Mainz Anonymous (Wikisource)
|The Mainz Anonymous (circa AD 1100)
by , translated by Wikisource
It was in the 1028th year since the destruction of the Temple that this evil occurred among the Jews, that noblemen, officials, and peasants of France first rose, took counsel, and plotted to ascend, to soar like an eagle, to fight, clearing a way to go to Jerusalem, the holy city, and to arrive at the grave of the crucified, the trodden corpse who can neither effect nor save, for he is nought. Each said to his fellow, "Lo, we are going to a distant land to fight its kings. We are endangering ourselves to kill and subdue all the kingdoms that don't believe in the hung one. But it was the Jews who killed and hung him!" They were demeaning us from every side, from every corner; they took one another's counsel and decided to [cause us to] return to their disgusting law, or to destroy us, from the young even to the sucklings. They put a symbol of evil, a cross, on their clothes — noblemen and peasants alike — and hats upon their heads.
When the communities of France heard of this, they were seized with fear and trembling. They adopted their ancestors' profession, writing letters and sending messengers to all the Rhineland communities, that they should fast, sit in abstinence, and beg for mercy from He who dwells on high, that He save the French Jews from the Christians' hands. When the letters reached those holy ones, the distinguished pillars of the world, the people of Mainz, they wrote letter back to France as follows: "All the communities declared fasts: we have done what is ours to do. May the Omnipresent save us and you from all troubles and tribulations. We fear for you greatly, but need not fear so much for ourselves, as we have not even heard any rumor [of the danger]" — for we had not heard that the massacre was decreed and the sword was about to reach our very souls.
And when the Crusaders started arriving in this land, they would ask for money with which to buy bread; we gave them, explaining "Serve the king of Bavel and live" as referring to ourselves. But all this did not help us: our sins caused that whatever city the Crusaders came to, its burghers heckled us, for they, too, helped the Crusaders destroy both vine and root all the way to Jerusalem. When the Crusaders came, troop after troop like the army of Sancherev, some of the noblemen of this land said, "Why should we sit thus? Let us, too, go with them, for whoever goes on this journey and clears a path to ascend to the impure grave of the crucified will be prepared and readied for the hellfires." So the Crusaders gathered. The came from each city, until they were as numerous as the sands at the sea; with them were noblemen and peasants. They announced at large, "Whoever kills even one Jew shall have all his sins pardoned." And one pacha named Dietmer said that one may leave the country only after he had killed a Jew. When the Mainz community heard this, they declared a fast, crying out forcefully to God, sitting night and day in fasting and abstinence; young and old said elegies morning and night. But despite all this, our God did not rescind his anger with us: the Crusaders came with their symbols and banners before our houses, chasing and piercing us with spears on sight, so that we were afraid to tread even as far as our thresholds.
It was the eighth of Iyar, the Sabbath, when God's exacting justice commenced against us. The Crusaders and burghers rose first against the holy men, the exalted pious ones of Speyer, taking counsel against them, to capture them [while] together in the synagogue. But they were told of this, so they rose early in the morning that Sabbath, prayed quickly, and left the synagogue. When the Crusaders saw that their plot to capture them together had failed, they rose against the the Jews, killing eleven. That was the start of the massacre, in fulfillment of the verse, "and start from My sanctuary". When the bishop, John, heard this, he came with a large army and aided the community wholeheartedly; he brought them into rooms, saving them from the Crusaders. He took some of the burghers and cut off their hands, for he was a pious one among the Gentiles, and the Omnipresent brought about merit and safety through him.
And Rabbi Moses the philanthropist protected them there, giving his life for theirs. ([After the Crusade,] he caused all the forced [apostates to Christianity] (who remained here and there in the country of Heinrich) to return.) By the king's [order], Bishop John locked the remaining members of the community of Speyer in his fortified towns: God heeded them, for His great name's sake, and the bishop hid them until the enemies of God had passed. They were there, fasting, crying, and eulogizing, greatly disgusted with their lives, for the Crusaders, the Gentiles, Emicho [von Leiningen] (of ground bones), and the peasants gathered against them daily to grab them and destroy them. Through Rabbi Moses the philanthropist, Bishop John saved the Jews, for God had given him the idea to sustain them without having been bribed. This was from God, to allow us a remnant and some escape, through his hands.
When the bad news — that part of the community of Speyer was killed — reached Worms, they cried out to God, crying long and bitterly, for they recognized that the decree was decreed from heaven and that there was nowhere to run, neither to nor fro. The community divided into two groups: some ran to the bishop in his castles, while some remained in their houses, for the burghers had promised them —
- — hollow, deceitful promises! they are like crushed reeds, doing bad and no good! they acted with the Crusaders to destroy from us any remembrance or remainder
— had told us lying, empty words: "Fear them not, for anyone who kills one of you will lose his life for the one he took." But they did not allow the Jews to run any which way. The community had entrusted them with all their money: that's why they allowed them to be captured.
It was the tenth of Iyar, Monday, that they connived against the Jews. They took a corpse of theirs, a trodden one that had been buried thirty days previously, and carried it through the city, saying "See what the Jews did to our neighbor! They took a Gentile, boiled him in water, and poured the water in our wells, in order kill us." When the Crusaders and burghers heard this, they shouted; anyone capable of wearing and unsheathing a sword gathered — young and old — and said, "Lo, the time and season have now arrived to avenge the one nailed into wood, whom their ancestors killed. Now let not one of them escape as a refugee — even the young, the suckling in its crib!" They came and smote those remaining in their homes — fine bachelors, fine and pleasant maidens, and the elderly, all stretched out their necks [to be slaughtered]; even freedmen and maids were killed among them, to honor the name of God —
- — the awesome, infinitely lofty, ruling on high and below, the eternal, Whose name is God Tz'vaos, but Who is crowned with the style of having sevety-two names. He created the Torah 974 generations before before the world was created, then twenty-six generations [passed] from the creation of the world until Moses, the leader of the prophets, through whom the Torah was given. Moses wrote in it, "You have today declared allegiance to God". For Him and His Torah —
— they were killed like oxen and were dragged through the streets and markets like sheep to the slaughter; they lay naked, for the Crusaders had stripped them and left them naked.
When those who remained saw their brethren and the chaste daughters of Israel lying naked, then some of them listened to the Crusaders (under great duress, for the Crusaders had told them that they would not leave any remnant [of the Jews]), and said, "Let us do their will for the time being, go bury our brethren, save our children from their hands" — for the Jews had grabbed the few remaining children, saying "lest the children be caught up in the Crusaders' heresy". But they did not [truly] turn away from their Creator, their hearts did not turn to the crucified; they stuck with the exalted God. Also those who remained in the rooms of the bishop sent their clothes to dress the those who had been killed — sent them through those who had been saved [by faking apostasy], for they were benefactors. The heads of the congregation remained there, but most of the community was saved [by faking apostasy] that first time, and the leaders sent them comforting words: "Fear not, nor mind what you did, for if the holy One — blessed is He — will save us from our enemy's power, then we will be with you in life and in death. But do not stray from God."
It was the twenty-third of Iyar that the Crusaders and burghers said, "Lo, let us also enact vengeance against those remaining in the courtyard and rooms of the bishop." People gathered from all the villages around them, and they with the Crusaders and burghers, besieged and fought the Jews. It was a great battle, the one [group] against the other, until they captured the rooms in which were the members of the holy covenant. When the Jews saw the battle before and behind them, a decree of the King, the king over kings, they then accepted that the decree was just, and, trusting in their Molder, brought unhypocritical sacrifices: They took their children and wholeheartedly slaughtered them for the singleness of the honored, awesome God. There died [too] the important members of the community.
A choice fellow named Rabbi M'shulam (son of Isaac) was there, and he called loudly to all assembled and to his beloved, Mrs. Tzipora, saying, "Hear me, young and old! God has given me this son; my wife Tzipora gave birth to him after she was already old. His name is Isaac; now I shall offer him up [as a sacrifice] as Abraham did to his son Isaac. Tzipora answered him, "Sir, sir, wait a bit. Do not yet send your hand against the boy whom I raised, whom I reared, whom I gave birth to when I was already old. Slaughter me first, that I not see the child's death" But he answered, saying, "I will not delay even a moment; He who gave him to us will take him to his portion and seat him in the lap of Abraham." He bound his son Isaac, picked up the knife to slaughter his son, and recited the benediction over slaughtering; the boy said "Amen"; and he slaughtered the boy. He took his screaming wife, and the two of them left the room together; the Crusaders killed them.
- Will you bear this, God? —
— but His great anger at us did not abate. A choice fellow named Rabbi Isaac (son of Daniel) was there. They asked him, "Do you wish to exchange your god for a degraded idol?" He said, "A disgrace! To deny Him? In Him I trust and I shall even give my soul over to Him." They put a rope around his neck, and dragged him through the entire city — through the dirt outside — to their church. His soul was still clinging to his skin, so they told him, "You can still be saved if you wish to convert." He gestured to them with his fingers — for he could say nothing with his mouth, having been strangled — as if to say, "chop off my head". They cut his neck.
And another choice fellow named Rabbi Simcha (son of our master, Rabbi Isaac the kohen) was there, and they asked of him that they should sully him with their smelly waters. They told him, "Look, all [the Jews] are already dead, lying naked." He responded in his wisdom, "I will fill your every wish if you take me to the bishop." So they took him, and walked him in the courtyard of the bishop. (The son of the bishop's brother was among them.) They started to call out in the name of the dirty, abominable Nazarene, and they left him in the courtyard of the bishop. The fellow took out his knife and gnashed his teeth at the officer (a relative of the bishop) the way a lion gnashes and roars at his pray. He ran to the officer and stuck him in his belly; he fell, dead. He turned and stuck two others until the knife broke in his hand. They all had been running hither and thither, but when they saw that the knife was broken, they gathered against him and killed him. There was killed the choice fellow who honored God by doing what no one else did: he killed three uncircumcised with his knife.
The rest gave of themselves by fasting daily. Everyone had previously cried over the members of his household and over his friends, crying until his strength diminished to the extent that he could not fight against the enemies. But they said, "It is a decree of the King; let us fall into the hand of God and go be seen [by Him] in the great light." There they all fell in honor of God.
And an important woman named Mrs. Mina was hidden underground in a house outside the city. All the men of the city gathered against her and told here, "Lo, you're an industrious woman. Know and realize that God no longer wants to save you, for the murdered are lying naked at the head of every street with no one to bury them. Sully yourself." They kneeled before her, for they did not want to kill her, as her fame was widespread, for the great ones of her city and the noblemen of the land stayed by her. But she answered: "A disgrace! Me, to deny God above? Kill me over Him and His Torah; do not further delay." There the one worthy of public praise was killed.
All these were killed, honoring God wholeheartedly and willingly. They slaughtered one another simultaneously — bachelors, maidens, the elderly, even the young killed themselves for the honor of God. These whom we singled out by name acted thusly; the others, who were not singled out, certainly did! They did things no human eye has seen the likes of. About them and their like is written, "Among those who die by Your hand, God, among those who die of age, whose portion is in life"; "no eye has ever seen anyone but You, God, do [such things] to those who hope in him." They all died in the hand of God and returned to their rest, to the great illumination in the Garden of Eden. Their souls are bound eternally in the bind of life with God their Creator.
When the holy, exaltedly pious men, the holy community of Mainz heard that part of the community of Speyer, and, again, the community of Worms, were killed, their spirit was weakened, and their heart melted, becoming like water. They cried to God, saying, "Oh! God! Are You destroying the remainder of the Jews? Where are all Your miracles about which our forbears told us? Did You not bring us up from Egypt? — and now are leaving us in the power of the nations, that they may destroy us." And all the Jewish leaders gathered [themselves] from [where they had been interspersed] among the community, and went to the bishop and his officers, and asked them, "What shall we do about the news that we hear about our murdered brethren in Speyer and Worms?" So they told them, "Listen to our advice. Bring all your money to our treasuries and to the bishop's, and bring yourselves, your wives, your children, and all that's yours into the bishop's courtyard, that you may then be saved from the Crusaders." They gave us this advice in order to cause us to be caught, to have us gathered in one spot where we could be grabbed like fish trapped in a trap of evil. But the bishop gathered his officers and servants — great officers, the leaders and prominent men of the land — to help us and save us from the Crusaders, for at the start his intent was to save us; in the end, he rotted.
