☞   //   Prayers & Praxes   //   🌔︎ Prayers for the Moon, Month, and Festival Calendar   //   Commemorative Festivals & Fasts   //   Fast Days   //   Khaf Sivan

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | A poetic El Malei Raḥamim for 20 Sivan, composed in memory of Yəḥiel Mikhel ben Eliezer, the Martyr of Nemirov (ca. late 17th c.)

One of the most prominent martyrs in the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648–1649 was the kabbalist and sage Yəḥiel Mikhel ben Eliezer ha-Kohen, known to posterity as the Martyr of Nemirov. This unique poetic El Malei Raḥamim was said in his honor, and communities that fast on 20 Sivan still recite it to this day.

Note: “The CAUSE” is used to translate the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”


Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

להרב המאור הגדול מו׳׳ה יחיאל מיכל דק׳׳ק נעמרוב הגדולה שנהרג על קידוש השם בשנת ת׳׳ח לפ׳׳ק
For the master, the Great Light, our teacher and rabbi Yəḥiel Mikhel of the great Nemirov holy community, who was martyred in God’s name in the year 5408 AM:

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים
שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְּרוֹמִים
אֵין כָּמֽוֹךָ בָּאִלְּמִים
שׁוֹמֵֽעַ לְשַׁוְעַת עֲגוּמִים
הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה
עַל־כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה׃
God, full of mercy,  
dwelling on High,
There is none like You among the mute![1] See Gittin 56b. 
Hearing the plea of the sorrowful!
Bring proper rest
Under the wings of the Presence

בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים
כְּזֹֽהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים
אֶת־נִשְׁמַת הַגִּבּוֹרִים
דּוֹרְשֵׁי קַלִּים וַחֲמוֹרִים
מַנְהִיגֵי עֲדַת יְשָׁרִים
נִשְׁחָטִים כְּאֵילִים וּכְפָרִים
בָּאוּ זֵדִים אֲרוּרִים
כְּדֹב אוֹרֵב בַּמִּסְתָּרִים
נַחֲלָתֵֽנוּ נֶהְפְּכָה לְזָרִים
הִשְׂבִּיעָֽנוּ לַעֲנָה וּמְרוֹרִים׃
In the holy and pure heights  
Like the radiant firmament in radiance
To the souls of the great men,
Extrapolators of a fortiori extrapolations,
Leaders of the upright community,
Slaughtered like rams or oxen.
The cursed arrogant ones came,
Like the bear lurking in secret.
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers!
We were satiated with wormwood and bitter greens.

גְּאוֹנֵי עוֹלָם חֲסִידֵי אֶֽרֶץ
גּוֹדְרֵי גֶּֽדֶר וְעוֹמְדִים בַּפֶּֽרֶץ
גָּעוּ עַל־כִּלָּיוֹן וָחֶֽרֶץ
נָמֹגוּ כׇּל־יוֹשְׁבֵי אֶֽרֶץ׃
The geniuses of the earth, faithful of the land,  
Fencing in fences[2] Meaning, those who derived halakha.  and standing in the openings[3] Meaning, those who taught publicly. 
Wailed over decreed calamity.
All the residents of the earth shook!

דָּוָה לִבֵּֽנוּ עַל־עֲטֶֽרֶת רֹאשֵֽׁנוּ
לִשְׁמֹֽעַ אֹֽזֶן דָּאֲבָה נַפְשֵֽׁנוּ
כִּי־הִפְלִא יְהֹוָה אֶל־מַכּוֹתֵֽינוּ
וְהִכָּה שֶֽׁבַע עַל־חַטֹּאתֵֽינוּ׃
Our hearts are sick for the crown of our heads,  
Ears to hear the languishing of our souls.
For the CAUSE has enhanced our blows,
Striking us sevenfold four our sins!

הוֹגֵי תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה לֵילוֹת וְיָמִים
דּוֹרְשֵׁי רְשׁוּמוֹת בַּחוּרִים וַחֲכָמִים
הֻשְׁלְכוּ לָאָֽרֶץ לְמַטָּעֵי כְּרָמִים
נֶהְפְּכוּ לְדַם נְהָרוֹת וַאֲגַמִּים׃
Meditators on the CAUSE’s Torah night and day,  
Interpreters of allusions, the young and wise,
Were cast to the earth like planting vineyards.
The rivers and lakes were turned to blood!

וָוֵי הָעַמּוּדִים וּמַעֲשֵׂה חֲדוּדִים
הִרְבִּֽיצוּ וְהֶעֱמִֽידוּ תַּלְמִידִים
בְּיַד בּוֹגְדִים וְשׁוֹדְדִים
הֵֽמָּה הָיוּ לִשְׂרֵפַת אֵשׁ יְקוּדִים׃
The hooks of the poles and work of shards  
Beat and strung up students,
By the hand of traitors and thieves.
They were like the burning of fiery flame!

זָהִיר וְזָרִיז בְּמִצְוַת־אֵל
הָאַלּוּף הַגָּאוֹן הָרַב מוֹהָרָ”ר יְחִיאֵל
נָשָׂא יָדוֹ וְלִבּוֹ לָאֵל
ה֚וֹי אֲרִיאֵ֣ל אֲרִיאֵ֔ל׃ (ישעיה כט:א)
Careful and nimble in the Divine command,  
The chief, genius, our teacher and rabbi Yəḥiel
Lifted his hand and heart to God.
Oh, Ariel, Ariel! (Isaiah 29:1)

חַמִיד וְרָגִיג לְעֵֽלָּא וּלְתַֽתָּא
בְּדָרֵי מַעְלָה וּבְדָרֵי מַטָּה
נִזְּרוֹ רֹאשׁוֹ בְּחֶֽרֶב לְהוּטָה
רְאֵה יְהֹוָה חֶרְפָּתֵֽנוּ וְהַבִּֽיטָה׃
Desired and precious above and below,  
In the inhabitants above and the inhabitants below,
His crown, his head was put to the sword.
See, CAUSE, our shame and gaze!

טַפְסְרֵי טֹֽהַר קְדוֹשֵׁי עֶלְיוֹן
צָעֲקוּ חֽוּצָה מַר יִבְכָּיוּן
אֵיכָה הָיוּ לְחֶרְפָּה וּלְבִזָּיוֹן
שֹׁד וָשֶֽׁבֶר וְכִלְיוֹן׃
The pure angels, holy of the Highest,  
cried outside, bitter tears.
How they have become shame and contempt!
Violence and fracture and destruction!

יָוָן וְקֵדָר הִסְכִּֽימוּ יַֽחַד
לַעֲקוֹר בִּצָּתָן בְּאֵימָה וּפַֽחַד
יְהוָ֛ה אֶחָ֖ד וּשְׁמ֥וֹ אֶחָֽד (זכריה יד:ט)
תִּפֹּ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֤ם אֵימָ֙תָה֙ וָפַ֔חַד׃ (שמות טו:טז)
Greece and Arabia[4] Here meaning Christianity and Islam, since followers of both religions were involved in the Chmelnitski massacres .  agreed together  
To destroy their seed[5] Lit: eggs, referring to the testes.  in fear and terror.
The CAUSE is one and the Name is one! (Zechariah 14:9)
Fearing and terror fell upon them. (Exodus 15:16)

כׇּל־מַחְמַדֵּי עַֽיִן
קִדְּמוּ בְּכׇל־כְּלֵי זַֽיִן
שָׂמוּ לְנֶגְדָּם כְּאַֽיִן
וּבְלָעוּם כְּהֶֽרֶף עַֽיִן׃
All those with covetous eye  
Advanced with all their weapons.
They set against them like nothing,
And swallowed them in the blink of an eye.

לֹא הֶאֱמִֽינוּ יוֹשְׁבֵי הָעִיר
כִּי יָבֹא עֲלֵיהֶם אוֹיֵב וָצָר
דַּלּוּ עֵינֵיהֶם וְצָעֲקוּ מַר
וְתִיטַ֣ב לַֽ֭יהוָה מִשּׁ֥וֹר פָּ֗ר׃ (תהלים סט:לב)
The city dwellers didn’t believe  
That an enemy and foe would come upon them.
Their eyes went down and they cried bitterly.
May it be better to the CAUSE than a bull or ox! (Psalms 69:32)

מָסְרוּ נַפְשָׁם וּגְוִיָּתָם
מְפַרְפְּרִים הַיְּלָדִים בְּחֵיק אִמֹּתָם
כָּלוּ חַיֵּיהֶם וְרַבּוּ אַנְחוֹתָם
נְקֹם יְהֹוָה נִקְמָתְךָ וְנִקְמָתָם׃
They gave their lives and their bodies,  
The children trembling in their mothers’ laps.
Their lives ended and their groans increased.
Avenge, CAUSE, Your vengeance and theirs!

נְקֹם יְהֹוָה נְקָמָה
יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה (שמות טו:ג)
הָטֵל בֵּינֵיהֶם מְהוּמָה
וְהָיוּ לְבִזָּה וּלְשַׁמָּה׃
Avenge, CAUSE, vengeance!  
CAUSE, warrior! (Exodus 15:3)
Cast panic among them
And let them be shamed and disgraced.

סֵֽפֶר תּוֹרָה קָרְעוּ בַּחֲמָתָם
שְׂרָפֽוּהוּ וּדְרָסֽוּהוּ בַּהֲלִיכָתָם
לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם אַיֵּה יִרְאָתָם
אֵין אֱלֹהִים כׇּל־מְזִמּוֹתָם׃
They ripped up the Torah scroll on their walls!  
They burned it and trampled it in their paths!
Why do the Gentiles say, ”Where is the One they awe?”
“There is no God” – all their schemes!

עֽוּרָה לָמָּה תִּישַׁן
אֻמָּה בְּלֹא כְּתָב וְלָשׁוֹן
פָּשְׁטוּ יַד בְּבַת אִישׁוֹן
תְּבַהֲלֵם וּתְרַדְּפֵם כְּנַֽחַל קִישׁוֹן׃
Awake! Why do You sleep?  
The nation with neither script nor language[6] Rome, according to Avodah Zarah 10a, here referring to Christianity.   
Removed their hand to the pupil of the eye.[7] Meaning, set their hand against the one beloved by God. 
Panic and pursue them like the river Kishon![8] See Judges 5:21. 

פִּתְאוֹם נִקְנְסָה מִיתָה חֲמוּרָה
עַל־אַרְזֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן אַדִּירֵי הַתּוֹרָה
גַּם לֹא הָיְתָה לָהֶם קְבוּרָה
אֲרִיאֵל צָעֲקוּ מָרָה׃
Suddenly a hard death was sentenced  
Upon the cedars of Lebanon, greats of Torah.
They didn’t even have a burial!
Ariel cried bitterly.

צָהֲלוּ וְרֹנּוּ הֲרוּגֵי הַקְּהִלּוֹת
כִּי־נַפְשָׁם צְרוּרָה בְּעִלּוּי הָעִלּוֹת
לְרֵֽיחַ נִיחֽוֹחַ זְבָחִים וְעוֹלוֹת׃
The murdered of the community celebrated and cheered,  
For their souls were bound in the highest of heights,
As sweet-smelling sacrifices and burnt offerings,

קוּמָ֣ה ׀ יְהוָ֗ה וְיָפֻ֙צוּ֙ אֹֽיְבֶ֔יךָ (במדבר י:לה)
כִּי הֹרַגְֽנוּ כׇּל־הַיּוֹם עָלֶֽיךָ
פַּלְּטָ֥ה נַ֝פְשִׁ֗י מֵרָשָׁ֥ע חַרְבֶּֽךָ (תהלים יז:יג)
נְקֹם נִקְמַת דַּם עֲבָדֶֽיךָ׃
Arise, CAUSE, and scatter Your enemies! (Numbers 10:35)  
For they have killed us all day against You!
Save my soul from the wicked with Your sword! (Psalms 17:13)
Avenge the vengeance of the blood of Your enemies!

רְאֵה יְהֹוָה וְהַבִּֽיטָה
כִּי יָרַֽדְנוּ מַטָּה מַטָּה
עַל־יְדֵי אֻמָּה שְׁפֵלָה וְתַֽתָּא
וְהָיוּ לִמְשִׁסָּה וּלְמַחְתָּה׃
See, CAUSE, and gaze,  
For we have descended lower and lower,
By the hand of a nation fallen and low,
And have become a shame and laughingstock.

שָׁמָֽיִם הֻשְׁלְכוּ לְאֶֽרֶץ שְׁאִיָּה
הָרַכָּה וְהָעֲנֻגָּה נְכֵאָה וּצְמֵאָה
אֵיכָה יִרְדְּפוּן אֶחָד מֵאָה
כַּפֵּר לְעַמְּךָ פֶּֽשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה׃
Heavens descended to earth, ruin!  
The tender and weak, despondent and thirsty.
How one chases a hundred!
Forgive Your people’s iniquity and sin!

תּוֹרָה תּוֹרָה חִגְרִי שַׂק וְהִתְפַּלַּשְׁתִּי בָּאֲפָרִים
אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁפַּךְ דָּמָם כַּמַּֽיִם הַנִּגָּרִים
קַנֵּא לְתוֹרָתֶֽךָ אֲשֶׁר שְׂרָפֽוּהָ זָרִים
הַעַל אֵֽלֶּה תִּתְאַפַּק יוֹצֵר הָרִים
לָכֵן בַּֽעַל הָרַחֲמִים
יַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵֽתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים
וְיִצְרֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת־נִשְׁמָתָם
יְהֹוָה הוּא נַחֲלָתָם
וְיָנֽוּחוּ בְּשָׁלוֹם עַל־מִשְׁכְּבוֹתָם
וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן׃
Torah, Torah, gird with sack and cover with ashes!  
For their blood spilt like flowing water.
Have zeal for Your Torah that the arrogant burnt!
Will you restrain yourself for this, O maker of mounts?
Thus, the Master of Compassion
Will shelter them in the shelter of God’s wings forever,
and bind their souls in the bond of life.
The CAUSE is their inheritance!
And they will rest in peace upon their resting place.
And we will say, amen.

Sefaria has a digital edition derived from text imported from Torat Emet Freeware. For a printed source, Abe Katz directed us to the Siddur Otsar haTefilot (undated, printed in Israel). If you have a better reference or higher quality page images for this seliḥah, please contact us.

Source(s)

Loading

 

Notes

Notes
1 See Gittin 56b.
2 Meaning, those who derived halakha.
3 Meaning, those who taught publicly.
4 Here meaning Christianity and Islam, since followers of both religions were involved in the Chmelnitski massacres .
5 Lit: eggs, referring to the testes.
6 Rome, according to Avodah Zarah 10a, here referring to Christianity.
7 Meaning, set their hand against the one beloved by God.
8 See Judges 5:21.

 PDF (or Print)

 
 
 

 

Comments, Corrections, and Queries