Jan/ Feb 2010

Vol.  IX - No.3

In This Issue

·      Priest Elazar

·      Links

·      Editor

·      Turbulent

·      Legend

·      Chain

·       Misc. articles

·       Books for sale


The Samaritan Update, is a Bi-Monthly Internet Newsletter


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     The Samaritans call themselves

    Bene-Yisrael (“Children of Israel”), or Shamerim (“Observant Ones”)



    Studies and Related Conferences:

    2010 International Meeting

    Tartu, Estonia

    Meeting Begins: 7/25/2010
    Meeting Ends: 7/29/2010

    Call For Papers Opens: 10/1/2009
    Call For Papers Closes: 1/31/2010


    Keep Up with the Samaritan Basketball team on FANS of Samritan basketball team

    Community Youth Club Samaritan on Facebook.com


    سطورة السامرية

    האגדה השומרונית الا

    A group of young Samaritans people who is interested in their culture, heritage and the future of their small community, we establish an association which is called Samaritan myth. This association is aimed on the definition of Samaritan's culture and heritage the internal and external one. Can be found on Facebook.com

    and see




    Important Links


    Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim.

    New Samaritans-

    A DOCUMENTARY on Samaritan brides from the Ukraine



     Have you purchased your book lately?


    Notices Of The Modern Samaritans: Illustrated By Incidents In The Life Of Jacob Esh Shelaby (1855) by Jacob Esh Shelaby and Edward Thomas Rogers (Paperback - Mar 20, 2009) 


    Forth Coming Books

    The English Translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch

    Update on the English Translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch from Logos

    Unknown publication date


      The first-ever English translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch, prepared by Benyamin Tsedaka WILL be published by Logos.  The book shall be published near the end of this year. We shall keep you informed when we learn more.



  • High Priest Elazar b. Tsedaka the 'Aabta'ey[1927-2010]


       The High Priest Elazar b. Tsedaka the 'Aabta'ey [1927-2010] is no longer with us. On Feb. 3rd, at 8PM, he left us to the World of Souls while we are shocked and sad as, we are still now. May his soul will be BLESSED by the Almighty and he WILL dwell in paradise for good, Amen. Thanks to the prayer of Moses for him, Amen Amen.
       The High Priest Elazar was born in Jan.16, 1927  after 83 years of a very interesting life when his people, the Israelite Samaritans were close to extinction up to the present when they are looking forward to prosperity and increasing in their numbers 5 times to 729 individuals as of January 1, 2010.
       He was born in Nablus, Palestine, under the British Mandate to his mother Munira and his father, the leader Tsedaka b. High Priest Isaac b. High Priest 'Amram. When he was 5 months old, the community had suffered an earthquake started in Syria spreading to Safad, Nablus, Jerusalem and Beer Sheba. It destroyed the tiny old Samaritan Neighborhood and forced the community to move to the only piece of land they had under heaven, the old and tiny Samaritan Cemetery. There he was raised in a small tent between the graves for four months, until they were rescued by an Arab leader from Nablus, Achmad el-Shaq'ah who donated the Samaritans a peace of land on the western slopes of Gerizim Mountain. This location of the new Samaritan neighborhood started to be populated in 1933 by his own family, his father Tsedaka and his uncle High Priest 'Amram B. High Priest Isaac.
    There in the new developed neighborhood Elazar had been raised by his relatives, the priests to conclude his education by the reading of the Pentateuch in Ancient Hebrew and studying in modern Arab schools, to be a brilliant student that became a teacher of mathematics in high school. His father became the known leader of the community before the Jordanian Authorities and close friend of Kings 'Abdulla and his grandson King Hussein of Jordan who became the greatest supporters of the community, especially during the years of May 1948 - June 1967 when the increased Samaritan community was separated between the State of Israel and the Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
     In 1974 the priest Elazar, then 47, dedicated himself to be a full priest in the community and recognized as one of the most brilliant writers and poets of the present, very distinguished and talkative on behalf of his own people. He was involved in many self researches of the Samaritan heritage. He has raised a family of his own, his wife Ruchama, three sons and one daughter.
       In June 1986 he was sent by the High Priest Jacob b. 'Azzi [1899-1987] to meet Pope Jean Paul the Second in Rome to make reconciliation between the Christian Church and the Samaritans. This meeting gave way to make the foundation of the Mount Gerizim International Peace Center in Kiriat Luza, the Samaritan Neighborhood on Gerizim Mountain. This neighborhood began in 1988 the new center of the Samaritans OF Nablus that moved there completely till 1998

       In July 1995 Priest Elazar was invited to be a member of the A.B. - Samaritan News delegation to Washington D.C. and London (two superpowers, USA and United Kingdom) to speak on behalf of the Samaritan People to ensure a political backing for them in any political situation between the State of Israel and the Palestinians.

       In 1996 he was invited to attend the Fourth International Congress of Samaritan Studies in Milan, Italy and four years later in 2000 at the Fifth International Congress of Samaritan Studies in Helsinki, Finland, He gave a lecture on Samaritan writers and commentators of the Law in Arabic and was elected to be a member of the Society of Samaritan Studies [SES] founded in Paris in October 1985. High Priest Elazar always encouraged the research of Samaritan Studies.
    In February 9, 2004 he became the 131st High Priest since Aaron, Moses' brother after the death of his cousin the High Priest Shalom b. High Priest 'Amram. During his role in office he has lead the Samaritan religious and personal events in wisdom and dignity. Since the establishment of the A.B. - The Samaritan News Bi-Weekly Magazine he became a constant participant in the magazine in writing articles and hundreds of new poems.
       In 2008, he received the First Samaritan Medal of Peace and Humanitarian Achievements in a special ceremony on Mount Gerizim. The award was given to him by the Board's Executive of the Samaritan Medal Foundation established in Washington D.C. in Nov. 2005.
       High Priest Elazar was a very welcomed guest in the State of Israel and Palestinian Parliament and Government offices, as well as he welcomed thousands of distinguished visitors in his BIG house on Mount Gerizim.
       After he was buried the next day in the Samaritan Cemetery on Gerizim Mountain the community  began the seven days of mourning on his death.
       The New High Priest is Aaron b. Ab-Hisda b. High Priest Jacob (photo: left). He is the eldest priest of the priestly family, sons of Aaron and the 132nd High Priest. He was born in Nablus in February 1, 1927 and is considered as one of the finest singers of the Samaritan Community. He has survived some short diseases lately but fortunately he is now in good health, thanks to the Almighty and now will lead the prayers in the central Samaritan Synagogue on Mount Gerizim. He is very beloved by all members of the community wishing him success in this Holy office and may he have a long life. He has a wife, Leah and four sons and two daughters and six grandsons. He will lead his office in modesty and dignity.
    Benyamim Tsedaka, editor - A.B. - The Samaritan News


    Recent Links on Elazar b. Tsedaka



    Funeral of Samaritan High Priest Elazar Ben Zdaka by European Pressphoto Agency











    In Turbulent Israel-Palestine, Samaritans Strive to do good



    SAMARITAN LEGEND האגדה השומרונית الاسطورة السامرية


    Part of the speech in which Mr. Ehab Youssef one of the founders of the Assembly during the symposium node in the Assembly Ebal Charity - Oman\n האגדה השומרונית legend Samaritan


    Jordanian newspapers published two statements to attend seminars that will be organized by the General myth week in the Jordanian capital. Next collaboration with the Association of Ebal and the Forum for Jerusalem, God willing.


    Board of Directors of the Samaritan agrees legend one voice on the implementation of the project will have a very large echo in the world.


    Achievements of the year in the 20 Press story on the achievements of the Assembly at the Al-Quds Life and 250 days of its publication in several locations around the Assembly on the Internet. Many of the catalogs in some satellite channels and local broadcast live is a proud of the achievements


    Society has legend morning symbolic distribution of guidance to the children of kindergarten and nursery Gerizim on the occasion of the opening of the new building, which the Commission on community thankfully ever built specifically for kindergarten will also be distributed on Tuesday morning, the Assembly Hidayat symbolic school students Gerizim


    From the Editor

    It is a sad feeling to hear the news of High Priest Elazar b. Tsedaka, (God, Most High have mercy on him and bless him and his descendants). He will be missed!

