Samaritan High Priest Dies (87)
Samaritan High Priest Aharon Ben Av-Hisda died in his home on Mount Grizim on Friday. MDA emergency teams from nearby Har Bracha rushed to his home and tried to resuscitate the High Priest, with no success. Ben Av-Hisda was 87.
The Samaritans are supposed to be celebrating their Passover holiday, along with their Passover sacrifice this coming Tuesday.
The Samaritan ‘kohen gadol’ in Pesach ceremony. Photo: Shomron Regional Council
The High Priest of the Samaritan community, Aharon Ben Av Hisda, died at age 87, after he lost consciousness in his home in the Samaritans suburb on Mount Gerizim.
Clinic volunteers of the Samaria Regional Council, MDA and Hatzala JS from the nearby community of Har Bracha were called to the scene and tried to resuscitate him, but eventually he was pronounced dead.
Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said: “This is a heavy loss to the Samaritan community and the State of Israel. The late high priest was a friend of Israel and a member of the Jewish settlement in Samaria. The settlers in Samaria embrace our neighbors and our dear friends of the Samaritan community.”
The Samaritan community lives on Mount Gerizim since they were brought to the area by Sennacherib King of Ashur during the exile of the ten tribes. The Samaritans believe that they are a remnant of the ancient kingdom of Israel. The community upholds the law of Moshe as written verbatim to this day and is, according to the Samaritan faith, a descendant of the people of Israel from the tribes of Ephraim, Manashe and Levi.
Members of the community live on Mount Gerizim, the mountain sacred to the Samaritan community, and Holon.
The ‘kohen gadol’ is the most important role and most respected in the Samaritan community. There are no elections for the role of Kohen Gadol but it is filled by the eldest of the family of Levites.
The sudden death of the High Priest took place five days before the Pesach sacrifice ceremony and the Samaritan Pesach holiday, which is expected to take place on Tuesday.