July 17th, 2003


In This Issue

  • Traveling Samaritan

  • The Asatir

  • From the Editor

  • M&A CD Review

  • The Myth of Palestinian Nationalism

  • From Dura to Sepphoris

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Co-Editor: Osher    


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               Eyal Cohen

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Mount Gerizim, All the Days of Our Lives

Update on the Traveling Samaritan
It is time for Benyamim [Benny] Tsedaka to return to the States and Canada for lectures and meetings, between Oct. 19, 2003 to Dec. 14, 2003. His schedule is very flexible right now and open to anytime and place during this period. The tour in Europe will start on Dec.15, 2003 and could be arranged till Dec. 31, 2003. Deadline for changes is Oct. 10, 2003. Here is his preliminary schedule for the whole tour.
October 19 - 21, 2003 - Cincinnati, October 22- November 5- New York, Washington D.C., November 6- 13 - Michigan, November 14-28 - San Francisco, LA, Arizona,November 28- December 2 - Indiana, December 3 - 13 - Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa
December  14-24, 2003 - England, Europe [Maybe extended till Dec.31, 2003]

Length of Lecture: 90 minutes, including a 30 minute English language video film, entitled: The Samaritans - Keepers of the Commandments; or 45 minute lecture including a 10 minute video entitled: The Political Situation of the Samaritans+ Music CD's
The Lecture:
The Samaritans in the Land of Israel  - An Ancient Nation Fighting for Survival
The story of the most ancient nation in existence, with roots reaching back to the genesis of   the people of Israel - the story of the Samaritans in the land of Israel. This is the story of a people who, 1,500 years ago, numbered more than one million souls. But the succession of many nations passing through the land of Israel decimated their numbers to fewer than 150 in the early 20th century, at which time the miracle of their rebirth occurred, leading to a fourfold increase, to today's community of over 650 members.

This is a small nation with its own script, the ancient Hebrew script; its own language, ancient Hebrew; and an ancient culture spanning more than three thousand years in the land of Israel. They have their own folklore, their own music from the time of the forefathers, their own pride for the many unique things that they have.

But now, this tiny nation, which is not only the oldest but also the youngest, since most of its members are young people, is engaged in a fight to survive in the crossfire between the two political forces in the land of Israel - the state of Israel and the Palestinians. Half of them are living in the State of Israel and the other half are living on Mount Gerizim in Samaria under the Palestinian Authority that wish to be a state.
The story of the miraculous rebirth of the Samaritan nation, the story of an ancient culture reborn, the story of the struggle for political and existential survival, is being presented in a unique and fascinating encounter by an expert lecturer with many
years of experience in speaking on the history of Israel in general, and the Samaritans in particular:
Benyamim[Benny] Tsedaka [b. 1944], is one of the leaders of Israel's Samaritan community, editor of the bi-weekly journal "A. B. - The Samaritan News", director of the A. B. Institute of Samaritan Studies in Israel, and author of the entries on the Samaritans for the Encyclopedia Judaica, Encyclopedia Hebraica, Encyclopedia Britanica and Encyclopedia of Zionism; Writer and publisher of over 90 books and publications about the Israelite Samaritans.
All references and accommodation information can be obtained from Benny Tsedaka: E-mail:
Direct phone: 011-972-3-5567229 Fax: 011-972-3-5564553 Mobile: 011-972-53-408988

Note: Please feel free to share this information with other relevant institutions, churches, synagogues or even organizations in your area, with a view to their participation.

Section from The Asatir,

the Samaritan Book of the Secrets of Moses

Together with the Pitron or Samaritan Commentary

Written and translated by Moses Gaster, 1927.

[The following is the Pitron, page 201, 203]:

And when all had gathered together they asked of Adam that he should (tell them) where to carry him into the secret (cave of burial): and Adam carried him in it. And Enoch was buried therein opposite Mount Garizim in a cave which is called Mahaneh and the mount is called the Mount of Ebal, for they buried Enoch therein. And the explanation of the name of Mount 'Ebal is the Mount of Mourning. (אבל).

   And in the Mount "Ebal, were made many graves, as Enoch had said, "This is the burial place," for it is near Mount Garizim which is the Gate of Heaven. Any faithful one who is buried at a distance of 2,000 cubits round about will not be touched by the fire... For it is the refuge for those who flee in consequence (page 203) of their guilt, and is the Rock of Salvation. And the meaning thereof is that everyone who believes in Mount Garizim and is buried near it within 2,000 cubits will not be touched by the fire of burning. And both the meritorious ones, our father Adam and Enoch- upon them be peace- have testified to its truth. And Metushael (Metushalem) learned six hundred and fifty three years, and Noah learned and read in the book of Adam which he was taught six hundred years.

III [Ahidan]

   And then the days of Adam grew near to die and he was subjected to the word "and thou shalt surely die." And these were the days of the life of Adam: nine hundred and thirty years, and all his sons came to his place in Badan. And he commanded them that they should carry him to [Iyul Mth] which is the valley of Hebron. For he had seen in his wisdom that it had been created that in it should be gathered at the time of the creation of the Tree of Knowledge- and it was built in three sections: the first, for those who came out of the Garden; the second, for those who came out of the Ark; the third, for those who came out of circumcision. And its name was called Machpelah, and Noah became king in the place of Adam after the death of Adam

From the Editor:
It is well known that the tombs of Eleazar, Ithamar, Pinhas and Joseph are located near Mount Gerizim. The Cave of the Seventy Elders are also in the vicinity. It is also the location of many of the famous personages of Genesis. This would conclude also the circumcised. The name of Ebal meaning 'mourning' is very appropriate since the curses were say on this mount. But according to the reading, it would appear that the cave or burial place of Enoch is
'Mahaneh', which would make it the Cave of Machpelah. Or maybe not! At lest the cave is within the distance of 2,000 cubits. And when Adam was going to die, he like Jacob and Joseph asked to be carried away to a particular place.

Also after reading the above information from the Asatir, one might have come to the conclusion that the Israelite-Samaritans have not kept with their forefathers concerning the burial locations since there is a burial location in the northern suburb of Tel Aviv at Kiryat Shaul for Samaritans. Amram b. Salama informed John Mills that the Samaritans buried their dead at the foot of Mount Ebal, just as the Asatir describes of the forefathers. But yet is it proper also to bury the dead on the mount of Blessing?

(Photo of the Samaritan Cemetery on Mount Gerizim) For further reading:

Crown, Alan D., A Critical edition and translation of the Samaritan Burial Service with a Comparative Study of the Related Jewish Liturgies (M.A. dissertation) Leeds: 1958. Crown 854

Gaster, Moses and Theodor H. Gaster, Rites and Beliefs of the Samaritans relating to Death and Mourning. Crown 1321 This article can be found at our Knowledge Center at the-samaritans.com.

Shomron, The Tombs of the Patriarchs at the Real Hebron, found at our Knowledge Center at the-samaritans.com.

M&A CD Review

 Gepriesen und geheiligt sei ER inmitten Jerusalems.

25 Kantooren aus Jerusalem und umgebung

(Jerusalem in Hebrew prayers and songs).

Amongst the oldest musical traditions that still bear traces of how the torah was sung in ancient Palestine, we find today the sacred songs of the Samaritans. A small community (now reduced to less than one hundred people), the Samaritans have kept their traditions alive through time, thus creating a religion, language, and liturgy that closely resemble those of standard Judaism, while also differing from it on many a custom and exhibiting peculiar traits. One of their most powerful liturgical pieces is a polyphonic version of Moses’ song from the Exodus, Az yashir Moshe, sung at yom kippur. Francesco Spagnolo

Yuval Italia, The Italian Center for the Study of Jewish Music

The Myth of Palestinian Nationalism

December, 1851: the Samaritans of Nablus ... consist of about thirty-five taxable men, with a synagogue and sacred books ....

They have probably for many generations, and especially within the last century, been exposed to cruel persecutions from the dominant Moslems-and Nablus is always noted as an especially fanatic town....

They generally contrive to have the cleverest man belonging to them employed as government Secretary for the district, by which means they have warded off much of fiscal oppression, just as Jews do in other countries, and Copts in Egypt -- but even this has not been able to protect them from violence, murder and spoliation in their houses or streets in past times....

I am informed by a Christian in Nablus that there is too much reason to fear evil consequences from the loss of their Secretary, as the Moslems are reviling them in the streets with menaces for the future*.

 *James Finn to Viscount Palmerston, Jerusalem, 29 December 1851, F.O. 78/874 (Political No. 10), ibid., 1, p. 185. http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~peters/nationalism.html#9

From Dura to Sepphoris: studies in Jewish art and society in late antiquity

Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series no. 40

Edited by Lee I. Levine and Zeev Weiss

VI. Short notes: Jewish and Samaritan synagogues

[40] 225. The four species in Jewish and Samaritan traditions by Ruth Jacoby

October 2000. Cloth. 237 pages, 94 halftones, 21 line drawings. ISBN 1-887829-40-7. Special Offer: List price: $84.50, Discounted price to private individuals $64.50 plus postage. Payment in pounds accepted. Please mention this Web page. Kindly order directly from: The Editor, JRA, 95 Peleg Road, Portsmouth, Rhode Island 02871 U.S.A.; Telephone: 401-683-1955; Telefax: 401-683-1975;  E-mail: jra@journalofromanarch.com

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