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Ḳinah for the Chmielnicki Massacres of 1648–1649 in Sefer Ḳol Yaaqov (1658)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

זה הקינה סדרתי על הרוגי חכמי פולונייא
ה׳ ינקום דמם
This is a kinnah over the murder of the sages of Polonia.[1]Poland. 
May Hashem avenge their blood.

על אלה אני בוכיה
עיני מקור דמעה במר תרדנה
על נשמות החסידים התמימים והישרים
שנשפך דמם כמים הנגרים
Over these I weep[2]Eikhah 1:16. 
The wellspring of my eyes pours bitter tears
For the souls of the pious, the pure, and the upright
Whose blood was shed as running water[3]viz 2 Samuel 14:14. “We must all die; we are like water that is poured out on the ground and cannot be gathered up. God will not take away the life of one who makes plans so that no one may be kept banished.” — Jacob Chatinover

הנהרגים ונשחטים ונשרפים ונדקרים
גאונים רבנים זקנים עם נערים
כמם[4]possbly כמה לבב איש כהתה כל רוח ונש״מה
בכה נבכה ולא ינוח
Killed and slaughtered and burned and stabbed
Leaders and teachers, (regardless their being) elders or youths[5]viz Psalms 148:12. 
Every human heart is faint,[6]Possibly כָּמַ֣הּ (as in Psalms 63:2) – “faint, as with longing”. matches כָהֲתָ֥ה (as in Deuteronomy 34:7) “falter/grow weak.” –Jacob Chatinover every spirit and soul falters
They weep and wail without rest

כי קול נהי נשמע ושוד ושבר
חגרי בשק התפלשי באפר
למקוננות קראו ויודעי ספר
ווי לן דמייתנן היום כאן ומחר בקבר
For the wailing voice we heard of pillage and devastation[7]viz Jeremiah 31:15; Jeremiah 48:3. 
As those wrapped in sackcloth, covered in ash,[8]viz Mikhah 1:10. 
called out to lamenters[9]viz Jeremiah 9:16. and learned ones:
“Oy! to us who shall die[10]viz BT Berakhot 31a. — here today, the grave tomorrow.”[11]Baal haTurim on Gen 50:24.

נר מצוה ואור תורה כבה
ואיך עתה היא יושבת עלובה
ותבער בעדת ישראל אש להבה
איה מוציא סוד תורה לאורה
The lamp of mitsvot and light of Torah,[12]viz Proverbs 6:23. extinguished;
oh! How she now sits humiliated!
Even while the flaming fire burns within the community of Israel,[13]An image that appears a few times, the language here is most similar to Psalms 106:18. 
Is there no-one who can bring the inner meaning of Torah out into light?

אעשה מספד וקינים ואבל כבנות יענה
מי ישמע ולא ידמע בבכי ויללה
ויאחז בשרו פלצות וחלחלה
על שפיכת כמים דם ישראל עם סגולה
I will eulogize and intone laments as mournfully as ostriches do:[14]I think this must be “ki-venot ya`ana” as in Mikhah 1:8. Benot ya`ana are ostriches (or usually translated as such), and in addition to the quote from Mikhah they appear in other spots, usually with jackals, as symbols of desolation (Isaiah 43:20, Isaiah 34:13; Job 30:29; without jackals but as symbols of desolation in Isaiah 13:21 and Jeremiah 50:39). — Jacob Chatinover.
Who could listen and not weep and wail tears?[15]viz Kinnah 29. 
and their body seize with shuddering[16]viz Job 21:6. and trembling
Over the blood of Israel, the treasured people, bleeding out like water?

אם אבד חסיד ויושבי שער
מה יעשו כסיל ובע״ר
כי קול נהי נשמע ושוד ושבר
גם קבצו פרור פני כל גבר
When pious ones[17]viz Mikhah 7:2. and gatekeepers are nowhere to be found,
what will the simpleton and boorish do?
For the wailing voice we heard of pillage and devastation
as every man’s face turns ashen.[18]Parur is a type of pot (Numbers 11:8, others). But the word “qibbtsu” appears twice (out of five total in Tanakh) in this phrase: קבּצו פארוּר (Nah 2:11, Joel 2:6) both time with “panim“, meaning basically for a face to turn ashen. So maybe it’s supposed to be with an alef, but there’s also a suggestion of mutilating/decapitating faces (taking trophies of noses?) and collecting them in a pot. –Jacob Chatinover

נשים בתולות נענו נטמאו
נתלו בדדיהם אשר צמקו
שמו למטרה וחץ זרקו
עד יצא נפשם ולאל קראו
Virgin women, raped,[19]viz Eikhah 5:11. defiled,
hanged by their shrunken breasts.
A target was placed upon them, and arrows flew;
they called out to God until their soul departed.

איך אהלי קדר ויון יחד
בקשו להרגם כאכזר קמו
בחור וגם זקן ושב נהרגו
איה פרי דתם אשר טעמו
How are the tents of Ḳedar and Yavan united?[20]Apocalyptic reference to combative tribal powers. For Yavan, often referred to as an eponymous ancestor of the Greeks, find Daniel 8:21-22 and Daniel 11:2. For Ḳedar, Genesis 25:13 and 1 Chronicles 1:29. 
They pined to massacre, as their depravity grew.
Youth and also elder, they set to slaughter.
Where are the fruits of the Faith for them to taste‽

מה אעידך ומה אדמה לך מדינת פולין
ועתה נהפכת אין לנו מקום ללין
אלו הן הלוקין והנסקלין
נשבה ארון הקדש ומחמד עין
To what land shall I compare you,[21]A play on “adameh” and “adamah” –Jacob Chatinover Poland?
Now that you have turned on us, we have no sanctuary.[22]Possibly referencing the folk etymology of “Polin” as “po” (here) lin” (we will lodge). –Jacob Chatinover 
These are those who are lashed[23]Mishna Makkot 3.1. and stoned:
the Aron haḲodesh is captured,[24]BT Ketubot 104a, on the death of Rebbi Yehuda haNasi. and every precious thing.[25]Cf. “מחמד עין” as in Lam 2:4, Ezekiel 24:16, Ezekiel 24:21, Ezekiel 24:25, 1 Kings 20:6, each time in the context of a threat of things being taken away or destroyed. –Jacob Chatinover

מי יאסור ויטרוף טרף
מי הוא אשר יאמר למלאך הרף
קשה פרידתם אשר נפרדו
איה פרידתם אשר תמו
Who will join to contain[26]1 Kings 20:14: “He asked, ‘Who shall begin the battle?’ And he answered, ‘You.'” ye’sor means “to hitch up”, used for a chariot, a gartel, or metaphorically to join battle. and devour the Devourer?
Who is the one who can say to the angel, “Cease!”[27]viz 1 Samuel 24:16, 1 Chronicles 21:15.?
Excruciating is their lingering departure,[28]A reference to Yaakov’s wrestling with the angel/ish. 
From where will they finally depart?[29]Note play between “pri datam” in the previous stanzas and “phridatam” here.

לאובדים נבכה אשר אבדו
שדי אמור נא די לצרותינו
נקום אתה נקמתנו לעינינו
For those lost we will lament their losses
Shaddai– say our suffering is enough! [30]Playing with the midrashic etymology of Shaddai as “zeh she’amar ‘Dai!’ le`olamo”, viz Pirkei dRebi Eliezer 3:7, Bereshit Rabba 5:8. –Jacob Chatinover  
Avenge our retribution for us to see.[31]viz Psalms 79:10.

נקמת דם עבדיו הודיע אל נקמות
ה׳ אל נקמות הופיע (תהלים צד:א)
Avenging the blood of His servants has been foretold:
YHVH El of retribution, appear! (Psalms 94:1)

This kinah (elegy) appearing in Sefer Kol Yaakov (1658) by Yaakov Koppel ben Tsvi Margalit, was possibly written by an eyewitness survivor of the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648–1649. Many thanks to Fred MacDowell for bringing this kinah to our attention.

This English translation is the first and so far only translation we believe published for this kinah. It was made by the Open Siddur Project community by Aharon Varady, Emily Fishman, and Jacob Chatinover, who also provided much of the annotation, as well as other anonymous contributors.

Source(s)

title page from Sefer Kol Yaakov (1658)

kinah from Sefer Kol Yaakov (1658)

Kinah from Sefer Ḳol Yaaqov (1658)

 

Notes[ + ]

1.  Poland.
2.  Eikhah 1:16.
3.  viz 2 Samuel 14:14. “We must all die; we are like water that is poured out on the ground and cannot be gathered up. God will not take away the life of one who makes plans so that no one may be kept banished.” — Jacob Chatinover
4.  possbly כמה
5.  viz Psalms 148:12.
6.  Possibly כָּמַ֣הּ (as in Psalms 63:2) – “faint, as with longing”. matches כָהֲתָ֥ה (as in Deuteronomy 34:7) “falter/grow weak.” –Jacob Chatinover
7.  viz Jeremiah 31:15; Jeremiah 48:3.
8.  viz Mikhah 1:10.
9.  viz Jeremiah 9:16.
10.  viz BT Berakhot 31a.
11.  Baal haTurim on Gen 50:24.
12.  viz Proverbs 6:23.
13.  An image that appears a few times, the language here is most similar to Psalms 106:18.
14.  I think this must be “ki-venot ya`ana” as in Mikhah 1:8. Benot ya`ana are ostriches (or usually translated as such), and in addition to the quote from Mikhah they appear in other spots, usually with jackals, as symbols of desolation (Isaiah 43:20, Isaiah 34:13; Job 30:29; without jackals but as symbols of desolation in Isaiah 13:21 and Jeremiah 50:39). — Jacob Chatinover.
15.  viz Kinnah 29.
16.  viz Job 21:6.
17.  viz Mikhah 7:2.
18.  Parur is a type of pot (Numbers 11:8, others). But the word “qibbtsu” appears twice (out of five total in Tanakh) in this phrase: קבּצו פארוּר (Nah 2:11, Joel 2:6) both time with “panim“, meaning basically for a face to turn ashen. So maybe it’s supposed to be with an alef, but there’s also a suggestion of mutilating/decapitating faces (taking trophies of noses?) and collecting them in a pot. –Jacob Chatinover
19.  viz Eikhah 5:11.
20.  Apocalyptic reference to combative tribal powers. For Yavan, often referred to as an eponymous ancestor of the Greeks, find Daniel 8:21-22 and Daniel 11:2. For Ḳedar, Genesis 25:13 and 1 Chronicles 1:29.
21.  A play on “adameh” and “adamah” –Jacob Chatinover
22.  Possibly referencing the folk etymology of “Polin” as “po” (here) lin” (we will lodge). –Jacob Chatinover
23.  Mishna Makkot 3.1.
24.  BT Ketubot 104a, on the death of Rebbi Yehuda haNasi.
25.  Cf. “מחמד עין” as in Lam 2:4, Ezekiel 24:16, Ezekiel 24:21, Ezekiel 24:25, 1 Kings 20:6, each time in the context of a threat of things being taken away or destroyed. –Jacob Chatinover
26.  1 Kings 20:14: “He asked, ‘Who shall begin the battle?’ And he answered, ‘You.'” ye’sor means “to hitch up”, used for a chariot, a gartel, or metaphorically to join battle.
27.  viz 1 Samuel 24:16, 1 Chronicles 21:15.
28.  A reference to Yaakov’s wrestling with the angel/ish.
29.  Note play between “pri datam” in the previous stanzas and “phridatam” here.
30.  Playing with the midrashic etymology of Shaddai as “zeh she’amar ‘Dai!’ le`olamo”, viz Pirkei dRebi Eliezer 3:7, Bereshit Rabba 5:8. –Jacob Chatinover
31.  viz Psalms 79:10.

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