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March/April 2011

Vol.  X - No 4

In This Issue

·      Congrads

·      Difference

·      Barrier

·      Honesty

·      Politics

·      Enter Jordan

·      Magazine

·      Links

·      New Articles

·      New Biblio


The Samaritan Update, is a Bi-Monthly Internet Newsletter


Editor: Larry Rynearson


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     The Samaritans call themselves

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

    Hebrew: שומרונים‎ Shomronim,

    Arabic: السامريون‎




    The Samaritan Update

    supports the


    Société d'Études Samaritaines







    Studies and Related Conferences:

    The Eighth Congress, Erfurt

    July 15, 2012 – July 20, 2012

    The Eighth Congress of the Société d'Études Samaritaines will take place in Erfurt, Germany, July 15.-20., 2012.


    2011 International Meeting

    London, United Kingdom

    Meeting Begins: 7/3/2011
    Meeting Ends: 7/8/2011

    Call For Papers Opens: 10/1/2010
    Call For Papers Closes: 1/31/2011

    View the 2011 International Meeting Program Units >>
    Requirements to Submit a Paper Proposal


    2011 Annual Meeting

    San Francisco, CA

    Meeting Begins: 11/19/2011
    Meeting Ends: 11/22/2011

    Call For Papers Opens: 1/25/2011
    Call For Papers Closes: 3/5/2011


    Call for papers: The 2011 Aramaic Studies section will have an open call for papers in any area relating to the various aspects of Aramaic language, literature, and context. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic.



    Book mark the

    Samaritan Studies (EABS)



    Keep Up with the Samaritan Basketball team on FANS of Samaritan 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.

    Security Mount Gerizim

    A group of young people keen on the security of Mount Gerizim

    Both groups 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  publication date

    June 15, 2011


      The first-ever English translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch, prepared by Benyamin Tsedaka WILL be published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company  



  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Upcoming Festivals

    Paschal Sacrifice - Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Pesach Festival - Monday, April 18, 2011

    The Festival of Unleavened Bread - Sunday. April 24, 2011

    The Sinai Assembly Day - Wednesday. June 8, 2011

    The Festival of Weeks - Sunday, June 12, 2011



    Congratulations to Osher Sassoni and Meital Sasoni

     for their engagement 

    on March 23rd 2011


    (Left photo - Meital Sasoni)

    Right photo- Meital's father, Yefet Sasoni in white hat -  High Priest Aaron in red hat, and Osher.)

    Photos were taken by Sharon Yehoshua





       The A.B. newspaper, since its establishment 42 years ago, has insisted upon encouraging the safe creativity of many writers among the Samaritan community, by collecting different compositions that were never published before and sometimes by bringing new compositions published in new prayer books, mostly composed by the scribe himself who published a book, or when he includes in his new book compositions of new writers.  All of these were made in order to encourage the publisher to keep scribing and publishing and also the new writer to continue composing.  
       Part of the publicity in A.B. is by bringing compositions that were made for singing before the worshippers - they are compositions, poems and hymns that are made for happy occasions or sad occasions.  It is rare that such compositions will be included in a part of the prayer books, and because of that A.B. became the only stage that is before the new writers.  This is like a mutual favor for both sides, they are giving their compositions to A.B., and the newspaper is giving them a stage that helps their composition to be in front of the eyes of all members of the community who really like to read them with loud voices.  They read, they are impressed, they criticize - and by this the writer enjoys double publicity of his composition and also from the feedback of the readers.  Those enjoyments encourage the authors to continue their authorship.
    In turn the editors contribute their part by beautiful layouts in the A.B., sometimes shortening long lines, in order that the composition will not miss its beautiful frame, or by correcting spelling, and sometimes by correcting the writing by replacing words that don't exist, or corrections of style that assert information in the wrong regard.  
       Frequently we are receiving complaints from new writers about changes that are made by us in their compositions.  If in fact they themselves saw the corrections, or somebody else [took care to stimulate them] notified them of the editors' corrections - what can we say?
    It seems the publicity of their compositions in A.B. increased their self-evaluation in their own eyes, until they wondered how the editors dared to correct their compositions.  
       They always add threats that they will not publish any future compositions in A.B., or at least they consider that. There is not any sense to be in distress because more than the cow wants to give milk the cattle want to suckle.  In this case the cow is the Editor of A.B.  
       The Editors explain that they see these corrections that they make to the new compositions as both right and obligatory and for the favor of the writer.  It is hard for us sometimes to resist the temptation to publish the composition as it was written, and to put the writer to shame.  However, if we would do that we will hurt our role as Editors who insist on a nice presentation of the newspaper that continues to be a source of pride to the community.  We also consider how the writer will be presented before the eyes of the next generation that never knew our generation.  Don't judge us wrongly, we don't change the spirit of the writings.     Every composition continues to identify its writer, not to mention that every writer repeats many times his own style of writing which will be his identification before the next generations.  
        Recently in one of the hymns that was published in A.B. we found its writer giving our priest the title of those who wear the Urim and Tammim, exactly like that.  In another hymn they are called "incense burners."  Since we don't always have the time to show the writers the mistake before publication, we ourselves make the necessary corrections that these titles will be phrased in the form of a wish towards the end  of days.  
       These two titles fit the period of the days of goodwill [Rhuta], and they are not valid to the time of hiding faces started [Fanuta], in the year 261 after the entrance of the people of Israel to the Holy Land.  These two titles, those who wear the lights of completeness, and burn the incense [in regard to the priests] were valid in the days that the tabernacle of Moses, the first tabernacle of the people of Israel existed.  From the second year of their presence in the Sinai desert until the year 261 from the time of their entrance into the land.  For three hundred complete years the tabernacle worship was active until it was hidden by the Almighty.  Since the time it was hidden, the worship of sacrifices on Mount Gerizim was ceased.  The temple and its utensils, including the lights of completeness [urim and tammim] and incense burners were hidden until the end of the days when the temple would be rediscovered and goodwill for the people of Israel would be in effect a gain.  
       It was the Rabban Yusef ben 'Aazzi, of the late 13th century that showed the difference between a priest of Rhuta to a priest of Fanuta.  The Rabban Yusef was a high priest in office in Damascus who arrived in Nablus in the year 1290 CE to be the high priest of the Samaritan people near Mount Gerizim.  There he stayed in office as the high priest until his death in the year 1308 CE.  Most likely he was the one who invented the style of praise hymns [Yishtabach] because there are no hymns in this style before his time.  He also wrote two important compositions that we sing loudly on Yom Kippur: Eh Il Re'om Wanon, God of Mercy and Compassion, and Yam Arremmem, [ = Sea of Mercies], during the afternoon prayer and sunset prayers on Yom Kippur.  
       In those two compositions Rabban Yusef mourns the disappearance of the tabernacle and days of goodwill.  He called them "the days  of complete enlightenment" and "the days of burning the incense" and "the days of lighting the candles" and "the days of the pure table."  Regarding the sacrifice, in the days of goodwill, and who offered them he said in an inarguable expression, "no priest is in charge [Ne'amanim], and we have no more sacrifices."  We are always laughing to ourselves frequently about those worshipers who make their voices louder, especially in this verse, because it actually means that they criticize the priests of our days - although they understand the word "Ne'amanim" as though it is in regard to honesty or belief.  However, this is not the meaning of the word.  The Rabban Yusef himself was a descendant of the glorious family of the priests, the sons of Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron the first priest who wore the Urim and Tammim [lights of completeness].  He meant in the word "Ne'amanim" in regard to taking charge and responsibility and fulfilling the role as Moses was described by the Almighty in that "he is faithful in all my house."  [Numbers 12:7].  Therefore, "Ne'amanim" in this regard was connected by the Rabban with the reality of the tabernacle worship.  Priests in charge, according to him, are those who are responsible for the worship of the tabernacle and its utensils, among them the high priest who had the sole right when the tabernacle existed to wear the lights of completeness, and the priest that was in charge of the worship also served as the burners of the incense, Aaron and his sons.  In this way the Rabban Yusef emphasized the clear difference between the priests of Rhuta to the priests of Fanuta.  
       The later are not in charge of any utensils from the utensils of the tabernacle because the tabernacle was hidden and they are not offering sacrifices anymore.  
    The only sacrifice that is not connected with the worship of the tabernacle, the pascal sacrifice, continues to go on and be offered on Mount Gerizim, but this sacrifice is a sacrifice of the people and their status when they offer it is like the status of the priests.  This is why the editors corrected the line that described the priests by ancient titles to be written in the form of a wish that they will someday wear the lights of completeness.
             A.B. Services


    Will the Mount Gerizim Barrier Stay?
       The entire Samaritan community is breathing a breath of great relief because the checkpoint at the gate of Mount Gerizim from the direction of Nablus was installed once again, following the demand of the Samaritan elders in the Mount Gerizim community.  Negotiations with the highest summit of the Government of Israel caused the change of the decision.  Today the barrier is active more strictly in checking than previous checks were.  There are some who complained before the removal of the barrier, and today some are complaining about doubling the checks.  However, all agree that without the existence of the barrier there is a risk of reducing the security among the members of the Samaritan community and their Palestinian, Israeli, and foreign guests.  Today there is no access of non-grata professionals and those who asked for this by their identification at the gate.  Today the access is only possible for professionals that are listed on the agreed list by the civil administration, the army, and the representatives of the community.    Tourists and Israelis can freely visit Kiriat Luza when they come through the Southern road from Jerusalem and the plain.  We have been ourselves blocked more than once when we travelled into the neighborhood on the mountain by a military vehicle and we were permitted to go on only after our identity was checked.  With such an uncomfortable situation the feeling of security and the knowledge that we are protected is better than being insecure by the fact that Kiriat Luza without the barrier is under the mercy of unwelcome guests.  
       However, it seems that the return of the barrier is not final.  In a reply to the application of the deputy minister for the development of the Negev and Gallil, Knesset Member, Aiub Qarah, the Bureau of the Minister of Defense, announced affirmatively that the Samaritan barrier was returned back, although there was no intention to leave it, but in general many barriers in Samaria were removed as a result of the improvement of the secure situation, and among them there is an intention to remove the barrier of the Samaritans. With this, the Bureau of the Ministry of Defense announced that before they will remove the barrier, they will send the Samaritans an organized announcement.  
       Yefet Tsedaka co-editor of A.B. the Samaritan News made his best efforts to fulfill the demands of the Samaritans that the barrier would not be removed.  Some very severe security situations that happened recently in the region strengthened this demand.  Yefet clarified to the summit personalities of the very senior administers of the government, and in his application it is emphasized that the barrier helps the Samaritan neighborhood on Mount Gerizim so that it will not be crowded by irresponsible visitors and prevent them from polluting the holy places of the Samaritans: in the synagogue, in the neighborhood, and on the top of the mountain.  As a result of his application it was ensured as of late that the barrier would not be removed for a    long time.
    A.B. - The Samaritan News 

       In the next Torah portions we see a detailed description of the establishment of the temple and the contents within it, provided with an exact description of the donations and the sums of money that God ordered for this establishment.  The Almighty commanded a collection from every person in the amount of a half shekel.  At that time the number of the Sons of Israel was 603,550 males over the age of 20 years.  
       It means that 301,775 shekels were collected.  Moses detailed for us the way that every donation was brought for use in the process of establishment of the temple, for example by the pillars, the straps, the hooks, and the covers.  Moses details the use of gold, silver, metal, wood, cloth materials, leather, and precious stones that were collected by ensuring that every single gerah that was given be used towards the building of the temple, and not to his private and secret bank account...  This thing is a wonder in our eyes because Moses was very honest and nobody mistrusted him.  If he were mistrusted, why would he detail in public all accounts and the small details in regard to financing the temple?  The answer to this teaches us that there are two directions that characterize personal integrity.  
       Not only that, but other people are committed toward the positive judgment, but at the same time I am also committed to prevent myself from being in a situation that could allow others to make wrong conclusions towards deeds that I do.  Too frequently we hear people saying "I don't care what others think about me.  I know that what I do is the right thing."  
       Nonetheless, the attitude of the Torah is different.  The Torah says that also we have ambition to fulfill God's will in the most complete way.  It is forbidden to leave a wrong impression to the people around us.  
       In the case of Moses he had a special need to detail in a public forum all the invoices of the administration of public money.  After the golden calf incident and the breaking of the two stone tablets, God forgave the people of Israel and ordered Moses to make new tablets.  Right after that the building work of the temple started and in the hands of Moses was a complete ton of gold and silver.  The potential to steal or corrupt part of the materials was possible, but the fact remains that Moses was not accused of doing unsuitable deeds demonstrated in the details that show us the honesty of Moses.  With regard to his public role as the leader of the people his awareness became even more complicated because he knew that all eyes were upon him.  This sensitivity that is known to all of us exists in great potency by people who are in a key position that serve leaders of the public.  
       What is the meaning of a leader of the public?  How are we as a people seeing our leaders?
        The fundamental demand from every public personality is that he will fulfill his role from clear intentions to improve the state of the public, and not to any other interests - personal or other.  By doing this, he does not have to consider what they say about him, only in regard to the concern of the benefit of the public.  
       Moreover, the honesty of conducting the public should be seen by many, and it is not enough that he will be complete with the clarity of his deeds and conscience before God, as Moses said "and you must be clear before God and Israel."  Despite the greatness of Moses and his devotion to the people of Israel he didn't win an entrance to the Promised Land, but nevertheless he established the foundation of leadership leading the people in the land of Israel.  He did that in three ways, by his selfless activity as a leader, by the way he told the history to the people, and by the way he gave the commandments to settle the land to those people who would enter the land.  These ways show us that Moses fulfilled in his life a model of leadership.  Moses serves as a personal example of how to lead the people, and also affixing laws of justice and legal matters, and leadership to direct the people during their settlement in the land.   
       Moses describes how he initiated the establishment of a legal system in the desert.  He asked from the people to chose personalities that he would appoint as judges and order them to judge in justice.  If they could not come to an agreement, they would have to ask him to make the final decision.  The best preparation to the settlement of the land was establishing a system that would take care of moral life inside the people of Israel.
        For that, Moses commanded the elected judges to judge the people according to moral criteria.  It seems that these criteria are the foundation of the stable national life.  Also when they entered the land of Israel, the people of Israel were commanded first to establish a legal system, the same legal system that Moses established in the desert.  The commandments, judges that you must have (Deuteronomy 17:1) is the first commandment in regard to leadership in the Land of Israel.  If so, it seems that Moses hints to the people of Israel that they must see him as a model to imitate and establish a legal system as a first priority.  
       What are the considerations of electing a leader?  The State tries to help us in electing our leaders by a basic law of the Knesset.  "Every Israeli citizen In the day of giving the list of candidates that contain his name, and that he is over 21 years of age, is privileged to be elected to the Parliament, unless the court prevents him this right by the law or he has a final verdict against him for punishment in prison for a period of over three months, and in the day of giving the list of candidates it must be only after seven years after his release from prison, and only if the chairman of the central election committee stated that the crime of his verdict has no disgrace.  
       Today, we are free from the hard situation of electing a leader by God himself who elects the High Priest.  With that, I believe by God's election of the High Priest, He places into his hands the ability and the responsibility to be a model to be imitated.  

    By: Roey Tsedaka - Holon


       Despite the fact that we are trying our best to walk between the political raindrops in our region, it is impossible not to get wet.  We insist upon a neutral position in the Middle East Conflict despite the fact that that we are the smallest ethnic group in the world, and due to being divided in our places of living in regions that are under the authority of different entities.  Over one half of the community is under the administration of Israel and the rest under the administration of the Palestinian Authority.
       More than once we heard testimonies from some members of the community about their understanding of the Palestinian statements that consider Jerusalem as the Capital of their future state.  
       This is already in the process of being established, under the agreement of Israel the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Salam Fayaad, is building the first Palestinian City called Rawabi.  
    On the other hand the government of Israel demands from the Palestinians to recognize the State of Israel and the borders of the Green Line as a Jewish State, before discussing the official establishment of the Palestinian State.  In addition, Israel has asked for general International recognition for its Capital, Jerusalem.  
    Now that almost half of us are recognized by the Palestinians and the Israelis together, which is a very special phenomenon in the sensitive political spectre of the Middle East, we have to ask ourselves if this is the right step in state support or to join the desires of either of the two sides in regard to their political desires.  
       If we were counted at a million and a half, as we were 1500 years ago, maybe we would permit ourselves more than what we have today, maybe fulfilling desires for a separate political  body, or at least declaring our own autonomy.  However, instead of that we have to live with the reality of a community that totals only 750 individuals, and even this number is divided between the administrative areas of Israel and the Palestinians.  It is correct that we can translate our weakness to a potency by being a bridge between the two sides of the regional conflict, because it is not in regard to a mass of people but a very small public that is trying to survive between two forces that are provoking one another, when they are not busy making peace between them...
       We must speak the truth that neither Israel nor the Palestinians have demanded that we express identification with their political ambitions.  There is a clear difference between Palestinian seniors who see the Mount Gerizim Samaritans as an integral part of the Palestinian entity, to the Samaritan seniors who state the same thing although they were never asked to do that.  When we make political statements without having any cover of any kind or ability to fulfill them, only in order to satisfy one of the sides of the conflict we look pathetic if not less than that.  Also in the time periods of our numerical strength, when we had an army of our own to protect us, during the Hellenistic period, and during the reign of the Pagan Romans and Christian Romans, there were those who blamed us for switching sides by declaring at various times different identifications.  Most of these accusations were baseless insults, because under political and military hard pressures our forefathers knew how to save the national pride and went out in order to rebel against the enemies that persecuted them.  Nevertheless, today because of the smallness of our number, our activity is considered only as a statement.  We have to recognize the fact that for the last three generations we are so busy with just surviving.  Currently we multiplied our number over five times, and the excommunication from us is minor in regard to any other society.  Our survival did not derive from our statements for or against one of the sides of the conflict, but from keeping our national pride about what we are - An Ancient Israelite people who preserve a special tradition and trying to be a model of living together in divided political regions under a condition of peace.  
       The former mayor of Nablus, Mr. Ghassan El Shaqah, once told us after we told him about the establishment of an International Peace Centre on Mount Gerizim and also about our activity of awarding the first Samaritan Medal to Peace Makers in the region and in the world:  "Who is more suitable than you the Samaritans to be a bridge of peace between us, the Palestinians to Israel?  You are accepted by us the Palestinians, as you are accepted by Israel, and that is why you are the most suitable to make peace."   It seems that there is no people who want peace more than the Israelite Samaritan people, because under the condition of peace we are insuring our physical existence but also flourishing in all directions, the educational, the social, and the economical.  It is clear enough if one goes around for a moment in Kiriat Luza neighborhood and our neighborhood in Holon, in order to be exposed to the giant step that the community made in an economical regard.  We don't have welfare cases because we are doing well economically.  Almost every family has more than one car and our houses are comfortable.  
       There are even those who compete as to who is more extravagant in building a new house, or like the Vice High Priest said: "Our fathers fed hungry people and today we are feeding satisfied people..."  We never would have achieved that if the political situation had not improved for the better, and influenced for the better the last two generations in regard to economic and cultural growth.
       We do not have political stress or pressure, and nobody is asking us to identify with the two sides of the conflict, and due to that we don't understand this irresponsible attitude from among a minority of us, but their voice is heard to say to every sigh of the conflict what is thought by each side in wanting to be heard.  Those days are past with no return when our activists led the VIPs that came to the sacrifice between the barriers of boiling waters of the sacrifice, humiliating by this act the honor of the community, in the eyes of the guests.  
       Today we are living in a region in which the word "democracy" is always the chorus of the people.  When senior Israeli officers say to us, "we heard what you have said in Palestinian conferences, but we understand you that your statements are only from the mouth and not the depths:" and as we hear this kind of understanding we are close to exploding only from our recognition that this statement is in fact an expression of disrespect of the community.  Instead of emphasizing our uniqueness and our need to keep and preserve our ancient tradition there are persons among us that are trying to toy with representatives of Israel and Palestine together by statements that they want to hear.  
       This is politics of the worst kind.  This is effecting those who stay by themselves and are considered by the two sides as cheaters.  And this is also effecting us in the long run of our existence as a proud community chasing peace.  
             A.B. Services



    The Tenth Commandment.

    "His word which He said in the section, 'And it shall come to pass when He will bring thee,' which is the fourth section of the four sections into which the Ten Commandments are divided, in this He teaches that Mt. Gerizim is the House of God and that is the place towards which every Samaritan must turn, who believes in God, in Moses and the Torah and in Mt. Gerizim/Bethel, and in the Day of Vengeance and Recompense. And He commanded that the altar should be built thereon to serve Him with the sacrifice and with the burnt-offering, and to perform there the rejoicing at the Dwelling (Sanctuary, Shekinah), and everything else like unto the rejoicings on the festivals. It would be difficult to fix the date when the Nalif was composed, since it is an anonymous composition. It is sufficient for our purpose to know that it is to this day the dogmatic teaching of the Samaritans.


    Samaritan Eschatology Vo. I by Moses Gaster,

    The Search Publishing Company, 1932, p 219


    Samaritan Pentateuch Font Needed


    Anyone that has a Samaritan font for Mac, please contact the editor



    Samaritans Enter Jordan For Passover Celebration

       (Jerusalem –Reuters) – (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Saturday, Apr. 13, 1957)


       Israel’s entire Samaritan population- 115 men, women and children-crossed into Jordan Friday to celebrate Passover with a centuries-old ritual of sacrifice.

      Tonight, in ceremonies dating back 2,500 years, they will sacrifice seven sheep on the summit of the sacred Mount Gerizim, to them God’s abode on earth.

      The high priest conducting the ceremony is, according to legend, a 146th generation descent of Aaron, brother of Moses.

      The exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery, led by Moses, will be celebrated by Jews throughout the world at their annual Passover service Monday.

      Altogether about 320 Samaritans- the last survivors of a once-powerful nation- will attend their own ceremony on Mount Gerizim.

      The Samaritans who crossed from Israel Friday will join others who live in the holy city of Nablus, near the sacred peak. Together they will climb to the summit and pitch their tents.

      They will pass the time until sunset today in prayer and in reading from their holy book, based on the first five books of the Old Testament with some significant differences.

    Then, while the congregation sings loudly to drown the crics of the dying animals, the high priest will sacrifice the seven sheep.

      The dead animals will then be placed in a big earthenware oven. After midnight, their meat will be distributed to the faithful.

      The origin of the Samaritans date back to about 920 B.C., when Assyrian emigrants and remnants of the Manasseh and Ephraim tribes colonized the area north of Jerusalem and built the city of Samaria.

      Two centuries later, the city was overrun and large numbers of the population deported.

      The Samaritans introduced variations into the worship of the Hebrew god Jehovah, leading to long strife between them and the Jews.

      Samaritans suffered bloody reprisals from the Jews, Romans, Moslems and Turks. They were finally freed by British forces in 1918, and now live in Israel and Jordan.

    Comments on this section from the Editor of theSamaritanUpdate.com

     The High Priest in 1957 was Abrisha b. Phinhas b. Yittzhaq b. Shalma


    The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version [Hardcover]



    Sharon Sullivan (Editor), Benyamim Tsedaka (Translator), James H. Charlesworth (Introduction), Emanuel Tov (Foreword) Pre-order now for $61.75 List Price: $100.00 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (June 15, 2011)




    The Last of the Samaritans

    Reduced to 200 Persons, Remnant of Ancient Sect Which Regards Itself as The True Following of Moses Lives On in Arab Palestine


    The Milwaukee Journal – June 29, 1951 Robert T. Hartmann, in a Nablus (Jordan) dispatch to the Los Angeles Times.

       The tall, white bearded patriarch, who might have stepped out of an Assyrian bas-relief, was Mazliach ben Pinchas, high priest of the Samaritans.

    There are only about 200 representatives of this ancient race left. They have kept their blood pure, though terribly inbred, by marrying only among themselves for centuries. This has led to a genetic twist producing a great preponderance of boy babies, a condition difficult for the casual visitor to discern since Samaritans of both sexes wear their hair in unshorn curls. The dearth of females in the Samaritan community makes them the only middle eastern people who rejoice over the birth of a girl.

       All of the surviving Samaritans live in Nablus, a Moslem town of 22,000 about 80 miles north of Jerusalem in the Jordan portion of Palestine. They find themselves on good terms with their Arab neighbors because they have been at odds with the Jews, whom they consider backsliders from the true law of Moses, for nigh on 2,500 years. The feeling today is as high as when Jeses chose the Good Samaritan to illustrate the universality of kindness.

       The modest Samaritan synagogue here is one of the few remaining on the Arab side of the frontier. The Samaritans believe themselves the real children of Israel and their high priest, Mazliach, will trace his descent from Aaron for you, if you have time.

       If you have not, you are urged to take a cup of coffee and a look at the Samaritan’s greatest treasure, an ancient scroll of the Torah. Enclosed in a silver cylinder and covered with a rich but worn brocade, this copy of the law of Moses is among the oldest biblical manuscripts, but no price or device has ever persuaded the impoverished Samaritans to part with it.

       The Samaritans acknowledge only the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament) and Joshua and reject the rest of the Judaic canon. They claim their Torah was inscribed by Abishua, a great-grandson of Aaron, in the 13th century B.C. Most scholars are dubious, though acknowledging it to be very old indeed.

    The Samaritans’ austere place of worship contains little more than the Torah, set on a rickety wooden stand, rugs thrown about the floor, and along the walls a heap of folded tents. These are used once each year when the entire community camps atop near-by Mount Gerizim for the Passover.

       Spotless lambs are sacrificed and eaten on the mountaintop by the remnant of Samaritans exactly as their ancestors have done for centuries. The temple that once stood atop Gerizim and rivaled that of Jerusalem has been destroyed since 130 B.C. The ruins of Samaria, ancient capital of Israel, cover a hilltop not far from here. The pavements serve as a threshing floor for Arab farmers. But the Samaritans remain perfectly convinced that they alone are the elect of God.

    Tourists are their only visible means of support, and not many rich Americans come to see them any more.

    Comments on this section from the Editor of theSamaritanUpdate.com

    The High Priest in 1951 was Abrisha b. Phinhas b. Yittzhaq b. Shalma

    Mazliach is his Arab name.


    Update on the Letter by the Editor

    In the last Samaritan Update, we had a section on a Letter of the Samaritans of India to those of Nablous found in the book, Journal of a Tour in the Holy Land in May and June, 1840 by Lady Francis Egerton. We decided to find out more information, asking Benny Tsedaka for his help. He was very interested and responded with the following email. We understand that he is a busy man and as soon as we learn more we will post the information.




    Published by the Scottish Geographical Society and edited by Hugh A. Webster and Arthur Silva White, Volume II: 1886 Edinburgh, Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty, At the University Press 1886



       The Annual Business Meeting of the Society was held in the Hall of the Merchants’ Company, Edinburgh, on Thursday, 18th November- Dr. Hugh Cleghorn, Member of Council, presiding……..

    (p.740)…..On the following evening, Sir Charles Warren repeated his Address at the Opening Meeting of the Glasgow Branch of the Society, in the Queen’s Rooms, Glasgow. Mr. W. Renny Watson, the Convener of the Local Committee, presided….

       An interesting discussion followed the paper by Sir Charles Warren….

    (p741)In reply to a question by Mr. J.R. Miller, Sir Charles Warren said that the greater portion of the land belonged to the Government, who let it out, requiring in return portion of the produce. As one passed through the plains one would find the corn lying in heaps on the threshing-floors. If one asked why they did not gather it, one would be told that they were waiting till the Government inspector came for his share; and it was a very large share. The people were very improvident on account of the insecurity of tenure, and very often they had no corn to sow. The consequence was that there were people who lent corn on the understanding that they got one-half of the produce, and the result was that in many villagers after the corn was divided, a very small portion went back to the villagers, so much so that it was insufficient to keep them during the year, and when the sowing time came round they had to go to the lender again. In reply to a further question, Sir Charles said that the forms in the Samaritan Passover were similar to those described in the Bible. Then sheep were killed in a particular way; a portion was thrown away. Then each sheep was fastened to a piece of wood, - a sort of spit. Next a hole was dug in the earth, 7 feet deep and 3 feet across. A quantity of burning fuel was put down, and when the sides of the hole were well heated, the pieces of wood with the sheep attached were lowered into it, and left until the sheep were pretty well roasted. At a certain hour at night they took them out and ate the Passover. Some pieces were well done, some ill done, and some very much burned.

       The discussion was then closed. The Scottish Geographical Magazine,





    Good Samaritans, Israel’s smallest religious minority offers Jews a glimpse of what might have been.

       What would the Jews look like had they not been exiled to the four corners of the earth, had they gone untainted — but also unenriched — by the cultures in which they tarried? Imagine Jews who retained their fierce attachment to the Torah and the faith of their fathers, but without the rabbinic response to displacement. No Talmud, no golden flourishing diasporas in Spain or Germany or America, no great movement out of the ghetto and into the Haskala, none of the upheavals of modernity, no Reform movement, no Holocaust, no Zionism, no state of their own, no Nobel laureates to kvell over, only the steady drip of obscurity, anachronism and numerical decline. What would those Jews be like today?

       Cont'd reading



    Bible Studies / The things that you're liable to read in the Bible

    Hundreds of linguistic and ideological differences between the commonly accepted Masoretic version of the Pentateuch and the Samaritan text indicate that editing may be one of the world's oldest professions.

    By Yair Hoffman

    The Pentateuch: The Samaritan Version and the Masoretic Version, edited and annotated by Avraham Tal and Moshe Florentin. Tel Aviv University Press (Hebrew),763 pages, NIS 149 ...............................

    Up to one million people

    The Samaritan community is comprised today of fewer than 1,000 people, who live primarily in Nablus and Holon. During the Samaritan golden age in the fourth century, it had up to one million adherents, living in all parts of the country. The Samaritans revere the Pentateuch - they have their own version of it - as the sacred part of the Bible, and this serves as the sole source of religious law for them. They view the Masoretic text as a forgery created by Ezra Hasofer in the fifth century. Cont'd reading




    Al-Khadra Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الخضرة‎, transliteration: Masjid al-Khadra, translation: "the Green Mosque") also known as Hizn Sidna Yaq'ub Mosque (trans. Sadness of our Lord Jacob) is a mosque situated on the lower slopes of Mount Gerizim in the southwestern quarter of the Old City of Nablus in the West Bank.

    They claim that its Arabic name al-Khadra ("the Green") derived from the Samaritan Mahallat Khadra ("the place of the Green"). Archaeologist Micheal Avi-Yonah identified the Khadra Mosque with the synagogue built by the Samaritan high priest Akbon in 362 CE.

    The synagogue was rebuilt in 1137 by Ab Giluga, a Samaritan from Acre. Several Western scholars, however, believe, because of examples of Gothic architecture in portions of the present-day mosque, that in the 1170s, there stood a Crusader church and bell tower. Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi records in 1225, while Nablus was under Ayyubid rule, the buildings was restored to become a Samaritan synagogue, which he referred to as "a large mosque" which the Samaritans venerated. It is probably from this era that the Samaritan inscriptions on a minaret wall were made. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Khadra_Mosque


    Samaritan Resources

    New Articles


    The Sunday Magazine For Family Reading, London ,Daldy, Isbister, & Co. 56, Ludgate Hill, 1875  

    The SAMARITANS By the Late James Finn, Formerly Her Majesty’s Consul for Jerusalem And Palestine.


    There is before me at this moment, framed and glazed, a bold print from the painting of Carl Haag, representing the Priest of the Samaritans in the act of reading the Manuscript Roll of the Pentateuch to the congregation in the Synagogue—a picture of remarkable exactness, except in the personal likeness of the priest himself: dignified it really is, but the face is not the face of 'Amran ben Shalmah.

       The picture is, however, to me, one of peculiar interest, bringing up, as it does, reminiscences of familiar persons and events. With the mind's eye, I see the poverty of the walls and the special physiognomy of the small congregation beyond what the picture gives of the cheap mat upon the floor, and the rudely constructed, unpainted deal chair, placed so as to serve as a reading-desk, but over which hangs a strip of silk embroidery. There is also the large veil, concealing the masbah, or sacred recess in which the "perpetual lamp" is burning, and where the rolls of the sacred law are kept; that veil is embroidered with texts from the law, in their peculiar alphabet, and was the handiwork of 'Amran's great-grandmother; lastly, the gilded ornamentation above the embossed silver-gilt case, in which the exhibited manuscript is contained.

    Con't reading in PDF Great read! The Sunday Magazine



    Stirring Times or Records from Jerusalem Consular Chronicles of 1853 to 1856 By the late James Finn,

    In April last, three of our members attended the Passover Sacrifice of the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim, by invitation of the Priest of that sect, and the spectacle has been described at our meeting as one of indelible interest: it was the only opportunity of the kind presented to Europeans since the very earliest ages of Christianity.

    (p. 92)…One or two volumes of ancient Samaritan MS. Were received for the Jerusalem library, and some were also obtained for the British Museum library and sent to England.

    Con't reading in PDF Stirring Times




    NABULUS (NEAPOLIS, SHECHEM).—“An ancient city in Palestine. Near by to it are two sacred mountains. Under the town is an underground city hollowed out in the rocks. Its inhabitants are Arabs, foreigners (‘Ajam), and Samaritans.” (Yb., 116, writing in A.D. 891.)

       “Nabulus,” says Istakhri, “is the city of the Samaritans who assert that the Holy City is Nabulus (and not Jerusalem). The Samaritans possess no other city elsewhere in the world; and the people of Jerusalem say that no Samaritans exist elsewhere han here, on the whole face of the earth.” (Is., 58; I.H., 113.)

       “Nabulus,” writes Mukaddasi, “lies among mountains. It abounds in olive-trees, and they even name it the ‘Little Damascus.’ The town, situated in the valley, is shut in on either hand by the two mountains (of Ebal and Gerizim). Its market-place extends from gate to gate, and a second market goes to the centre of the town. The Great Mosque is in its midst, and is very finely paved. The city has through it a stream of running water; its houses are built of stone, and some remarkable mills are to be seen here.” (Muk., 174.)

    “Nablus,” reports Idrisl, “is the city of the Samaritans.



    The Christian Herald and Seaman's Magazine: Volume 9, 1822, Intelligence, WESTERN ASIA.—Samaritan Jew.

    The following conversation took place between Mr. Wolff, a Missionary in the employ of the London Jews' Society, and a Jew.

       Dec. 29, 1821. Mr. Joseph Damiani introduced me to day to Israel, from Naplus, (Sichem,) Scrivano to a Turkish merchant at Jaffa. He is one of those few descendants of the Samaritans residing at Naplus. He received me with great cordiality ; I addressed myself to him in the Hebrew tongue, he was only able to understand the expression Lasan hakodesh, (the holy language.) I asked him, namely, whether he speaks the holy language, (the Hebrew ;) he showed me three Samaritan manuscripts, the first contained the fourth part of the books of Moses, the second, a book called Mimar, old sermons of their priests, which he affirmed were above 1600 years old, and the third manuscript contained a catechism for the Samaritan youth, which consisted of the Ten Commandments of Moses ; all these manuscripts were written in the Samaritan language, which I was not able to read. Israel is of an amiable countenance ; another Samaritan was there beside him.

    I. Do you sell these books?

       Israel. No Samaritan will ever sell his books!

    Con't reading in PDF The Christian Herald



    New Biblios

    Nodet, Étienne. Samaritains, Juifs, Temples. Cahiers de la Revue Biblique, 74. Paris: J. Gabalda, 2010.

    The Last of the Samaritans, Reduced to 200 Persons, Remnant of Ancient Sect Which Regards Itself as The True Following of Moses Lives On in Arab Palestine, The Milwaukee Journal – June 29, 1951 Robert T. Hartmann, in a Nablus (Jordan) dispatch to the Los Angeles Times.

    The Scottish Geographical Magazine, Published by the Scottish  Geographical  Society, edited by Hugh A. Webster and Arthur Silva White, University Press, 1886

    The Sunday Magazine For Family Reading, London ,Daldy, Isbister, & Co. 56, Ludgate Hill, 1875, The SAMARITANS By the Late James Finn, Formerly Her Majesty’s Consul for Jerusalem And Palestine.

    Stirring Times or Records from Jerusalem Consular Chronicles of 1853 to 1856 By the late James Finn, M.R.A.S., Edited and compiled by his widow, With a preface by the Viscountess Strangford, in two volumes, Vol II., London, C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1 Paternoster Square, 1878

    The Christian Herald and Seaman's Magazine: Volume 9, 1822, Intelligence, WESTERN ASIA.—Samaritan Jew. by Mr. Wolff


    Palestine Under the Moslems, a Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500 Translated From The Works of THE MEDLEVEL ARAB GEOGRAPHERS BY GUY LE STRANGE. WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company,

    The Riverside Press, Cambridge. 1890


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