There's the famous incident known as the Ten Martyrs (see here), where Ten famous Rabbis were killed (not in the same period) as an atonement for the Ten children of Yaakov selling Yosef.

The ten are usually assumed to exclude Yosef (who was sold), and Binyamin (who wasn't involved). However, this question asks why Reuven was considered culpable, when the verse attests that he tried to save Yosef.

The Zohar Chadash (brought in this answer) explains that Reuven was indeed innocent, and was reincarnated into Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol. The latter was only imprisoned by the Romans, but indeed wasn't killed. The answer there implied that there weren't really Ten Martyrs, but Nine, and the Tenth was merely imprisoned.

However, we have a list of the Ten who were killed. One could say it's a dispute, but the Benei Yissaschar (Chodesh Tishrei § 12) brings the Zohar Chadash, and says even though Reuven's reincarnation was spared, the rest of the brothers were reincarnated into Ten Sages, who were all killed. Unless he means 9 brothers were reincarnated into 10 people (which I assume not, as I don't know what that means), the only other explanation is that Binyamin was also reincarnated and martyred. This would imply his culpability in the sale.

Am I totally off the mark? Does anyone hold Binyamin accountable in the sale? Was he indeed reincarnated and martyred?

  • I heard hashem was 10th because he was 10th for cheirum not to tell Yakov.
    – Shlomy
    Oct 6, 2020 at 18:13
  • Hashem reincarnated Chas vheshalom?
    – robev
    Oct 6, 2020 at 18:22
  • No, but one acted as atonement for Hashem. I myself don't understand what that means. But i saw or heard this.
    – Shlomy
    Oct 6, 2020 at 18:26
  • It seems according to various sources that Binyomin was not involved and not included in martyrdom. Which is why G-d is referenced with Rabbi Akiva as the 10th or according to some Kabbbalist that Yosef is the 10th person (in the story of the sale) because he brought it upon himself that why akiva ben Yosef was executed. Oct 6, 2020 at 19:13

2 Answers 2


Binyamin wasn't culpable. The tenth one was for Yosef. Yosef was culpable as he caused the brothers to hate him.

See link. https://www.sefaria.org/Otzar_Midrashim%2C_The_Ten_Martyrs%2C_Introduction.2?lang=bi

See link. Asara Haruge Malchut (Ten Martyrs), why were 10 Rabbis killed?


This doesn't answer your question except indirectly and partially.

But also these two passages which are the only four occurrences of "Asarah Harugei Malkhut" in Tikunei Zohar, I think should be helpful here and in some related questions.

In summary, R' Yosei says the Ten Martys (only) resemble or have a likeness to - they're an aspect of - the Ten Tribes. He strongly rejects that they were actually them (and it seems to me he'd reject individual one-to-one reincarnations as well; anyhow as brought by R' Nachman of Breslev and others, H"Y never brings the same exact person in the world twice and an individual is always unique and irreplaceable).

So this might limit the realm of possibility of making exact correspondences between individuals in the two groups.

Second, if we do consider an individual correspondence of all ten, then from daf 109a mentioning that the ten droplets from the episode of Potifar's house were cast into [i.e. being the spiritual source of] the Ten Martys – then if Binyamin wasn't yet born then one might reason that the tenth has to correspond to Reuven and not Binyamin.

TZ 109a

(R' Yosei said:) … And by this Yud did Yosef sin, behold it's the scripture (Gen. 49:24), "And his bow abode firm, and the seeds of his hands were released (wa'yafozzu)." What is wa'yafozzu? – the droplet which is Yud was thrown amid his ten fingers, and split into ten sparks that were cast from the "bow" which is Berit. And where were they cast to? The Asarah Harugei Malkhut.

He (R' Elazar) replied, "But I've heard the Asarah Harugei Malkhut were Yaakob's sons!

He replied, "God forbid. Rather, they were in their likeness, semblance."

ובהאי י' חב יוסף, הדא הוא דכתיב (בראשית מ"ט) ותשב באיתן קשתו ויפוזו זרועי ידיו, מאי ויפוזו, דאזרריקת טפה דאיהי י' בין עשר אצבעאן, ואתפליגת לעשר ניצוצין דאזדריקו מקשת דאיהו ברית, ובאן אתר אזדריקו בעשרה הרוגי מלכות, אמר ליה, והא שמענא דעשרה הרוגי מלכות בני יעקב הוו, אמר ליה חס ושלום, אלא בדיוקנייהו הוו:

TZ 110b

(R' Yosei said:) "The sea saw and fled" – and if not, Yisrael would not have emerged from the sea, but he (Yisrael) gets his punishment in these Asarah Harugei Malkhut, as the Ten Tribes were in the future to emerge from him, and therefore the Asarah Harugei Malkhut were like/resembled the Ten Tribes who were destined to emerge from him, so (that's why) the Friends reckon them as the ten sons of Yaakob.

הים ראה וינס, ואי לא, לא הוו נפקין ישראל מן ימא, ואיהו קביל עונשיה באלין עשרה הרוגי מלכות, דהוו עתידין למיפק מיניה עשרה שבטין, ובגין דא הוו עשרה הרוגי מלכות כגוונא דעשרה שבטין דהוו עתידין למיפק מניה, והון חשבין חבריא דעשרה בני יעקב הוו:

And what was the resemblance and similarity between the Brothers and the A"HM?

This I received from my friend:

HH Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol undertook to rectify the entire universe of Tohu, and he did this from his place in excommunication, but he was desmayed that his student Rabbi Akiva was not on board with him, and did not properly serve and learn from him, and told Rabbi Akiva that for this Rabbi Akiva would still need to finalize the rectification by being tortured to death.

Rabbainu revealed that even when someone does complete repentance, they still must confess before the Tzadik, otherwise the permutations of the sin will still take vengeance, God forbid.

Na NaCh NaChMa NaChMaN MAyUMaN

So Yehudah, until and when he confessed and acknowledged before Yosef haTzaddik - Yehudah representing the Bnei Leah, aspect of Torah, acknowledging before Ben Rachel, the Tzaddik and the aspect of Prayer and Emunah - then he Yehudah being both Torah but also being Modeh the primacy and supremacy of the Tzaddik and Prayer and Emunah - so he attained the Malkhut and "You - will your brothers acknowledge" and "the rule will not leave from Yehudah" etc. - Know! By the Torah, that's how the Prayer is received etc. etc. as explained in Likutei Moharan, Torah א.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .