web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Rain, Wine and Why it’s all Our Fault: The History of the Rain Libel

Muslims claimed that droughts were due to the Jews' sin of making and drinking win.
F120301MA06

Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

We’re now entering the period when we begin to pray for rain.  Lack of rain was often an excuse to persecute the Jews, specifically those living in Jerusalem.  There are quite a few examples from our history of this rain libel, which was very often linked to the ‘sin’ of drinking wine.

Martin Kabátník, a Czech-Bohemian pilgrim who visited Jerusalem in 1491, reported that when there’s a drought, the Arabs go to the Jews and Christians and break their wine vessels.  Then they break all other vessels they find.  And they blame them, saying that because of them G-d is preventing the rain from coming, because they’re infidels and drink wine.  Kabátník said he heard from the Muslims that it’s OK to wrong the Jews, since G-d doesn’t see it as a sin.

A few years later, in 1495, a student of the Bartneura repeated the same story: when there’s no rain and the water is gone from the waterholes, the Ishamaelites will sometimes gather on us, to pour out the wine and break the jugs because they said that rains don’t come because the Jews sin and drink wine.

Around 30-years later, after the Turks conquered the land, Rabbi Moshe Basula came to Jerusalem.  And he discovered things hadn’t changed.  He writes as follows: It’s the custom of the Ishmaelites in Jerusalem, that when G-d doesn’t make it rain, they say it’s the fault of the Jews who drink wine, and they ask the governor to break the wine-jugs of the Jews. And on Wed. 20th of Kislev 5282 [Nov 20, 1521] the governor claimed that libel, until they agreed on (a fine of) 200 dukats of their currency, every dukat is 4 marcellis.  They fined anybody who made wine, and it cost half a dukat, that is 2 marcellis, for every 100 rotiol of wine, which are 600 of our liters.

A Jewish poem tells us of similar problems twenty years later.  The lamentation, written by Moshe Ma’alim, describes the troubles which befell the Jews in Jerusalem starting in 1542.  In that year a plague hit the city, followed the next year by an earthquake which hit on Passover.  Then locust covered the land, which exacerbated an on-going drought.  The Muslims blamed the Jews, and repeatedly searched their houses for wine, the cause of all the troubles.  This left the Jews with no wine for religious ceremonies.  Finally the Muslims evicted the Jews from the city.

(Yehuda Razhabi, Shalem V)

The lamentation was written while the Jews were still in “Galut,” and ends with a prayer that the Jews will return to Jerusalem soon.

A hundred years later, we again hear a very similar story.  Except this time, the problem was the Jews, not the wine.

Henry Jessey was a British priest who believed the Second Coming would only occur if the Jews of Jerusalem would convert.  He tells of several similar stories, the most descriptive is based on a letter written by the Jewish community.

In 1639 there was famine in Jerusalem following a long drought.  A Jewish convert to Islam convinced the Turks that the problem was the Jews: they were sinning against G-d.  The Turkish governor, Muhammad Pasha, ordered the Jews immediately evicted from the city.  The Jews begged (and bribed) the governor to give them three days.  The governor agreed and decreed that in three days, if it won’t rain, the Jews will be evicted and their belongings appropriated.  Any Jew found in the city after that date will be executed.

For the next three days, the Jews fasted, day and night.  As the second day drew to a close, when they saw their prayers weren’t answered, they decided they would rather commit mass suicide then stay at the mercy of the Turks.  But before they did so, they asked the governor to pray at Zecharia’s Tomb.

The governor agreed and so on the morning of the third day the Jews went to Zecharia’s Tomb and prayed and prayed.  The day was a hot day, and the Turks already prepared the stones with which they intended to stone the Jews on their return.  But come evening, after a day of prayer, the rains came.  Within a couple of hours all the water holes filled up.  The rains were so heavy, the Jews were forced to stay in the tomb throughout the night.  And on the next morning, the Turks met the Jews coming back and blessed them and gave them gifts.  The governor gave each of the rabbis a suit.  The Jews were saved, until next time.

The story of this miracle also appears in the book “Divrei Yosef” (PDF, p. 368), written by the 17th century Jewish-Egyptian historian Rabbi Yosef Sambari.  It makes no mention of the Turks at all.

Visit the Muqata.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rain, Wine and Why it’s all Our Fault: The History of the Rain Libel”

Comments are closed.

muqata logo 486x300
Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Blogs Stories
Rabbi Levinger (zt"l)

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

Tadmor - Yerushalmi

“Said Rabbi Yochanan: Happy are those who see the fall of Tadmor…” (Talmud Yerushalmi)

Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi is looking to come home to the Likud he abandoned a few years ago.

Why has Prime Minister Netanyahu given Erdan & Hanegbi insultingly low-level cabinet appointments?

Rabbi Levinger in blue, seated with the author

Without Israel, the Jewish People are scattered nomads lacking Torah’s true national grandeur&power

Will it get better/worse for Bibi or does the wily Bibi know/plan something that will shock us all?

Dr. Vernon Smith, 2002 Economics Nobel Prize winner, on predicting housing markets & economic issues

100% of the ‘First Responders’ helping those Arab school girls were Jewish and they didn’t hesitate!

Women equalizing with men in all areas of Judaism is anathema to the very idea of male/female roles.

Bibi endorsing the “2 State Solution” endangers Israel, moving the policy Center-Right from far Left

Dear Opposition Members… You seem confused… Let me clear it up for you… You lost.

A tribute to Jerusalem by its finest troubador, David Herman.

Do the food giants really care about our health? Are consumers now eating healthier food?

If other pleasures exceed the joy we feel for Jerusalem, then something is wrong with our Judaism.

There will be peace when we listen to G-d and do want he tells us to do – all for our very own good.

We will celebrate and thank the L-rd for our blessings, determined to truly liberate our Holy sites

For the record, the grand total of Jewish grandmothers in Israel that have blown up ANYTHING: ZERO!

More Articles from Orat@Muqata
Eilat

From the Islamic sources, it is clear that Eilat had a significant Jewish population, which existed for hundreds of years after the Muslim conquest.

F130114MH01

Two people have reported snow in the late May-early June, though in both cases, it was hearsay.

Jews of 14th century Jerusalem celebrated Purim on both the 14th and 15th of Adar.

Historically, the Christian residents of Bethlehem did not identify themselves as Arabs.

I had often wondered, if Jews love Israel so much, why didn’t they just get up and come here. The Mahram’s Aliyah attempt showed that Jews did.

A year after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, they turned to conquer Israel’s coastal cities. Haifa’s Jewish community is mentioned in the Genizah documents. The city was one of three forts (מבצר) that we know of – Haifa, Dan (Banias) and Rafah (Rafiah). Each had a major Jewish community. Haifa was probably mostly Jewish, if not exclusively so, with a small Muslim military presence. The story of Haifa’s conquest, in the summer of 1100, is reported by Christian chroniclers.

We’re now entering the period when we begin to pray for rain. Lack of rain was often an excuse to persecute the Jews, specifically those living in Jerusalem. There are quite a few examples from our history of this rain libel, which was very often linked to the ‘sin’ of drinking wine.

The main holiday events took place on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Raba. The Gaon would lead the people around the Temple Mount, and then the crowd made its way to the Mount of Olives. After they climbed the mountain, they circled it seven times. A monumental stone marked the spot where God looked over the Temple Mount. The Gaon would sit on this stone as he spoke to the assembled crowd.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/rain-wine-and-why-its-all-our-fault-the-history-of-the-rain-libel/2012/10/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: