Tag Archives: Bible

The samaritan (Ha Shomronim)

The origin of the name Samaria (Shomron in Hebrew) is associated with a certain Shemer, to whom Omri, king of Israel (886-875 BC) bought a hill, which he fortified to build a city on it. 

He gave the city the name of Samaria. It became the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. Being a lush and very wealthy city, Damascus became its rival.

The name of Samaria was later dedicated to the entire center of the kingdom of Israel, and more particularly, the mountainous region which surrounded it.

The religion of the Samaritans ( Shomronim in Hebrew ) is based on the first five books of the Bible. Therefore, their only prophets are Moses and Joshua. Until today, the Samaritans are faithful to the Law of Moses. They practice circumcision on the eighth day of the birth of a baby boy and observe Shabbat scrupulously. They celebrate the pilgrimage festivals on Mount Garizim (which means ‘sacrifice’ in ancient Hebrew), where they sacrifice the Passover lambs.

The origin of the conflict between the Jews and the Samaritans dates back to 722 BCE (before the common era) Following the conquest of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians and the inevitable arrival of foreign settlers, who would mix with the jewish local population. This combination of different people would be born as the Samaritan people. To their traditional gods they will add the worship of YHWH (Yahweh = G-d). The Samaritans are since then considered heretics by the other Jews.

Over the course of history, relations between Jews and Samaritans would gradually deteriorate. The construction of a Temple in 323 BC on Mount Garizim, recognized by the Samaritans as the site of the sacrifice of Isaac would be the beginning of the conflict with Jerusalem.

The final break between Jews and Samaritans occurred in 107 BC .Jean Hyrcan, king of Jerusalem, destroyed the city of Sichem and the Temple of Garizim.

In the Christ era, the Jews regarded the Samaritans as strangers. They did not socialize. The Jews considered the objects, animals or crops that crossed Samaria, were unsuitable for worship.

According to the New Testament, some Samaritans rally to Jesus, who gave them as an example in the Acts of the Apostles, the Church opens without discrimination to the Samaritans and John the Baptist would have exerted an influence in Samaria.

In recent history, they have even managed to get in the good graces of Christians, eager to see in them the descendants of the “Good Samaritan”.

In 1907, a family of Samaritans from Nablus settled in Jaffa, on the Mediterranean coast, still in Palestine. In 1955, a few years after the creation of the State of Israel, other members of the community, eager to find work, obtained the right to settle in Holon and south of Tel Aviv.

One of the main rules of the samaritan is the prohibition of marriages outside the “family”. This consanguinity, preserved over the centuries, has caused a degeneration of the population.

Following the 1st intifada in 1987, to avoid any further conflict, the Samaritans left the city of Nablus. They settled at the foot of Mount Garizim. In 1990, they obtained an Israeli identity card, on which they are defined as “Samaritan”. This card allows them to freely travel the West Bank and Israel. This is an undeniable advantage compared to the local Palestinians, especially during periods of tension.

There are 820 Samaritans in 2019 living in Nablus or Holon.

 

 

Samaritans celebrating pessah

Samaritans celebrating pessah

Berenice – the ”Little Cleopatra”

Berenice was born in Rome to Agrippa and Cyprus before Agrippa became king in 36 C.E.  She bore the Roman name of Julia.

She was Herods’ great-great-granddaughter and only thirteen years of age at the time she married Marcus, the son of Alexander, Head of the Jewish Community in Alexandria, and nephew of Philo the philosopher.

With the death of Marcus in 44 C.E, Berenice became a widow at only sixteen. She then married Herod -her father’s oldest brother- and became Queen of Chalcis, a tiny principality in the Lebanon Mountains. She would retain this title even after her husband’s death.

Berenice had two sons by Herod: Hyrcanus and Berenicianus. She was widowed for a second time in 48 C.E, being only twenty years of age.

After Herod’s death, the Kingdom of Chalcis was given to Berenice’s older brother, Agrippa II. Together with his brother and sister, he moved into the new Kingdom’s Residence into close quarters.

Many sources indicate that Agrippa II and Berenice were often found together in official capacities. They would appear in public together, as when Agrippa gave his peace address to the people of Jerusalem just before the outbreak of the revolt against Rome.

The New Testament mentions Berenice’s presence with her brother at Paul’s trial, and in rabbinic literature, she is mentioned as the Queen alongside her brother, the King. In two sources this constant companionship is interpreted as incest.

Josephus claimed that rumors of the siblings’ inappropriate relationship led Berenice to seek a third match.She decided to marry Polemo, King of Cilicia, who had to be circumcised and undertake a Jewish lifestyle. However, this was not a successful marriage. She, later on, left Polemo and returned to her kingdom.

Berenice was present in Palestine during the outbreak of the Jewish revolt against the Romans between 66–70 C.E.  Josephus Flavius described her as a solitary peacemaker, using all her strength in that difficult period of the preliminaries of the revolt. She had made a vow to be in Jerusalem at that time.As required by the vow, her hair was shorn and she walked barefoot.

She made her way to the Roman governor’s palace to ask Gessius Florus and demanded to desist from the violent activities he had undertaken against the Jewish population of Jerusalem. But her efforts were to no avail.

She finally joint venture with her brother to still the Jewish insurrection.

It was during this time that Berenice met Titus and fell in love. He was eleven years her junior.

After the revolt, Titus returned to Rome to assist his father in the government, while Berenice stayed behind in Judea.They would be reunited after four years when she and Agrippa came to Rome in 75.

She lived with Titus at the palace and reportedly acted as his wife in every aspect. This was the time she was at the height of her power and quite influential during this period.

However, being under public pressure, Titus had to restore his reputation for his people and sent her away. When he became Emperor in 79, Berenice returned to Rome but she was not welcome anymore. Titus died two years later.

Berenice was to be remembered as a ”little Cleopatra” in her aspiration to become the Empress of Rome.

 

Berenice the ''Little Cleopatra''

Berenice the ”Little Cleopatra”

The seven species of the land of Israël

Due to the seven types of fruits and grains, the main products of the land of Israel, it is mentioned in the Torah as :

“A land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.

WHEAT

This is the first element needed to build Personality, the Spiritual and Intelligent side of a person

Wheat field

Wheat field

BARLEY 

This provides animal feed, an important element for human existence.

Barley

Barley

 

 

 

 

 

 

A VINEYARD expresses Joy and Festivity

Life is made of moments of happiness which are celebrated by enjoying a good wine.                    ” The wine delights the hearts of humans ” Psalm 104-15

Grape vine

Grape vine

DATE HONEY symbolises a Good, Sweet, and Abundant life in the Land of Israel

In biblical Hebrew, the word for date palm is Tamar, a woman’s name evoking grace and elegance. The name is popular even today.

Palm Tree with date fruits

Palm Tree with date fruits

 

 

 

 

 

 

The FIG is the symbol of Celestial food

The fig tree is a Messianic tree and one of the first tree to bloom in February.

It has this peculiarity that none of its leaves are the same, like the image of Israel, or the Torah, where every biblical verse can have a different explanation.

Figs

Figs

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POMEGRANATE  is the symbole of  Prosperity,  Fertility and Beauty.

It has many seeds. The children of Israël should feel inclined to perform as many good deed (Mitzvoth) as the number of seeds of the pomegranate.

Pomegranate

Pomegranate

The OLIVE tree is the symbol of a Blessed and Happy family life.

It is also that of Longevity, Hope and of Peace … and is reputedly to live forever.

Olive tree

Olive tree

                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

Israel Museum – The Smallest Bible in the World

A new exhibition has just opened at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

” And then there was Nano – The Smallest Bible in the World”

The Nano Bible is a gold plated silicon chip the size of a pinhead on which the entire Hebrew Bible is engraved.20150506_11492620150506_115013

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Mount of Olives

The “Day of the Lord, God will stand on the Mount of Olives”, said the prophet Zechariah.

The unique view from the Mount of Olives of the old city of Jerusalem, a place of pilgrimage and reflection for the many visitors coming during the Easter holidays.

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Herod the Great – the King of Judea

The suspended Palace - Masada

The suspended Palace – Masada

Herod, the king of the Jews, was actually not a Jew himself.

Herod was placed on the throne of Jerusalem by the Romans and was to reign for 37 years.

Mosaic at the western palace Masada

Mosaic at the western palace Masada

He was one of the most important figures in the history of the Second Temple period.

He was considered as a ‘converted’ Jew, but in fact King Herod was an Edomite,  Arab people presented in the Bible as descendant of Esau.

Not wanting to offend his Jewish subjects’ mosaics palaces never accounted for humans or animals, the King used geometric designs with only the seven species of Israel : 

                               barley, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and wheat.  

He died at the age of 67, a rare age in those days, which originated the expression

                                                                           ‘Old as Herod’

                                   

                                                                         

Mosaic at King Herod palace Masada

Mosaic at King Herod palace Masada

 

 

Herod’s Palace in Jerusalem

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Herod's Palace in Jerusalem

Herod’s Palace in Jerusale                                          

                              Archaeologists say they have uncovered the remains of King                                                Herod’s palace in Jerusalem – and with it the site where the trial of                                                                            Jesus may have taken place.

The excavation of an old abandoned building near the city’s Tower of David Museum could have revealed the remains of a palace where the trial described in the New Testament took place, reports the Washington Post.

The building known as the Kishle is situated to the south ot the Tower of David and was built by Ibrahim Pasha, the Egyptian ruler in 1830, used as a military compound it became a police station and jail during the British Mandate.

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