THERE ARE FOUR PRINCIPLES OF THE ISRAELITE SAMARITAN FAITH

One Almighty
One Prophet
One Holy Book
One Chosen Holy Place

Contents

One Almighty, The Almighty of Israel

First, the Almighty spoke to Moses from the burning bush. Then, He engineered the escape of the People of Israel from bondage in Egypt. And, most important of all, He delivered the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.

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Gerizim, The Holy Chosen Place
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View From Gerizim

One Prophet, Moses ben Amram

Never appeared a Prophet like him, before him, during his time or after him.

Moses himself encouraged prophecy by others, but none of the known prophets achieved his unique status. No wonder that he is called “The Master of All Prophets” in the Samaritan and Jewish traditions.
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One Holy and True Scripture: The Torah

From Bereshit (In the beginning) to “Before the Eyes of Israel”. Writing the first Character of the Torah, ב, together with the last character of the Torah, ל, gives the words בל (do not) and לב (heart). Do not believe in any book except the Torah; it is the book that we are to learn and keep in our hearts.
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One Holy Chosen Place, Mount Gerizim or Aargaareezem

The Chosen Place of the Almighty. The Dwelling Place of His Name. When  we read the end of Deuteronomy, Chapters 11 and 12 consecutively, we come to the clear conclusion that Aargaareezem is the Place of the Dwelling.
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Importance of Sevens

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One Holy Book

The name of the Mountain can be written in seven characters, thus: הרגרזים. ‘Sevens’ are strongly associated with the Mountain. It is the 7th of thirteen names referring to the Mountain, which Marqeh,the greatest commentator, found in the Torah in the 4th century CE. Deuteronomy 11:29-30 mentions the Mountain’s seven location markers. In addition, the mountain appears twice in the Tenth Commandment (missing in the Jewish version), which concerns building an altar on Mount Gerizim. During the thrice-yearly pilgrimage to the top of Mount Gerizim the worshippers halt at seven different stations on the Mountain.

In the ancient city of Luza, built on top of the mountain, the Tabernacle of Moses formerly stood on the central site. Two sets of seven stone stairs lead to it. Moreover, the seven main tribes stood on Mount Gerizim to offer seven blessings (Semion, Levi, Judah, Yissaschar, Joseph [Menashe and Ephraim] and Benyamim). And at the end of every pilgrimage the High Priest blesses the pilgrims with seven blessings.

Many ancient Samaritan manuscripts give the Mountain’s name in 8 characters, thus: הרגריזים. However, these are a consequence of the fact that in ancient times the Samaritans used the characters אהו ” י as vowels.

The original form appears in some Samaritan manuscripts written in 7 characters, thus: הרגרזים. (For example, in the Jewish fragment from Qumran of Deuteronomy 27:4-6, found recently). This form is undoubtedly neither Samaritan nor Jewish. It represents the ancient Israelite Hebrew style of writing the name in seven characters to emphasise its holiness.
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Day of Vengeance and Recompense

In later periods the Samaritan sages added a fifth principle to the opening words of each prayer: belief in the Day of Vengeance and Recompense as mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:35. However, from the ancient hymns until the 14th century CE only the first four principles appear. The addition of a fifth probably arose from a desire to hasten the coming of this day of salvation for the People of Israel.
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Not A Principle of the Faith

It is clear that The Day of Vengeance and Recompense is a fundamental Samaritan belief, like observing the Sabbath, the Festivals, the Paschal Sacrifice, Purity and Impurity, and prohibitions, such as not eating meat with milk products. However, The Day of Vengeance and Recompense is not deemed a Principle of the Faith.
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Benyamim Tsedaka

 

Samaritan HISTORY

 

Choir and MUSIC

 

 

Samaritan RELIGION

 

Samaritan FESTIVALS

 

 

Photography: Ori Orhof

 

Principles of Faith

 

27 Responses

  1. Moe

    Sorry for posting more than a question. But regarding the resurrection,Hell,and Satan. Do the Samaritans believe in these concepts ? and on what basis ? Thank you so much. since there are no mention of these things in the Torah.

  2. Moe

    If the Samaritans do not believe in the Tanak, only the Torah. Then I am wondering if they do believe in the concept of resurrection ? if they do, then on what basis ?

    • Benyamim Tsedaka

      Duet. 32:39 – I shall let die and I shall let live = אני אמית ואחיה

      It is not a subject of belief, but acceptance.

    • Benyamim Tsedaka

      Images are not used in worship at the synagogue, on pilgrimage or in the outdoor Passover celebration. Otherwise images are ok.

    • Benyamim Tsedaka

      Shalom Billo,

      “Soul” as a subject is special in the Torah to describe any person. Person as soul. It is original thought in the ancient Hebrew and Israelite culture.

  3. Sam

    I’m also very interested in the conversion process. I can’t find any clear steps on the website, but I think judging from how everything in Samaritanism is solely and strongly rooted in scripture; I think the answer is in the Toorah and is centered on keeping the Passover sacrifice, circumcision and living in Israel. Apologies for the translation used, but universal points are highlighted:

    And These Are the Names
    (Exo) 12:48

    48 When a stranger shall live as a foreigner with you, and will keep the Passover to Shehmaa, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one who is born in the land:

    (1) live in Israel
    (2) be circumcised
    (3) keep Passover at Mount Gerizim

    This is like the original “reborn” concept. After this you become like someone born in Israel.
    I stand under correction and I would be eternally grateful for further insights and/or correction?

  4. dayo

    pls I want to know if the Israelites Samaritan believe in the the son (john 3:16) that was sent and also coming back (christian messiah). or believe in a messiah that have not come but will come (Jewish messiah).
    maybe Samaritan also have their own kind of messiah.
    thanks

  5. Margaret

    Hello Benny,
    Learning the history of your people has been incredibly interesting for me. I have one question. Who do the Samaritans believe Jesus is or do they believe he existed at all?
    Thanks!

    • Benyamim Tsedaka

      Dear Margaret,
      Sorry for the delay. Jesus is mentioned in our chronicles as the founder of Christianity. The chronicles also record those who continued the teaching of Jesus.
      Fondly,
      Benny

  6. Joseph Head

    Benny,

    I would like to know if the Samaritan faith is open to converts. I felt that this question would best be posted under The Principles of Faith. As you see, that is a principle of all faiths. If one seeks to practice the Samaritan faith, and understand the core doctrines and lifestyle applications – is it possible to become a Samaritan? If so, must you relocate or undergo a supervised ritual conversion?

    Joseph

  7. Andy

    Hi Benny!

    The upcoming Israelite Jewish new year is a shmita year and we will have to deal with the contentious (everything with us is contentious) issue of choosing between the heter mechira, otzar beit din and Badatz when we go to buy our locally-grown fruits and vegetables. What is the Israelite Samaritan practice regarding shmita? How does it affect (or not) how/where/from whom/ you buy your locally-grown fruits and vegetables?

    Thank you!

    Andy

    • Benny

      Shalom Andy,
      This question has already been partly answered (see: https://www.israelite-samaritans.com/history/. For hundreds of years we have had no lands, because our lands were taken by foreign invaders. But we still count Shemita years and Jubilees in the hope of a better future. The current year is 3652 since the entrance of the Sons of Israel to the Promised Land, and is second in the Shemita and second in Jubilee number 74.

  8. Dave Sabatene

    Hello, Benny. How different is the concept of the Taheb from our own concept of the Mashiach? Also, do your sources indicate whether Marqeh had any contact with rabbinical sources in his period, such as Amoraim?

    • Benny

      Shalom Dave,
      The Taheb will be from the seed of Joseph. He will rediscover the Tabernacle of Moses that is hidden in an unknown, unseen cave on Mount Gerizim. He will put the people in order, reward those who lived under injustice, and take revenge on those who committed evil. His activity will last 40 years, then he will die and be buried near the Tomb of Joseph. Marqeh did not have contact with rabbinical Jews.

      Benny

  9. Dave Sabatene

    Thank you, Benny. This is very interesting indeed. I look forward to your book at the end of 2014. In any event, are you able to categorize the specific identities of the Samaritans (“Kutim”) described in the Talmud, especially for the period of the first and second centuries, which would have been BEFORE the period of Marqeh? I believe the Samaritans described are those who existed before the 4th century, i.e. the first and second centuries. And of course in the time of Alexander the Great and Shimon Hatzaddik. Thanks.

