digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















The Ten Martyrs (Aseret Harugei Malchut עשרת הרוגי מלכות) were ten rabbis living during the era of the Mishnah who were martyred by the Romans in the period after the destruction of the second Temple. Although all ten could not have been killed at the same time, since two of the rabbis listed lived well before the other eight, they are listed together, in a manner of a dramatic poem (known as the Eleh Ezkera) recited on two important Jewish holidays, to elicit the proper mood of the day, one of reflection and the hope of redemption in the face of attacks to the beliefs of Judaism.

The term "martyrology" is also used about the story of the deaths (martyrdom) of several famous Rabbis (including Rabbi Akiva) by Romans, read both on Yom Kippur and Tisha b'Av. Popular imagination seized upon this episode in Jewish history and embellished it with various legends relating the virtues of the martyrs and the fortitude shown by them during their execution. These legends became in the geonic period the subject of a special midrash—the Midrash 'Asarah Haruge Malkut, or Midrash Eleh Ezkerah. The deaths are described as being gruesome, including allegedly being wrapped in Torah scrolls and then being set aflame. See also Midrash Eleh Ezkerah.

The rabbis mentioned lived over a period of several hundred years and their stories are presented as a plot by Romans and others to weaken Jews by destroying Jewish leadership.


In the story, the Roman emperor Hadrian decides to martyr 10 rabbis as 'punishment' for the 10 brothers listed in the Torah who sold their brother Joseph to Ancient Egypt (Genesis 37). He justifies this by saying that the penalty for this was death (according to Jewish law, one who kidnaps his fellow Jew and sells him into slavery is punished with death. This, however, does not allow for descendants to be punished in place of their ancestors), and though this crime took place almost two thousand years earlier, there are 'none like you' 10 who are capable of rectifying this crime.

The martyrs[edit]

According to the poem, the first two to be executed were Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and Rabbi Yishmael the Kohen Gadol. Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel was beheaded, and while Rabbi Yishmael wept, the Roman ruler's daughter coveted Rabbi Yishmael for his physical beauty. When she was told that he would have to be executed as well, she asked that the skin of his head be flayed while he was alive, so she could stuff the skin and look at his face.

The most well known martyr is Rabbi Akiva, who was raked over his skin with iron combs. Despite the pain consuming him, he was still able to proclaim God's providence in the world by reciting the Shema, drawing out the final Echad - "One".

Another sage martyred was Rabbi Haninah ben Teradion, who was wrapped in a Torah scroll and burned alive. Damp wool was packed into his chest to ensure he would not die quickly. When he was being burnt, he told his students that he could see the letters of the sacred torah "flying up" to heaven.

The others mentioned in the poem are Rabbi Hutzpit the Interpreter (so named, because he would interpret the words of the Rosh Yeshiva - the head of the Yeshiva - for the masses, who could not follow all his words); Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua; Rabbi Hanina ben Hakinai; Rabbi Yesheivav the Scribe; Rabbi Judah ben Dama; and Rabbi Judah ben Baba.

Part of the Yom Kippur services[edit]

This poem is best known as part of the Yom Kippur mussaf recital in the Ashkenazi ritual. This was made part of these services because of the impact losing so many pillars of Judaism would have to the masses. As such, it has become one of the 'highlights' of the day, marking a point when the congregation should reflect on their own lives and the sacrifices that were made for their sake. A similar poem Arzei haLevanon is recited as one of the Kinot on Tisha B'Av.

In contemporary times[edit]

In contemporary times, the moral of this poem has taken on a new meaning with the deaths of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Many Jews followed Rabbi Akiva's example reciting the Shema as they were being led to the gas chambers. A liturgical link was made explicit in the Mahzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a 1972 project of the Rabbinical Assembly which is the primary rabbinical association for Conservative Judaism. In an elaborate reworking of the traditional text, the martyrology was interwoven with material from Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Hillel Bavli, and other sources, connecting the Roman persecutions to later persecutions such as those by the Russian Tsars and the Nazis. The section climaxes with a special version of Mourner's Kaddish which names sites of persecution and Jewish flourishing.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External sources[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Martyrs — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
68758 videos foundNext > 

Martyrs in The Making: Volume 2 (Full Mixtape + Download)

God Over Money Presents: Martyrs in The Making 2 [SONG LINKS BELOW] [PLAY A SPECIFIC SONG] Download - http://bit.ly/1cVaFiK Facebook.com/LavyssAkaBizzle Godo...

The Ten Martyrs


Rav Mike Feuer - Aseret Harugei Malchut 1/3 - 10 Martyrs History - Elul Zman

History of the 10 Martyrs (part 1) In our effort to reach out to our community Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov worked hard to bring this unique opportunity to learn fi...

Ten Martyrs Video

Atheist Experience #623: More on Martyrs

The Atheist Experience #623 for September 20, 2009, with Matt Dillahunty and Tracie Harris. More on Martyrs. Tracie explores more about the topic of dying fo...

Betraying The Martyrs - Man Made Disaster (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Buy the album: http://bit.ly/18CsR34 Buy the video: http://bit.ly/qn0ZJN Official music video for "Man Made Disaster" by Betraying The Martyrs. Their new alb...

10. Martyrs (Top 10 Horror Films)

Time for a top 10 list of my personal favorite horror films. And starting with number 10 is the 2008 French horror film Martyrs by writer and director Pascal...

Betraying The Martyrs - Because of You (Lyric Video)

Catch Betraying The Martyrs all Summer long on The 2012 All-Stars Tour. http://theallstarstour.com/ Buy "Breathe In Life" here: http://bit.ly/pUgGNu www.face...

BETRAYING THE MARTYRS - Welcomes Mark Mironov

BETRAYING THE MARTYRS Welcomes Mark Mironov - Performing "Man Made Disaster" Catch BTM live this summer on The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival and The All St...

Mark Mironov of Betraying The Martyrs drumming at HELLFEST 2012

Mark Mironov of Betraying The Martyrs drumming live at Hellfest 2012! For more info on BTM please visit: www.itunes.com/betrayingthemartyrs www.facebook.com/...

68758 videos foundNext > 

4 news items

Business Standard
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:15:23 -0700

16th CRPF Battalion has been deployed to look after the security at Sri Krishna Janmasthan and Shahi Masjid Idgah here. On October 21, 1959, ten personnel of CRPF were killed by the foul act of Chinese troops. Ever since in the memory of the ten ...

VietNamNet Bridge

VietNamNet Bridge
Sat, 18 Oct 2014 23:45:00 -0700

Truong Son Martyr Cemetery - located in Vinh Truong Commune, Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province - is the eternal resting place of more than 10,000 soldiers who died on the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. This is the largest cemetery for ...
The Jewish Press
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:38:30 -0700

... blowing the Shofar; The Prayer of Veedooi – וידוי (confession/reaffirmation in Hebrew), is recited ten times during Yom Kippur one is commanded to extend a 10% gift to God (tithe); Ten Martyrs (Jewish leaders) were tortured/murdered by the Roman ...
Cleveland Jewish News (blog)
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:30:00 -0700

He is one of the Ten Martyrs memorialized on the High Holidays. It is said that while being tortured he began saying the Shema with his life ending as he reached the word "Achad"(one). Considering that he did not start studying until the age of forty ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight