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October 27, 1967 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-10-27

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Zeldin Disputes Yadin's Views on Masada

(Continued from Page 1)
discovered =IL-ye on Masada, dis-
putes the claim about "defenders"
of Masads. "The Sicarii did not
defend Masada," he argues. He
"They (the Sicarii) did not resist
the Romans, they did not kill even
one Roman soldier. They surren-
dered the fortress to the Romans
by their suicide. As for Prof.
Yadin's assertion that they were
'devout Jews,' this, too, is ques-
tionable. Jews who resorted to
killing their fellow Jews even
within the precinct of the Temple
can hardly be called devout Jews.
It is true that they killed their
fellow Jews in the name of their
ideals, even in the name of their
religion, but the Pharisees were
against the killing of any Jews
unless it was in case of self de-
fense. In the eyes of the Pharisees,
the Sicarii were murderers.
"Prof. Yadin further states that
the discovery of the mikve will
shed interesting light on a number
of hitherto obscure passages in
the Mishna. I do not know of any
obscure passages in the Mishna in
connection with the laws of the
mikve. It is a pity that Dr. Yadin
did not cite these passages."
Suicide is described in Dr.
Zeitlin's essay as an un-Jewish
act. Zeitlin goes into considerable
detail to indicate that the self-
destruction of the Sicarii at Ma-
sada was strenuously opposed
and as contrary to Jewish ob-
servance and principles.

Prof. Zeitlin's lengthy essay goes
into great detail to indicate that
the sicarii were a group of assas-
sins. The term sicarii stems from
the word sica, the short dagger
they carried, and it stems from
the Latin. Zeitlin quotes Josephus
who gave this description in his
"War": "A new species of banditti
was springing up in Jerusalem, the
so-called Sicarii who committed
murder in broad daylight in the
heart of the city."
The group's leadership,
Josephus' prejudice against them
because he was a pacifist, the
story of their flight to Masada
and their suicide without fight-
ing to defend Judaea—these are
summarized by Dr. Zeitlin who
admits Josephus' prejudices but
deals with his views as the only
ones available on the history of
that period. Dr. Zeitlin states:
"There were no counter attacks
against the Romans when the
Sicarii were besieged in Masada.
Josephus relates that when the
Sicarii learned that the Romans
were inactive and there was a
civil struggle going on in Jeru-
salem they embarked on raids on
neighboring communities. During
the Festival of Unleavened Bread
the Sicarii raided En-Gedi, plun-
dered the property of the inhabi-
tants and killed men, women and
children. They made similar raids
in the environs of Masada. He
further relates: `They would pro-
ceed by companies—smaller than
an army but larger than a mere
band—of brigands and fall upon
shrines and cities."'
Dr. Zeitlin again challenges the
claims of Prof. Yadin that some of
the discovered Scrolls belonged to
antiquity. Again Dr. Zeitlin charges
that the texts of the Scrolls are
faulty, that their authors did not
know Hebrew and he declares:
"Some writers assigned the Scrolls
to great antiquity for purposes of
sensationalism and they utilized it

Chaim Vinitzky to Direct
Zionist Congress Bureau

World Zionist Congress will con-
vene in Jerusalem Feb. 19. The
Jewish Agency Executive will open
a series of meetings after Sukkot
to prepare for the Congress and to
discuss basic questions facing the
Zionist movement.
It was announced that Chaim
Vinitzky, director of the Israel Of-
fice of the United Israel Appeal,
has been appointed director of the
Zionist Congress Bureau.

to a great extent by press releases,
radio and television." He suggests
that Prof. Yadin should have in-
vestigated some of the facts he
accredited to Scrolls of antiquity.
He makes these additional asser-
tions in challenging Prof. Yadin's
"Prof. Yadin writes that the ex-
cavations showed that several
chambers must be ascribed to the
work of the Byzantine monks. In
the beginning of the seventh cen-
tury the Byzantians sought refuge
in Masada, and a short time later
the Jews escaped to Masada from
their persecutors. At the beginning
of the 7th Century Palestine
was in turmoil. In 614 the neo-

Parthians conquered Jerusalem.
The Byzantians were persecuted
and many monks undoubtedly
sought refuge in Masada. Fourteen
years later Heraclius, King of the
Byzantians, reconquered Palestine
The Jews of Palestine were per-
secuted and almost annihilated. Un-
doubtedly many fled to Masada for
refuge. The Hebrew Scrolls found
in Masada are not of the Sicarii
but of the time of Heraclius.
"The surrender of Masada to
Rome by the Sicarii was not heroic
to say the least. The Jews cannot
be proud of it. Neither can they
be proud of the Sicarii. They were
idealists, their ideals were instru-
mental in bringing about the de-

the question of tradition. I have
noticed that one author has stated
that I have retracted my theory
This is false; I emphatically still
adhere to the view which I ex-
pressed in my article published in
April 1917").

struction of the Judaean State. The
few skeletons found by Prof.
Yadin in Masada most probably
were of Byzantian monks and Ju-
daean sectarians who took refuge
in Masada during the war between
the neo-Parthians and the Byzan-

(This interesting note is append-
ed by Prof. Zeitlin to his article
"The Sicarii and Masada": "This
article marks the 50th year of my
association with the Jewish Quar-
terly Review. My first article was
The Semika Controversy between
the Zugoth. It was published in
Aprj1 1917. In this essay I endea-
vored to prove that the controversy
between the Zugoth was not on
the question of laying hands on
the animals brought to be sacri-
ficed, as generally assured, but on

Another Dead Sea Scroll, the Longest Yet,
Discovered by Archaeologist Yigael Yadin

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prof. Yigael Yadin disclosed here for
the first time last weekend the discovery of another Dead Sea Scroll,
the longest found to date, which is estimated to be 2,000 years old
and contains, among other things, a detailed description of the Temple
in Jerusalem.
Addressing a conference of the Israel Exploration Society, the
archaeologist said there is no doubt that the scroll was discovered in
the Qumran caves on the shores of the Dead Sea but that the circum-
stances of its acquisition cannot be revealed for the time being. He
did say, however, that the new scroll had been kept in Jordan illegally
and was in an extremely bad state of preservation owing to damage
received in handling as well as to its age.
The scroll, written in Hebrew on very fine parchment, meas-
ures 8.6 meters and has been dated to the Herodian period which is
the second half of the first century B.C.E. Its legible portions con-
tain four groups of subjects: enumeration of sacrifices according
to the feasts of Israel, ritual rites including those pertaining to un-
cleanliness and putrefaction, a description of the Temple giving
minute details and measurements and royal statutes including
mobilization orders in preparation for a war of extinction threatened
by attacking foes.
The description of the Temple is not identical with those con-
tained in other sources known today, Prof. Yadin said. The list of
festivals mentions two hitherto unknown feasts—a wine feast and an
oil feast. The new scroll, like the previously discovered Dead Sea
scrolls, is attributed to the Essene sect whose origins and exact beliefs
are still disputed by scholars. A Bethlehem dealer has reported a
scroll stolen from him, and has instituted proceedings for its recovery.

6—Friday, October 27, 1967


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