The Samaritan Update

October 4th, 2001


   The Israelite-Samaritan Community sends its condolences to the American people, Government and family members of the innocent victims from the events that incurred the terrible loss of life and devastation that took place on October 11th, 2001. It is a sad thing to kill innocent people. The ones that participated in these destructive terrorist acts have sinned greatly against man and our Creator. But the greater sin reaches to the one that asked these people to fulfilled this sin. For it is a greater sin to ask or demand a person to sin. And his sin shall be accounted to him.



Honeymoon Report: Yitzhaq and Efrat Tsedaka recently spent their honeymoon in the US. They enjoyed a nice week in Orlando, Florida and then they visited New York witnessing the destruction. Not a pretty memory of a honeymoon will this make for them! We are so sorry you seen this but very happy you were not visiting the towers that day. They were one of the first to fly back to Israel when the flights resumed. They arrived safely to the open arms of their family.


                       Reminder: Don’t forget to purchase the December Issue of National Geographic  containing an article on the Samaritan Passover with photos. 



 Samaritan Holy Days: (Holon community makes Pilgrimage-

   The Holon Samaritan-Israelite community was able to travel to Mount Gerizim on the third Pilgrimage of the year. Despite the troubles that have occur in the vicinity of the West Bank town of Nablus recently, the Israeli army made the roads passable to the Holy mount. This is seen as a blessing to those who participated in the early hour walk with their families and friends up the mountain trail to the holy sites.  


 (Photo: Some of the Torah scrolls of the synagogue of Luza, on Mount Gerizim that may be shown on Shemini Azeret.)


 September 26th was Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement): This was the 10th day of the 7th month. The fast (no food or drink) continued for 25-26 hours of prayer and continuous reading of the Pentateuch and piyyutim (religious prayers). Every member of the community over the age of one year participated. For further reading to understand Yom Kippur go to our web site and under our archives section there is a good article written back in 1861 by Sir George Grove, entitled, Nabloos and the Samaritans. Not much has changed since this was written. It is a good description of Yom Kippur.


 October 1st to the 8th- Sukkot (booths or tabernacles) began on the fifteenth day of the 7th month  at sunset on the 30th of September. On the eve of Sukkot (30th), the Samaritans placed their palm branches on the roof of their sukkah (booth), placed interwoven twigs on the palm branches, hanging citrus fruit on a string and willow braches from the roof. The sukkahs were erected inside the homes. In the morning (Oct 1st) of the holiday, the Samaritans made the third pilgrimage to the top of Mt. Gerizim.  After returning from the pilgrimage, the people visited the high priest giving him their tithes.


October 2nd to the 7th- The period of hol ha-mo’ed (the intermediate days of the festival that will last till the sunset of the 7th of Oct.) of Sukkot is devoted to special prayers each mourning and evening.  The Samaritans sit in the sukkah but do not sleep there.


 October 8th- Shemini Azeret (Simhat Torah, literally meaning, the rejoicing of the Torah) begins on the 22nd day of the seventh month, which is this year at sunset on October 7th till sunset on the 8th. No work is permitted on this day. After prayers, which begin shortly after midnight and continue for more than ten hours, like the prayers of all the holidays and festivals. At the end of the day the priest carries the Torah around the synagogue while the people give a standing ovation.


   The Society of Samaritan Studies, a very important institution, was fashioned to research Samaritan history, writings and life style. This organization of prominent scholars has written a large amount of information since 1985, not to mention the lectures. Five congresses have since been held have developed this society into what it is today. The conventions that are held in places like Paris and Helsinki bring together the members from around the world to reflect on what they have discovered sharing their research with other participants. Maybe someday in the near future they will has a web site where individuals can keep updated to the society’s latest data even if it cost a small amount to download their exceptional reports. The members should be proud of their results of their hard endeavors. We hope to see more results coming from such a rare group of individuals. 



Myths regarding the Samaritans

   Not many stop to think about the rivalry that occurred between the two nations of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The main difference between the nations was the center of two worship places[1]. As you well may know, the kingdom of Israel as well as the Samaritan-Israelite worships on Har (mount) Gerizim instead of Jerusalem. But there have been other differences besides the worship place that differ between the two sects that should be explained. This enmity between them would end according to the Jews, if the Samaritan-Israelite renounces Gerizim and accepts Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead. Then the Jews would accept them as proselytes. Of course, the Samaritan-Israelite still worships on mount Gerizim today like their ancestors had from the entry in to the land.

   The worship place of mount Gerizim that had been the center of worship of the Israelites for more that three hundred and fifty years from the time of Israel’s entrance into the land was a challenging incitement against the tribes of the north[2] by Judea. Issues of having an illegitimate priesthood serving false gods descended on the northern kingdom of Israel[3]. Some of the people of the northern kingdom did accept Jerusalem, taking there their sacrifices, as there were no sacrifices made at Shechem (Gerizim) except the Passover after the nations split into two fractions.

   The enmity between the two kingdoms was a major issue that led to warfare between the tribes of Israel. Aggression was developed in order for the kingdom of Judah to keep the contention in relation to the people. John W. Nutt writes, “the name of Kuthim was maliciously fixed upon them by the Jews in order to rob them of their true designation of Israelites.[4]” The leading men in Judea tried to counter the worship place and priesthood in the north with many with many false reports. To make matters worse was the interference of the deportation[5] and importation of the people by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. There was a transfer of only a small amount of people by the King of Assyria in 722/1, when he conquered the land[6]. According to the Annals of Sargon inscriptions read, there were 27,290 [7]of the people taken into captivity to the east. But at that time there were at lest 60,000 people that remained[8]. In the years that came after, the population was over one million. Now because of the imported population into the land of Samaria the Judean kingdom sages claim that all the Samaritans are from foreign nations, calling them, ‘Kuthim.’

   Further, the honorable Israelite-Samaritan scholar, Israel Tsedaka, spoke on the third day of the fifth congress, of the Samaritan studies, in Helsinki, Finland in August 2000, “According to II Kings read the destruction of Samaria when the people of the kingdom of Israel were sent in to exile and replaced by foreigners, the author of II Chronicles chapter 30 tells us about envoys sent by king Hezekiah, who had witnessed the destruction of Samaria and consequent exile. These envoys go from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, in an attempt to convince the Israelites to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The phrase "from city to city" tells us that the majority of the people had remained in Samaria. Furthermore, despite their difficult political position, lacking a king, they rejected Hezekiah's appeal, when he tells them "Now be not stiff-necked as your fathers were". "They laughed them to scorn and mocked them". Here one should note how Rabbi Levi son of Gershon (Ralbarg) interprets the reference to the Exile in II Kings 17:34. He writes: ‘The remaining are Israel, since not all were exiled, as is seen in the story of Hezekiah's envoys sent to the remnant of Israel.’ An additional, principal point in II Chronicles 30 is the humbling of Israelites dwelling in the northern part of the country, and their arrival in Jerusalem. Here we see that those Israelites who humbled themselves and come to Jerusalem are considered proper Jews, whereas those Israelites who rejected king Hezekiah's appeal and remained loyal to the earlier religious center of Israel are called foreigners, Cuthites, natives, etc. And indeed, the Cuthite tractate ends with decision, ‘When can one recognize Samaritans as Jews? Once they've rejected Mount Gerizim’.”

   The Old Testament of the Judean writings of the Bible gives one side of the story. To write that the people of the north did not follow Torah[9] that was given my Moses is unacceptable. Yet Samaritan writings say different. If it were as written in II Kings, the Samaritan-Israelites would not have a Torah to live by today. This idea may have come to light in Judah from the inhabitants that were placed in the land by Shalmaneser that bought their strange gods with them. But to give the entire region this claim would be as saying that all America is of one foreign people say Italian would be an incorrect statement. In the second century R. Simon b. Gamaliel (d. circa 165), the father of Juda ha-Nasi editor of the Mishna said, “Every command the Samaritans keep, they are more scrupulous in observing than Israel.[10]” With regards to this statement, Israel meant Judah. The Israelite-Samaritans still today have written records of their ancestors confirming they are of the children of Jacob.


Questions about the Samaritans

   How does the Samaritan Ten Commandment differ?

   Israel Tsedaka explains it well: “In the Pentateuch, in the Samaritan version of the Ten Commandments, the tenth commandment recognizes the sanctity of mount Gerizim and decrees that an altar be built there. This tenth commandment is missing in the Jewish version, and naturally in all the translations is basically based on the Jewish, rather than the Samaritan version. The main argument is that the Jews believe in nine rather than ten Commandments, as they do not consecrate mount Gerizim as the chosen place, and count as the first commandment the opening verse of the Ten Commandments: "I am the Lord thy God" - words which do not form an actual commandment. This opening phrase is part and parcel of the first commandment, which the Samaritan believes is "Thou shall have no other gods before me", whereas in the Jewish version this verse is the second commandment.  The World has accepted the Jewish version and its nine commandments rather than ten commandments of the Samaritan version.”


Book for Sale: Rare Samaritan book of prayers for the Festivals, written in Hebrew by Israel Tsedaka, $50.00 US dollars, Contact Chani Kaarlinsky: 


Thank you!

   Osher and Larry would like to thank you for visiting the website, in the past. We ask you to forward this e-mail to your friends. The purpose at our website is the education of the existence and history of the Samaritan-Israelites, descendants of the ancient Kingdom of Israel.  Answering questions from surfers will always be our top priority of our site. We try to maintain articles and websites related to the Samaritan-Israelites on the web. Many gracious scholars have permitted us to exhibit their related articles. We try to continue our archives of articles to be the best location on the net for the advancement of Samaritan-Israelite studies in Hebrew as well as English. Recently we have been working on expanding our website. We do hope you enjoy visiting our site and recommend it to your friends. Again we thank you for visiting us at Take care and may you be blessed from the Holy One from above.


[1] There are some articles in the archive section at the web site ( on this topic between the two worship places.

[2] Ecclesiasticus 50:26

[3] This is incorrect as is seen that the priesthood was returned to Shechem in II Kings 17:27-28. And it cannot be said that all the priesthood was not vacate in the land.

[4] John W. Nutt, Fragments of a Samaritan Targum, Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim, New York, 1980 via Nachdruck der Ausgabe, London, 1874, p.129.

[5] II Kings 17:6

[6] Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel, 1972, v.14, p.728

[7] Numbers do very slightly in different version of the Annals.

[8] Itzhak Ben-Zvi, The Exiled and the Redeemed, translated into English by Isaac A. Abbady, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1957,  p.123.

[9] II Kings17:34-41.

[10] Kidd.76a; Berakot 47b; Gittin 10a.