    The new High Priest is Aaron b. Ab-Hisda b. High Priest Jacob, is a well respected and dedicated teacher. May he be blessed with a long life, more knowledge and understanding from heaven!


    Chain of Samaritan High Priests

    The Division of the Priesthood 

        A brief review of the history of the Israelite tribes from the days of Joshua son of Nun onwards, as told in the Samaritan chronicles, and a comparison to the Jewish sources, will reveal that all points of controversy refer to Mount Gerizim. It was here that the High Priests of the house of Phinehas, to whom the high priesthood was given, officiated for 260 years. The priesthood list corresponds, for the most part, to the biblical list of High Priests of the house of Phinehas, quoted in Chronicles. According to Samaritan chronicles, these were the days of grace, of the Shekhina. Upon the death of Samson, no judge had replaced him. When Uzi son of Buki, one of the sons of Phinehas, is appointed high priest on Mount Gerizim, it is actually Eli a priest an overseer of the house of Ithamar, son of Jephunneh a descendant of Ithamar, son of Aaron, a dominant, older man, who officiates as high priest. Eli, who refused to accept the authority of the younger Uzi, withdrew from Mount Gerizim to Shiloh and founded there a new religious center, where a part of the Israelite people began to worship. This severe division in the nation was used to good advantage by the Philistines, who destroyed the Shiloh temple, forty years after its foundation. The Bible glosses over the priesthood of the sons of Itamar and the causes that had led to their appointment. Jewish traditions associate the removal of the priest of the house of Phinehas with the incident of the daughter of Jephth, or the incident of the concubine in Gibeah, and its hard bloody aftermath. Historian Josephus Flavius, however, in his book, "The Antiquities of the Jews", V:318 writes "Following Samson's death, the Israelites were led by high priest Eli". Ibid 361 - "Eli was the first ruler of the house of Itamar, the second house of the sons of Aaron, at first the priesthood was given to the house of Elazar...the latter handed it down to his son Phinehas, who handed it down to his son Abiezer (Abisha), who gave it to his son Buki, whose son Uzi received it from him, and afterwards the priesthood was given to Eli". Josephus Flavius makes no attempt to explain the reasons for the removal of Phinehas's family, the significance and centrality of the removal and its consequences.

    According to Torah the High Priest should be of the sons of Phinehas and not Itamar. During the time of Eli, the sons of Phinehas were well alive on Mount Gerizim and were followed by a tremendous number of Israelites. No Israelite should have followed Eli but remained faithful to the family of Phinehas, the words of Torah and to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. This division of the tribes and people of Israel was the turning point of the faithfulness of their fathers to the curses, breaking the covenant that they and their fathers committed to. Moses foretold this event, 'For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of Shemaa, provoking Him to anger with the works of your hands,' (Deut. 31:29).

    Today, no known sons of Phinehas are known to exist. This has always been the dilemma that the Samaritan-Israelites are faced with, as well as all descendants of Israel. Should a descendant of Phinehas be discovered, it would change many views and religious beliefs of many of the lost Israelites today. As it is written, 'For a nation has destroyed their counsel and there is no understanding in them. They were not wise to learn it and in the latter days they will understand' (Deut. 32:28-9).

    Samaritan history denotes that the period of grace and shekhina, (in Aramaic 'Rehuta") lasted 260 years, from the day the ark of the covenant was placed on Mount Gerizim, to the foundation of the new false Mishkan (tabernacle) in Shiloh, by Eli, when, in the words of Torah,  'And He said, I will hide My face from them, and I will see what their end shall be. For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness' (Deut. 32:20). This act of Eli's led to the foundation of numerous religious centers throughout the nation, and in the words of the book of Judges: "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes", (Judges 21). There is an article by the High Priest Jacob, son of Aaron in our articles section that discusses Eli. His work is ‘Mount Gerizim, the One True Sanctuary.’

