Notre Dame and the Jews


While the world focuses on the damage done to the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Jews with a historic sense know that the church was the site of a famous episode of intolerance perpetrated against the Jewish people.

In Paris of 1240, the Talmud was put on trial for blasphemy against the Church, writes Abraham Chicheportiche at Arutz Sheva.

There was no way the Jewish rabbis debating the Christians could win. Held at the instigation of Nicolas Donin, an apostate Jew converted to Christianity, he and clerics debated four rabbis, led by Rabbi Yehiel of Paris in the presence of King Louis IX of France.

Begun in 1240, the trial ended with the decree, out of the Notre Dame Cathedral, ordering seizure of all copies of the Talmud, that is tens of wagonloads, at least 10,000 handwritten volumes of holy texts (the printing press had not yet been invented)  and then burning them on nearby Place de Greve in 1242.

Two of the rabbis, Rabbi Shmuel of Falaise and the Maharam Rottenberg, who participated in the debate are well known to us today through the prayers they  composed and the elegies about the burning of the holy books which are still part of our liturgy.

The King Louis of the time is now known as St. Louis.

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