Sleeping Giant of the Sephardim
The Captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sefarad, shall inhabit the cities of the
Negev”. Obadiah 20, will come to pass in these last days.
The sleeping giant of the Sephardim is being awakened by God. The fulfillment of the restoration of Israel cannot be complete without God’s arms gathering all of his hidden ones, “He will gather his lambs…Isaiah 40:11. These “exiles” are the lambs of God that have laid waste in the ashes of a 500 year old inquisition.
When the Catholic Church established the Inquisition in Spain in 1481, and the expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492, Judaism in Spain became an offense punishable by torture and/or death. Many Jews fled to Portugal (and other countries round about), only to have the inquisition established in Portugal seven years later. Jews fled to safety in such places as the Mediterranean nations of Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria. During and after Columbus’s voyages, Jews also fled into various Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch colonies in the New World. This latter scattering into the “New World” caused the shadow of the inquisition to be transported by the church into Lima, Peru; Colombia, and Mexico City, Mexico. The “prohibited people”, prohibited from going into this new territory would be hunted for another 200 or more years.
The weeping of the Kol Nidre
Thousands of faithful Sephardic Jews had no choice but to keep their true Jewish faith hidden. The name “Marranos”, meaning “swine” became the contemptuous name given to these Jews who were forced to convert, but who continued to practice Judaism in secret. They were neither trusted by those who refused conversion, or by the Catholic Church.
The officers of the Inquisition made it their priority to routinely investigate Marranos to check if they had circumcised their newborns, if they were gathering to pray on Saturdays, or were gathering on any known Jewish feasts, particularly Passover and Yom Kippur.
The Inquisition also required suspected Jews to eat pork in public, or before they went on a trip, to assure they were being good “Conversos”, converted ones to the faith of Catholics.
These surviving Crypto-Jews and Marranos today still instinctively fear being open about their Jewishness, and continue to maintain secrecy about their beliefs and practices. Due to many generations of secrecy about their true heritage, many of the Marrano descendants have assimilated into Christianity in Latin America. Some, however, still have maintained residual Jewish practices such as lighting candles on Friday night, and are generally aware of their Jewish family trees.
There are many Spanish Latinos in the Americas, however who are hidden direct descendants of their Marrano or Crypto Jewish ancestors. These are the result of the New World being originally explored and colonized mostly by Marranos who left Spain to escape the persecution of the Inquisition. These millions (some estimate 2 million, some as high as 60 million) of Marranos are a virtual “sleeping giant”, ready to be awakened to their true heritage after 505 years of slumbering.
Love For Israel
Not Welcomed by Mainstream Judaism
Documents of heritage were taken from the accused or possibly burned along with them. The handed down customs and oral family histories however, cannot be completely erased. This is the true Sephardic legacy to the children’s children—to remember who you are, even in secret. Many of the memories of having heard a grandmother, grandfather, uncle or aunt who said to them, at one time in the strictest confidence: “Somos Judios” or “We are Jews” has been repeated many times over.
The customs of “lighting of candles, never eating pork, fasting at certain times, praying on a certain day, not working on Saturday, even sweeping the floor a certain way, traces of the ladino (Hebrew Spanish of the Sephardim) language in the family, etc, are etched in the memories of this writer.
Hope for God’s Plans
Bring Back These Forgotten Ones
2 then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.
3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south (NEGEV)
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy
6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Only In Israel
“…Karo does not require that the proselyte undergo a detailed education in the law, rather he or she is to be educated merely in the basics of Jewish observance and belief.
“The sources on Anusim present an interesting variety of approaches concerning the requirement of education and *kabbalat mitzvah. The Ashkenazic sources are silent as to the requirement for education, but universally require kabbalat mitzvah. But the Sephardic sources explicitly state that neither education or kabbalat mitzvah is necessary. In the words of Solomon ben Simon Duran:
“Since it is clear that these (Anusim) are not to be considered proselytes, we do not need therefore to enumerate to them all the commandments and their punishments (as must be done to a gentile who wished to become a proselyte). This is obvious, since, if you were to say to him that (as you might with a gentile) for he stands as we do under the oath taken at Sinai.” Danan indeed captures modern feelings of Anusim when he states, “If the Marranos, his word, are to be considered gentiles and those who wish to return as proselytes, their desire to return to the fold will weaken…the Marranos must be received not as strangers but as brethren. They should have the feeling that they are returning home…indeed when it comes to lineage all the people Israel are brethren. We are all sons of one father. The yoke of the law is still on their shoulders and can never be removed from them.” Joseph Karo, in the Bet Yosef states that Anusim “must not be discouraged in any way from returning to Judaism.”
- a male convert is required to undergo milah, tevilah and kabalat mitzvah, that is to say, to be circumcised, to be immersed in a mikvah, and to accept the yoke of the commandments in the presence of a Bet Din ( a court of at least three rabbis – technically a Bet Din is required to witness all aspects of the conversion….A woman is required to undergo tevilah (immersion) and Kabbbalat Mitzvah (acceptance of the Mitzvot)…all necessary or the conversion is not valid…