One day, a Gentile came, and brought with her a goose that she had raised from a fledgling; it would follow her wherever she went. She told all the passers-by, "See, the goose understands what I tell it I'm going Crusading, and wants to come with me." Then all the Crusaders and burghers gathered against us, telling us, "Where is your assurance? How can you expect to be saved? See all the signs the crucified does for us!" They call came with swords and spears to destroy us, but some of the burghers came and did not allow them to. They thereupon rose as one and killed one another around the Rhine River, until one of the Crusaders was killed. Then they said, "This is all the Jews' doing!" Nearly all of them gathered together — when the holy men saw all that had happened, their hearts melted — and they spoke harshly against the Jews, framing and blaming them. When the Jews heard their words, they, young and old, said, "What would we give that we should die by God's hand rather than by the hands of His enemies? — for He is a merciful God, the lone King in His world."
They left their houses abandoned, and did not go to synagogue except on the Sabbath (that is, the last Sabbath before our massacre), when just a few [ventured] in there to pray, Rabbi Judah (son of Rabbi Isaac) among them. They cried a great, heartrending cry, for they saw that this was a decree of the King, king over kings. One old student named Rabbi Baruch (son of Rabbi Isaac) was there, and he told us, "Realize that this decree was truly and properly decreed against us; we cannot be saved. For tonight we — I and my son-in-law Judah — heard some some souls praying here in a loud, weeping voice. When we heard this, we thought some community members may have left the bishop's courtyard and returned to the synagogue at midnight to pray, because of the trouble and the bitterness in their hearts. So we ran to the entrance to the synagogue, but it was locked; we heard the sound, but couldn't make out any words; and, fearfully, we returned homeward, for our home is near the synagogue." When we heard this, we [kneeled,] dropped to our faces, and said "Oh! God! Are You destroying the remainder of the Jews?" Then Rabbi Baruch and his son-in-law went and told their story to their brethren in the courtyards of the pacha and of the bishop, and they, too, cried greatly.
It was the first day of the month Sivan that the wicked Emicho — may his bones be ground in an iron mill — arrived outside the city with a great army and the Crusaders and peasants, for he, too, had said, "It is my desire to go Crusading." [As we will see,] he was our chief oppressor: his eye did not pity the old, the bachelors or maidens, the children or sucklings, even the sick. He made God's nation like trodden earth, killing bachelors by sword and rupturing the pregnant
They encamped outside the city for two days. The heads of the community said, "Let's send him money and give him our writ that other communities along the way should honor him; perhaps God will act with His great kindness." — for they had previously scattered their money among the bishop, the pacha, his officers, his servants, and the burghers, about four hundred half-coins, that they should help them, but it did not effect anything for them.
- We were [worse] than Sodom and Gomorrah. For them, ten were sought and would have saved them, but for us neither twenty nor ten were sought.
It was the third day of Sivan — the day Moses said "be ready for three days" —
- — that day, the crown of Israel fell. It was then that the Torah scholars fell, that the grape-clusters ceased to exist, that the honor of Torah and the radiance of wisdom ended. He threw the splendor of Israel from heaven to the ground. Fear of sin, humility ceased. At that time, men of [good] deeds and purity, those who caused evil decrees and their Molder's wrath to abate, ceased to exist. Those who secretly gave charity became fewer in number; truth became lacking; exegeters ceased to exist; honorable men fell; the brazen increased in number. Oh! for them. There had been none like them since the the destruction of the second Temple, and there will be none like them after them. They honored God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their resources — their good fortune!
— it was midday that the evil Emicho (of ground bones) arrived with his entire army. The burghers opened the gates for them; God's enemies [Emicho's Crusaders] said to one another, "See, the gate opened on its own. The crucified is doing all this for us, that we may avenge his blood from the Jews." They came with their banners, a great army, numerous as the sand at the sea, to the bishop's gate, where members of the holy covenant were. When the holy ones, those in awe of the Almighty, saw the great crowd, they trusted in and stuck to their Creator. They donned their shields and girded their weapons — young and old — with Rabbi Klonymus (son of Rabbi M'shulam) at their head. A pious man, one of the greatest of the generation, our master, Rabbi M'nachem (son of our master, Rabbi David, the levi) was there, and he told all assembled, "Wholeheartedly honor [by death, if necessary] the honorable, awesome name." They all answered as had the sons of Jacob (when Jacob wished to reveal the end to them, but the Presence [of God] left him, so he said, "there is among my [children] a flaw, as there was among my grandfather Abraham's and my father Isaac's") and as had our ancestors answered (when they accepted the Torah at this time [of the year] at Mount Sinai, saying "we will do and listen"), calling out in a great voice, "Hear O Israel, God is our god; God is one!" And they all approached the gate to fight against the Crusaders and burghers. The two sides fought one another until the sins had their effect and the enemies won, capturing the gate. And the bishop's men, who had promised to help the Jews, had previously fled, allowing them to be taken by the enemies, for the bishop's men were crushed reeds. Thus, the enemies entered the courtyard.
In the courtyard, they found Rabbi Isaac (son of Rabbi Moses), and struck him a sword's blow of death and destruction. This was besides the fifty-three souls who had fled with Rabbi Klonymus through the bishop's rooms, exiting to the room called Shnigir and remaining there. It was Tuesday, the third of Sivan, that the enemies entered the courtyard —
- — a dark, lightless day, an overcast, gloomy day, darkness and the shadow of death shall sully it, God above shall not seek it, nor shall light shine upon it. Sun, Moon, why have you not darkened your light? Stars, to which the Jews are compared, Constellations, twelve like the sons of Jacob, how can you not hide your light from shining for the enemies who sought to erase the name of Israel? Inquire now and realize: Has there ever before been so great a sacrifice, even since the days of Adam?
When the members of the holy covenant saw that the decree was decreed and the enemies had won, they all cried out — bachelors, the elderly, maidens, children, slaves — crying over the [dead] and for their [own] lives, saying, "We will bear the yoke of His holy awe, for the enemies are killing us for just a moment, and with the sword, the lightest of the four deaths, and we will live spiritually in the Garden of Eden forever in the sight of the great light." They all wholeheartedly and willingly said, "After all, one cannot wonder about the way God — blessed are He and His name — acts. He gave us His Torah and [therein] commanded that we [allow ourselves to be] killed, put to death over the singleness of His holy name. How fortunate we are if we do His will, and how fortunate is he who is slaughtered, killed over the singleness of His name: not only does he merit afterlife, sitting in the enclave of the world-maintaining righteous, but he exchanges a world of darkness for a world of light, a world of trouble for a world of joy, a fleeting world for a world that lasts forever." They all cried out together in a loud voice, "After all, we should not delay! The enemies are quickly approaching! Let us act, offering ourselves to our Father in heaven. Whoever has a knife, come kill us for the honor of the unique eternal God, and then pierce himself with his sword in his neck or belly, or slaughter himself." They all stood, man and woman, and killed one another. Maidens, brides, grooms looked out of the windows and cried out, saying, "Look and see, God, what we are doing for Your honor, so as not to exchange your godliness for a hung, crucified, dirty, abominable Nazarene, disgusting even in own generation, a bastard, the son of a menstruant, the son of adultery." They all were slaughtered; the blood from the slaughter flowed over the surface of the rooms in which were the members of the holy covenant. They lay in rows, the suckling with the hoary-headed, rattling in their throats as do slaughtered sheep.
- Will you bear this, God, keeping silent at our extreme suffering? May the spilt blood of your servants be avenged! Look, see, has there ever been such a thing — that people should push one another, [each] saying, "I'll be the first to honor [by death] the name of the King, the king over kings"?
And the pure women were throwing money out [the windows], to delay the enemies a bit, until the women could slaughter their own children; the hands of merciful women were strangling their children, to do the will of their Creator, and were turning their children's tender faces to the Gentiles.
When the enemies came to the rooms, they broke the doors and found the Jews still twitching and rolling in their own blood. They took the Jews' money, stripped them naked, and smote the remaining ones, not leaving any remnant. This they did in all the rooms that had members of the holy covenant. But there was one room that was strongly [fortified]; the enemies fought until evening to [enter] it. When the holy ones saw that the enemies were stronger than they, they stood up, men and women, and slaughtered the children, and then one another; some fell on their swords and died, some were killed by their own swords or knives. The righteous women would toss rocks to the enemies outside the windows, so the enemies could stone them, and they accepted all the stones [thrown back], until their entire flesh and face had become strips. They were abusing and insulting the Crusaders regarding the name of the hung one, the disgraced, disgusting son of adultery: "In whom do you trust, a trodden corpse?" And the Crusaders approached the door to break it.
An important woman, Mrs. Rachel, a choice woman (daughter of Rabbi Isaac, the son of Rabbi Asher), was there, and she told her friends, "I have four children. Do not have pity on them, lest these uncircumcised come and grab them alive so that the children live with the enemies' heresy; rather, honor the holy name even with [killing] them." So one of her friends went and took a knife. When Rachel saw the knife, she cried a long, bitter shout, hit her face, and said, "Where is Your kindness, God?" She took Rachel's youngest son, Isaac, a very pleasant boy, and slaughtered him. Rachel had spread out her sleeves between the two brothers, saying to her friend, "By your life, do not slaughter Isaac in Aaron's sight." But Aaron [nonetheless] saw that his brother had been slaughtered, and cried, "Mother, Mother, don't slaughter me." He went and hid under a box. She took her two daughters, Bela and Madrona, and slaughtered them to God who had commanded us not to exchange His pure awe, and to be steadfastly with him. When the holy one finished slaughtering the three of her children before our Creator, she raised her voice, calling her son, Aaron: "Aaron, where are you? Nor will I have pity or mercy on you." She dragged him by his foot from under the box where he had been hiding, and slaughtered him before the exalted God on high. She put them in her two sleeves, two on each side, near her belly, and they were twitching next to her, until the Crusaders captured the room, finding her sitting and elegizing over them. The Crusaders told her, "Show us the money you have in your sleeves." When they saw the slaughtered children, they smote her, killing her on top of to them. About her was said, "a woman ruptured with her children". She died on top of them, as that righteous woman had died on top of her seven children. About her was said, "A mother of children is happy".
The Crusaders killed everyone in that room and stripped them naked; the corpses were still twitching and becoming stained in their own blood as they were stripping them.
- — See, God! Look how I have become despicable! —
They then tossed them, naked, from the room through the windows; [the corpses piled up,] hills upon hills, mounds upon mounds, until they became like a tall mountain. Many members of the holy covenant, when they were being tossed, still had a bit of life left in them, and gestured with their fingers [as if to say], "Give us water, that we may drink." When the Crusaders saw this, they asked them, "Do you want to sully yourselves?" But they shook their heads and looked to their Father in heaven, [as if] to say, No, and they pointed [as if] to God; the Crusaders killed them.
These whom we singled out by name acted thusly; the rest of the community, too, certainly declared the uniqueness of God and all died by His hand.
Then the Crusaders began to praise the name of the hung one. They raised their banner, and came to the rest of the community, to the courtyard of the pacha, Burkreva, and besieged them, too, and fought them. They captured the way in through the courtyard's gate, and slaughtered the Jews there, too. A man named Mr. Moses (son of Rabbi Chelbo) was there; he called to his sons and told them, "My sons, Chelbo and Simeon, the entrances are now open to Gehinnom and the Garden of Eden; which do you wish to enter?" They answered him, "Lead us in the Garden of Eden." They stretched out their necks, and the enemies slayed them, father with sons. A Torah scroll was also there, in the room, and the Crusaders came into the room, found it, and tore it to shreds. When the holy, pure ones, descendants of kings, saw that the Torah was torn, they called loudly to their husbands, "See, see, the holy Torah! The enemies are tearing it!" And all of them, men and women, said together, "Oh! The holy Torah, wholly beautiful, desirable to look at, which we bowed to, kissed, and honored, how it now has fallen in the hands of impure uncircumcised ones!" When the men heard the holy women's words, they felt a great zealousness for God and for the holy, desirable Torah. A choice fellow named Rabbi David (son of our master, Rabbi M'nachem) happened to be there, and told them, "My brethren, tear your clothes over the honor of the Torah." They tore their clothes, as our master had commanded.
The Jews who were in one [particular] room found a single Crusader, and they all rose — men and women — and stoned him until he fell, dead. When the burghers and Crusaders saw that he had died, they went up on the roof [of the room] containing the members of the holy covenant, and broke the roof; they then shot the Jews with arrows and speared them with spears.
A man named Mr. Jacob (son of Rabbi Sulam) was there. He wasn't from an esteemed family: his mother wasn't Jewish. He called loudly to all those standing around him, saying, "All my life, until now, you have been degrading me. Now, I shall slaughter myself." He slaughtered himself for the name called most exalted, the name of God.
And another man was there, named Mr. Samuel the elder (son of Rabbi Mordechai); he, too, honored God. He took his knife and stuck it in his belly, spilling his intestines to the ground. He called all those standing around him, saying, "See, my brethren, what I do for the honor of the one Who lives forever!" There the elder died over the singleness of God and the holiness of His awe.
The Crusaders and burghers turned from there and went to the city proper, to another courtyard. The treasurer, Mr. David (son of Nethaniel) was there with his wife, children, and entire household, in the courtyard of a priest. The priest told him, "See, no remnant remains from the bishop's and pacha's courtyards; they are all dead, thrown and trodden in the streets, except a few whom they sullied. You, too, should do so, that you may be saved — yourself along with your money and your entire household — from the Crusaders." The man, in awe of God, answered, "Lo, you go to the Crusaders and burghers, and tell them that they should all come to me." When the priest heard the words of Mr. David, the treasurer, he was very happy, for he thought, "Such an important Jew has now agreed to listen to us!" He ran to them and told them the righteous man's words; they, too, were very happy, and gathered around the house by the thousands and tens of thousands. When the righteous man saw them, he trusted his Creator, and called to them, saying, "What sons of adultery you are! And you believe in one born of adultery. But I believe in the God who lives forever, who dwells in the highest heavens. In Him I have trusted until this day, and [in Him I shall trust] until my soul leaves me. If you kill me, my soul will be resting in the Garden of Eden in the light of life, whereas you will descend to the pit of destruction, to everlasting shame, and will be judged with your god, the son of adultery, the crucified one." When they heard the words of the pious one, they were incensed. They raised their banners, encamped around the house, and started calling and shouting in the name of the hung one. They approached him and killed him, his righteous wife, his children, his children-in-law, all his household, and all his family. All of them were killed for the honor of God. There fell the righteous one and his household.
They turned and came to the house of Rabbi Samuel (son of Rabbi Naaman). He, too, honored the holy God. They gathered around his house, for of the entire congregation, he was left in his house; they sought to sully him with smelly, impure waters. But he cast his trust on his Creator — he and all who were with him — and did not heed them. The enemies killed them all, and threw them from the windows.
All these were the deeds of those we have singled out by name. What the rest of the community and its leaders did, how they acted — like Rabbi Akiva and his fellows — to demonstrate the singleness of the King, the king over kings, Who is blessed and Whose name is blessed, I don't know how much.
- May God save us from this galus.
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Copyright 2000 Michael Hamm, licensed as follows: