Yoseh Ben Moshe Ben Yehuda
“Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt"l
a visionary, educator, and prolific scholar
Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation
- Beth Ha-Tefilah Headquarters Synagogue on
15 Nisan 5679
Tuesday, April 15, 1919, Pesach I
Adar, 5726 - March, 1966
Message from Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew
Awakening from Above: Commandment Keepers 100th Anniversary, Passover, and the 400 Year Prophecy - A Legacy of Freedom
It was no accident that a visionary by the name of Yoseh ben Moshe ben Yehuda “Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l" founded Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation – Beth Ha-Tefilah Headquarters Synagogue “Commandment Keepers” on 15 Nisan 5679 corresponding to Tuesday, April 15, 1919 on the Gregorian calendar which was the first day of Passover “Pesach” in 1919. The spiritual energy under YHWH flowed from giver (YHWH) to receiver (Commandment Keepers), from above to below, from heaven to earth, from inside to outside, and from hidden to revealed.
This date, 15 Nisan 5679 (Tuesday, April 15, 1919), is an important date in the calculation of the 400-year prophecy and significant biblically because: (1) The years 1619 – 1919 marked the 300th year of the Landing of Slaves at Jamestown; (2) Commandment Keepers’ founding date in 1919 set off the final 100 year link countdown to the fulfillment of the 400 years of slavery according to Bereshit 15:13 -14; (3) Pesach a major, biblical holiday, commemorated Israel’s liberation by YHWH from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses; (4) the Passover Haggadah readings mentions “400 years" of being in a “land that is not theirs;" (5) Ancient History supports the biblical account of the Exodus, which parallels the experience of African Americans “Blacks” in America; and (6) links Commandment Keepers to the descendants of the biblical patriarch Jacob “b'nei yisrael,” “sons of Israel” or “children of Israel.”
Nisan is often referred to as the Month of Miracles. In the Torah it is referred to by three names: 1) “The First Month” — the month of redemption; 2) "Aviv" — this name means spring, the time when the physical and spiritual messages of rebirth meet and blossom; and 3) “Nisan” — although this name is technically of Babylonian origin, the Aramaic word Nisan is related to the Hebrew word, nitzan, meaning bud. In Song of Songs, King Solomon depicts the love that bonds Israel to YHWH, redemption is symbolically referred to as “the time that the buds were seen in our land.” Symbolically, the inarticulate earth gave birth to the bud of Commandment Keepers who soon would flower in the twentieth century.
On 15 Nisan 5679, YHWH, through an abundance of spiritual energy, provided Commandment Keepers with the tools needed to address “the problem of the color line;” and a way out of their oppression and post-slavery condition. This period of spiritual energy for Commandment Keepers can be called an ‘awakening from above.’ 5679 was the year set aside by YHWH for Commandment Keepers to fulfill what is written in the Book of Exodus “Shemot.” 1919 was key for Blacks in America as the year provided a link to the biblical timeline of the flight of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, a central pillar of Israelite faith. Commandment Keepers' awakening on Pesach was no accident as its founding aligned the perfect energy to move Commandment Keepers into the last 100 years of the biblical prophecy calculation 100 (1919 - 2019 ) + 300 (1619 - 1919 ) = 400 (1619 - 2019) years.
The astrological sign of Nisan is the lamb or Aries. Lambs graze in a flock, faithfully following the shepherd. On 15 Nisan 5679, in Harlem New York City, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l was inspired by YHWH to become a twentieth century shepherd. Coincidentally, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l founded Commandment Keepers during the time of redemption. He followed YHWH and shepherded Blacks who had languished in societal backwaters in their quest for democratic equality; Blacks in the United States who described themselves as Christians, to move into their rightful ancestral lineage under the House of Israel. The power of Torah given to Commandment Keepers was the catalyst and tool that would lead Blacks to their rightful legacy of freedom.
Commandment Keepers being founded in Harlem is significant because: 1) from 1910 to 1920, Harlem saw an increase in the Black population because of migration in large numbers from the South to the North; 2) Harlem was also the place that stimulated racial consciousness, influenced by Marcus Garvey’s “the back to Africa” movement; 3) Harlem inspired “the Harlem Renaissance”; and 4) Commandment Keepers’ Harlem location was that of a courageous shepherd, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, zt”l who led a spiritual movement spanning 54 years from 1919 to 1973. The spiritual movement continued for the remaining years leading up to April 15, 2019 marking 100 years. A spiritual movement that set the ground work for the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy under Bereshit 15:13 -14:
13 “Then the LORD told Abram, ' You can be sure that your descendants will be oppressed as slaves for four hundred years.
14 But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come out away with great wealth…”
In 1919 Commandment Keepers became a vessel to receive the blessing expressed in Bereshit 15:14 which states: “…and afterwards they will go forth with great possessions.” Realization of great possessions is fulfilled when Commandment Keepers uses the tools and formulas provided by YHWH. For example, in walking through Pardes (Pardes refers to (types of) interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the same initials of the following four approaches: Peshat “surface;” Remez “hints;” Derash “seek;” and Sod “secret”: “great possessions” or sustenance or physical prosperity begins with prayers such as Ashrei, wherein we read in verse 16 the phrase which states: “Poteach Et YaDehCha; UMasBeAh LeKahl Chai RahTzon” translates as: “Thou openest Thy hand, and satisfiest every living thing with favor.” Poteach Et Yadecha translates as “Open Your Hands” or to lift up one's upturned hands as if to receive YHWH's gifts "blessings."
Commandment Keepers, in opening their hands in 1919, paved the way for “great possessions” to be manifested in 2019 (on its 100-year anniversary - 10 Nisan 5779 corresponding to Monday, April 15, 2019) through the use of spiritual energy provided to Israel through: Ashrei. Ashrei, is said 3 times per day; twice in the morning and once in the afternoon. It is a prayer that deals with sustenance and YHWH’s Beneficence.
Ashrai Yoshvay Vaytecha Od Yehalelulah Selah! “Happy are they that dwell in Thy house, they are ever praising Thee. Selah” This phrase is said while sitting or prostrating, since the words imply dwelling internally and whenever Halacha indicates that a prayer is to be said in a sitting or prostrating position it indicates a desire to manifest this energy in the physical world. Ashrei permutes into the word “my Head.” Yoshvay permutes into “Return to YHWH.”
The word Bait of Baitecha has a gematria of 412 which is 2 times 206 which is the gematria of the 69th Name within the 72 Names of YHWH. This Name deals with vision or Wisdom “Chochmah.” The word Od has a gematria of 80 which is the gematria of the letter Pey which means mouth.
Halalucha has the gematria of 101 which is the same Gematria of the Arch Angel Michael. Selah is defined as a Hebrew word that has been found at the ending of verses in Psalms and has been interpreted as an instruction calling for a break in the singing of the Psalm or it may mean "forever." Its gematria is 95 which is the same as Hamelech meaning “The King.” The Shoresh (root) means “to exalt” as well as “forever.”
Putting all of this together, in addition to the surface level meaning of these 7 words (Ashrai Yoshvay Vaytecha Od Yehalelulah Selah), it is also saying: Return to YHWH through Chochmah by using your mouth to say Blessings and to exalt YHWH Forever.
The first letters of these 3 words "Poteach Et Yadecha" are Pey Aleph Yod which has a gematria of 91, which is 26+65. 26 is the Tetragramaton; and 65 is the gematria of the God of the physical world which we call Adonai. 91 represents the unification of the physical and spiritual worlds. 91 is also the gematria of the Name from the 72 Names of God (a powerful spiritual tool) dealing with prosperity. That Name is Samech-Alef-Lamed ס א ל פ א י. Samech-Alef-Lamed will bring abundance and prosperity, fortune, wealth and benedictions. It helps remove financial blockages, promotes good livelihood, and elimination of debt: "...come out away with great wealth…" One of several meanings of Bereshit 15:14.
The final letters of
these three words are Chet Taf Caf ח ת ך which is a Name dealing with Parnassa
or sustenance. While our hands are open to receive the spiritual energy
that flows from above to below, we understand (opening hands when
saying Poteach Et Yadecha) is one formula YHWH provided to Commandment Keepers to ensure the fulfillment
of the 400-year prophecy.
