In Midrash Eicha 5:5 It says that Hadrian (May his Bones be Crushed) commanded that if a Jew was found with hair, his head should be removed? Midrash Eicha

What is pshat here, is it talking about the living, the dead, both? Any reason why hair was an issue?

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    Might "hair" refer to peyos or beard? (I haven't seen the Midrash inside, yet; I'm just taking a guess) – MTL Jan 12 '15 at 21:34
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    He didn't exactly need a reason. See Midrash Eicha (3, Reish), where Hadrian kills a Jew for greeting him, and then he kills another Jew for not greeting him. When his advisers questioned his behavior, he said, "Are you going to counsel me how to kill my enemies?" The Y'fei Einayim explains that he was just looking for any pretense to kill Jews. – Fred Jan 12 '15 at 21:53

The Eitz Yosef says it might have been a ruse to get them to shave their peyos harosh and beard. The Matna Kehuna says it is a warning to his soldiers and hair of the head is an expressing for finding a person, meaning if he finds any Jew he will chop off the head of the officer who failed to kill the Jew. He brings a variant text where a first proclamation that an Jew with hair will be killed, whereupon the Jews all went to shave their heads. A second proclamation went out that anyone who was found to have Jewish hair upon him would be killed.

  • thanks for the response, when you say "Jewish hair" in the second proclamation, this is going on the beard and peyos too? – warz3 Jan 12 '15 at 23:03
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    @warz3 no this is a different explenation. I'm actually not exactly sure what it means that's why i left it vague. A direct translation is 'then a second proclamation went out saying whoever sees the neck that was upon it hair of a Jew, remove his head from him.' I'm not sure if it means any Jew who once had hair will be killed, meaning their attempt to protect themselves was futile. Or maybe something else. I'm not sure. – user6591 Jan 12 '15 at 23:22

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