I recall of a story where a Rabbi during the time of the Tosafists who personally killed many Jewish children in order to save them being raised in the Christian faith.

Anyone know source? Additionally, why was this permitted?

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    Seems to be duplicate but I am not able to find it. One of my answers reports a Tosfot in taanit and Tosfot al hatorah
    – kouty
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 5:52

2 Answers 2


This case is mentioned in the Beit Yosef (YD 157):

מעשה ברב אחד ששחט תינוקות הרבה בשעת השמד שירא שיעבירום על דת
It happened that one rabbi slaughtered many children in a time of persecution for he feared they would leave the religion

See there for discussion of other rabbis who disagreed and for each side's reasoning.

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    This is during the Tosafists? Just vauge is all.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 6:44
  • It's brought in Daas zekeinim, no?
    – robev
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 13:30
  • @robev yes, just this is where most people may have come across it. There are a bunch of places it's brought/discussed
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 13:31
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    The question asked why it was permitted. This answer would be improved to summarize or explain the disagreement you referenced, as those details may not be readily accessible to many readers otherwise.
    – Aaliyah
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 3:11

You’re definition is rather vauge, but perhaps it is the intention of the Kinah recited during Tisha Ba'av, which discuses this time period:

Kinah 22 (Ashkenaz)

אֲבָל אָזְרוּ גְּבוּרָה יְתֵרָה לַהֲלוֹם רֺאשׁ וְלִקְרוֹץ שֶׁדְרָה וְאֵלֵימוֹ דִּבְּרוּ בַּאֲמִירָה לֹא זָכִינוּ לְגַדֶּלְכֶם לְתּוֹרָה נַקְרִיבְכֶם כְּעוֹלָה וְהַקְטָרָה וְנִזְכֶּה עִמָּכֶם לְאוֹרָה הַצְּפוּנָה מֵעֵין כֺּל וַעֲלוּמָה אָרִיד בְּשִׂיחִי וְאָהִימָה וְקוֹל נְהִי אָרִימָה:

They nonetheless girded themselves in great strength... saying, we have not merited to educate you in Torah ways. Let us sacrifice you like the olah offering...

Rabbeinu Peretz (Haggahot on Sefer Mitzvot Katan 3) ruled for this to be completely legal.

אותם קדושים ששחטו עצמם שלא סמכ' דעתם לעמוד בנסיון קדושים גמורים הם וראי' משאול

The martyrs that have taken their own lives because they could not withstand the challenge, are very holy individuals indeed, and the proof is from King Saul.

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