  10. Dave Sabatene

    Hello, Benny. Could you describe a little more about the nine sects, and how they interacted over the centuries especially with the mainstream Samaritans? Also, why did Marqeh become considered as a prophet equal to Moshe when Samaritans accept that G-d spoke to Moshe which made him totally unique? And didn’t the period of Fanuta begin when Samaritans believe the first separation occurred, i.e. when Eli moved away to Shilo from Gerizim according to Samaritan history? Thanks.

    • Benny

      Shalom Dave,

      Nine different sects arose from the teaching of Dusis b. Fafuli, a 4th century CE impostor with ambitions to be a new “prophet like Moses”. By trickery he convinced a senior priest, a relative of the High Priest, to believe in his teaching. The High Priest sentenced this priest to death. However, the teaching of Dusis spread, his followers eventually establishing nine different sects. Some of the sects had their own synagogues, and Sages of the Mishnah and the Talmud confused mainstream beliefs with the beliefs of the nine sects. The sects’ synagogues were destroyed by Islamic rulers in the 10th century. You will find details about each sect in my next book The History of the Israelite Samaritans Based on Their Own Sources (in Hebrew), published late in 2014.

      Why did Marqeh become considered as a prophet equal to Moshe when Samaritans accept that G-d spoke to Moshe which made him totally unique?

      To consider Marqeh to be second to Moses is to take literally the expression of an unknown writer. The writer simply wished to show how much the Israelite Samaritans respect Marqeh. Marqeh was never considered a prophet, but he is our greatest sage, and wrote many of the most important compositions of our literature. Moses will remain forever as the prophet of all prophets.

      And didn’t the period of Fanuta begin when Samaritans believe the first separation occurred, ie., when Eli moved away to Shilo from Gerizim according to Samaritan history?

      Don’t be confused by terms. The separation between Judaism and Samaritanism was completed in the 4th Century BCE, during the Hellenistic period, when different branches searched for their original identity. The Israelites of the North, descendants of the Kingdom of Israel, were characterised by their belief in Mount Gerizim as the Chosen Place of the Almighty. The Israelites of the South, descendants of the Kingdom of Judea were characterised by their belief that Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the Chosen Place. The groups were called different names by foreigners: Samaritans (from Samaria) and Jews (from Judea). The Southern Israelites adopted the foreign name but the Northern Israelites never adopted it and always called themselves “Israelites Who Make Offerings to Mount Gerizim” (for example: as found on the 2nd and 3rd century BCE stone inscriptions of the island of Delos).

      As for the separation in the priestly family 260 years after the entry of the Sons of Israel: when Eli rebelled against the High Priest ‘Azzi he was forced to leave with his supporters, and subsequently made a new tabernacle in Shiloh. We have to consider this an important event in the history of the People of Israel, and nothing to do with Jewish and Samaritan developments that came 1200 years later. The Almighty hid/turned his face from his own people following this event – this is the meaning of Fanuta – and forced High Priest ‘Azzi to hide the original Tabernacle with all its utensils in one of the many unknown caves in Mount Gerizim. Traces of this tradition are found in the writings of Josephus Flavius: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18). This period of Fanuta will end when, at some time in the future, the Tabernacle is rediscovered by a Prophet like Moses.

  11. Andy

    Hello Benyamim!

    I hope you and the whole Israelite Samaritan community had a good Pessach and a good Feast of the Unleavened Bread.

    Question:
    Do Israelite Samaritans believe in the eventual resurrection of the body, in the eternal nature of the soul, in both, or do they believe in something else?

    Thank you!

    Andy

    • Benny

      Dear Andy,

      We believe that the souls of all Israelites are kept after death in the “World of Souls”. They will be resurrected by creating a new body for each soul, and also for souls from other religions and nations who accept the Israelite belief.

      It will happened in the End of Days. When? We don’t know. It is the Almighty’s Will.

      Benny

  12. neo

    What about belief in the Taheb, is it a principle of Faith for Samaritans?
    Also, could you list the people who claimed to be the Taheb throughout history please?
    Thank you

    • Benny

      Shalom Neo,
      We believe that a prophet like Moses will appear in the future. Historically nobody has claimed to be a Taheb, however during the 4th century CE there was an individual called Dusis (Dositheus) who claimed to replace Moses in the Israelite Samaritan tradition. Mainstream Samaritans rejected Dusis and his supporters, who split away from Samaritanism and established nine different sects. The last of these died out in the 10th century.

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