Hebrew and Israelite traditions and customs of the Afghans (Pashtuns/Pukhtuns)

Introduction

The ethnic origin of the Afghans (also Pushtun; Pukhtun or Pathan) has always puzzled ordinary people, scholars and historians alike, but not the Pathans or Afghans themselves. They are different both externally and in their character traits and traditions from other groups around them, such as the Turks, the Mongols, the Chinese, or the Indo-Aryans. The word Pathan is a Pashto derivative of the original word Pithon, the great grandson of King Saul.

  • [http://wakeupproject.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=2303&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&sid=96c3e24fc3c3e6328dbc1531542ef7ad]
  • [10. Chronicles I, 8:35, Book of Samuel, Hebrew Bible and Old Testament.]
  • ["Lost Tribes from Assyria" by A Avihail and A Brin, 1978]


It is also difficult to trace their past history in a region that has seen the passage of numerous nations and peoples throughout history and which has always been a focal point in history’s great conflicts. That is why; definitive clues to their true origins can be traced from the old customs and traditions or oral history that has been handed down from generation to generation. This is not surprising, since the transmission of such oral traditions and familial heritage has always stood the test of time in a region that has always been marred by war and constant change, where borders and kingdoms change every few years or so.
The Pashtuns or Pukhtuns have been living in the Afghanistan area for more than 2,000 years. Their language Pashtu/Pukhto borrows widely from the Arabized Persian of their neighbors (now Iran), yet it was a purely spoken dialect. There was no formal Pukhto/Pushto written script, the first Pushto book appearing about the 1500s. Hence the traditions, customs, tribal genealogy and law orally transferred from father to son. The first book on Pashtun genealogy, the Makhzan-al-Afghani was written in 1613, and contained for the first time a printed table of descent from Abraham to the Pashtun tribes.

  • [http://wakeupproject.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=2303&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&sid=96c3e24fc3c3e6328dbc1531542ef7ad]
  • [Ferishta, History Of The Mohammedan Power In India, The Packard Humanities Institute Persian Texts in Translation]

From their ancient customs, one can point to a connection between the Pathans and the Jewish people. They make up about half of the population of Afghanistan, in the region called Pashtunistan, on the eastern border of Afghanistan. Over ninety per cent of the inhabitants are Sunni Muslims. Later modernization has penetrated into this State, and even less in the hilly areas near the border. In these places, the Pathans continue to live in the tribal framework as their fathers and forefathers did. The legal system operates according to the Pashtunwali,” the Pashtun Laws, parts of which are similar to the laws of the Torah.

  • [Lost Tribes from Assyria" by A Avihail and A Brin, 1978]
  • [The Indian Jewry & The Self-Professed 'Lost Tribes of Israel' by Navras Jaat Aafreedi in collaboration with Professor Tudor Parfitt, director of the Centre of Jewish Studies, London University and Dr Yulia Egorova.]

Rabbinic literature on the subject

Of various accounts on the subject, only rabbinic literature provides direct and indirect references on the subject before the conversion of the Pashtun people to Islam.

The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal describes referencing the Book of Tobit:

[Holy Book of Tobit: Tobit C XIV V 5-13.]

[Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 23, Issues 5-7 By James Sykes Gamble, Asiatic Society of Bengal page 570.]

“The Jews at this time followed the advice of the prophet tobit escaped from Nineveh by stealth where could they have found a more secure retreat than towards the east in the direction of the mountain tracts now inhabited by the Afghans.”

Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 23, Issues 5-7 By James Sykes Gamble

According to the Tanach, after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom (circa 722 B.C.E.), several of the tribes that made up the Ten Lost Tribes, arrived in the region of the Gozan, the Hebrew pronunciation for the River Oxus and according to some for the Afghan city of Ghazni.

[Jewish communities in exotic places, Author: Ken Blady, Edition: illustrated, Publisher: Jason Aronson, 2000, ISBN: 0765761122, 9780765761125, Length: 422 pages, Page 197.]

[Forum on the Jewish people, Zionism and Israel , Volume 61, World Zionist Organization. Information Dept, , 1988 - Pages 41, 42 & 43.]

“…the Assyrian Exile were brought into Halah (modern day Balkh), and Habor (Pesh Habor or Peshawar), and Hara (Herat), and to the river Gozan (the Ammoo, also called Sehoon)…”.
[Tamerlane and the Jews, By Michael Shterenshis, Page xxiv.]
“..to Hara (Bokhara) and to the river of Gozan that is to say, the Amu, called by Europeans the Oxus….”.[The Kingdom of Afghanistan: a historical sketch, By George Passman Tate, Page 11.]

Rabbi Saadia Gaon (892—942), writer of the Bible’s Tafsir in Arabic considered the Assyrian Exile to be in modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Iran.

[Historia judaica: a journal of studies in Jewish history, especially in legal and economic history of the Jews, Volumes 7-8, Guido Kisch - Historia Judaica, 1945.]

[Geonica; The Geonim and Their Halakic Writings - page 59.]

[Jews in Islamic countries in the Middle Ages By Moshe Gil, David Strassler, Page 341.]

[The fire, the star and the cross: minority religions in medieval and early modern Iran - By Aptin Khanbaghi - Page 41.]

[Encyclopaedia Iranica , Volume 15, Issue 1 - Ehsan Yar-Shater - Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, 2009 - 112 pages.]

[The illustrated encyclopedia of medieval civilization, Aryeh Graboïs, Octopus, 1980 - 751 pages.]

Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela cites many large Jewish (Bani Israel) settlements in Media, Arachosia and Khurasan (Afghanistan).

[The Jewish quarterly review , Volume 1, Dropsie University, Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Project Muse, Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, 1966.]

[Encyclopaedia Iranica , Volume 15, Issue 1, Ehsan Yar-Shater, Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, 2009 - 112 pages.]

[Hommage universel: actes du congrès de Shiraz 1971 et autres études rédigées à l'occasion du 2500e anniversaire de la fondation de l'empire Perse, Congress of Persian Studies (2, 1971, Šīrāz), Brill, 1974 - 444 pages - Page 300.]

Yahuda b. Bal’am, a noteworthy Rabbi and scholar of biblical knowledge put the “ten tribes” into Khorasan.

[Historia judaica: a journal of studies in Jewish history, especially in legal and economic history of the Jews, Volumes 7-8, Guido Kisch - Historia Judaica, 1945.]

Tanchum Jerushalmi (thirteenth century) explains II Kings, 18, 11 by saying “these are the cities in the land of Khorasan.

[Historia judaica: a journal of studies in Jewish history, especially in legal and economic history of the Jews, Volumes 7-8, Guido Kisch - Historia Judaica, 1945.]

Links between Afghanistan and the Holy Land

Moshe Gil writes in A history of Palestine:

[A history of Palestine, 634-1099 By Moshe Gil, Page 623.]

“People from distant Khurasan also reached Jerusalem.”

A history of Palestine, 634-1099, By Moshe Gil

 

Adele Berlin writes in Biblical poetry through Medieval Jewish eyes:

[Biblical poetry through Medieval Jewish eyes, Adele Berlin, Indiana University Press, 1991 - 205 pages.]

“Jacob as gaon of Sura, while Saadia conferred the exilarchate on David’s brother Hasan (Josiah; 930). Hasan was forced to flee, and died in exile in Khorasan ;”

Biblical poetry through Medieval Jewish eyes

 

Historical texts also indicate that Khurasan contributed heavily to tithes to the Holy Land.

[Saadia anniversary volume, American Academy for Jewish Research, The Press of the Jewish Publication Society, 1943 - 346 pages.]

[Texts and studies , Volume 2, American Academy for Jewish Research, Press of the Jewish publication society, 1943.]

[Ancient and medieval Jewish history: essays, Salo Wittmayer Baron, Rutgers University Press, 1972 - 588 pages.]

2 Responses to Hebrew and Israelite traditions and customs of the Afghans (Pashtuns/Pukhtuns)

  1. tor khan says:

    beautiful article

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