The Samaritan Update

“Mount Gerizim,

All the Days of Our Lives”

January/ February 2014                                                                                                            Vol.  XIII - No 3

In This Issue


·         Passover

·         Isaac

·         Tomb of Elazar

·         Contract

·         A Poem and a letter

·         Two Eulogies

·         Samaritan Interpretation

·         Samaritan manuscripts

·         Sinners and Shehmaa

·         Gaster Project

·         Lexicon Project

·         Auction Results

·         New Website

·         Three Letters

·         In the News

·         Gerizim Tours

·         Testimony of Stephen

·         From the Editor

·         News From the Past

·         New Publications

·         Biblio


Your link to the Update Index


Future Events

Eleventh Month 3652 - Thursday Evening, January 30, 2014
Twelfth Month 3652 - Friday Evening, February 28, 2014
First day of the First Month 3652 - Sunday Evening., March 30, 2014

Passover Sacrifice - Sunday, April 13, 2014

Festival of Passover. First Day of Matzos - Monday, April 14, 2014

Festival of Unleavened Bread - first Pilgrimage. – Sun. April 20, 2014

Festival of Weeks. Second Pilgrimage - Sunday, June 8, 2014




On Sunday, April 13, 2014, the Samaritans will perform their duty to keep the memorial Passover sacrifice as instructed as their fore fathers had done before them.

Once again this year, there is expected to be tour buses traveling for the event. Once they send us their full information, it will be posted on the main web page of  For those that maybe driving, we suggest you use your maps and enter Mount Gerizim from the West side in place of traveling through the busy streets of Nablus.



Isaac Ha-Kohen Ben Amram Ben Isaac


Isaac Ha-Kohen passed away. He was born in Nablus in 1936 when his father, Amram was Secretary of the Congregation. He was the youngest son. He studied Torah community of priests, finished law studies and integrated work in the Ministry of health. He married his cousin beautiful woman in 1970, and both brought to three daughters and a son. After retiring from his work developing the Ministry of counseling and support from pension funds and advice.
The priest Father Amram Ben Isaac [1980-1889] raised and nurtured him. He had a sensitive soul to injustice and oppression. He raised his family with love and encouragement to acquire an education.
He was among the first to come for prayer at the synagogue and feared God and was observant of the Torah. May he Rest in Peace!


Tomb of Elazar Desecrated

Tomb of Eleazar (or the Latin name Israel in the Land of Israel. In October 2011, vandals desecrated Eleazar’s Tomb in Awarta. This however was not the first time. AB News Services recently reported the desecration once again on December 11th, 2013.
See the full article  by Benyamim Tsedaka


This is the Tomb of Elazar, the High Priest and son of Aaron, the brother of Moses. His Burial location is acknowledged by Samaritans, who have kept charge of the site. Recently, with weather permitting, a small group of young Samaritan males white-washed the site.


Renovation of the Tomb of the High Priest Eleazar son of Aaron, in Nablus by a group of young Samaritans (Feb. 2014) Well Done!!! כל הכבוד!!!



A Contract of Sale and Purchase of an Orchard between Two Samaritans in Damascus in 1584 by Hasseb Shehadeh

 Recently, while working on the publication of Samaritan contracts housed in the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg, I came across several ambiguous legal terms such as ‘darak, tabi‘a’. An attempt to understand them fully led me to an essential book dealing with contracts and available on the internet: Akram Ḥasan al-‘Ilbī, The Jews in Damascus in the Ottoman Period on the Basis of Records of the Islamic Courts in the Centre of Historical Documents in Damascus, 991 H.-1336 H, 1583-1909 A.D. (Damascus: Publications of the Syrian General Organization for the Book, Ministry of Culture, 2011), 344 pp (in Arabic).

Two hundred seventy contracts are included in this book, the lion’s share of which concern the Rabbinic Jews. In addition, Karaites are involved in numerous cases, whereas only a few contracts belong to Christians. And only a single contract is Samaritan; it goes back to the year 1584, meaning that only two Jewish contracts are older – by one year. This Samaritan contract is the oldest known to us today, since the most ancient contract in Abraham Firkovitch’s collection (1786–1874) of Samaritan manuscripts preserved in the above-mentioned library dates back to 1649. A wide range of subjects and disputes is discussed and resolved in these contracts, which have titles such as ‘The Jew, the Muslim and the red female mule’ (the earliest, 1583); the subjects also deal with taxes among Christians and Jews, the suit of a Jew who became a Muslim (and was turned down), a suspicious man, a purchase of a house in Safed; a dispute between neighbours; the American consul in Damascus; and Jews of Russian nationality.

The Samaritan contract, consisting of 146 words, is transcribed above followed by my Hebrew translation, accompanied by some clarifications and preceded by a detailed background of the pivotal role of Damascus for the Samaritans in the Middle Ages. Samaritans lived in Damascus from ancient times until the riots of 1625, which caused the well-known family of Denfi to immigrate to Nablus. The Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela (1130–1173) reported that approximately 400 Samaritans lived in Damascus, whereas only 200 were found in each of the cities of Nablus and Caesarea. In addition there was a high priest in Damascus, and the city witnessed a scientific and literary renaissance during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (see the Arabic book on physicians by Ibn Abi USaibi’a, d. 1269) that led to the emergence of a new manifestation of language known in present scholarly circles as ‘Neo-Samaritan Hebrew’. No wonder then that a great number of Samaritan manuscripts, estimated as more than 4,000 and scattered around the world, originated in Damascus and Cairo. It suffices here to mention that the Samaritan Torah published in Paris polyglot in 1632 and in London polyglot in 1657 stems from a Damascene manuscript purchased by the Italian traveller Pietro della Valle in 1616. Some Syrian families such as Naḥḥās, al-Rumailī, al-‘Asalī and al-Ğa‘farī were originally Samaritan.

Continue reading


A Poem and a Letter by: Imr!n b. Sal!ma b. Ghaz!l to Firkovitch

by Hasseb Shehadeh

These two brief texts by: ‘Imran are preserved in Manuscript Sam X 94 housed at the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg. ‘Imran (1809-1874) served as a high priest between the years 1855 and 1874 and met Abraham Firkovitch during his visit to Nablus in 1864. At that time the number of Samaritans in Nablus was approximately 150 persons. The poem, consisting of sixteen lines written in Neo-Samaritan Hebrew, has been rendered into Arabic by me. In this poem the high priest expresses his thanks and gratitude for Firkovitch’s assistance. The letter contains a few lines in Neo-Samaritan Hebrew, which I have also translated into Arabic. Its main subject is: ‘Imran’s request to be paid for preparing the Torah cover and his readiness to sell a small portion of an old and small Torah secretly. Read it here

Two Eulogies by al-Maghrebi al-Bahloul?

by Hasseb Shehadeh

   Herewith I am publishing for the first time two eulogies, both attributed to al-Maghrebi al-Bahloul. This publication is based on fifteen primary sources: eight Samaritan manuscripts, one Arabic manuscript found at King Saud University library, and six texts available on the internet. These poems of tribute are written in a language that resembles dialectal Arabic rather than written Arabic. A Hebrew translation and a linguistic survey follow the discussion of the poems’ Arabic origins.

   The first eulogy is entitled “This is a Maghrebi Asceticism”. Its words are sung to the same melody as the poem “There is no god but God…”, and it has one hundred and two verses.

The second eulogy has no title; as found in Sam JRUL manuscript no. XIV in Manchester,

England, which is the basis for this edition, it has ninety-eight verses. Its verses are sung to the melody of the poem ‘Get up and Turn to God Before the End of Your Life’. The earlier layer of this manuscript, which includes both eulogies, was copied by Abdallah bin Murgan in 1723. I have compared the two eulogies in the Manchester manuscript with three other primary Samaritan sources: manuscript no. 7019 housed at the Yad ben-Zvi Library in West

Jerusalem, copied by Kamal al Israel al-Sarawi in 1930 and referred to in this edition as al -

Quds; the manuscript known as Kitab al-Tasabih and copied by the High Priest Avisha ben

Tabia in 1927, preserved in a private library on Mount Gerizim, and referred to as Nagi; and the codex also entitled Kitib al-Tasbih, whose contents were collected and made available

by Ratson Tsedaka in 1970. An additional four incomplete Samaritan manuscripts kept at the

Russian National Libray have also been utilized here and are referred to as Salama, Yusuf, Qqatqut, and Murgan. Read it here


Aninomous Samaritan Interpretation of Genesis 1: 26 by Hasseb Shehadeh

Read it here in Arabic & Hebrew



Creating easy and reliable access to Samaritan manuscripts, and the ancient Hebrew alphabet on the Internet

By: Dr. Jim Ridolfo,University of Kentucky

Samaritan manuscripts at Michigan State University and Hebrew Union College Library

In the picture: A manuscript of a Samaritan Scroll from the year 1145CE [Thanks to Dr. David Gilner (left)]


In 2003 Benyamim Tsedaka visited Michigan State University and spoke before a public meeting of the Board of Trustees. Tsedaka told the university trustees that they have in their library a large collection of Samaritan manuscripts, which came to them from the estate of the late Edward Kirk Warren. Benyamim Tsedaka asked the university to allow more public access to manuscripts.
Five years after Benyamim Tsedaka’s remarks, in 2008, I found his request to the Board of Trustees while looking for online information about the Samaritan manuscripts in the Michigan State University library. My curiosity about the Samaritan manuscripts increased, and I wanted to check with Benyamim Tsedaka to learn if the university had ever done something with the Samaritan manuscripts since his 2003 visit, and I found that little had been done.
A Google search found Benyamim Tsedaka’s correct email address, and I sent him a short message, “Hi, my name is Jim Ridolfo and I am a doctoral student at Michigan State University. I found your request regarding the Samaritan manuscripts from 2003. Do you still want to do something with them? Would you want to work with me to digitize manuscripts here at Michigan State University?”
In response, Benyamim wrote back, yes, yes! So, we had a project to digitize Samaritan manuscripts.
Since 2008, Dr. William Hart-Davidson and I continue to computerize the Samaritan manuscripts at two universities - Michigan State University and Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. 
You can see several important manuscripts at the project site here:
Login: deuteronomy
Password: Samaritan

For example, you can read a rare manuscript of Deuteronomy from 1145 CE plus parts of three Samaritan manuscripts dating back over 500 years in Egypt. In addition, there’s an attached map of the Samaritan manuscripts out to Israel.

Ancient Samaritan Hebrew Keyboard
I also created a Samaritan Keyboard for Apple computers and Microsoft keyboards that can be downloaded here:
In the future we plan to continue to computerize Samaritan manuscripts in both universities. If there are readers of the newspaper " A.B. – The Samaritan News or participants on Facebook [or Readers of the Samaritan Update] that have ideas or questions, please write me to:

Benyamim Tsedaka Notes:
AB – The Samaritan News and A.B. – Institute of Samaritan Studies meticulously provide correct information about the Israelite Samaritans in the web site: added the sites of the researcher Dr. Jim Ridolfio [34 ] at the University of Kentucky, showing the beginning of a job by a joint committee to digitize Samaritan manuscripts at Michigan State University. 
Dr. Jim Ridolfo and I are both members of two reputable sites all use the internet. One site presented in the ancient Samaritan manuscripts, and two - Keyboard Hebrew script - the ancient Samaritan. We also have the first site with all the information about the location of the Samaritan manuscripts in the world.
Recently a member of the Israeli Committee of the Samaritans in Holon Eyal Cohen asked me: "When you will no longer be in the world, how will future generations find information about all the Samaritan manuscripts in the world and access to them? The article by Jim Ridolfo and his resources are a complete answer to this question.

Benyamim Tsedaka
Head of A.B. – Institute of Samaritan Studies
Holon, Israel and Mount Gerizim, Samaria


The Sinners of the Golden Calf and Shehmaa against Ashima

Benyamim Tsedaka

 The sinners of Golden calf were only minor part of the people, as they always gave harm days to Moses, although their number probably was thousands, but to say that all the followers from Egypt took part in the Calf sin it is not true. Aaron had a weak personality not to stand under the pressure of these criminals. The shock he had was for two reasons: the absence of Moses and the fact that just right after they heard the Ten Commandments started with the two commandments of forbidden idolatry, some of the leadership, including some of the Levites helped Aaron to make the Golden Calf. This story has a message that better to live simple life with worshiping the Almighty than chasing after property and big money to live life of cheating.


 The closeness in pronunciation and spelling of The Name [Shehmaa] and the idol Ashima is incidental and has nothing to do with the Israelites of the Kingdom of Ephraim=Israel and the historical facts. The minority of the foreigners brought by the Assyrians to the former Kingdom of Israel for administrative reasons had idols they worshiped as Ashima, Nergal and others [Kings 2, Chapter 17]. At the same time the majority of the Israelites that remained in the Assyrian colonies in the former Kingdom of Israel territories, held the complete and original Torah of Moses and they believed in the Almighty to prefer calling Him Shehmaa not to name His Name in vain - Shehmaa=The Name. This rule never ceased till our days.



John Rylands Research Institute Funding Project

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2013 AT 12:55PM

Cataloguing Project. The Centre is delighted to announce an award of £2500 from the John Rylands Research Institute for a project to catalogue Moses Gaster’s correspondence with the Samaritan community in Nablus at the beginning of the twentieth century (four boxes of c.500 letters). This is part of a series of Gaster-related projects that have been and continue to be conducted at Manchester. Further information.




The CAL is a text base of the Aramaic texts in all dialects from the earliest (9th Century BCE) through the 13th Century CE, currently with a database of approximately 2.5 million lexically parsed words, and an associated set of electronic tools for analyzing and manipulating the data, whose ultimate goal is the creation of a complete lexicon of the language. IT IS A WORK IN PROGRESS, not a completed dictionary. Accordingly, any citations for scholarly purposes should include the date when the data was found.



Results of the Modern Samaritan Manuscripts Collection Bought in Public Auction in Jerusalem in February, 2014 by Benyamim Tsedaka

A collection of manuscripts and books of the late Abraham Tsedaka was given by his successor recently to a public auction by “Kedem” Auctions house in Jerusalem and sold completely to antiquities dealers by the total of $15,000. The Estimated selling price was 10,000-12,000$ Link
Some of the items belonged to him, some from through the inheritance of his wife Rachel and the others borrowed by him from his father in law and never returned back. Anyway all the collection was given up at auction recently. The most important of the collection were the manuscripts copied by Samaritan sages of the 18-19Th centuries. 


Statement from KEDEM:
Description: Large collection of Samaritan booklets, books and manuscripts from the 19th and 20th centuries, from the estate of Abraham Nur Tsedaka, who during the 1960s and 70s worked as editor and printer of annotated editions of Samaritan manuscripts with explanations of Samaritan laws and customs. [also see the
previous Samaritan Update]

Leabharlann Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin

The Samaritan Collection: The Samaritan Collection consists of two books and a collection of several fragments - individual leaves or groups of leaves from a variety of manuscripts. These are all copies of the one text (the Samaritan Pentateuch) and range in date from the twelfth to the seventeenth century. Undoubtedly, the two Samaritan codices Ms 751 (1225) and Ms 752 (1339) are of international importance. These were purchased by Beatty in 1930, through Dr Yahuda.

Also see: Plummer, Reinhart (1979) 'The Samaritan Manuscripts of the Chester Beatty Library', Studies (spring/summer): 66-79.


New Website

A New Website appeared on the internet on Feb. 14th, 2013 by the Samaritan Community in Holon. This great website is in Hebrew.

Their introduction post reads in Hebrew. We have there for here given an English translation:


“Welcome to the Samaritan community. The database can be found in a variety of Verses from the mouths of poets many photos, videos and reviews many activities at the Samaritan community in Holon, the site is also a forum where you can sign up, you will find it in the links above.

Poems arranged by holidays, every holiday you will find the hymn is written. To enjoy the contents above we ask you to register with the site, forum and start surfing! Happy surfing!  The Samaritan community in Holon.”


On the website, they have the largest collection of Samaritan liturgical on the net, including the Samaritan calendar, videos, photos and a forum. The forum, which can be nice and informative. But let us hope that they back up their files, since in the past hackers have accessed a Samaritan website.



Three Letters of Rabbi Obadiah Yerei of Bertinoro 1488-1490 and one letter of his student 

Translated by Yaacov Dovid Shulman


There are about 700 Jewish families in Cairo today. 50 of them are Samaritans, 150 are Karaites and the rest are Rabbinic Jews.

            The Samaritans only have the Five Books of Moses. Their script is different than that of our holy Torah. Maimonides has written that the Samaritans use a Jewish script that the Jews originally wrote in before they were exiled to Assyria, as is mentioned in the Talmud, in Sanhedrin. They have the Holy Tongue, as we do, but they read it with a slightly different pronunciation, due to their different writing. Also, wherever the Torah has the Tetragrammaton, they write the word, “Asima.” The Jews feel very hostile toward them, because they offer sacrifices and incense on Mt. Gerizim.

            Many of these Samaritans traveled with us from Cairo to their temple on Mt. Gerizim to sacrifice the paschal lamb. They keep the Sabbath from midday Friday to midday Saturday. Although they used to be many, very few are left. I was told that today there are no more than about 500 Samaritan families left in the entire world.

The Samaritans are richer than the other Jews in Cairo. They work for the major Egyptian ministers as treasurers and agents. Some have 200,000 or 100,000 golden florins.

