OU TORAHDedicated by the Jacobs and Chill Families in Memory of Harold and Pearl Jacobs
Dora Bas Rivka Silver O'H
Lost: Ten Tribes
Hoshea, the last king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom of the Ten Tribes) reigned for nine years. He was conquered by Assyria and became a vassal state.
Israel paid Assyria a yearly tribute. One year, Hoshea did not pay his tribute. He also tried to get Egypt to help him fight off the Assyrians. Shalmaneser, then king of Assyria, found out and he didn't care much for Hoshea's insubordination. Assyria started a three-year siege of Israel.
Assyria finally captured Samaria, the capital of Israel. The people were exiled and resettled in other lands.
That was it for the Ten Tribes. They would not be swayed from their idolatrous ways, even though G-d had corrected them many times. He sent many prophets, but the people persisted. So, G-d permitted them to be exiled and only the kingdom of Judah (including Benjamin and Levi) remained. Judah wasn't perfect, but the kingdom of Israel had pushed away from G-d with both hands. (The Navi describes this in some detail, but that's the gist of it.)
So, the Jews of Israel were exiled and the conquered people of other nations were moved into Samaria. G-d sent lions to attack the people in Samaria. When the king of Assyria found out, he had a kohein (priest) brought to Samaria to convert the people there to Judaism. They started to worship G-d, but they also continued to worship their old idols. They continued to serve G-d, but not sincerely. One of the major populations in Samaria was originally from a place called Kusa. These people are the Kusim (Cutheans) whose status as Jews is frequently discussed in the Talmud. (Let's just say they get partial credit.)
A short Insight into II Kings, Chapter 17The Talmud states that there were no holy days as happy for the Jews as Tu B'Av and Yom Kippur. Various reasons for celebrating on Tu B'Av are cited by the Talmud and Talmudic commentators:
• While the Jews wandered in the desert for forty years, female orphans without brothers could only marry within their tribe, to prevent their father's inherited land in the Land of Israel from passing on to other tribes. On the fifteenth of Av of the fortieth year, this ban was lifted.
• That same year, the last of the generation of the sin of the spies, which had been forbidden to enter the Promised Land, died out.
• The Tribe of Benjamin was allowed to intermarry with the other tribes after the incident of the Concubine of Gibeah (see Judges chapters 19-21).
• Cutting of the wood for the main altar in the was completed for the year.
• The nights, traditionally the ideal time for Torah study, are lengthened again after the summer solstice, permitting more study.
• The Roman occupiers permitted burial of the victims of the massacre at Bethar. Miraculously, the bodies had not decomposed, despite exposure to the elements for over a year.
The gemora in Gittin (98a) tells us that that Hoshai'a dismissed the sentries of Yeravam who had stopped Jews from going to Yeushalayim for the festivals of Pesach, Shavuos and Succos. This dismissal happened on Tu B'Av (Ta'anis 26). This was a very special opportunity for the Jews of the Northern Kingdom. However, Chazal teach us that despite the dismissal of the sentries, these Jews did not come to Yerushalayim for the festival. So Hashem said, “These years that these Jews did not come to Yerushalayim - they will held captive. For this reason, the Jews of the ten tribes were exiled in the days of Hoshea ben Elah despite the fact that he was not as evil as the previous kings of Israel.