Parshas Vayeitzeh: The mystery of The Ten Lost Tribes

Leff-110813By: Rabbi Boruch Leff

It’s a question that has bothered me for years and I have never found a satisfactory answer.

What in the world happened to the Ten Lost Tribes? How could we lose ten out of twelve tribes, 83% of our peoplehood? The Torah emphasizes that we, Klal Yisrael, are comprised of twelve unique groups, each one being a vital component to our identity as a nation. The blessings by Yaakov Avinu in Parshas Vayechi, the blessings by Moshe Rabbeinu in Parshas VeZos HaBeracha, the twelve unique and individual stones which appeared on the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol, the twelve distinct portions of the Land of Israel divided up in very specific and important ways – all are indications of how significant having Twelve Tribes is to the Jewish People.

Yet, somewhere along the way, we lost ten of our tribes. How could this be?

What does this have to do with the haftarah? The following are some of the pesukim read this week, some of them by Sefardim, some by Ashkenazim; all are from Hoshea (11-14).

“How can I give you over, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel?”  (11:8)

“Ephraim surrounded Me with lies, and the House of Israel with treachery, but Yehuda imposes the dominion of G-d and is faithful to the Holy One.”  (12:1)

“The transgression of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is stored away.” (13:12)

 

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