Thursday, November 21, 2013

A manuscript Kinah (lament) for an unrecorded pogrom: 2nd day of Pesah, 1655 in Poland

Bound at the ends of an 18th century Sultzbach Mahzor, I found a contemporary manuscript bound in, containing a lengthy Kinah for those murdered in a pogrom. The Kinah describes in graphic terms the way the Jews were murdered, including the names of the Jews murdered as well. I searched the classic references on the period and found no mention of this specific pogrom.
The Kinah describes the pogrom as starting on the second day of Passover in the year 1655, throughout the cities of Poland.
"ר יצחק אב"ד שהיה בקי בתורה......ופצעו את מוחו וקרע את זקנו והשליחו אותו מן החלונות על אשפה"
"Rabbi Yitzchak, the head of the Bet Din, who was an expert in the Torah... they wound his head, ripped his beard and threw him from the windows to the trash"

"רבי ישראל שהיה מזרע הלוים ושמו אש וגפרית האכזרים על לבו הזידונים ויצאה נשמתו בפסוק שמע ישראל"
"Rabbi Israel who was from the tribe of the Leviites, the enemies placed fire and sulfur on the heart, and his soul exited as he said the verse Shema Yisrael"

"כהר"ר מרדכי שכתב ספר תורה הקדושות על הגוילים ומעליהים עשו האויבים סנדלים"
"Rabbi Mordechai, who wrote Holy Sifre Torah on parchments, and from them the enemies made sandals"

There is currently a debate between Scholars when exactly did the pogroms associated with the Khmelnytsky Uprisings end, starting in 1648, some Polish Historians(1) put the end of the pogroms at 1654, this manuscript would seem to prove otherwise. Most Historians today put the end of the Pogroms at 1657.

Of interest, is the high use of vocabulary but almost no use of Hebrew Grammar in the vowelization. The vowels seemed to be written in at a later date, and use a Polish Yiddish pronunciation. Many words are voweled in a Yiddish distortion of the Hebrew word, such as the word Ashpeh, in modern Hebrew it would be pronounced Ashpah, and many other such examples.

תהא נשמתם צרורה בצרור החיים

 1. see here


  1. Fascinating. An important historical document. You should publish on this. In fact, many of your posts deserve publication.

  2. Great find, brilliant review ! I Agree with Shimshon, & I''ll be your first customer for your book!