    The High Priesthood Today

       The leadership of the Priesthood that consists of the three heads of its three branches: the High Priest, Deputy High Priest and the Priest. The senior priesthood is not only the senior authority in religious matters, but also the largest family in the community. Therefore, the levites (priest) all agree on a religious consensus within the priestly family first, and then the High Priest is the final arbiter.


        The High Priest is chosen by heaven because he being the oldest priest among the priesthood family. Since 1624 - the year when the High Priest, Rabban Shelmaya b. Pinchas died in Shechem, the last descendant of the high priesthood family, sons of Pinehas, grandson of Aharon, who was promised - he, Pinehas and all his descendants - the high priesthood, as a circumcision. The last descendant did not produce a son. So then the high priesthood of the sons of Pinehas was transferred to the priestly family, the sons of Itamar, son of Aharon  - and by this changing itself the principle - of the son inheriting the high priesthood from his father - was changed (a custom which was firm and abiding since arriving to Israel with Yehoshoo`a Bin Noon, through 112 generations) to the principle of “the eldest priest of the Ithamar family”, which the Samaritans have became accustomed to for the last 16 generations, since the second quarter of the 17th century. The Samaritan sages were very consistent in using this principle, in order to prevent leaving the selection of the high priest to human hands.


    Past High Priests

    1624-1650 Tsedaka b. Tabia Ha’abta’ai

    1650-1694 Yitzhaq b. Tsedaka

    1694-1732 Abraham b. Yitzhaq

    1732-1752 Tabia b. Yiszhaq Ben Avraham

    1752-1787 Levi b. Avraham

    1787-1855 Shalma b. Tabia

    1855-1874 Amram b. Shalma

    1874-1916 Yaacov b. Aaharon b. Shalma

    1916-1932 Yitzhaq b. Amram b. Shalma b. Tabia

    1933-1943 Matzliach b. Phinhas b. Yitzhaq b. Shalma

    1943-1961 Abrisha b. Phinhas b. Yittzhaq b. Shalma

    1961-1980 Amram b. Yitzhaq b. Amram b. Shalma

    1980-1982 Asher b. Matzliach b.Phinhas

    1982-1984 Phinhas b. Matzliach b. Phinhas

    1984-1987 Yaacov b. Ezzi b. Yaacov b. Aaharon

    1987-1998 Yosseph b. Ab-Hisda b. Yaacov. Aaharon

    1998- 2001  Levi b. Abisha b. Phinhas b. Yitzhaq

     2001- 2004 Shalom b. Amram b. Yitzhaq

     2004- 2010 Elazar b. Tsedaka

     2010-         Aaron b. Ab-Hisda b. High Priest Jacob



    Misc. Articles

    How to Travel Safely in the West Bank, Palestinian Territories By: Julie Schwietert http://www.uptake.com/travelinsights100/how-to-travel-safely-in-the-west-bank-palestinian-territories/









    Books For Sale


    Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the British Museum (Pt.2) by British Museum. Dept. of Manuscripts (Paperback - Jan. 9, 2010)

    Descriptive List of the Hebrew and Samaritan Mss. in the British Museum by British Museum. Dept. of Oriental Printe (Paperback - Jan. 9, 2010)

    The Samaritan Liturgy, the Common Prayers (Volume 1) by Cowley (Paperback - Jan. 5, 2010)

    The Samaritan Liturgy, the Common Prayers (Volume 2) by Cowley (Paperback - Jan. 5, 2010)

    A Sketch of Samaritan History, Dogma, and Literature; Published as an Introduction to Fragments of a Samaritan Targum, Edited From a Bodleian Ms. by John William Nutt (Paperback - Jan. 5, 2010)

    A Grammar of the Samaritan Language, With Extracts and Vocabulary by George Frederick Nicholl (Paperback - Jan. 4, 2010)

    Samaritans in Flavius Josephus (Text & Studies in Ancient Judaism) by Reinhard Plummer (Hardcover - Dec. 2009)



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