January 2005  

Vol.  IV - No.5

In This Issue

  • Mount Gerizim Peace Center

  • Samaritan Studies in Famous Universities

  • Ancient Samaritan Music

  • Samaritan Decalogue inscription in Brooklyn

  • Samaritan Studies

  • Discussion Forum

  • A Passover Night on Gerizim

  • The Jewish Moriah verses the Samaritan Mora

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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

By Benyamim Tsedaka

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.

After this proposal was welcomed nicely by the USA government, The British Government and the European Union in the previous years since 2002, I understood that despite the political and moral assistance that those governments ready to give to give to the idea, implementing the goals of establishing peace centers on Mount Gerizim could be only by finance, but it all the funds necessary to that could not be received directly from the governments but by private/governmental organizations that pushing projects of making peace all over the world. (Photo: With Lord E. Avebury, who represents the Samaritan Issues to the British Government)

During my last visit I have met heads of such an organizations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., The American Bible Society in New York City and the head of the Peace Process projects in the Middle East section in London, England. All heads of these organization that dealing with projects of peace have expressed their willingness to integrate this proposal in their next years plans for granting the building of Peace Centers on Mount Gerizim.

The heart of this idea is to make Mount Gerizim the Mountain of Peace that peace seekers from everywhere will gather to learn and study peace. In the peace centers on Mount Gerizim they will
find a place where they will discuss peace and meet together Palestinians and Israelis, Visitors from all corners of the world, groups in social and religious disputes will be very welcomed and their heads will find fine hospitality in the centers that will be run by the members of the Samaritan people. They will study the Samaritans and their heritage as an ultimate example for an entity which learned to live in peace with all sides of the politics of our region. They will enjoy the big museum contains thousands of findings of the Samaritan material culture and they will pay visits to the immense archaeological site dug by the Government of Israel during 1983-2004, were alongside the many special findings are 510 inscriptions on stones in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek from the Persian to the Byzantine periods were found.  (Photo: With Dr, R. Showalter, President of the Eastern Mennonite Missions that promote projects of Peace.)

There will be a peace youth sport center where young peoples from everywhere will study to live in peace with each other, to respect the religion and heritage of one another, because peace start with education of the youth for peace. To educate them on the foundation of values of peace and love, respect and tolerance.
Corners of Samaritan Studies in Famous Universities
By Benyamim Tsedaka
The other part of my journey dedicated to spread the knowledge of Samaritan Studies everywhere. To be specific, except of giving lectures about the Samaritans and their role of making peace in the region I have widened my efforts to establish a greater number of "Samaritan Corners" in famous universities in the USA and England so far. I have accomplished the willingness of Prof. Robert Anderson, (photo to left)  a Samaritonologist in Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan to cooperate with my representative there, Ms. Sharon Dufour in persuading the board of the university and their new president to utilize the fine Samaritan Manuscripts Collection they have to establish a Samaritan Corner in their Museum or in the library in order to pull the interest of scholars and student of the university to research the Samaritan Studies. It will be in cooperation with A.B. - Institute of Samaritan Studies that will help in designing and advising the contains of this corner that will be a combination of copies of the ancient manuscripts they have with exhibits and pictures and exhibits that the Institute will supply. I  see the success of doing it in Michigan State University as a good start for other famous universities in the USA. The same idea I have offered to the Middle Eastern department of the University of Cambridge, England that has also a large collection of Samaritan Studies. I have discussed this idea with Dr, Erica Hunter and Prof. Geoffrey Kahn of this department during my visit to their department. They both welcomed the idea and expressed their willingness to discuss it with Pr, Stephan Wise, the head of the University Library. Dr, Hunter has made an initiative and suggested to build such a corner of Samaritan Studies within the Department of Asia-African Studies in the University of London, England. (Photo: my representative Ms. S. Dufour, in East Lansing, Michigan)
Promoting the Ancient Samaritan Music
By Benyamim Tsedaka
Such a success I have accomplished with spreading the Samaritan Music. We are planning to send the Samaritan Ensemble which I am conducting to a series of concerts in the British Island on Summer 2006. I have met the head of a Jewish Music Institute-SOAS, Ms. G. Auerbach, who has provided me with a letter of endorsement to many music British organizations to promote the tour of the Ensemble. My representative in London, Ms, F. Devonshire is taking care in organizing the tour. The Samaritan Ensemble will make a two weeks series of concerts in Tokyo, Japan this July 2005 and other main cities of Japan. IT will be the first visit of the ensemble to South East Asia. (Photo: With Ms. J. Averbuch, the head of the Jewish Music Institute - SOAS, in London.)
Samaritan Studies going on

Soon the second and the third volume of Magen's work will be published. I have done a conference on Dec. 12, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. The conference which I have dedicated to the Samaritan History and heritage and the new findings, has opened to me new invitations to lecture next year in the area and specially to the UM University of Michigan, An Arbor, Michigan. Same thing happened to me in LA, California, where a special evening with dignitaries of the Jewish Community, organized by my noble hosts L. and G.Hepner and in a special evening organized for me by my fine hosts, D, and M. Dobson in Washington D.C.. Also in this regard of spreading the Samaritan heritage, I have met in New York City, Mr, M. Shaulson, who has made the final corrections with me to his proposal to create a new encoding of the Samaritan Hebrew Script and its vowels for the Internet. (Photo: With Mr. M. Shaulson, who preparing an encoding of the Samaritan Hebrew Script for Internet users.)
Samaritan Decalogue inscription in Brooklyn
By Benyamim Tsedaka
One of the highlights of my visit to New York City was a visit to the Museum of Archaeology of Boro Park Neighborhood in Brooklyn. The owner Mr. S. Deutch was very proud to show me his main exhibit - A Decalogue inscription in stone in Samaritan text and script of the fourth century A.D. he bought from unknown collector for $110,000. In his 3 stores museum he with thousands of findings among them some Samaritan amulets written on silver, found in Tel Aviv excavations. He has succeeded to persuade the ------ orthodox Jewish Rabbis of Boro Park and other Jewish quarters to recognize the benefit of the Archaeological findings to the Bible and Jewish studies. (Photo: With Mr.  S. Deutch and Mr. A.Herzig under the Samaritan Decalogue inscription)

Give some Thought for the Discussion Forum at The-Samaritans.com

By Shomron

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

By Shomron

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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