite lifestyle, have thrown away the yoke of Torah and its ethics. A person who denies Torah has no problem giving up parts of the Holy Land in order to gain a few months of imaginary peace in his local pub or cafe, as the typical Israeli secular expression says, "Let's eat and be merry, because tomorrow we'll die". 15 million Pathans, who will undoubtedly cling to the Torah as they've done to their heritage for the last 27 centuries, will horrify the USA, secular Israel (which is decaying anyway), and the Arabs. No longer will Jews in the Holy Land disengage themselves from the duties of the heart as specified in our holy Torah. Like it or not, Israel shall be the palace of Hashem's Divine Presence and a land of Torah. In the King's palace, there's no compromises.
What you can do: Geula, the complete redemption of our people and the ingathering of 27 centuries of exiles is already taking place. There's no more time to sit on the fence, to pray in the morning and to watch Hollywood DVD's in the evening. Now's the time for Torah, Tshuva, and commitment. American Jewry especially has to wake up and declare war on the assimilation that's killing 300,000 American Jews every decade. "Modern" forms of watered-down Jewry are only expediting assimilation. It's about time we put a stop to the centuries-long Trail of Tears, and begin rejoicing in the revival of our heritage, the ingathering of all the exiles, and the imminent coming of Moshiach Tzidkenu, speedily and in our days, amen.
Nvwa-dohi-yadv, danitaga! That's Cherokee for "go in peace, my brother!" May Hashem shine His countenance on each and every one of you always.
***The End of "The Trail of Tears"***