August 1, 2002


*A Samaritan Protest

*Samaritan Influence

*Benny Tsedaka's web site

*Samaritan Service Books

*New Articles at Our Web Site

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A Samaritan Protest

   Samaritans living in Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim held a protest on Sunday evening, July 14th on the main road of their community. The Samaritans were blocked Israeli tanks as they returned to the top of the mount. Israeli military operations have stationed tanks and troops on the peak of mount Gerizim since the trouble in Nablus began. The traffic of the heavy tanks has turned what used to be a paved blacktop road into a gravel mess.  And with the occupation of the Israeli tanks the Arab garbage men refuse to enter the community or even ascend the mount for fear being shot by the Israeli soldiers. The result being that the garbage has piled up and the air is not so fragrant. Municipality services from the town of Nablus has since ceded with Israeli military occupation. The Commander in the region was contacted when the Samaritans stopping the military tanks as they were entering on the main road. On up meeting with the Commander, whose name is not mentioned, he had promised to remedy the situation. He assured that he would help remove the garbage and fix the road after finding an alternative access to the summit. The Samaritans living on the mount understand and do not want to hinder the Israeli military’s situation on the mount. The Samaritans do not want to place any persons, Israeli or Arab, in any dangerous situations; they just wanted the two problems to be addressed. (Photo courtesy of Yacob Cohen.)

Samaritan Influence

   Many authors have given the impression to their readers that the Samaritans were largely influenced by their Muslim neighbors. This of course is argued by the Samaritans. One particular case is the prostration at prayer service, a position that is similar in the Muslim religion as authors describe it:

"For instance: my host and several others came in, and taking their places here and there, went through a series of prostrations and elevations, of the same kind as the ordinary prayers of the Moslems,.."(Nabloos and the Samaritans by Sir George Grove)

"Once in the shade, but otherwise in sight of all the congregation, he spreads his quilted praying mat towards Gerizim and abandons himself to a form of adoration closely resembling the Moslem’s devotions towards Mecca." (The Samaritan Passover by Owen Tweedy)

"While witnessing this ceremony we were impressed by the striking resemblance to the Moslem garb and posture during prayer. . . "(The Last Israelite Blood Sacrifice by John D. Whiting)

   In the Samaritans defense, is the reference from the Torah, "Abram fell on his face" (Genesis 17:3). But then John Whiting does make the statement in his article, "The Ancient Hebrew prayer posture survives today on Mount Gerizim" (The Last Israelite Blood Sacrifice).    The situation here is that most people may believe that the Samaritans have taken on Muslim customs. But we have found another source concerning the customs that both the Samaritans and Muslims observe. The source is a book that is accessible on the internet (see link below) called The Origins of the Koran, Classic Essays on Islam's Holy Book Edited by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books). Here is a portion of the contains:

   "The formula "There is no God but the One" is an ever-recurring refrain in Samaritan liturgies. A constant theme in their literature is the unity of God and His absolute holiness and righteousness. We can immediately notice the similarity of the Muslim proclamation of faith: "There is no God but Allah." And, of course, the unity of God is a fundamental principle in Islam. The Muslim formula "In the name of God" (bismillah) is found in Samaritan scripture as beshem. The opening chapter of the Koran is known as the Fatiha, opening or gate, often considered as a succinct confession of faith. A Samaritan prayer, which can also be considered a confession of faith, begins with the words: Amadti kamekha al fatah rahmeka, "I stand before Thee at the gate of Thy mercy." Fatah is the Fatiha, opening or gate."

   "The sacred book of the Samaritans was the Pentateuch, which embodied the supreme revelation of the divine will, and was accordingly highly venerated. Muhammad also seems to know the Pentateuch and Psalms only, and shows no knowledge of the prophetic or historical writings."

   "The Samaritans held Moses in high regard, Moses being the prophet through whom the Law was revealed. For the Samaritans, Mt. Gerizim was the rightful center for the worship of Yahweh; and it was further associated with Adam, Seth, and Noah, and Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The expectation of a coming Messiah was also an article of faith; the name given to their Messiah was the Restorer. Here we can also notice the similarity of the Muslim notion of the Mahdi."

   "Under the influence of the Samaritans, the Arabs proceeded to cast Muhammad in the role of Moses as the leader of an exodus (hijra), as the bearer of a new revelation (Koran) received on an appropriate (Arabian) sacred mountain, Mt. Hira.Under the influence of the Samaritans, the Arabs proceeded to cast Muhammad in the role of Moses as the leader of an exodus (hijra), as the bearer of a new revelation (Koran) received on an appropriate (Arabian) sacred mountain, Mt. Hira."

    It is hard to imagine that the Samaritans as small as they are today had such an effect on the Muslim religion but consider one straight fact: That in the 4thand 5th centuries the Samaritans numbered 1,200,000 souls.                                 


Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society

Here is another article concerning the Samaritans and Muslim comparison.


Finding the Spiritual in Israel

JUDITH KLEIN- Jewish Journal Staff

Finally, Fein and Ross returned to their own roots in Judaism to seek the mystical and spiritual in Israel. Visiting the tombs of Yonaton and Shemen ben Yochai, they felt moved by the hordes of people over the centuries who had come there with "prayer and open hearts." Fein found herself shaking and crying from the experience. From the tombs they visited the Samaritans, tribal Jews, their numbers now reduced to just 650. The Samaritans pray kneeling on rugs, head bowed, shoes off, looking much like Muslims. Alone among the world's people, they speak ancient Hebrew and are all religiously observant. Though they don't pray directly from the Torah, they attend their house of worship three times on Shabbat, the first time at 3 a.m. in the morning. Their chanting fills the room. Hearkening back to an earlier era, the tribe observes the rules of Nidah: for 40 days after the birth of a boy, and 80 days after the birth of a girl, no one touches the child except the mother. The Jewish Journal Archives, Volume 25:Issue 22, June 22- July 5, 2001.

Benny Tsedaka's web site

With all that Benny is involved in, he has somehow found some time to post his own Website. Benny is a co-editor of the A. B. Samaritan News, co-director of the A. B.  Institute of Samaritan Studies just to mention a couple of his projects. So stop by Benny Tsedaka's web site and say Hello!


A wonderful surprise of information:


Have you been through the old issues yet?Try the search and see what comes up!

Here is an example:


Samaritan Service Books


Reference code(s): GB 0103 MS MOCATTA 8    Held at: University College London

Title: Service book (Samaritan)                           Date(s): [1788-1789]

Level of description: Collection (fonds)              Extent: 1 volume containing 176 folios

Name of creator(s): Unknown


Administrative/Biographical history: An account of the Samaritan service book (known as Defter, an Arabic word for book) in its different forms was given by A Cowley, Jewish Quarterly Review (Oct 1894).


Scope and content/abstract: Manuscript Samaritan service book [1788-1789].


Language/scripts of material: Hebrew or Aramaic with Arabic translation, mainly in Samaritan characters.

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access: Open.

Conditions governing reproduction: Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Physical characteristics: Paper. Written by at least two scribes, and the latter portions are in a much better hand than the earlier parts. Some leaves misplaced in binding; a few leaves missing.

Finding aids: Reginald Arthur Rye, Catalogue of the Printed Books and Manuscripts forming the library of F D Mocatta (Harrison & Sons, London, 1904), 437-8, gives a more detailed description.


Archival history: Formerly held with other Jewish collections in the Mocatta Library of University College London.

Immediate source of acquisition: Transferred from the Mocatta Library (subsequently the Jewish Studies Library) of University College London.


Related material: University College London Special Collections also holds various other service books (Ref: MS MOCATTA 1, 3-4, 7, 9, 12, 23, 25, 35). The Defter is rare, but the British Library has a large portion of the oldest known copy (13th century); Manchester University, John Rylands Library, has two copies.

Publication note: Several of the hymns have been published by M Heidenheim, 'Die Samaritanische Liturgie', Leipzig (1885).


Archivist's note: Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Oct 2001

New Articles Posted at Our Web Site

New! Who will help the Good Samaritans by Judith Fein

New! Popular Judaism at the Time of the Second Temple in Light of Samaritan Traditions by Moses Gaster.

New! The Land and the Book or Biblical Illustrations Drawn From the Manners and Customs, The Scenes and Scenery of the Holy Land by W.M. Thomson.

New! The Samaritans in the Hasmonean Period by Lester L. Grabbe.

New! The Tsedaka Family: One of the Most Active Elements in the Samaritan Community in the 20th Century by Nathan Schur.

New! The Return of the Diaspora Samaritans to Nablus at the End of the Middle Ages by Nathan Schur.

New! Literary Remains of the Late Emanuel Deutsch,1874

New! The Last Israelitish Blood Sacrifice by John D. Whiting, 1920.

New! The Samaritan Passover by Owen Tweedy, 1928.

Thank you!
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