Origins Of The Beta Israel

Origins Of The Beta Israel - The Origins Of The Beta Israel...

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The Origins Of The Beta Israel The history of the Israelite people is one so great that although documented in various archives, has been reshaped and interpreted in different ways over time. This is due to an extensive diaspora, influence from other cultures, and in some cases, the tradition of orally passing down a people's history as opposed to documenting it. This is exemplified by the Beta Israel, referred to by non-Jewish Ethiopians as falasha (a Ge'ez or Amharic term literally meaning "to uproot", translated in English to "foreigner" or "stranger") , and known to the rest of the world as the Ethiopian Jew. Although eventually recognized by the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, in accordance with Chief Sfardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, as legitimate descendants of the lost tribes; the Beta Israel were a part of Israelite history, long forgotten. Within a small Jewish enclave in the Ethiopian highlands, the Beta Israel sustained very little contact with other Jewish communities until the 1860's. Living amongst their fellow Ethiopians, they were near indistinguishable, were it not for the rituals and occupations they performed, they would have blended right in. Beta Israel is Ge'ez for "House of Israel", directly linking them to the Israelite's. A large portion of their history was erased in 1624 when Portuguese backed Ethiopians defeated them in battle and "burned all of the Falasha's written history and all of their religious books, it was an attempt to eradicate forever the Judaic memory of Ethiopia" ( Righteous Jews Honored by Falasha Supporters, AAEJ Press Release, 1981). T hat they are connected to Israel and Judaism is undeniable, however their origin is enshrouded in mystery, thus resulting in various theories. Among these various theories there are three main consistent ones, more widely accepted and credible than the rest. . These three include the theory that the Beta Israel may be descendants of either Menelik I and his followers, the lost israelite tribe of Dan, or Ethiopians who were converted. They, not only narrate different versions concerning the origin of the Beta Israel, but respecatbly also relate to the Bible, Qu'ran, Torah, and most importantly, the Kebra Nagast. Adding validity to their claims. The origin of the Beta Israel as descendants of Menelik i (the first) is true to the accounts documented within the Kebra Nagast ("Glory Of The Kings"). This book holds the true history of the Solomonic dynasty, and the Kings of Ethiopia that are directly linked to King Solomon himself. It was intended to trace the descendants of Queen Makanda (Queen Of Sheba), the mother of Menelik and ruler of ancient Ethiopia. Often
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Origins Of The Beta Israel - The Origins Of The Beta Israel...

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