A lot of people have told me (and I seem to remember seeing so myself) there is a view in the Rishonim that someone who is killed Al Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G-d's name, ie., martyrdom) does not feel the pain. In this thread people have pointed out a few proofs that they definitely did feel the pain.

What is the source that there is no pain when being killed for Hashem?


2 Answers 2


Per http://www.ashlag.com/parasha_in.asp?id=206&idd=5 this is based on a Maharam M'Rotenberg. The pain is not felt if the person is not anticipating a miracle, however if the person is anticipating a miracle then he does feel the pain.

בשו״ת מהר״ם מרוטנבערג (סימן תקט״ז) דכשגמר האדם בדעתו למות על קידוש השם ומסר נפשו על זה, אז מכאן ואילך כל מה שעושים לו אינו מרגיש, ולכן מובן מה שמצינו שכשהקדושים הושלכו באש לא צעקו כלל, אף שהאדם הנוגע באצבעו באש אי אפשר שלא יצעק, כי כשהולך על קידוש השם שאני. אך במה דברים אמורים כשמוסר נפשו למות, אבל אם מצפה לנס ולא גמר בדעתו למות, אז מרגיש את היסורים.‏

The Teshuva says סימן תקט״ז, but it actually is סימן תקי״ז.

  • Amazing, just what I was looking for! Makes the Kasha even stronger when the opinon is sourced!
    – Yehuda
    Jul 11, 2012 at 18:56
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    Reb Yishmoel defitily wasnt. He had already gone to Shomayim and they had told him it was a decree from Heaven!
    – Yehuda
    Jul 11, 2012 at 19:10
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    Do you have access to the rest of the teshuva? I checked the source that you quoted this from, and it's all they have. Clearly (since it begins with דכשגמר), this is following on from another observation that the Maharam made. Perhaps the entire thing would make this clearer? (+1 BTW: this was very well spotted).
    – Shimon bM
    Jul 11, 2012 at 19:20
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    @DoubleAA, Found it. (It's actually 517.)
    – jake
    Jul 11, 2012 at 23:59
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    Is anybody else bothered by the fact that the quote above is not what the printed passage says?
    – Shimon bM
    Jul 13, 2012 at 1:40

For a comprehensive review of this topic and a broad list of sources see Michael Fishbane's "The Kiss of God" chapter 2: The Sanctification of God in Love. Among the sources he cites is the Shu"T MaHaram quoted above but he quotes the later Rabbi Moshe Galante's Koheles Yaakov (73a) as sourcing this idea in Tosfos; he writes:

In my opinion, the sense [of this verse (Koheles 8:5)] is similar to what is adduced by the Tosafists... following a tradition of sages [of France]: 'Those who are burnt and killed for the sanctification of His Name do not experience this torment but die [painlessly] by the [divine] kiss.'

He cites many other sources for this idea as well.

  • Maharam was a Tosafist so those are essentially the same source.
    – Double AA
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:16
  • @DoubleAA Though he may have been a contemporary, the reference was to the baalei tosfos of France which procludes Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg.
    – user1668
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:50
  • user1668 Rabbi Meïr ben Solomon of Perpignan, referred to Rab Meir of Rothenberg, as the "greatest Jewish leader of Zarfat" alive at the time, Zarfat is medieval Hebrew for France which was a reference to Charlemagne's rule of Germany. from en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meir_of_Rothenburg
    – user6591
    Jun 16, 2016 at 9:39

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