The king is a greedy and ruthless man whose throat is an open grave and whose eye is never satisfied. There has been great distress in all of Egypt, because the king has been collecting huge amounts of money to support his army that he sent to fight against the king of Turkey in Ahlab (Aram Tzoba), on the Euphrates. He imposed a great tax burden on the Jews in Cairo: a total of 75,000 golden florins on the Samaritans, Rabbinic Jews and Karaites. He imposed this tax on every nationality, including Christians and Moslems.

In Gaza I saw the building that, according to the Jews there, was pulled down by Samson. In Gaza today, there are about 70 Rabbinic families and 2 Samaritan families. I didn’t see any Karaites there.

From My Inner Chambers - Rav Kook


Samaritan Theology



In the News


At Sochi Olympics, Israel is in… Europe! | Mondoweiss

Last month, the Israel Skiing Association petitioned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to change the name of all slalom events.

According to the Israelis, the event was invented in biblical times by the Samaritans and it was called shalom racing.  The Samaritans held annual competitions on Mount Gerizim, which Israeli geologist say, was snow covered in winter in the days long before the onset of global warming.  It is claimed that the Samaritans and the Judeans participated in events called shalom, giant shalom and super gimmel.

PA to remove religion from ID cards  

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has decided to remove the section detailing religious affiliation on Palestinian identity cards, according to officials.

The undersecretary of the ministry of interior Hassan Alawi told Ma'an that President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree to remove religious affiliation from identity cards beginning on Feb. 11, 2014. 
Alawi said the decision was made entirely by Palestinian authorities and ensures the equality of all Palestinians, regardless of their religion. 
Although the majority of Palestinians are Muslims, just under 10 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank are Christian, in addition to thousands more in the Gaza Strip. 
A few hundred Palestinians in the West Bank are Samaritans, a religion closely associated to Judaism.

See French article: L'Autorité Palestinienne va retirer la mention « religion » des cartes ...


11 dead as ME battered by hail, snow, rain- January 10, 2013

The two women found dead near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem - one from the ancient Samaritan community - had been posted as missing since Tuesday.



Gerizim Tours:


Abraham Tours: Northern West Bank Tour Every Monday

Our next stop is the Samaritan village on Mt. Gerizim, overlooking Nablus. Near the Samaritan temple, you will hear about the long history of the Samaritan people dating back from the Roman era with over a million strong community, to the few hundred who remain today.

360 NIS per Person

Green Olive Tour

This short video highlights an incredible opportunity provided by Green Olive Tours.  Along this journey you can visit Jacob’s Well, The Old City, Balata Refugee Camp, an olive oil soap factory, and Mount Grizim and the Samaritan village.   A creative and alternative approach to experience the culture of Nablus, meet and interact with locals, and immerse yourself in this wonderful city!

See a tour video:

The Tour website is


Breaking Bread Journeys

Day 6.   Samaria and Nablus. We will spend much the morning in the Old City of Nablus, learn about the ancient soap production, famous Nablus sweets, and other items within the ancient market and lunch with a local women’s group learning about the Palestinian slow food movement and local culture. After a brief visit to Jacob’s Well and then meet with the Samaritans on Mt. Gerazim and learn about their culture and traditions.


Jerusalem Pilgrimage by Warren Shoberg 

Thursday, February 13, 2014 Give Me a Drink


Our next journey was to drive up and up to Mount Gerizim. This is the ancient mountain atop which the Samaritans worshipped. I am continually amazed at the vertical distance between the valleys and mountains here. 

The Samaritan Priest

A Samaritan priest met us at their synagogue and spoke to us. He was quite delightful but it was obvious he had difficulty with English. When he finished speaking he told us he had “used up all his words.”


As in Jesus’ day, the Jews and Samaritans do not have anything to do with one another. He explained that the Samaritans accept only Torah, the first five books of the Bible. They use a language related to Hebrew but distinctively different with an alphabet not like the Hebrew alphabet. They are a small sect numbering only about 750 in two locations in Israel. He is a Levite from the priestly tribe. When asked if one could convert to this sect he basically said “why would one want to do that?” They live together. The women do not come to synagogue but stay home, care for the children and their husband. The men come to pray and listen to Torah. 

The ditch over which the Passover lambs are slaughtered.


They celebrate the three great festivals. On Passover they have a ceremonial plaza where
each family brings its lamb, the high priest reads from Exodus, all the lambs are slaughtered over a ditch, they are cleaned, the offal and wool is burned and the lambs roasted in six large pits. At midnight each father takes the lamb home to his family and they eat the Passover meal. Our leader, Rodney, had been to observe this ceremony a few years ago so he could fill in the details.



Testimony of Stephen by Lisa Green

Acts chapter 6:13 - 7:60. Stephen is accused of saying that Jerusalem would be destroyed and he is accused of teaching new customs apart from the Torah. Stephen is given the chance to offer his defense and he begins telling the history of the doctrine of the Torah. He builds his case as he goes, the same way an attorney would, until he finally reaches a crescendo. He’s showing that he supports the Torah (the Law), as it is written, and it is not he who teaches customs contrary to the Torah, but rather his accusers. The turning point of his testimony hinges on the Tabernacle vs. the Temple. The region of Shechem vs. the region of Jerusalem.

He starts with Abraham and the covenant made with YHWH. He says the descendants of Abraham would return to the Land after being held in bondage and they would serve him in that place. Where was the place the covenant was made? Among the oaks (or “big trees”) of Mamre. At the region of Shechem. Genesis 14:13 and Genesis 18:1. Abraham was given the covenant of circumcision, and so circumcised Yitzhak the eighth day, who likewise circumcised Yaakov, who likewise circumcised the 12 patriarchs. (The context is circumcision.) Why discuss circumcision on the eighth day? This is important, because in telling his side of things, Stephen is revealing the truth and is highlighting examples that would bring conviction over his accusers. He is bringing to light their own shortcomings compared to what is written in the Torah. There are some who have diminished the Torah by saying circumcision cannot be done the eighth day if the eighth day also falls on Shabbat, so it is scheduled before or after, yet this is not our doctrine…we are instructed to circumcise on the eighth day. Stephen gives a summary of Yosef and how Yaakov and family went to Egypt. He then says Yaakov and their fathers (meaning the heads of the 12 tribes: Reuven, Yissachar, Yehudah, Levy, Zevulun, Shimon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Yosef, Benyamim) died and that they were all carried over, (perhaps not just Yosef) into Shechem after their deaths. Stephen says they were buried at Shechem in a sepulcher bought by Abraham from the sons of Hamor of Shechem. Some might say this is an incorrect statement, since the account of the Torah states it was purchased from the “sons of Heth”. However, “Heth” can be translated “terror”, perhaps referring to the man's ruling character, rather than his name. “Hamor” can carry the meaning “trouble”. It is not far-fetched to see the relationship between “terror” and “trouble”. Because there is not a comprehensive list of Hamor's sons given anywhere in the text, the statement cannot be discounted. It is a possibility, after all, for this ruler and his sons to be living in Abraham's time as well as in Jacob's time. Stephen continues, explaining that in the meantime, a Pharaoh, who did not know Yosef, rose to power in Egypt. As the promise to Abraham drew near (the return of his descendants out of Egypt), the Egyptians dealt treacherously with the Hebrews, killing their children. Stephen then gives a summary of Moshe. Stephen specifically mentions three 40 year periods. 40 years until it came into the heart of Moshe to visit/choose/inspect his brethren (the children of Yisrael) - only to be rejected as ruler and judge - since they did not understand how they were to be delivered, and he fled from their presence. 40 years Moshe sojourned in Midian (Midian can mean discord/contention), bore two sons, and remained there until he witnessed the burning bush, stood upon holy ground, and received word from the God of Abraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov. 40 years of signs and wonders in Mizraim (the Hebrew name for Egypt), the Red Sea, and in the wilderness. 120 years total. Stephen says this is the same Moshe who said to the children of Yisrael that God shall raise up a prophet from their brethren, who would be like him, and they were to listen to him. (Compare to the wording of Joshua 1:16-18) Moshe was a ruler and deliverer, Yehoshua ben Nun was given the same charge by YHWH to be ruler and deliverer in Moshe's stead. Moshe and Yehoshua were together at Mt. Sinai receiving the Law, while the congregation had Aaron make the golden idol. They rejoiced in the works of their own hands. This is an important statement. It is leading into what he will say next. I believe he is making a comparison. The “works of their own hands” = Temple at Jerusalem versus the “pattern shown to Moshe” and the “pattern appointed by YHWH” = Tabernacle in the region of Shechem. Stephen says the Tabernacle was appointed by YHWH and that Moshe made it according to the pattern shown to him. Our fathers that came after Moshe brought the Tabernacle into the Land with Yehoshua (Joshua) to inherit the Land the Gentiles possessed. The Gentiles were driven out before the face of our fathers to the days of David, who found favor before YHWH and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Yaakov.

This is where Stephen's discourse changes. This is where he is driving his point that it is not he who is teaching contrary to the doctrine, but those who are accusing him.

 He says - BUT Solomon built Him a house. Nevertheless/Nay/No the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands. Made after the imaginations of the hearts of men in a place of man's own choosing. YHWH dwells in His Place, which corresponds to the place on Earth which He chose and by the pattern which He appointed. Stephen says as their fathers resisted the Holy Spirit, so do they. He asks them which of the prophets have their fathers not persecuted. Stephen says their fathers have killed those who showed before of the coming of the righteous, whom they themselves have now been the betrayers and murderers.

Stephen says they received the Law as transmitted by angels, yet they have not kept (guarded/ preserved/obeyed/observed) the Law. Stephen is then cast out of the city and stoned.

THE PLACE on Earth corresponds with HIS PLACE, Yaakov recognized THE PLACE, and according to the Torah, the place of Yaakov's vision of the ladder, the gateway between heaven and earth, does not exist at Jerusalem.



From the Editor

I have been working in my spare time on updating the archives section of Many new not references have been added and corrections of the previous references of a whole will add to the researcher’s sources. While this does take time, it should be finished for a 2014 edition in the next few months.

In the Biblio section below you will find a couple of the new references that have been added. My guess is that there will be about a hundred pages with about five to six hundred sources not mentioned in the last published book.

Also in what little spare time I have taken for myself, I have been reading Alexander Broadie’s thesis, ‘An Investigation into the Cultural Ethos of the Samaritan Memar Marqah with Special Reference to the Work of Philo of Alexandria,’ 1975. While I can only admit that I am half way through the work, I do find it somewhat interesting. It is not my first reading choice. I believe Broadie named the title wrong, it should have been ‘a work of Philo with references to the Memar Marqah.’

Broadie, as I see it, speculates a little too much, and considering that Philo was of the Jewish faith and Marqah, a Samaritan used their Holy writings as sources. Yet, Broadie does have a point that I have seen. How is it that Marqah’s Memar is and was different from any other Samaritan writings of his time, that is, that we know of today. It very well is possible that Marqah read Philo’s work. Just as Samaritan Arron ban Maer may have been inspired by the Jewish Moses b. Maimon (Maimonides) with the 613 commandments, Marqah may have been inspired by the works of Philo.


The following information comes from my personal notes: 


Upon reading different and unusual articles, sometimes a question comes to me, maybe I had read or heard it before but I will state it anyway; Are there any Samaritan manuscripts that are unknown to the Samaritans and scholars in Nablus?


There are first two old Mosques in Nablus, The great Mosque of Nablus ( جامع نابلس الكبير‎ Jami' Nablus al-Kebir) and the Al-Khadra Mosque ( مسجد الخضرة‎, transliteration: Masjid al-Khadra, translation: "the Green Mosque" also known as Hizn Sidna Yaq’ub Mosque). We know that in Egypt, Samaritan manuscript fragments were found in the Cairo Genizah and also Samaritan fragments in Damascus. [See James Fraser, 'Documents from a Samaritan Genizah in Damascus', Palestine Exploration Quarterly (1971), 85-92]. So are there some fragments in a small room in the Nablus Mosques?

And also, are there any manuscripts among the families of the heritage of the Samaritans that are now Moslems? It could be possible that a family or two had kept a manuscript or two just because it had their family tree written on the shoulders of it. Just some curious thoughts!


Earthquakes in 1182, 1201, 1202 caused extensive damage to the structures and loss of life.

 In 1225, only Samaritans lived in Nablus according to Yāqūt ibn-'Abdullah al-Rūmī al-Hamawī) (1179–1229) with a large mosgue. James of Verona, an Augustinian monk in 1335 says that the mosque was a church in the past

In Damascus, in the years 1290-1293 dhimmers (non-Mulsims) were all expelled from public office after the revolt under the rule of al-Ashraf Khalil. In the following years mass conversion took place.

Yet in 1355, Ibn Batutah mentions a main mosque in Nablus but does not mentions the Samaritans as Abu-l Fida does in 1321.

In 1481, Meshullam of Volterra, visiting Gaza mentions only four Samaritan families living there.

In 1488, R. Obadiah of Bertinoro said there were 50 Samaritan in Cairo with one synagogue and worked for the Egyptian ministers as treasurers and agents. In Gaza he saw two Samaritan families. There is said to be a burial ground in the district of Al-Habash in Egypt.

 In 1516, Nablus fell under Turkish rule.

The Ottoman Tahrir Registers gives us an indication of the Samaritans for the area of Gaza, in 1525/6, 100 Samaritans, sixty in 1538/9, seventy-five in 1548/9, seventy in 1538/9 and thirty-two in 1596/7. Nablus had one hundred twenty in 1538/9, one hundred-forty in 1548/9 and eighty in 1596/7. Then in the records of 1690/01 there is a hundred in Nablus and twenty-five in Gaza.

In 1584, J.J. Scaliger purchased a Samaritan manuscript of the Samaritan Book of Joshua from Samaritans in Cairo, it is in the Leiden collection today.

One of the reasons for the decline in the Samaritan populations was the poll tax called Jizya, on all non-Muslims, defined as al-Dhimma. The Jizya is a per capita tax on all non-Muslims citizens living in the Muslin Territories. In Nablus between the years 1538-1596, the amount was between 60 – 80 Ottoman akce or as the Europeans called it, asper (silver coin) per person or household. This tax varied per the government agent in office. There was also a tax (kharaj) on agricultural land, land tax (harac), travel tax, etc. At times the collected money would go into the pockets of the governor to refill his treasury from the bribes that he paid to get his position. In Nablus there were no less than thirteen different governors between 1805 and 1842. From 1538- 1548 (a 10 year span) the tax revenue for the city of Nablus increased more than 5 times (5,000 to 26,500).

Had the area had something similar are the Constitution of Medina, the Samaritans would have fared better. Yet the laws made life difficult they had to: live separated from the Muslims; have lower houses then the Muslims; practice their religion secretly and in silence; bury their day hastily in different types of tombs; refrain from showing in public religious objects (such as the Samaritan succah, preforming the Passover Sacrifice, etc.) and sacred texts (Samaritan scrolls were always shown to visitors inside); to wear certain cloths (no silk garments, Turbans made of coarse black stuff, sometime before 1772 they were red, some accounts of wearing old shoes suspended over their shoulders with bells attached.; could not go near or enter mosques; forbidden to ride horses or camels (donkeys were permitted outside of town and had to dismount on sight of a Muslim and required to walk in the same path of the beast when passing a mosque) pack-saddles wear allowed only and ; to pass on the left (impure) side of a Muslim, who was advised to push them to the wall; walk humbly with eyes lowered; remain standing in a humble, respectful attitude in the presence of a Muslim; never interfere with a Muslims religious observance especially prayer; never speak to Muslims except to reply; accept insults without replying; leave Muslims the best places. When charges were placed by a Muslim before a tribunal, the Samaritan seldom was able to respond in testimony. These charges brought imprisonment, beatings (including torture that could result in death), or/and ransoms (avanies). In 1812 Isaac b. Shalamah was lynched in a public bath. Offences against Samaritans by Moslems including death were seldom punished since they could always find a reason to justify his actions.

Certain charges brought the death penalty: carry or possess weapons; raise a hand against a Muslim, even against an aggressor unjustly determined to kill him; become allies of the enemies of the Arabs; criticize Islam, Prophet or their Angels; convert to any religion other than Islam or back to his former religion; be linked by marriage or concubine to a Muslim woman; to hold a position giving him authority over a Muslim.

When intolerance arose in non-Muslim communities under certain circumstances, the dhimmis be could exile and in some cases the whole of the dhimmis could be pillaged and massacred. This is what almost happened to the Samaritans in 1841, as told in John Mills, in Three Months' Residence at Nablus, and an Account of the Modern Samaritans. The Samaritans were accused of having no religion and not even believing in any of the five books of Moses (Jews), the New Testament (Christians), Al-Anbiya (Prophets) or the Koran.  The Samaritans tried to prove their faith but of no avail, only the Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem convinced the accusers with a written declaration that the Samaritans acknowledge the Torah.

In 1750 the Samaritans only numbered seventy souls.

In 1786, drought raised the prices of food rose dramatically.

Epidemics were a problem in Nablus in 1572-6 and 1587-9. In 1786, an epidemic caused the death of 20 Samaritans, men, women and children. A Cholera outbreak occurred in 1902/3 in Nablus with at least 12 recorded death in the city.

Earthquakes rumbled in 1033/34 destroying half of Nablus and again there was severe damage in June/July 1201 (also recorded as May 20, 1202) that destroyed Nablus only the Samaritan quarter escaped damage. It was estimated that 30,000 were killed. In Nablus on Jan. 14, 1546, reports are recorded that 300-500 were killed and another report claims 900 were killed with 500 people buried under the ruins. Further records of Nablus quake dates that caused major loss was May 26, 1834, 1837, another 20 souls lost their lives due to an earthquake and March 29, 1903.

On July 11th, 1927 another earthquake hit Nablus destroying Samaritan homes of the 300 buildings that collapsed. Part of the problem of the houses were that because they could not expand their neighborhood they had to build up over existing structures whereas the walls weakened foundations were hundreds of years old. The Samaritan synagogue displayed wall cracks and the Samaritans themselves put up their tents in their cemetery on the hillside. The High Priest had to appeal for assistance. Nablus photograph and News records of the Quake of July 11, 1927 as the worst quake in Modern times.

   The Census of the Ottoman Population of 1906/7 gives 95 males and 71 females for a total of 166 Samaritans in Nablus in the Beyrut district. Muslims numbered 111,964, and 1885 Christians totaling 114,015 residents. And what is surprising is the 1906/7 Census also gives a Samaritan population in Haleb (Aleppo) as 52 males and 44 females, making a Samaritan population of 96 Samaritans. ((This need investigation))

 The Ottoman Census of 1914 gives us a number of 160 Samaritans in Nablus with 4 Samaritans in Beni Saab (Tulkarem) (Beni Sa`b). Tul Karem was made the administrative center of the Beni Saab sub district in 1886, later becoming a municipality in 1892. Tulkarm or Tulkarem, is now a Palestinian city in the northwestern West Bank. The 1931 Census has 12 Samaritans registered there.

 And what is surprising is the 1906/7 Census also gives a Samaritan population in Haleb (Aleppo) as 52 males and 44 females, making a Samaritan population there of 96 Samaritans.

In Haleb (Aleppo) Census of 1914 numbers the Samaritans at 164, that is 4 more Samaritan than Nablus. Since Jews are shown on both censuses and that the Samaritans themselves do not know of their existence, it is reasonably possible that the Haleb Samaritans are Karaites, and not Samaritans at all. But there is a possibility, see: P. A. Vaccari, "Due codici del Pentateuco Samaritano", Biblica 21 (1940), pp. 241-244 and one plate of Codice Samaritano Corballis. A reference of Pietro dela Valle says that when he visited Aleppo there were Samaritans there. 

Let me say something about the quote that has been issued around the world in various languages concerning the Samaritans: “All [Samaritans] wore red turban, the peculiar badge of the sect.” Well, most of the references come from one Egyptian source that I know of.

According to Three Months stay in Nablus, by John Mills the Samaritans did not wear a red turban, at least in Nablus but a black turban. He wrote:  

It was written in the year 1772, by one Achmed Effendi, but does not state where. The laws which he lays down, in way of answers to questions, for the proper regulation of the Samaritans, are as follow:—

"1. They are to be distinguished (from the Mohammedans) by dress. Their turbans must be made of coarse stuff, and of a black colour. They must also not be allowed to wear any garment that becomes men of education or men of high rank. None of their apparel may be made of valuable stuffs, such as silk, fine cloth, or even fine cotton.’

The Mamelukes of Egypt ordered the Samaritans to wear red turbans in 1301, according al-Maqrizi (1364 – 1442), to al-Suyuti (1445–1505) and Al-Fath (Kitab al-Ta'rikh), and Wilhelm of Badensel in 1336 found such in use. Joseph Sambari (1640-1703) records restrictions in Egypt on all non-Muslims including a red turban worn by Samaritans. Similar rules are may have been mentioned on the orders of Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (847-861)


Looking for the following at this time:

A critical edition of the text of the Samaritan Yom Ha-kippur liturgy, with translation thereof and comparison with the corresponding Jewish liturgies by John Macdonald his Thesis (doctoral) University of Leeds 1958

A Critical Investigation and Translation of the Special Liturgies of the Samaritans for Their Passover and Their Feast of Unleavened Bread by Isaac LernerUniversity of Leeds 1956

I also ran across an article whereas Dr. Chaplin of Jerusalem had a Samaritan weight that had written on it a quarter of a quarter being 40 grams (0 lb 1.4110oz). A full weight was 640 grams (1lb 6.5753oz)


Google book instructions for downloading a selected book: when you are at the page, on the top right of the Page there is a red sign-in, right below is a gear in a box, click on that and click on download PDF, it will send you to another page, then type in the letters or word into the box and the book should begin to   download. To right click, save as, does not work on google book pages.



News from the Past


The Spectator, 17 May, 1991, page 11

Samaritan Survivors

Anton La Guardia finds out what has happened to the descendants of the people despised by the Jews.

Jerusalem: THE SAMARITAN men gathered at dusk around a narrow trough on the slopes of Mount Gerizim, reciting holy verses in a lost language. The full moon glowed in the east over Jordan. Children held down sheep, one for each family, restless with anticipation of the fate about to befall the animals. Dressed in white robes and red fezzes, and shod incongruously with train- ers, boots or bedroom slippers, the con- gregation at times resembled an assembly of mad scientists.

With a full-chested crescendo of the primitively unmelodic chant, the sheep were turned on their backs and sacrificial knives were slipped through their throats. The animals kicked weakly for a few more minutes before the last flux of life drained away. The business done, the men rose with glazed eyes, smearing blood on their foreheads and on those of nearby relatives as the crowd cheered their work.

Modern technology was applied to the ritual in the form of a bicycle pump, the rubber hose of which was slipped under the skin of the sheep's leg. Air was forced through to help separate the pelt from the flesh. Once cleaned, the carcase was placed on a wooden stake and lowered into the ovens dug in the ground, six flaming nostrils where fires had been burning for several hours.

The Samaritans' Passover sacrifice, a living relic of antiquity, would have been a solemn occasion were it not for the flood- lights and the row of spectator seats around the site of the slaughter, and the jostling of photographers searching for the best picture of gore. One American visitor begged a friend: 'Get me a piece, a bit of skin, anything.' Cont’d


The Spectator, 13 JUNE 1908, Page 3

Dr. Moses Gaster, the eminent Hebrew scholar and archaeologist, describes

Read here


The Palestine Bulletin, 11 October 1925


Corp. Galai was released Wednesday from prison by the order of the President of the District Court.



Nablus.  -  Judgment in the case of assault, when local residents threw stones at and injured tourists visiting the Paschal sacrifices at Passover of the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim, was delivered last week by the District Court here.  The Moslem-Christian Association had furnished Counsel for the defendants. One of the accused was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, three to four months, four to three months, while four were acquitted.  No right of appeal was given.


Minor cases and commentary Palestine


Israel's History in Pictures: Joseph's Tomb - Then and Now

What a difference a century makes!

By Lenny Ben-David


Conversation with the High Priest of Hshmronim

Avraham Moshe Lunz

שיחה עם הכהן הגדול של השמרונים אברהם משה לונץ



How To Scare People Into Going To Shul in 17th Century Venice (Feb. 5, 2014)

The following is a letter written by Rabbi Leon Da Modena, the Chief Rabbi of Venice, to the the Jewish community of Capodistria. Apparently the community was having trouble with membership attendance (more specifically: completing the ‘ten men quorum’ for Synagogue prayers) and thus turned to the esteemed Da Modena for help. In this letter, written in flowery Hebrew, Da Modena is decidedly stern; he decrees that all male members of the community must attend synagogue services, twice daily (presumably mincha and maariv(arvit) were conducted one right after the other, as was– and still is quite common), under penalty of ‘nachash’, an acronym which stands for נידוי חרם שמתא loosely meaning complete excommunication. Modena added ‘AND all the curses mentioned in the torah’ for good measure. I was struck by some phrases and their similarity to a similar missive penned by Abraham Firkovich in the 19th century for the Samaritan community in Nablus/ Sichem, that experienced similar problems. I was particularly intrigued by Da Modena’s directive to appoint overseers to make sure that an attendee does not leave the Synagogue, if there are less than ten in the room. His ordinance that nobody engage in commerce before morning prayers, that nobody miss Synagogue unless one has a valid excuse (illness etc.). Compare Firkovich’s ‘contract’ with the Samaritans after the jump.

Contd reading



“Palestine, From the Samaritan (A.D. 60). L.- A Hymn of Gerizim (A.D.60).”

Sacred songs of the World. Henry Charles Leonard, London, E. Stock, 1899. p. 107


No God is there but one,

The everlasting God,

He who for ever lives,

Omnipotent is He.

In Thy great power we trust;

Thou only art our Lord,

For Thou from the earliest time

Hast led creation on.

Thy power was hid from men,

Thy glory and thy love.

Revealed are things revealed! 

Revealed the unrevealed!

E. Deutsch [Translator]



New Publications

Mosaics of Faith: Floors of Pagans, Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy Land by Rina Talgam (Jul 3, 2014)


The Samaritan Version of the Book of Numbers With Hebrew Variants: A Close Textual Study by David Lee Phillips (Mar 30, 2014)



Biblio Additions


The Perception of the Letters in the Samaritan 'Memar Marqah' and in its Equivalents in Rabbinic Sources and in the Book of Creation’ [Hebrew] by Tzahi Weiss

יוחסין השלם Yuchsin haSholem by Avraham Zacuto London 1857


Title: Thomas Yeates. collation of the Hebrew and Samaritan Pentateuch - Genesis to Numbers Reference 129 Covering Dates c. 1812 Extent and Medium      1 vol


Papers of C.H.W. Johns

'Samaritan vocabulary' - an attempt to analyze the vocabulary peculiar to the Samaritan Pentateuch, with Arabic, Targumic and other sources. 1910 (circa) Extent and Medium        1 vol; paper


Papers of C.H.W. Johns

Some handcopies of texts for his 'Assyrian Deeds and Documents', a Lexicon of Akkadian.

1910 (circa) Extent and Medium;1 vol; paper

Content and context: Notes on sin and evil in Mesopotamia, with a study of such words as 'arnu' and 'hittu'. Notes on the Underworld. Notes on Elamite personal names. Lists of kings from Kassite times, Elam, neo-Babylonian, neo-Assyrian, with no sources. Tem pages of Samaritan vocabulary.


1996 DA 1996.1 Ahamed, R. A socio-political study of a religious minority: the Samaritans


Bausman, Benjamin

Sinai and Zion; or, A pilgrimage through the wilderness to the Land of promise. Philadelphia, Lindsay and Blakiston, 1861.

Brett, Thomas

No# A Letter Shewing why our English Bibles Differ so much from the Septuagint, Though both are translated from the Hebrew Original London: J. Robinson, 1743


Frowde, Henry

Bible illustrations: a series of plates illustrating biblical versions and antiquities, being an appendix to Helps to the study of the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1896. p. 21-22, plates: p. 105, 107

Romer, Isabella Frances

A pilgrimage to the temples and tombs of Egypt, Nubia, and Palestine in 1845-6. vol 2. London: Bentley, 1846.


Smith, Charles Alfred

Narrative of a Modern Pilgrimage Through Palestine on Horseback, and with Tents. London: Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, 1973? See p. 205-219


Robert Lachmann.

“Liturgical Cantillation and Songs of the Samaritans, 3 February 1937” The Oriental Music Broadcasts, 1936-1937: A Musical Ethnography ..., Volume 10.  Middleton, Wis.: A-R Editions, [2013] p. 48-58


Genetics and the history of the Samaritans: Y-chromosomal microsatellites and genetic affinity between Samaritans and Cohanim 2013


390 C.E.: Emperors Valentinian II., Theodosius, and Arcadius issued a decree that thwarted the attempt of the association of "navicularii" (ship-and cargo-owners) of Constantinople to force the Jews and the Samaritans to join them and to share in the burdens of the society. They “decided that the communities of the Jews and the Samaritans could not legally be forced to join the navicularii, and that at most their wealthy members only could be taxed ("Codex Theodosianus," xiii. 5, 18). This decree was most important to the Jews, for many of them were ship-owners, and more than one-half of the shipping in Alexandria was controlled by Jews.” (As reported by the Jewish Encyclopedia)


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