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☞   Khaf Sivan

Some Jewish communities, especially those in the region of the Four Lands, have a custom of fasting on the 20th of Sivan. This day has a full seliḥot service, commemorating a series of horrors that occurred on that day, most prominently the Chmielnicki (Khmielnetsky) massacres of 1648-49.

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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. . . .

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

A kinah/elegy for those massacred in the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648–1649 composed by a possible eyewitness to the tragedy. . . .

אֱמוּנֵי שְׁלוּמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל | Emunei Shlumei Yisrael — a seliḥah witnessing the Blois incident of 1171 by Hillel ben Yaaqov of Bonn

Some Jewish communities, especially those in the region of the Four Lands, have a custom of fasting on the 20th of Sivan. This day has a full seliḥot service, commemorating a series of horrors that occurred on that day, most prominently the Chmielnicki (Khmielnetsky) massacres of 1648-49. But this poem was written for another horrific occurrence on 20 Sivan, the blood libel of Blois in 1171. This was the first time the accusation of ritual murder was ever made against the Jews of France, but it wasn’t the last. This seliḥah poem, written by Hillel ben Jacob of Bonn, starts with the dramatic accusation that God has abandoned the people Israel, continuing by listing those who died in myriad horrid ways, and ending with several citations from the apocalyptic final chapter of the book of Joel. . . .

שַׁאֲלִי שְׂרוּפָה בָּאֵשׁ | Sha’ali Serufah ba-Esh (Question, Burnt in the Fire), a Ḳinah for Tisha b’Av, Translated by Gershom Scholem

A translation in German and English of the kinnah “Sha’ali Serufah ba-Esh.” . . .