The Miraculous Return of the Bnei Menashe 

January 6, 2021

This verse describes the reunification of the tribes of Israel and their return to the Land of Israel in the future, one of the greatest miracles the Bible promises, known as the “Ingathering of the Exiles.”

The miraculous Ingathering of the Exiles, reuniting Judah and the Lost Tribes of Israel, took a dramatic turn in recent years when Israel began rescuing the lost tribe known as “Bnei Menashe” (the Children of Menashe) from India’s North-Eastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram. Israel365 News has numerous fascinating articles and videos about the return of the Bnei Menashe to Israel.

The story began in the time of the First Temple when Israel was divided into two kingdoms. The southern Kingdom of Judah was made up mostly of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Most Jews today are descended from the southern kingdom. The northern Kingdom of Israel was made up of the remaining ten tribes. In approximately 721 B.C.E., the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom, exiled the ten tribes living there, and enslaved them in Assyria, as described in the Books of Kings II and Chronicles I.

Some of the Bnei Menashe have an oral tradition that the tribe traveled through Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China, and on to India where they live today. Members of the group include ethnic Chins, Lushais, Kukis, and Mizos. Collectively they are often referred to as Shinlung. Christian missionaries arrived in the region in the early 1900s.

According to the local leaders, when the Bnei Menashe began studying the Bible, they found that the stories, customs, and practices of the Israeli people were very similar to their own. They celebrated annual festivals similar to the Biblical feasts and many of their funeral rites, birth, and marriage ceremonies have similarities to ancient Judaism. They also claim to be descended from a great ancestor “Manmási”, whose descriptions are similar to those of Manasseh, son of Joseph.

In 1951, one of their tribal leaders reported having a dream that his people’s ancient homeland was Israel, and some of the Bnei Menashe began to re-embrace the idea that they were Jews. The Bnei Menashe started studying and practicing Judaism in the 1970s in a desire to return to the religion of their ancestors. A large number of the Bnei Menashe live today in the Biblical city of Kiryat Arba, where unfortunately, many of them are suffering financial hardships in their efforts to acclimate to modern Israeli life. The Israel365 Charity Fund has helped support these modern day heroes living in Kiryat Arba:

The chief rabbi of Israel ruled in 2005 that the Bnei Menashe were recognized as part of a lost tribe of Israel. After undergoing the process for formal conversion to Judaism, they will be allowed to immigrate to Israel. The Bnei Menashe are estimated by Shavei Israel, an organization started by Rabbi Michael Freund, to number around 10,000; close to 3,000 have emigrated to Israel as of 2020.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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By: The Israel Bible Team

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