Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
I\'m Descended From Abraham, Isaac, And Jacob, Top That!
By Ariel Natan Pasko
Americans are "rootless cosmopolitans," a term I might add, that was
frequently used derogatorily by Europeans against Jews in the past. By
rootless cosmopolitans, I mean to say; America is made up of people from
all over the globe, most are descended from earlier arrivals to its
shores, from more than one country, and many don\'t know who their
relatives were beyond a few generations back. Thus, the explanation for the growing popularity of genetic testing and ancestral searching, one of the latest fads in America.
For example, The New York Times recently ran an article entitled,
"Who\'s Your Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaddy?" about this growing
movement. Well, mine are the famous biblical prophets, chosen of the L-rd, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Jews by the way know where they come from (and so does the rest of the
world), the Land of Israel, the biblical "Promised Land".
So while Americans are scurrying around to determine if they have some
of Ghengis Khan\'s DNA (probably raped their maternal progenitor), or
have some connection to Marie Antoinette and her infamous "Let them eat
cake" rant; Jews the world over can pride themselves on their descent
from such moral pillars, that to this day, the world reads about them in
the Hebrew Bible, and tries to learn lessons from their lives, on how
establish a relationship to G-D, how to organize society, and how to
live their own lives more fully.
In Judaism, there\'s a concept, "Ma\'ase Avot, Siman L\'Banim," the deeds
of the fathers are guides for the children.
Having such illustrious ancestors puts a heavy burden on Jews. Unlike
someone who discovers he\'s descended from Robert E. Lee (what\'s he going
to do, start a new slavery movement?), Jews have a responsibility to
live up to our past.
Positive that there was a way to understand G-D\'s creation, using the
language of modern physics, Einstein said, "G-D doesn\'t play dice with
the universe," and went about studying it. Freud tried to "heal the
soul" through the modern techniques of psychology. Karl Marx, a descendent
of the great 12th century Biblical and Talmudic commentator Rabbi
Shlomo Ben Isaac (Rashi), worried about the oppressed worker.
Whether they\'re involved in left-wing liberation movements for social
justice, or science, medicine and the arts, many Jews are trying (often
unconsciously) to express these eternal values of "fixing the world"
(sometimes properly, other times mistakenly) that they\'ve inherited from
Spiritually inclined, morally precocious, and always inquisitive; Jews
established universal public education in Judea, for their children
about 2,100 years ago. Always literate, besides the Bible and Talmud, the
Jewish bookshelf contains a university library of works on morality,
philosophy, mystical pursuits, science, medicine, history and law. There
are well over 200 very serious super-commentaries on Rashi\'s Biblical
commentary alone. Jews as translators were a main transmission link
between the classical Greek and Latin scientific and medical texts, and the
early Islamic world. Learning to become a rabbi (a moral, legal, and
spiritual guide) has always had an honored place in Jewish life, a
reminder of the days of prophets and kings.
If your last name is Cohen or Kahn, Katz or Kagan, genetic testing has
proven what most already knew from tradition; you\'re a direct link to
Aaron the High Priest.
Jews have always guarded their lineage and many kept intricate records,
today more descendants of King David walk the earth than one might
realize, and they often know who they are.
But whether they\'re descended from Moses or Aaron or King David, any
number of Biblical prophets, great rabbis like the RamBam or Rashi, or
not; every Jew knows he\'s the great-great-great-great...grandson or
daughter of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the chosen of the L-rd.
I wish others all the best in finding their beloved ancestors, from
Africa, Europe, or Asia, wherever they may be.
By the way, I can go and visit the family burial plot (the Maarat
HaMachpela, Cave/Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron, Israel, anytime I want,
to say hello to my forefathers and foremothers, Abraham and Sara, Isaac
and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.
Is there a nation any greater, who knows where its illustrious
progenitors are buried?
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a
Master\'s Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy,
and Policy Analysis. He also has a degree in Jewish History & Thought.
Pasko is amember of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at:
(c) 2006/5766 Pasko