While taking a video clip of him reading the "Shma", he curiously pointed to his arm and head during the verses that allude to "tefillin".
Afterwards, I asked him about their tradition of tefillin, and he replied that the Samaritan tradition of tefillin was lost over the years. I can understand. When a community of over a million has been reduced to only 700, certain skills are bound to be lost. I don't know how to manufacture tefillin (in fact, I'd be willing to wager that there are hardly any people in the blogosphere that are qualified to make kosher tefillin). How long did the Jews lose the tradition of tekhelet? (the blue fringe in tzitzit)
Then I asked about tzitzit -- do they still have the tradition for how to tie them? Jews have many different ways to tie tzitziyot, especially when you include the permutations for adding in tekhelet. Again, Yefet shook his head sadly that they also lost that tradition.
"But over there in the corner of your museum, you have a mannequin of a person wearing a tallit, and I assume you use them in prayer -- where do you get those from," I asked.
He laughed -- "Oh, we got those from you, the Jews." While the tallit and tzitziyot are now worn by the Shomronim -- and are purchased from Jews, the Shomronim have not adopted tefillin in their daily religious prayers.
"And you will make for me a Temple, and I will dwell in your midst -- translation from over the doorway entrance to the Samaritan synagogue"
Pictures inside the Samaritan synagogue, during their afternoon prayers (close to sunset). Its customary to remove your shoes before going in (which we did)
Here's their message board at the entrance: Note the "חג שמח וכשר" (A Happy and Kosher Holiday) message from the State of Israel at the bottom right...and the 6:22 time reminder at the left. Anyone gander a guess what it's the time for?
Other interesting things that I'll post about later:
1. The Samaritans reference "613 mitzvot"
2. The Samaritan mentality of being among the "gentiles"
3. The stolen Samaritan "Torah"s -- currently being held in Lebanon for a ransom of 12 million dollars.
4. The Samaritan Torah they claim written by Avisha (son of Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohen Gadol) about 3400 years ago.
5. Between a rock and a hard place; Israeli Holon and Palestinian Authority Har Greizim
Note commandment #10 of the Samaritans:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.
3. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not murder.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
10. You shall keep the mount Gerizim holy.
Some of the differences between Samaritans and Jews:
- Small in number (under 700)
- One level of religious belief -- no divergent streams (i.e., no Reform, Conservative, etc.)
- Only live in the land of Israel
- Patrilineal lineage
- Mount Gerizim is the center of worship -- prayers made facing Mount Gerizim
- Authority of Torah is the Levite Priests (no rabbis)
- Complete list of High Priesthood lineage going back to Pinhas
- Torah not supplemented past 5 books of Moses
- Messiah, called Taheb, from sons of Joseph or Levi
- Passover Sacrifice
- No celebration of Purim or Hanukkah
- Counting of Omer starts day after the Sabbath after Passover
- Do not light candles on the Sabbath
- Samaritans do not have sex on the Sabbath
- Men do not wear head cover all the time
- No required number for prayer (minyan)
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד