sacrificial ceremony on Mount Gerizim (1934)
The Samaritans are the
descendants of the ancient northern kingdom of israel .
This remnant are the heirs of the Ten Lost Tribes that
still bear the flag of the ancient sanctuaries of Israel.Their history overlaps
that of the Kingdom of Judea. Both kingdoms bear witness to a glorious
common history, till the period of Eli .Eli the priest, was of the
lineage of Itamar, a son of Aaron, and he took for himself the High priesthood
as written in Samuel 1 , chapter one. However the Priesthood belonged
to Uzi Ben Bahki, of the lineage of Phinehas of whom the priesthood was promised
in Numbers 25:11-13. Eli had persisted to take the position of High priest while
Uzi was still a young boy when he was assigned to be High Priesthood.
Two centers of worship developed
from consequence of Eli's actions.
The israeli people had to choose between Mount Gerizim
, the Holy Place, with the High priest Uzi the descendant of Phinehas or Shilo
with Eli, a descendant of Itamar. (Years after, in the 14th century CE, the
last priest of the lineage of Phinehas, Solomon Ben Phinehas, was died, without
children, and the priesthood passed to the lineage of Itamar Ben Aaron the brother
of Moses the Prophet)
This brought about the first religious division among
the Israel and the priestly house.
In the 4th century C.E, the Samaritans
numbered over one million.
They dwelled throughout Isreal, even from southern
Syria to northern Egypt. For many generations the Samaritans were persecuted by
their adversaries. This nearly brought about their total elimination. At the beginning
of the 20th century, only 150 had survived. Today in Israel, the sect numbers
about 600 souls, in their own special neighborhoods on Mount Gerizim, and in Holon
near Tel Aviv.
Despite the fact, that the Samaritans are the most
ancient people in the world, from a demographic point of view ,it would seem that
it is a younger society than average.
The samaritans have their own form of writing, the Ancient
hebrew script, their own historical traditions, dating back to
the creation of the world. Their own news paper, A.B-The
Samaritans News appears biweekly.
The samaritan religion is based on four
principles of faith, which are the basic beliefs of followers of the religion.
these four principles of faith are read by the samaritan at the beginning
of every prayer and the are:
1. One God-The God of Israel;
2. One Prophet-Moses Ben Amram;
3. The Belief in The TORAH-the first five
books of the bible.
4.One Holy Place-Mount Gerizim.
To these principles is added the belief in
the day of Vengeance and Retribution- "THE END OF THE DAYS" when the "THAEB"-son
of Joseph, a prophet like Moses (Messiah") will be revealed.
The samaritans celebrate the festivals
laid down in the Torah:
THE SEVENTH MONTH (equivalent to
the new year in the jewish tradition);
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT;
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
THE FESTIVAL OF SHEMINI ATZERET.
The leader of the community is the High
priest. He is also the head of the priestly clan. The other three clans
are from the house of Joseph, Tsedaka ,from the tribe of Menashe, Danfi and Marchiv
from the tribe of Ephraim. The samaritans observe the laws of purity
and impurity, and Kashrut.
Circumcisions are performed on the eighth
day after the sons birth.
All young boys and girls up on completing
the reading of the Torah are called "Hatan Torah"- completers of the Torah ,but
unlike the jews, this is not determined by age.
Ties between couples are in three stages:
sanctification, engagement and marriage.