Throughout Jewish history the weeks surrounding Passover has been a dangerous time for the Jews. Mostly because of the famous blood libel that matzah was made from the blood of Christian Children. Anybody who’s ever eaten matzah knows that matzah is made from a combination of sheet rock and cardboard (at least it tastes that way).
Blood libel is a term with a specific and terrible history. It refers to the scurrilous accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered Christian children to use their blood to prepare Passover matzoh. Charges of blood libel have spurred massacres of Jews throughout the centuries; the myth was revived by Hitler, and persists today in places like Russia, the Muslim world. It even exists in the United States (in a different form) preached by people like Former President Obama, Ayman Mohyeldin and others in the mainstream media. College campuses in America, especially the most liberal tend to be hotbeds of blood libel (they don’t provide the Jewish Students with safe spaces).
Like many of the anti-Semitic actions/stories the blood libel is based on something Jews can’t do. When the Jew-haters claim that Jews are “eating blood” one of the reasons they select that libel because the Torah forbids Jews from consuming blood. As is written in Leviticus 17:10-14:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eat any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eat blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that make atonement by reason of the life. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel: No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that taketh in hunting any beast or fowl that may be eaten, he shall pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For as to the life of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one with the life thereof; therefore I said unto the children of Israel: Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof; whosoever eat it shall be cut off.
Salting the meat is part of the Koshering process to get rid of the last traces of blood.
It started 3,500 years ago in the land of Egypt: ” we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” the story of Exodus says. The 10th and final plague hit the firstborn sons of every Egyptian. To avoid the plague Jews smeared the blood of a slaughtered lamb on the doorposts of the Jewish homes, the death passed over them.
Josephus tells us that already in Roman times, the Greeks spread rumors that the Jews slaughtered a Greek in the Temple in Jerusalem and ate his intestines as part of their rites.
The story of William of Norwich (d. 1144) is often cited as the first known accusation of European blood libel. The Jews of Norwich, England were accused of murder after a Christian boy, William, was found dead. It was claimed that the Jews had tortured and crucified their victim. The Jews of the town were murdered.
The British blood libel spread throughout Europe. France’s first blood libel took place in Blois in 1171, 31 Jews were burned on the stake as Passover approached.
In 1840 an elderly Italian monk-priest, Padre Tommaso, and his servant disappeared in Damascus, Syria, after having visited the Jewish quarter in the city. A French consul to the Ottoman Empire, Ratti-Menton, promoted a groundless theory of ritual murder of Tommaso that the local Muslim government largely accepted. Jewish leaders were arrested and tortured. Sixty of their children were held hostage and starved to pressure their parents into confessing. One source said that four adults died from the mistreatment; another states that two died and some were permanently disabled. Most of the rest confessed involvement in a ritual murder. The consul then requested permission from the Syrian government to murder the rest of his suspects. (Jonathan Frankel, “‘Ritual Murder’ in the Modern Era: The Damascus Affair of 1840,” Jewish Social Studies Volume 3, Number 2).
That event is credited with introducing the blood libel myth to the Arab world, where it is still circulating.
Today the story changes a bit, “horrible Isr…
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