Early Issue of October 10, 2002


  • Only Once a Year is There a Day of Atonement

  • A Samaritan Priest

  • The Origin and History of Samaritans

  • Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, and the Holy Land

  • Further Information on the Small Tourist Scroll

  • Samaritan Torah in Computer Form Found on the Net


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The Samaritans will observe the Day of Atonement on Tuesday, Oct. 15th this year.


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Only Once a Year is There a Day of Atonement

   The Samaritan Day of Atonement will take place on October 15th this year on Har (mount) Gerizim, their Holy location of all their major religious celebrations. This day is prescribed once a year, Leviticus 16:34: And this shall be an everlasting statue unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins, once a year." The Priest makes atonement for the synagogue, the congregation that they may be clean from sin according to Leviticus 16:30; For on that day the priest shall make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord."

   This Day will be a day of fasting, a day of affliction of the soul. It is a major  commandment according to Leviticus  23:27- 32:

   "Also on the tenth day of the seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you and ye shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day of Atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whosoever soul it be that shall not afflict in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls in the ninth day of the month at even from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath."

  This very important day of the Israelite-Samaritans still offer no offering by fire but by voice since the time of the disappearance of the Tabernacle. No food or drink is served on this non-work day where most of the whole congregation (over the age of one year old) will spend most of the entire day of in the synagogue praying (piyyutim), praising their Creator, and reading the Torah (the first five books). The Priests bring out the famous Abisha Scroll making their way around the room blessing the congregation at the end of the day.

    The first day of the seventh month was this last Sunday, another Holyday that work was not permitted. After the Day of Atonement, on the 20th of October, the Samaritans will celebrate Sukkot, also known my many as Tabernacles. It is a week long joyous celebration in memory of the Israelites living in Tents and is commanded in Leviticus chapter 23. Hopefully we will have some photos of this event for you in the next update!               (Shomron)  

A Samaritan Priest

     In Holon, Israel, in a small Samaritan synagogue you may find this Samaritan priest (in the photo). His name is Yosef Ben Ab Hasda. Yefet in the Hebrew and Hassan in Arabic. He is the head priest at the Samaritan community in Holon. During the week, he can be found fabricating cool garments mostly for the Samaritan community. He a quiet man, father and husband and well respected. To be in his company can only be compared as being around an old trusted friend you have known since childhood. Yefet's father, Abu Al Hassan can be seen  (second photo, second priest from the right) in the  recent article of the Picture Post, located through our last Samaritan Update. Abu'l Hassan is also located in the National Geographic photo in the January 1920 issue, page 15. His father, Jacob b. Aaron b. Salamah is shown on the opposite page and many of the NG photos. He was also high priest of the Samaritans. He was a major Samaritan scholar and author corresponding with William Barton and E. K. Warren in America.  You may recognize the name Salamah from the articles by Haseeb Shehadeh of the University of Helsinki. The articles, Salameh b. Ghazal, the high priest and Hussein 'Abd U-Hadi, the Governor of Nablus and The Samaritan High Priest Shalma [1784-1855] And the Arab Tailors of Nablus can be located in our knowledge Center at our web site. (Photo by Osher Sassoni.) Shomron

The Origin and History of Samaritans

   Based on microsatellite markers and SNPs on chromosome Y, we found profound origin similarity between Jews and Samaritans and no similarity in origin between Samaritans and Palestinians. This finding suggests a common progenitor to the Jews and Samaritans, and an absence of genetic connection between Samaritan and Palestinian progenitors. On the other hand, analysis of autosomes revealed that genetic distance between Samaritans and Palestinians is only twice larger than between Samaritans and Jews. Since the Y-based genetic distance between Jews and Samaritans is much larger that the autosomes-based genetic distance, it seems that significant gene flow has taken place throughout over 100 generations of separation. Nevertheless, it is evident that Samaritans hold more Jewish genome than Palestinian genome. http://agri3.huji.ac.il/~hillely/linkres.html

Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, and the Holy Land

By T. L. Stephens

Volume Two, Chapter XVII

   We rode up the principal street, and at the door of the palace I met the governor just mounting his horse, with a large retinue of officers and slaves around him. We exchanged our greetings on horseback. I showed him my firman, and he sent a janizary to conduct me to the house of a Samaritan, a writer to the government, where I was received, fed, and lodged better than in any other place in the Holy Land, always excepting the abodes of those suffering martyrs, the Terra Santa monks. I had just time to visit the Samaritan synagogue. Leaving my shoes at the door, with naked feet I entered a small room, about fifteen feet square, with nothing striking or interesting about it except what the Samaritans say is the oldest manuscript in the world, a copy of the Pentateuch, written by Abishua, the grandson of Aaron, three years after the death of Moses, or about three thousand three hundred years ago. The priest was a man of forty-five, and gave me but a poor idea of the character of the Samaritans, for he refused to show me the sacred scroll unless I would pay him first. He then brought down an old manuscript, which, very much to his astonishment, I told him was not the genuine record; giving him very plainly to understand that I was not to be bamboozled in the matter. I had been advised of this trick by the English clergyman whom I met in Jerusalem; and the priest, laughing at my detection of the cheat, while some of his hopeful flock who had followed me joined in the laugh, brought down the other preserved in a tin case. It was written in some character I did not understand, said to be the Samaritan, tattered and worn, and bearing the marks of extreme age; and, though I knew nothing about it, I admitted it to be the genuine manuscript and they all laughed when I told the priest what a rogue he was for trying to deceive me; and this priest they believe to be of the tribe of Levi, of the seed of Aaron. If I had left Naplous then I should probably have repeated the words that our Saviour applied to them in his day, "no good thing can come out of Samaria;" but I spent a long evening, and had an interesting conversation with my host and his brother, and in their kindness, sincerity, and honesty, forgot the petty duplicity of the Levite.

(You can find the entire article at the following web site. This is not all of it!)


Samaritan Torah in Computer Form Found on the Net

   I am not sure as to the correctness of this Samaritan Pentateuch that is for sale from the following link. But the company appears say they have a version for sale. Check it out for yourself at: http://www.gramcord.org/mac/scholar.htm

Samaritan Pentateuch (SAMAR) (1 MB)....$40

The Hebrew text of the first five books of Moses, as preserved by the Samaritan community. This module does not include any grammatical tagging information.

Further Information on the Small Tourist Scroll

    In our last issue of the Samaritan Update (8.29.2002) was an article concerning a small scroll and case that the Samaritans Priests made and sold to tourists in the beginning of the 1900's. The case of the scroll appears to be made of tin from canned goods whereas the rolled circles are visible around the perimeter of the case. Two soldered hinges links per section, the three pieces of the case together. The closed case has a diameter of approx. 1 7/8" while the average height is 4 9/16". The three soldered finals are 1/4" by 1 7/8" tall. The is evidence that there were two handles but only one remains, close to 1/4" by 1 7/8". The overall height from tip to tip is approximately 8 inches tall.

  The small scroll inside the case is four inches tall. It appears to be handwritten on pale paper glued to a light green paper that forms the two rolls on each side. The ends of these rolls are sewn together. The writing shown is the only inscription to appear on the entire scroll. It is actually pretty Cool!   (Shomron) 

Ancient Imports selling Six Samaritan Oil Lamps

Ancient Imports claims to have six Samaritan Oil Lamps for sale on their web site: Check it out: http://www.ancientimports.com/cgi-bin/search

Ancient & Medieval Coins, Antiquities. Numismatic Literature
P.O. Box 38, South Salem NY 10590
Phone (203) 438-0396, Fax (203) 438-6744
E-mail AlexMalloy@aol.com
Sales through their gallery and by mail order.

Item Number 1181: Lead Sealing. 2nd-3rd cent. A.D. Sealing in Samaritan alphabet and script. Obverse shows an inscription in incuse circle. Reverse appears to be a multi-line small letter inscription .Measures 17 by 15mm. cf. Diringer page 237. Very rare. Choice 650.00


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