Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have heard it said (see here, for example) that while memorial prayers for the departed are of greater antiquity, the actual text of the "El Male Rachamim" (אל מלא רחמים) originated as a response to the First Crusade and to the destruction of the Jewish communities of the Rhineland.

Where was the El Male Rachamim first printed? (The Wikipedia article to which I linked above cites a late 17th century text, but I would think that its first attestation would have been half a millennium earlier). What was the 'original' nusach? Did it involve mentioning the names of the departed, or merely referring to them as a community?

share|improve this question
    
While Av HaRachamim seems to have originated in response to the Pogroms of 1096, I'm not sure that's the case here (although this was speculated by Adolf Jellinek). After Tach v'Tat, a variant of this prayer appeared commemorating both tragedies, but this was after the 1626 publication of Ma'avar Yabok (that you cited as the earliest known explicit reference to this prayer). –  Fred Nov 26 '13 at 15:44

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.