Sunday, August 14, 2005

Where Are The Kinnos For The Ten Tribes?

I find it very interesting that there are no Kinnos for the Exile and Disappearence of the Ten Tribes. There are plenty for the loss of the Temples, for the massacres that took place during the seiges of Jerusalem, for the loss of Torah scholars and even for the communities of Europe that occured during the Crusades and the men, women and children who were martyred in them. All of these horrible events deserve kinnos.

But there is barely any mention of the fact that before the First Temple was destroyed, over 85% of the Jewish nation was taken away in chains. Surely there were massacres during the seige of Shomron (Samaria). Surely many of them died on the way to exile. And, the fact remains, that they are missing from Judaism to this very day. The Great Mosaic of Israel has been reduced to shreds, with only two sections of the original twelve still extant. Whether one wants to hold to the legendary "they're living beyond the Sambatyon" answer or the more mundane "they intermarried and are gone" answer, the fact remains that they are no longer here. Imagine how much fuller Judaism would be today with the influence of the other ten tribes for the last 2500 years.

It is true that there are some passing references to the Ten Tribes in Kinnos, but not many. The most explicit would be the Kinnah "Shomron" which is recited at Tisha B'Av night. However, even this mention of the TT is only made in conjunction to what happened in Judah/Benjamin.

So, why is this? Why are there no Kinnos for the vast majority of Jews that disappeared from the pages of history?

Is it possible that it is because of the rivalry that existed between Judah and Israel? I don't think so. It's been thousands of years since this rivalry existed. Surely in that time, someone could have come up with a Kinnah.

Is it simply because they are gone from the pages of history but we (the remenants from the kingdom of Judah) are still here? I'm not so certain about that either. After all, the kinnos themselves are all about things that we no longer have - the Temple, the Service, the Torah scholars and communities that have been wiped out?

I suppose one could say that it is simply because they have been reduced to a few sentences in II Kings which describes their exile. Unlike the periods of the destruction of both Temples, there are no extensive records from the Jewish point of view of the destruction of Samaria and the exile of the people -- and as such, there was little "source material" to work with.

But, I would still think that someone, in the last two thousand years, would have come up with something...

The Wolf


Anonymous said...

This bothered me last night while saying Kinot, also.
The only answer I can give is that they were considered Ovdei Avoda Zara who gave up their destiny and their rights to our future.
But that answer definitely doesn't satisfy me at all. They were fellow Israelites, after all, and we sinned like they did, and at least they were worshipping God at their golden calfs! Without looking it up, I'm pretty sure they had more prophets in the Tanach than we did.
At least we know many of the Northern refugees made their ways into Yehuda before the Southern Kingdom's time came, and there are references to exiles from Yisrael joining the exiles in Babylonia.

Anonymous said...

-alan scott

Anonymous said...

I never even thought about this but it does indeed play into many fundamental concepts surrounding Tisha B'Av. Thank you, Wolf!

ADDeRabbi said...

there are none because ther was nobody to write them.
our kinnot, all of them, were composed by 'survivors' of whichever tragedy it was. we have no kinnot from the 10 tribes because we know no survivors.
also, 'shomron titen kol' at least acknowledges the fall of the 10 tribes.

Anonymous said...

But won't Moshiach bring the ten tribes back to Eretz Yisrael? That's how R. Bleich explains the phrase
"וקיבץ נדחי ישראל" in Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 11:8. If so, the tribes must exist in some form, or else Moshiach will restore them in a miraculous way.

Anonymous said...

I think rather than speculating about whether the Rambam means the ten tribes are going to return or not (or any other detail found in Hil. Melachim or in other sources), we should instead look at what he says in the next chapter, Melachim 12:4:

ויש מן החכמים שאומרים שקודם ביאת המלך המשיח, יבוא אלייהו. וכל אלו הדברים וכיוצא בהן--לא יידע אדם היאך יהיו, עד שיהיו: שדברים סתומים הן אצל הנביאים. גם החכמים אין להם קבלה בדברים אלו, אלא לפי הכרע הפסוקים; ולפיכך יש להם מחלוקת בדברים אלו. ועל כל פנים, אין סידור הווית דברים אלו ולא דקדוקן, עיקר בדת.

"And some of the sages say that before the Mashiach comes, Elijah will come. And all of these things and similar things - no one knows how they will be until they occur, for the words of the prophets are unclear. Also the sages have no tradition regarding these matters and can only interpret the verses; therefore there are disagreements on these matters. And in any case, the order of these events, or their details, are not fundamentals of the religion".

Anonymous said...

Warren, I'm also familiar with the statement of the Rambam that you cite, and I agree that it's very instructive. Nevertheless, it's inescapable that Rambam believes that Moshiach must accomplish certain things, e.g., rebuild the Temple, in order to be regarded as Moshiach. Among those necessary accomplishments is the gathering of the dispersed of Israel, a phrase that comes from Isaiah 11:12.

The Messianic prophecies in Isaiah 11:11-13 clearly state that both Judah and Israel will be restored to the Land of Israel. It's hard to see how this prophecy can be fulfilled if the ten tribes are irretrievably lost.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to see how this prophecy can be fulfilled if the ten tribes are irretrievably lost.
It depends on what the meaning of 'tribe' is. :>)
As far as genetics goes, I suspect members of all 10 tribes fled into Judah ahead of the Assyrian invasion. Perhaps with advances in Y chromosone genetics we will be able to distinguish the members of all 13 tribes one from another.

Culturally 12 of the 13 tribes (all except Levi) are lost. Restoring that aspect of the tribes will probably take miraculous intervention - but then so IMHO will restoring the rest of a Torah culture in a modern day.

Kol Tuv


Anonymous said...

Anon, it's also clear from the end of Malachi that Eliyahu is coming back, but the Rambam doesn't insist on that happening either.

Anonymous said...

The 10 lost tribes are somewhere in New Zealand, in yet to be charted territories. Unfortunately, they have lost many of our traditions, but never the fact that when Mashiach comes, they will be brought to the promised land on the wings of eagles. Until that day, they are tending to the sheep that will be slaughtered in the third Beis Hamikdash. Although they no longer have a written tradition, they have all been told that Hashem loves the smell of young sheep burning on the altar.

Anonymous said...

As noted above - Shomron kol titen - from Tisha Bav night IS the kinah for the ten tribes, especially the first stanza . Read it!

BrooklynWolf said...


You are correct that "Shomron" deals with the TT. But even that kinnah deals with it only in a "I'm suffering worse than you are..." fashion, comparing the exile of the TT to the exile of Judah. I would have thought that there would be one exclusively for them.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

Oh you rebels against the line of david
You worshippers of calves of gold
What a pain you were when you were around
And how we miss you when you're gone.

The Levites miss the tribe of Shimon
Remember when we dealt with Shechem?
Now there was a peace process!

Oh tribes, we told you not to mess with Assyrians
But do you ever listen to us? No!
But Hashem is merciful
And we should be the same.

Besides, we need you to fulfill the prophecies
Of the End of Days
When Moshiach
(Rebbe or not, here he comes!)
will bring the world to Hashem


kinos is not only the pain of yesterday,but the hope of the future.the Bais Hamikdash will be rebuilt,the jews will arise,books will be reprinted,children will be born.But the 10 tribes will never be seen again,for them we are me'yaish and so no kinnos for them.

Rebecca said...

Except for the lovely kinnah that anonymous just wrote for them!

On a more serious note...I've always speculated that perhaps not all the ten tribes were actually lost when they went to Assyria, because when the two tribes got sent to Babylon, perhaps some of them met up (the whole area now being ruled by the Babylonians).