Archive for September, 2013


In the final chapter of the book of Isaiah, amidst a description of the return of the Jewish exiles to the land of Israel, the prophet tells us:

They (the gentiles) will bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the Almighty… and I shall take from among them (the gentile nations), too, for Kohanim (priests) and Levites, said the Almighty.

Astounding! The Kohanim (priests) and Levites were appointed based on lineage, namely, the Kohanim were the descendants of Aaron and the Levites the descendants of Levi. These groups, respectively, were granted special privileges among the Israelites, notably regarding special service in the Temple for which all other Israelites were disqualified, as well as receiving tithes and other portions as gifts. If even fellow Israelites were disqualified from these positions, how could gentiles, at some later stage in history, be chosen to perform these roles? Let us examine Rashi’s comments here:

“and I shall take from among them, too, for Kohanim and Levites” – ‘From the peoples bringing them and from those brought I will take Kohanim and Levites that are presently concealed among the gentiles due to coercion,* though before Me the Kohanim and Levites among them are revealed, and I will sift them out from among them…’

*[NOTE: “Coercion” here may refer to forced conversion, kidnap or rape that took place over the generations.]

Rashi’s comments are brought to even greater light in the wake of modern genetic studies that have not only shown a genetic link between all Jewish communities worldwide, but most famously have confirmed the accuracy of those Jews that self-identify as Kohanim, an identity preserved over thousands of years by oral tradition alone! Modern science has isolated a genetic marker shared uniquely by male Kohanim, proving their descent from a common ancestor (Aaron) dating back to Biblical times. As an extension of this study, a number of non-Jewish communities have been tested for this genetic marker, and in some cases it has been found to exist even among some non-Jewish individuals, indicating genetic admixture at some point in history, usually occurring, as mentioned in the earlier note, through forced conversion, kidnap or rape.

For more on this, see “The Cohanim-DNA Connection”“Jewish Genes”; or for a more technical discussion, see “Y-chromosomal Aaron.”

As such, these new genetic discoveries have brought us closer to the fulfillment of yet another Biblical prophecy!


“Support me with ashishoth, for I am love-sick.” (Song of Songs)

“In the Midrash, [ashishoth] is explained to mean two fires (eshoth). The meaning is as follows: Love is compared to fire, as in the statement, ‘Abundant waters cannot extinguish the love,’ and it is known to all that the closeness of the lover to the loved one is as the closeness of the loved one to him. So too, as is the awakening from below, so is the awakening from above, and if the fire of love would burn within us as a constant fire that would not be extinguished, resultantly, G-d’s love would be revealed to us. However, ‘this is not with me, for I am love-sick (i.e. deficient of love), therefore I have asked that You support me with two fires — my fire, and Your fire.'” (Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin)