Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile
March 20, 2007 / 30 Adar 5767  revised and updated July 17, 2014 / 19 Tammuz 5774

About ben Yoseif, maggid/mochiah/moshiah

Note:  Please forgive me for writing this autobiographical vignette in third person, but otherwise there were way too many "I's" in it for my comfort. Also, forgive me for having to detail the ordination service described below so the context of the designation "moshiah" is understood. Also, in third person, some obit writer will be spared a lot of work, hopefully in the distant future. (MbY)

ben Yoseif  is a career daily newspaper editor turned field theologian, spiritual seeker and Torah teacher.  He is an independent and self-supported itinerant Native American minister, intertribal elder and past designated fire chief at his purification lodge of untribed Apache Sundance warriors and is past-Ambassador-at-large for the Central Band of the Cherokee (2010-2012), during the tenure of the late Principal Chief Joe Sittingowl White, z''l.

A native of rural, poverty-stricken Caddo Parish, he was born in a bathtub about 40 days prematurely in 1952 in the town closest to Three States, the intersection of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, (Vivian, La.).  After living in an incubator of the 1950s, he survived but with numerous health issues. 

At the time of his birth, his father, a WWII non-commissioned officer charged with the rebuilding of parts of Egypt and the Sudan with Italian POWs he had commanded during the war, was working as a demolitions engineer in the salt mines in southern Louisiana.  He had returned to humble Vivian and married the love of his life, a war widow with two children, who he adopted.

The family moved to rural East Texas, where ben Yoseif's Dad purchased 52 acres he intended to farm.

"I saw our milk cow decapitated by flying tin during Hurricane Audrey, and a steamer locomotive  set the acreage on fire.  But none of that deterred my Dad from farming.  When I was burned,  though, we moved to the city.

ben Yoseif sustained 3rd degree burns over the entirety of his head and face and upper body at age 4 while whooping and hollering and dancing

around an unattended bonfire.

TOP, My dear mother z''l, Sybil bat Sadie, Cherokee beauty. Her yartzeit is the Fast of Tammuz. BOTTOM, My dear father, Dell Sr., z''l, with Zulu chief and warriors. His yartzeit after passing on the sixth day of Succot when Joseph was the invited guest, is Simchat Torah.

Either I got dizzy or tripped and fell into the fire face first.  I would have died if not for the quick action of one of my older sisters who poured unsalted butter all over my burns, immediately cauterizing them.  That saved my life.

But ben Yoseif was terribly marred and consequently endured much rejection until the tissue on his face was fully healed some 14 years later.

On the first day of first grade, ben Yoseif was diagnosed as having a "spacial recognition learning disability," and sentenced to four years of special education before it was decided in the fifth grade, he was actually an advanced learner.

"It was quite a transition to move from helping the teacher clean up snotty noses and boogers and other "accidents" to getting to travel on a school bus to see cultural stuff every week and attend regular classes. But booger-patrol taught me a lot about less fortunate people."

His father had attempted a safer line of work, a restaurant in Vivian.  But there were few paying customers, so he became an offshore cook for The Superior Oil Co., meaning he was away from home until the family moved to southern Louisiana in 1965, just in time to greet the eye of Hurricane Betsy, in Houma, La.

Journalistic credibility

He began his career as a sportswriter at the Houma Daily Courier (Houma, La.) and while studying engineering science and working on the staff at Nicholls State University, as assistant sports information director and sports statistician, reported high school and small college sports for the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. In 1972, he transferred to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and worked as a sports copy editor at the Advocate and an intern on the news side.

LSU's first national finalist in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation National Intercollegiate Writing Competition, and after matriculating with a B.A. journalism, he moved on to covering urban affairs and was an investigative reporter for the Vicksburg Evening Post (Vicksburg, Ms.), ran the state desk and assisted the city desk at the Monroe News-Star World (Monroe, La.), and became managing editor and executive editor of the Daily Iberian (New Iberia, La.).


For editions published during his one-year as executive editor at the Iberian, the 15,000 circulation daily was brought from obscurity and named the best small daily under 40,000 circulation in the State of Louisiana by the Louisiana Press Association.  This was in head-to-head competition with larger dailies with more resources owned by the New York Times Co., and Gannett.  It's then-unprecedented 14 first-place awards included distinction for public service in open competition with all-sized Louisiana dailies.  The Iberian also was given a special commendation by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for its coverage of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees relocated to southern Louisiana.  And all under budget! with rookie reporters allowed to BE reporters.

Life-altering experience with Light of God

In 1982, while editor at the Iberian he had an experience with the Light of God that he said, "scared the bee-Jeezuz out of me and about nine reporters and section editors who witnessed it," and led to his leaving the newspaper profession to attend seminary.

He completed all the Hebrew and Aramaic (Syriac) exegetical courses offered at the ORU Graduate School of Theology in Tulsa, OK., to which he was, through a clerical error in 1983, admitted without applying in 1984.  But the same Light forbade that he take the required systematic theology courses at the nation's then-leading charismatic seminary. Unable to degree without those courses and having fallen out of grace with the school's dean, who revoked his research assistantship, and broke from having to eat $40,000 in sales for merchandize that could not be delivered when The Computer People, for which he was a commissioned salesman, went out of business, he moved to the Middle East in 1987.

Ordained 'moshiah' since 1986

Before leaving, however, he was ordained by the intercessory prayer ministry he had been a part of since shortly after arriving at ORU. The group, comprised mostly of graduates and ministers from the Rhema Bible Training Center in nearby Broken Arrow, OK., would gather and intercede on musical instruments.

"When you play Bach, the way Bach composed Bach holding certain notes, when everyone in the room is "spirit-filled" the inward witness from the lower abdominal region for some reason bears "witness" and prophecy erupts. We usually played on little wooden recorders similar to Cherokee flutes but in five-part harmony.  I was usually tenor or bass."

During one such intercession by "Glory Productions, Inc.," of Tulsa a word came forth telling ben Yoseif seven years before the Spirit would give him this name that he was "like Joseph, perplexed with many of Joseph's problems and arousing enmities and jealousies with everything he wrote or said."

This word charged me to leave all of that behind and look from that day on, only to "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Rock and Shepherd of Joseph," and be oblivious to what "man can say or do," and He would lead my path. This led to my sudden ordination two weeks later (revoked seven years after that in 1993 when the Rhema ministers who had ordained me were shocked to realize -- putting it mildly -- that they had never asked me if I believed in the trinity or the deity of Jesus and had only assumed that since I was in seminary at ORU that I did.  I never have because I adopt the position that the Torah should be the foundation of all Truth and only by making the New Testament that foundation are these beliefs remotely conceiveable.

At the ordination service two weeks later, we played our musical instruments as usual and words came forth as usual. The ministry ordained me, a missionary back from Guatemala and another couple. The word of prophecy pertaining to me was most unusual, however.  Ministry president John Goers interrupted the prophetic word he received, when he received a Hebrew word he did not understand and had never heard before.  He asked me if I knew what a "moshiah" was, because he did not?   I told him it was someone anointed to do something. He was silent for some time and then told me "You are the Lord's moshiah."  But later in the service he opened his eyes, told me to open mine and said, "I hope you are ready for this," slapping me hard across the face so hard that it turned my face (much to the shock of onlookers) adding, "This shall be a sober work."

Israeli news media

Over a 14-year period, he worked six years full-time in the Israeli news media in Jerusalem and the then-Israeli-administered West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (biblically Judea-Samaria). He was the chief news writer and features producer for Middle East Television, headquartered in Marjahoun, S. Lebanon. As "Nowlin Hale," he provided voice-over coverage from METV's Jerusalem bureau of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's gassing of Kurds, his efforts to rebuild ancient Babylon, the rock festival held there to "renew its ancient glories," the last year of the Iraq-Iran Persian Gulf War, including the cease fire that united Shi'a and Sunni against America (who was supplying both sides with armaments), and the Israeli-Lebanon and Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The modern intifada actually erupted to full-scale when Palestinian sons and daughters of parents I knew started rolling boulders down the Mount of Olives at cars and busses on the highway below.  As one English-speaking Palestinian tour guide who professed his loyalty to then King Hussein of Jordan, and set his clocks by Jordanian time, told me "Arafat is sending our  kids to Hell."

When METV's English news, which had been named the most comprehensive and unbiased media outlet in the entire Middle East, was suddenly discontinued by owner Pat Robertson and the staff fired, he was hired the same day his job ended by The Jerusalem Post.

In yeshivaAs a senior member of the editorial staff at the Post, he was a pagination (Page 1) design editor, assistant systems operator in charge of pagination code, assistant news-analysis special sections editor, relief religion writer and published one column, "The Speech Nobody Heard in Madrid," interpreting the Torah portions over the two weeks of the Madrid Peace Talks between Israelis and Palestinians.  That column attracted him to

Attending Yeshiva

Ohr Someah as a 'Joe'

2000 until April 2001         the attention of several Jerusalem rabbis who allowed him to study Torah and Halacha as a non-Jew in their houses of study. Earlier, before writing news for METV, ben Yoseif  had studied Koran with a Moslem imam in Beit Phage as a condition of living in the all-Moslem East Jerusalem village.  His ministry there was to simply tell the Moslem population comprised of the Avuhaval and Sa'ayad clans of Palestinians that the Almighty was "bringing home the children of Joseph to reunite with the children of Judah."


Return of the House of Joseph

ben Yoseif's training in Hebrew and Aramaic biblical exegesis, Talmud and Koran has led to several innovative proposals attempting to reconcile and dovetail the theologies of all three faiths. He also has promoted the Zechariah Plan, (the biblical state for the Palestinian people in the Gaza and regions contiguous including parts of the fertile Sh'felah valley involving a population exchange (with the international precedent being the 1830s Removal of Cherokee -- Trail of Tears) and the Return of the House of Joseph.

In 2001, ben Yoseif was exiled from Israel after three illegal political arrests and imprisonment in which he was never charged with a crime and not allowed contact with the U.S. Consul for the first week of his incarceration in violation of the treaty between Israel and the United States and his rights as an American citizen.  Rather than comply with orders from the highest level of the Sharon government's cabinet for ben Yoseif's release after that first week, the Israeli Secret Police instead transferred him to Ma'asiyahu, Israel's highest security prison, where he was isolated from Jewish prisoners and incarcerated incommunicado with Islamic fundamentalists and nationalists who had "overstayed their visas." 

In an unprecedented 18-hour marathon session of the Israeli Security Cabinet, with the support of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, z''l, and Inteior Minister Eli Yishai, opposed by then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the Shin Bet (Secret Police) Peres founded, his lawyers won his release.  This is the first time in the history of the state of Israel that the Shin Bet has been reined in on anything, one of his lawyers said.   But ben Yoseif had to agree that

 ben Yoseif after May 2001

 release from Ma'asiyahu Prison


unless he could find rabbis willing to open a giur tiq (file to become a citizen of Israel under rabbinical auspices -- as a "Joe" -- so he could have remained in Israel with his Mexican-American Israeli wife and son "and our lives would not have been shattered," he would leave Israel voluntarily.  Further, he would NOT RETURN unless invited to do so when the Security Cabinet would 1) Deem he and the biblical Palestinian state he promotes are not considered threats to Israeli National Security and 2) He is issued a personal invitation to return from Israel's security apparatus.  Thus exile.


That was probably one of the greatest disappointments of my life.  After living and working in Israel and befriending dozens of rabbis and Jewish spiritual leaders over a 14-year period, NONE would open this file for me.  I do not blame them.  They were under tremendous political pressure from the Israeli Secret Police to be sure I left the land of Israel.  But something died in me the day I had to leave Jerusalem enroute to the airport.


Although he could not give him a giur tiq after his release from Ma'asiyahu, ben Yoseif was given smichah (akin to ordination) as a "maggid,"(storyteller) by his mentor and friend of 14 years, the Rebbe Shani Dor, who is a member of the Revived Sanhedrin Court.  He was charged with the duties of a mokhiah (someone who resolves doctrinal disputes with historical-grammatical exegesis).

Native American credentials

Today, Maggid ben Yoseif, mixed Cherokee and a great-great-great-great grandson of William Griffin, a member of the Cherokee National Council at Red Clay, TN., before the 1830s Removal, lives among untribed Apache in the southwestern Colorado Rockies where he is considered a spiritual elder and "gatekeeper." He is a Torah teacher assisting the Apache since traced to the never uncovenanted Machirites, Gileadite priests and Gershonite Levites of Israelite East M'nashe with their vision of uniting Native tribes and restoring Native ceremoniesIn this regard, ben Yoseif is a world authority on the intersection of Native American spirituality and prophecy with the Torah of Moses and prophets of Israel.

At age 61In the fall of 2009, Chief Joe Sittingowl White, z''l, past principal chief of the Central Band Cherokee, invited ben Yoseif to serve his Tsa-la-gi (Cherokee) people as one of the 13 Equahiyi-Wasi (EH-KWAH-HE-YEE WAH-SEE). With the help of Creator, this Abraham-Moses society is researching Native American origins, prophecy and spirituality and specifically their Hebrew priestly ties.

 61st birthday, 2013

After presenting Apache demands to the George W. Bush White House on July 4, 2007, that the skulls of Goyakhla (Geronimo) and other Apache be returned in a sacred manner "before the curse grows much worse", he was adopted as a spiritual elder by a lodge of untribed Apache Sundancers for which, until he recently turned too old to serve the priesthood, he was designated fire chief.

 ben Yoseif's long-standing interest in Native American affairs stems from moderating a panel discussion, between representatives of the American Indian Movement and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and interactions with students shortly after the 1972 standoff at Wounded Knee, as a news editor on the campus daily at Louisiana State University in 1973.

NOTE:  MbY has recently begun writing down many of his adventures. He believes this may eventually become an autobiographical testimony to the spiritual movement of the Return of the House of Joseph.  This work is ongoing, but is available as well at the More about Maggid ben Yoseif link.



A resource for the Return of the House of Joseph




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