September 25th, 2003
Vol. III - Nu.3
In This Issue
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Sunset Times for Central Israelcalculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon
begins Friday Sept. 26th, 5:33pm to Saturday 27th, 5:32 p.m.
Oct. 3rd 5:23pm- 4th 5:22pm
Festival of the Seventh Month- Begins September 25th at Sunset till sunset of the 26th.
Day of Atonement-October 4th at sunset to sunset of the 5th.
Holy Day of Succoth & 3rd Pilgrimage-
October 9th at sunset to sunset of the 10th.
7 Days of Succoth-
October 9th at sunset to sunset of the 17th.
Studies and Related Conferences:
International Conference: Mandaean and Samaritan Literatures in Memoriam of Rudolph Macuch Freie Universität
Berlin, 1-2 October 2003
2003 Byzantine Studies Conference
Oct 17-19, 2003
In Planning Stage
SES:In Haifa, July 5-8, 2004 organised by Menahem Mor, and a session at the EABS in Grooningen, July 25-28, 2004 organized by Dr. Ingrid Hjelm
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Samaritans Visit Library
In our last update we displayed and article concerning a visit to Copenhagen but what we did not share with you at that time was the library visit. The visit to the library had a special meaning to the young Samaritan-Israelite tourist in Copenhagen (Denmark). The reason for the visit was to view some Samaritan writings that were displayed. Their guide and friend was Dr. Ingrid Hjelm, a well respected Samaritan scholar and author.
On the second day of our trip in Copenhagen, we decided to visit
"The Black Diamond", which we had heard contains some ancient
The Black Diamond is a modern and impressive structure which
sitting on the banks of the Indehavnen River. From the inside
looking out through
Most of these manuscripts (three of them) apparently reached Denmark by tourists who had visited Mount Gerizim and had purchased the notebooks. The practice of selling such notebooks to tourists was very frequent in those years. Most of the Samaritans lived in a poor condition and would sell any paper with a Samaritan script, in order to get a few pennies. The Forth book is apparently part of a collection. It was very nice to see. The purchases of these manuscripts kept and valued this papers, though three of them was not so ancient. After taking some pictures in the library, and spending some time outside the university together with Mrs. Ingrid, we had to say goodbye to her, which we hope to meet her again in Israel next month, and went to our way. Thanks to Mrs./Dr. Ingrid Hjelm who came from her home to meet us in the library, spending time with us, and to Mrs. Eve for her patience as she was helping us.
Festival of the Seventh Month
The Festival of the Seventh Month begins tonight, September 25th at sunset (5:35 p.m. or 17:35) till sunset (5:33p.m. or 17:33) of the 26th. This is the special scriptural day mentioned inLeviticus 23:24. The Feast will begin with the men making ablutions at home before going to the synagogue close to the going down of the sun. Shoes will be removed in the foyer of the synagogue before entry into the main room. Many of the men have their own section in the synagogue next to family or friends on the rugged floor. Prayers lead by the Kantor (hazzan) will begin with the Samaritan men repeating the words in a prostrated, sitting or standing position. This will continue for some time. During the service the men may hand their hands in a book reading fashion and or stroke their face with their right hand when the names of God, Moses or the Patriarchs are mentioned in veneration. There is no required number (minyan) for prayers for the Samaritan Israelite. Jews require ten persons for their prayers. Then the service will end and the synagogue will empty, as they return home or to friends for a wonderful meal. In the morning prayer is begin again in the same fashion. This begins the days of Repentance up till the Day of Atonement.
Day of Atonement (Yom akkibburem)- October 4th at sunset 5:22 p.m. (17:22) to sunset of the 5th at 5:21p.m. (17:21). This is the tenth day of the seventh month, a Sabbath as spoken of in Lev. 16:34 and 23:27-32. In actually the fast is twenty five hours total. This would include preparations prier to and after the synagogue services. This day in the synagogue, women also come to pray and fast. Fasting, afflicting the soul is the focus of the day, this means also no food or drink A day of praying and suffering for any sins that one might have committed in the past year. This is like all the scriptural Sabbaths and Feasts, an everlasting statue as the Lord instructed. It is a day of no work, were everyone regardless of age must fast, but the babies. This issue is hard on the mothers since they have to fast also and there might not be much milk for the baby. But scripture must be kept, as it has for centuries! Prayers and the reading of the entire Pentateuch will take place. Not many outside the community have witnessed the day of fasting or even partook of it!
Sukkot (Booths or Tabernacles)-Beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month which is in the evening (5:17 p.m. or 17:17) of October 9th this year.
Shemini Azeret (Simhat Torah)-Rejoicing of the Torah is always 22 days from the beginning of the seventh month. It is the number of the words in the ancient Torah that describes the month, "sbton zkron truah mkra kds."
Above Sunset Times for Central Israel calculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon
By Jacob, Son of Aaron,
X. THE TWO STONE TABLETS.
I have been asked by some, concerning the two stone tablets which were broken, When were they prepared, and what happened to the writing after the breaking of the tablets? When were the second tablets placed in the chest? What was their size? What Scriptural grounds can be adduced to prove these answers?
The first two tablets were created by God in the beginning, and some claim that this was done on the third day of the creation, according to the high priest Micah. Others say that the two tablets were prepared when they were needed. We believe that the first statement is more valid. The writing was engraved upon them like the engraving of a signet ring, and was done by the hand of the Almighty. (Compare Ex. xxxi. 18, “written by the fingers of God.”) It is said that the two tablets were the creation of God, and that their writings were the writings of the Divine Essence, engraved upon the two tablets which were handed to the apostle Moses by the chief of the angels, that is by Gabriel, the Archangel, at the close of Moses’ forty days’ fast. Some say that Moses found them before him at his feet at the place wherein he was tenting while on the mountain. This statement, I believe, (and I pray God to shield me from mistakes,) is more correct than that the Power Divine handed them to him without his seeing anything; for he was standing in darkness listening to the address of God coming from the midst of the fire. The writing was plain on either side, and all characters were horizontal in shape, without being connected the one with the other. Each tablet was a cubit and a half in length and in breadth, but three fourths of a cubit in height. They fitted the chest wonderfully. The thickness of both of them combined equaled two cubits and a half, in accordance with the height of the chest.
When Moses descended from the mountain and arrived at the outskirts of the encampment, he saw the calf and the frolic scene around it (and may such a scene never take place again), and his anger was boundless, and he dashed the two tablets to the earth in their presence and broke them. But, before doing so, he showed the people the two tablets, their bright likeness and wonderful engraving, declaring to then that God was angry at their deed, and hence they were unfit to receive the tablets. At that moment, God (may his name be exalted) caused the writing to disappear, and commanded Moses (upon whom be peace) to dash them on the ground. If God had not blotted out his writing from the two tablets, it would not have been lawful or possible unto Moses to break them. Thus the same disappeared up to heaven by the power of God, and nobody knew what became of them.
After his second fasting, while he was interceding for this great sin, his prayers having been answered, God commanded him to hew unto himself two tablets like unto the first, having the same shape and size. He, therefore, following the instruction of God, ascended the mountain and fasted forty days for the third time. And the two tablets were taken away from him and engraved by the hand of God, like the first two, with the ten commandments, only without addition or subtraction.
He came down with them on the ninth day of the seventh month, as we have stated already, and placed them in the chest which he had purposely prepared for them in his tent. And he placed them beside the holy Torah until the tabernacle was erected, when he deposited them in that, which Bezaleel had made, as we read in Exodus, “And he took and placed the testimonies in the chest.” But the command was given first in Numbers, “And place the testimonies which I give thee in the chest.” This was confirmed later on in Numbers: “And it was there as Jehovah commanded.”
And God possesses the best wisdom.
Columns from left to right:
1-Names of the Hebrew letters. 2-Samaritan letters. 3-Hebrew and Chaldean letters.
4-Numerical equivalents of the letters. 5-Capital and small Greek letters. 6-The letters marked with asterisks are those brought to Greece from Phoenicia by Cadmus. 7-Names of the Greek letters. 8-Nearest English equivalents to the Hebrew, Greek, and Samaritan letters. Note. When used at the end of a word, the Hebrew Tau has the numerical value of 400, Caph 500,, Mem 600, Nun 700, Pe 800, Tzadi 900. A dotted Alpha and a dashed Aleph have the value of 1,000. MPHhttp://www.prs.org/gallery-science.htm
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