The Royal Order of Ethiopian Hebrews The Sons and Daughters of Culture Inc. was authorized on Tevet 4, 5713 corresponding to December 22, 1952/ Gregorian calendar as evidenced by its Authorized Certificate.
Whereas on Nisan 10, 5779 corresponding to April 15, 2019, the 100th year anniversary of Commandment Keepers in the twenty-first century, the Royal Order of Ethiopian Hebrews The Sons and Daughters of Culture Inc. is hereby revived through Commandment Keepers fifth rabbi, Rabbi Dawid Ya'qob Zechariah HaLewi ibn Abraham. Our mission is to continue the work of Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt"l through an innovative mix of prayer; meditation; metaphysics; practitioner of sacred healing arts; and kabbalah.
On Tuesday, April 15, 1919, some 100 years ago, as beloved rabbi, scholar, visionary and teacher Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt"l took direct responsibility for the transmission of the Torah to his students and established the Ethiopian Hebrew Rabbinical College to serve the Ethiopian Hebrew community and humankind in the capacity of spiritual leaders, teachers, custodians, and healers.
In the spirit of God’s promise to make Israel a kingdom of priests and a holy nation; (Exodus 19:6); and in obedience to the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:24) the Rabbi Zechariah Lewi (21st Century) Ethiopian Hebrew Rabbinical College (20th Century) is established to fulfill the legacy set forth by our founder Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt"l, the college is reestablished to meet the need for serious learning and an open minded environment for the 21st Century. The rabbinical college was reestablished in 2015 to honor both Chief Rabbi Matthew (20th Century) and Rabbi Zechariah Lewi (21st Century).
15 Nisan 5679 - 10 Nisan 5779
April 15, 1919 - April 15, 2019
Commandment Keepers 5 Rabbi Successors of our Religious Legacy
Rabbi Chaim White zt"l
1975 – 1997
Rabbi Yhoshua Ben Yahonatan zt"l
1997 – 2000
Rabbi Zechariah HaLewi ibn Abraham zt"l
2000 – 2015
Life Cycle Event
Bar Mitzvah Tzaddik Ben Yisrael
A Legacy of Freedom
"In Memory of those past congregational members, rabbis, elders, fathers and mothers whose unselfish sacrifices and hardships contributed importantly to the building foundation of the Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation during it's early years of growth, under the leadership of its founder, Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt"l"
Past President - Parnas Julian Albert Wormley
Rabbi A. Jonah
Rabbi E. McCloud
Rabbi L.A. McKethan
Rabbi L. Samuels
Rabbi Darnley Smalls
Rabbi J. Thomas
Rabbi J. Wilkins
Rabbi James Williams
Gabbi David Lee
Brother Max Blumberg
Brother Alfred Clark
Brother Stephen Lee
Brother Arthur Matthew
Brother Samuel Matthew
Brother Joe Thomas
Brother Marchall Yahanaton
Brother Michael Yehudah
Brother Menelik Yisrael
Rabbanit Florence Matthew
Rabbanit Sarah "Georgie" White
Kenney Evelyn Shellman
Sister Constance Brown
Sister Evonne Brown
Sister Pricilla Brown
Sister Annie Clarke
Sister Naomi Claxton
Sister Florence Dore
Sister Sarah Hinderson
Sister Constance Jonah
Sister Rose Jones
Sister Anie Matthew
Sister Annie More
Sister Florence Morrison
Sister Holliday Hayes
Commissioner Billie Holliday Hayes
Mother Judith Reid
Sister Abubakar Oliyah
Sister Loretta Rawlins
Sister Benlah Regent
Sister Judith Reid
Sister Mary Robinson
Sister Edith Russell
Sister Joan Samuels
Sister Louise Scott
Sister Grace Steele
Sister Alice Taylor
Sister Dinah Terrell
Sister Ellen Vanderpool
"I Am An Israelite"
Unknown author from the archives of Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation - Beth Ha-Tefilah Headquarters
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