Friday, December 14, 2007

Blood Libel

The Gemora (Kesuvos 102b) relates an incident where they placed the orphan young son with his relatives. The very first evening, the relatives killed him (in order to take the inheritance; it is this very concern that causes us to say that the girl should reside with her mother and not with her relatives because she also receives a tenth of her father’s property).

The Meiri and the Hagahos Yavetz state this incident actually transpired on Erev Pesach. It is interesting that the Gemora uses a strange abbreviation for this. Rabbi Yosef Dov Karr and later I found this in the Mesifta Gemora explain that blood libels were common at the time of the Gemora and it would be a grave desecration of Hashem’s name if it would be known that Jews killed a young boy Erev Pesach as the idolaters would start persecutions of the Jews, and accuse the Jews of using the blood for the baking of matzah. The blood libels were marked by constant and unrelenting Christian persecution so it was understandable why an abbreviation was used. It is next to impossible to explain the accusations that were hurled at the Jews during this time. Jews were persecuted not only for being "Christ-killers" but as "baby-killers." The libels were not logical and occurred when a Jewish or Christian baby was killed. This is why the printers wrote this word in this manner.