September 25th, 2003  

Vol.  III - Nu.3

In This Issue

  • Samaritans Visit Library

  • Festivals

  • Note from the Editor

  • Book of Enlightenment

  • Numerical Values

The Samaritan Update,  is a Bi-Weekly Internet Newsletter, a Division of


Subscription is free via E-mail only.


Editor: Shomron

Co-Editor: Osher    


Staff Writer:

Staff Photographer:    

               Eyal Cohen

Staff Translator:

            Guy Tsabary

Special Contributors:

A. B. - Samaritan News


Contact information:

The Editor  PB

Your link to the Update Index

and to our

Web Site:

Subscribe To the Bi-Weekly Newsletter -The Samaritan Update.

Sign Up !

Name & Last Name:

Email Address:

For More Information


 Web Link:

Donate to

Sunset Times for Central Israel calculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon


begins Friday Sept. 26th, 5:33pm to Saturday 27th, 5:32 p.m.

Oct. 3rd 5:23pm- 4th 5:22pm

Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Festival of the Seventh Month- Begins September 25th at Sunset till sunset of the 26th.

Day of Atonement-October 4th at sunset to sunset of the 5th.

Holy Day of Succoth & 3rd Pilgrimage-

October 9th at sunset to sunset of the 10th.

7 Days of Succoth-

October 9th at sunset to sunset of the 17th.


Studies and Related Conferences:

International Conference: Mandaean and Samaritan Literatures in Memoriam of Rudolph Macuch Freie Universität

Berlin, 1-2 October 2003


2003 Byzantine Studies Conference

Oct 17-19, 2003

Lewiston ME.


In Planning Stage

SES:In Haifa, July 5-8, 2004 organised by Menahem Mor, and a session at the EABS in Grooningen, July 25-28, 2004 organized by Dr. Ingrid Hjelm

Do you have a question that you would like to ask:

Join Us at


Discussion Forum!

Plan on buying a Book? Buy through us and support our main website:


Samaritans Visit Library

In our last update we displayed and article concerning a visit to Copenhagen but what we did not share with you at that time was the library visit. The visit to the library had a special meaning to the young Samaritan-Israelite tourist in Copenhagen (Denmark). The reason for the visit was to view some Samaritan writings that were displayed. Their guide and friend was Dr. Ingrid Hjelm, a well respected Samaritan scholar and author.

Article and photos by Osher Sassoni

On the second day of our trip in Copenhagen, we decided to visit the National Library- "The Black Diamond", which we had heard contains some ancient Samaritan Manuscripts. The Black Diamond is a modern and impressive  structure which sitting on the banks of the Indehavnen River. From the inside looking out through the glass walls, you have a wonderful view of the river and other beautiful buildings of Copenhagen. The Royal Library was founded by King Frederick III in about 1648. During the next century, it's collections increased primarily from the purchases of private collections, gifts and spoils of war to such an extent, that at the end of the 18th century, the library had changed character and had become both a scholarly and a national library.
In September 1999 the main library of Slotsholmen opened a new library building, known as the Black Diamond, called because to the structures shape of a diamond.
In the Library we were honored to meet Mrs./Dr. Ingrid Hjelm, a known scholar on the Samaritan issue, who investigates Samaritan theological studies and has written some articles about the history of the Samaritans and the Jews.
Mrs. Ingrid works with the National Library of Copenhagen and was the one who organized the last Conference at the Copenhagen University.
(Photo to right: on left- Tamim Sassoni and Yaniv Allatif view writings with friends)
The Library of Copenhagen does not have a great selection of Samaritan Manuscripts as of yet, as other libraries in Europe do. With the help of Mrs. Eve, one of the librarians, we found in the library, four Samaritan manuscripts. To see a Samaritan manuscript, or even something written in Ancient Hebrew script, is a wonderful feeling to a Samaritan-Israelite. These books and manuscripts are our ambassadors and agents all over the world. What the library has is as follows:
1. A page from the Torah with the Ten Commandments, written by the priest Jacob, son of Uzi who became a high priest (85-87), in Nablus. On the page itself there is a signature
of Jacob, probably by his hand. There in no date on it but it was recognized as a page which was sold between 1960-67.
2. A little note book, probably part of a prayer book, written by the priest Yosef, son of Ab Hisda (High Priest 1987-99) on Nablus.
3. The third manuscript is also a little note book, probably part of prayer book or maybe a little sample which was written and sold by the priest Pinhas (High Priest 1982-84), son of Matslih, probably in the same years.
4. The last manuscript which is the most ancient one which they hold, is a little notebook, part of the Torah, from the 12th century. The author is unknown.

Most of these manuscripts (three of them) apparently reached Denmark by tourists who had visited Mount Gerizim and had purchased the notebooks. The practice of selling such notebooks to tourists was very frequent in those years. Most of the Samaritans lived in a poor condition and would sell any paper with a Samaritan script, in order to get a few pennies. The Forth book is apparently part of a collection. It was very nice to see. The purchases of these manuscripts kept and valued this papers, though three of them was not so ancient. After taking some pictures in the library, and spending some time outside the university together with Mrs. Ingrid, we had to  say goodbye to her, which we hope to meet her again in Israel next month, and went to our way. Thanks to Mrs./Dr. Ingrid Hjelm who came from her home to meet us in the library, spending time with us, and to Mrs. Eve for her patience as she was helping us.


A Note From Dr. Ingrid Hjelm

"I would like to thank the Samaritan group for spending a little time with me and I feel very sorry that we did not meet for a longer time. It was a wonderful experience for me to see and hear, although quite inappropriately noisy in the library in (!), the excitement of Osher and his company by recognizing the 20th century manuscripts from the hands of grandfather and uncle. The visit of the Samaritans in Copenhagen was an event, of which I only later quite understood its exceptional importance for the deepening ties  between me and my family and the Samaritan community. From every contact, I learn so much more. My meeting with the Samaritan group in Copenhagen gave me the impetus to finally decide to visit the Samaritan communities in Israel. Something, I have put off again and again for more than three years in hope of better political conditions in Palestine and Israel. My husband Thomas and I now look forward to our visit this coming October, to meet friends, to celebrate Succoth and to study." 

Sincerely. Dr. Ingrid Hjelm 

(Photo: Standing from right to left: Zvi Sassoni, Dr. Ingrid Hjelm, Yaniv Allatif and in front Osher Sassoni)


Festival of the Seventh Month


The Festival  of the Seventh Month begins tonight, September 25th at sunset (5:35 p.m. or 17:35) till sunset (5:33p.m. or 17:33) of the 26th. This is the special scriptural day mentioned in Leviticus 23:24. The Feast will begin with the men making ablutions at home before going to the synagogue close to the going down of the sun. Shoes will be removed in the foyer of the synagogue before entry into the main room. Many of the men have their own section in the synagogue next to family or friends on the rugged floor. Prayers lead by the Kantor (hazzan) will begin with the Samaritan men repeating the words in a prostrated, sitting or standing position. This will continue for some time. During the service the men may hand their hands in a book reading fashion and or stroke their face with their right hand when the names of God, Moses or the Patriarchs are mentioned in veneration. There is no required number (minyan) for prayers for the Samaritan Israelite. Jews require ten persons for their prayers. Then the service will end and the synagogue will empty, as they return home or to friends for a wonderful meal. In the morning prayer is begin again in the same fashion. This begins the days of Repentance up till the Day of Atonement.

Day of Atonement (Yom akkibburem)- October 4th at sunset 5:22 p.m. (17:22) to sunset of the 5th at 5:21p.m. (17:21). This is the tenth day of the seventh month, a Sabbath as spoken of in Lev. 16:34 and 23:27-32. In actually the fast is twenty five hours total. This would include preparations prier to and after the synagogue services. This day in the synagogue, women also come to pray and fast. Fasting, afflicting the soul is the focus of the day, this means also no food or drink A day of praying and suffering for any sins that one might have committed in the past year. This is like all the scriptural Sabbaths and Feasts, an everlasting statue as the Lord instructed. It is a day of no work, were everyone regardless of age must fast, but the babies. This issue is hard on the mothers since they have to fast also and there might not be much milk for the baby. But scripture must be kept, as it has for centuries! Prayers and the reading of the entire Pentateuch will take place. Not many outside the community have witnessed the day of fasting or even partook of it!

Sukkot (Booths or Tabernacles)- Beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month which is in the evening (5:17 p.m. or 17:17) of October 9th this year.

Shemini Azeret (Simhat Torah)- Rejoicing of the Torah is always 22 days from the beginning of the seventh month. It is the number of the words in the ancient Torah that describes the month, "sbton zkron truah mkra kds."

Above Sunset Times for Central Israel calculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon


Do not forget the

Samaritan Studies and Related Conferences:

International Conference: Mandaean and Samaritan Literatures in Memoriam of Rudolph Macuch Freie Universität

Berlin, 1-2 October 2003

Note from the Editor

With the Day of Atonement approaching, I thought it would be worth investigating the fast on health reasons on the net. I was amazed at what I found by so many websites and doctors. You would never think that there would be so much written on fasting, not just the spiritual (from many religions) but on the side of health care. Naturalists lean toward fasting for health reasons alone. But I can see that fasting has many qualities in which makes for a better life! The Day of Atonement, given by God is a day to afflict one's soul. The day brings you to a realized state of origin and thoughts that normally affect you are gone. You are weaken and see what is important! You see yourself for who you are and since this is the Day of Atonement, you ask forgiveness for your sins. For it is written,

Leviticus  23:27- 29:

   "Also on the tenth day of the seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you and ye shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same Day of Atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whosoever soul it be that shall not afflict in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people."

 In my computer research on fasting I learned a great deal. It says in the above scripture that who does not  afflict themselves will be cut off from his people. I can see this happening! You may wonder how I came to this conclusion. These are the answers I found. While fasting by not eating or drinking, the body actually cleanses itself by eradicating the toxic metabolic waste that accumulated in the body, that makes you feel bad and sick. One author (see link below) writes, "Let me explain how the FAST FLUSH system works. In a nutshell, "I don't know." No one else knows either, they  just know that it works. When the body "fasts," it "flushes."" Further he says concerning fasting, "allow one day per year." I personally think that the Day of Atonement was designed as the ideal circumstance, to be the best day of the year for fasting. How I do I theorize this? Lets just recall how the moon affects the tides and a full moon affects the body. The Day of Atonement must reflect the order of the universe in relation to the human body. Of course I cannot prove it, but it who can disprove it?

But the result of sustaining from food and water are amazing. When the food that you have digested is used up for energy, some toxins are consumed for energy for the body and others are discarded through the skin. The fast cleanses the body from impurities. Moses fasted for forty days and nights, he cleansed his body! Take the time to read this ebook, it will be worth reading and think of the Day of Atonement!


Book of Enlightenment

For the Instruction of the Inquirer

By Jacob, Son of Aaron,  High Priest of the Samaritans, Nablus, Palestine. Translated from the Arabic by Professor A. Ben Kori. Edited by William E. Barton. D.D. 1913


   I have been asked by some, concerning the two stone tablets which were broken, When were they prepared, and what happened to the writing after the breaking of the tablets? When were the second tablets placed in the chest? What was their size? What Scriptural grounds can be adduced to prove these answers?

   The first two tablets were created by God in the beginning, and some claim that this was done on the third day of the creation, according to the high priest Micah. Others say that the two tablets were prepared when they were needed. We believe that the first statement is more valid. The writing was engraved upon them like the engraving of a signet ring, and was done by the hand of the Almighty. (Compare Ex. xxxi. 18, “written by the fingers of God.”) It is said that the two tablets were the creation of God, and that their writings were the writings of the Divine Essence, engraved upon the two tablets which were handed to the apostle Moses by the chief of the angels, that is by Gabriel, the Archangel, at the close of Moses’ forty days’ fast. Some say that Moses found them before him at his feet at the place wherein he was tenting while on the mountain. This statement, I believe, (and I pray God to shield me from mistakes,) is more correct than that the Power Divine handed them to him without his seeing anything; for he was standing in darkness listening to the address of God coming from the midst of the fire. The writing was plain on either side, and all characters were horizontal in shape, without being connected the one with the other. Each tablet was a cubit and a half in length and in breadth, but three fourths of a cubit in height. They fitted the chest wonderfully. The thickness of both of them combined equaled two cubits and a half, in accordance with the height of the chest.

   When Moses descended from the mountain and arrived at the outskirts of the encampment, he saw the calf and the frolic scene around it (and may such a scene never take place again), and his anger was boundless, and he dashed the two tablets to the earth in their presence and broke them. But, before doing so, he showed the people the two tablets, their bright likeness and wonderful engraving, declaring to then that God was angry at their deed, and hence they were unfit to receive the tablets. At that moment, God (may his name be exalted) caused the writing to disappear, and commanded Moses (upon whom be peace) to dash them on the ground. If God had not blotted out his writing from the two tablets, it would not have been lawful or possible unto Moses to break them. Thus the same disappeared up to heaven by the power of God, and nobody knew what became of them.

   After his second fasting, while he was interceding for this great sin, his prayers having been answered, God commanded him to hew unto himself two tablets like unto the first, having the same shape and size. He, therefore, following the instruction of God, ascended the mountain and fasted forty days for the third time. And the two tablets were taken away from him and engraved by the hand of God, like the first two, with the ten commandments, only without addition or subtraction.

   He came down with them on the ninth day of the seventh month, as we have stated already, and placed them in the chest which he had purposely prepared for them in his tent. And he placed them beside the holy Torah until the tabernacle was erected, when he deposited them in that, which Bezaleel had made, as we read in Exodus, “And he took and placed the testimonies in the chest.” But the command was given first in Numbers, “And place the testimonies which I give thee in the chest.” This was confirmed later on in Numbers: “And it was there as Jehovah commanded.”

And God possesses the best wisdom.

The Numerical Values of the Hebrew, Greek, and Samaritan Alphabets

Columns from left to right:

1-Names of the Hebrew letters. 2-Samaritan letters. 3-Hebrew and Chaldean letters.

4-Numerical equivalents of the letters. 5-Capital and small Greek letters. 6-The letters marked with asterisks are those brought to Greece from Phoenicia by Cadmus. 7-Names of the Greek letters. 8-Nearest English equivalents to the Hebrew, Greek, and Samaritan letters. Note. When used at the end of a word, the Hebrew Tau has the numerical value of 400, Caph 500,, Mem 600, Nun 700, Pe 800, Tzadi 900. A dotted Alpha and a dashed Aleph have the value of 1,000. MPH

Thank you!  

We would like to thank you for visiting our website, in the past and hope you visit us again real soon. We ask you to forward this Update to your friends. The purpose at our web site is the education of the existence and history of the Samaritan-Israelites, descendants of the ancient Kingdom of Israel.  Recently we have been working on expanding our web site. We do hope you enjoy visiting our site and recommend it to your friends. .