Vol. IV - No.5
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Passover Sacrifice April 22, 2005
with Passover on the 23rd
7 days of Unleavened Bread
April 23-29, 2005
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Getting to business in promoting the Mount Gerizim Peace Center
My last visit to the USA was around the upgrading of both peace center proposal and spreading the Samaritan studies everywhere. It looks that after Arafat death there is a kind of turning point in the politics of our region and good opportunity to promote the idea of making Mount Gerizim as an "Island of Peace" in the sea of hatred and violence in our region. The location of Mount Gerizim at the meeting point between Israelis and Palestinians making it the ideal point to make a bridge of peace between them and the Israelite Samaritans as mediators for peace.
Give some Thought for the Discussion Forum at The-Samaritans.com
If Jerusalem is the place of the center of Worship, then why did not Joshua take the Israelites straight there to Jerusalem? Why then were the kings of Israel crowned at Shechem and not Jerusalem? Why is did the torah say that Joshua did all that was commanded him? Where did the Israelites make the covenant, was it before the Lord? Where did the Israelites bring their sacrifices? where did the Israelites go to appear before the Lord three times a year? If the location of Shema's dwelling changed, are the Mormon's correct in Utah today? Why was Jerusalem never directly mentioned in the Torah (the FIVE books) as Moriah? Was there a reason for a relocation? What then happened to the Holy tabernacle? And what about the division of the tribes of Israel, does it mean nothing? And lest we not forget the Kings of the Southern kingdom, how righteous were they?
A Passover Night on Gerizim, Continuing from a the last Update
by Rev. James W. Bradsley, M.A. From The Sunday At Home, A family magazine for Sabbath Reading, No. 1196.- March 31, 1877
Our first glance is at the white Wely, the well-known landmark which crowns the summit of Gerizim, at two hours' distance. Far away to the north we descry the snowy head of Jebel-esh-Sheikh (Hermon). Our next look is one of gratified surprise at the size of the plain of Mukhna, at our feet, the largest in the highland district which lies between the maritime plain and the valley of the Jordan.
To the ordinary reader perhaps no plain in Palestine is so little known as that of Mukhna, and yet no plain comprehends such a confluence of sacred association, and in no part of Syria do you come in contact with so many reminiscences of the past. here are Shechem (Gen. xii. 6), now called Nablus; Shalem (Gen. xxxiii. 10), the present village of Saim; Joseph's tomb, and Jacob's well, etc. The very length of the shadeless plain seemed to suggest the reason why Jesus should have been so "wearied with his journey" (John iv. 6). It was of this plain He spoke when He said, "There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest." The Samaritans still dwell in the same city of Shechem where they lived in the time of our Lord. Where the Wely crowns the summit of Gerizim was the sanctuary of which the woman of Samaria said, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain" (John iv. 20); and on the same mountain, after eighteen hundred years, we are about to witness the continuance of the same Mosaic observances.
What an expanse of corn-land it is! One great field, unbroken by a single house or fence. If it were not for an olive here and there it would be as smooth as the surface of an inland lake. We should wonder who cultivated the soil, did we not see several villages on the slopes around. To the east a low line of hills here and there jut out into the plain, (page 195)forming charming bays and corners, green with early wheat. We trace our path on the west and which rise higher and higher until they reach Gerizim, which, like Saul, is "head and shoulders" taller than its neighbours. Ebal lies just behind it, and between the twin mountains is the entrance by Jacob's well and Joseph's tomb into the valley of Shechem, a "parcel of a field" so fertile as this, even apart from its associations so hallowed in the history of his family.
We descend, pass one or two villagers, one of them armed to the teeth, and get surly replies, when F___ asks, "Is there any way to the top of Gerizim from this side? We wish to go up to the Samaritan encampment, and do not care to go round the mountain and ascend from Nablus." Our good dragoman for once is sulky. Easterns are thoroughly Conservative. "He has been to Nablus eleven times, and always gone one way; dragomans before he was born have all gone the same road. Never heard of any one who had ascended Gerizim from this side." We at last get a villager more civil than his neighbours to act as guide, save an hour by being for once "Radicals" and overturning old-established institutions, and after a stiff climb we see over the crest above us a union-jack "bobbing about" in a frantic manner, which tells us that we must not come near the Samaritan encampment. We have hardly dismounted when Yakub esh Shellabi, who had been choosing the site for our tents, comes forward.
Yakub has really a fine commanding presence. Some of my readers may have seen him, as he was in England three years, I believe, from 1853-1856, about Samaritan affairs. He spoke English well. F___ introduced him to us with oriental courtesy as "Yakub esh Shellabi, the Prince of the Samaritans, handsome in name" (Shellabi signifies "the Handsome one"), "handsome in person, handsome in fortune, and handsome in deed." "Blessed be your coming," says Yakub. "Blessed by your appearing," say we. We are soon resting on comfortable cushions in Yakub's tent, where all is ready for our reception. The inevitable nargeeleh is handed round, and then follow sherbet, a bowl of sweet cream, wine and Passover cake. Yakub apologizes for not joining us, saying that the day is observed as a strict fast, even from tobacco. He talks to us whilst we form spoons from the unleavened cake, dip them into the common bowl of cream, swallow spoons and all, and find them by no means indigestible. a great many compliments pass. Yakub's wife left the tent as we entered, but by no means so hastily as not to get a good view of her husband's guests. He fetched his little son- a most amusing pocket edition of the grand folio before us. We had been previously introduced to his young daughters, who were dresses in hideous yellow Manchester prints. Every one in the camp evidently wore his best attire. Our host asks most anxiously after the health of the Bishop of London (the present Archbishop of Canterbury), his good friends Dr. Pusey and Rev. George Williams. We satisfy his mind on these points to the best of our ability, then start to explore the ruins on the summit of the mountain, whilst Yakub again and again assures us that he is very glad to see us; he is anxious that we should see everything about the coming sacrifice; we are his guests, etc. I have tasted Yabub's salt, or I could say much. As I lingered behind my party for a moment he surreptitiously took out a manuscript from beneath the extemporised divan, which he said he was anxious to sell me. "Very ancient, very ancient." I am no expert, but I imagine that I might have said, as Mr. Coxe of the Bodleian did to that modern Chatterton, Constantine Simonides, who presented for his purchase a manuscript in uncial letters, that "I thought they might date from about the middle of the nineteenth century."
See the next issue for the continuation of the article.
The Jewish Moriah verses the Samaritan Mora
Recently I added to my library, Early Jewish Exegesis and Theological Controversy, Studies in Scriptures in the Shadow of Internal and External Controversies by Isaac Kalimi, 2002 Royal van Gorcum, Assen, The Netherlands. The is a section dealing with the land of Moriah and the temple mount in Jerusalem and the Samaritan claim of Mora both said to be the location of the mountain for the sacrifice of Isaac. The land of Moriah is mentioned only once in Genesis 22:2 in the Jewish Torah , not counting of course 2 Chronicles 3:1. There is however a simmilar name used in the Jewish text of Moreh in gen. 12: 6, de. 11:30 which describes Moreh as a plain being near Sichem and Gilgal.
There seems to be a problem with the word 'Moriah' according to so many scholars even the famed Jewish Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam; 1080-1160) held that the name 'Moriah' was a corruption. But Isaac Kalimi writes, 'When the Chronicler added the precise location of Jerusalem's temple to his rewriting of the text of the book of King's,.. he found a clear connection between the sitr of the temple Mount and the place where Isaac was bound.'
The Samaritan version of Genesis 22:2 reads ' Go to the land of Mora'a and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will point out to you.' the Samaritan Deuteronomy 11:29-30 reads, 'and you shall put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim,... by the oaks of Mora'a in front of Shechem. The Masoretic text has 'oak of Moreh.'
But here is an issue, Abraham had to go to this one mountain, a holy mountain where he was to offer his son before the Lord. Now after the event was done, Abraham did purchase a plain of land. Now if it were you would you purchase this land close to the holy mountain or would you purchase land that was so far away. It is very plain to see that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived near Shechem which would have been close to Mount Gerizim. Had the location been in Jerusalem which was not even mentioned in the Torah, why would the so righteous men live so far away, was it because that Jerusalem was inhabited by a different faith and may have been dangerous for them to go there? It makes no sense to believe that Abraham offered his son in Jerusalem! And what of Jacob's burial in the plain near Shechem which would have been close to his faith!
Now there is a question that puzzles me, if the Rabbi's knew that there was a corruption with this word 'Moriah', why was it not resoled and corrected? Was it because that the Jewish people may have began to question many facts even the location of the temple in Jerusalem? The evidence speaks for itself! the location of the offering of Isaac was on Mount Gerizim and no other place on earth!
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