Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Kalir Killer

One of the original Piyutim for שבת הגדול is the Piyut
"אדיר דר מתוחים" *. 

This Piyut was supposedly written by R. Yanai.

R. Yanai was one of the first Paytonim. He was the Rebbe of R. Elazar b. Hakalir. Some claim, him to be the Tanna mentioned in Bavli & Yerushalmi.

An old Ksav Yad (manuscript) of R. Efraim from Bonn (Ba’alei Tosfos) was found in the 18th century. R. Efraim writes,

“In the land (region) of Lombardia (Italy) this Piyut is not recited. It is said the reason for it is because R. Yanai was jealous of his Talmid R. Elazar b. Hakalir, whose Piyutim were much better than his. R.Yanai placed a scorpion in the shoe of R. E.b.Hakalir and it killed him. Hashem should forgive all who repeat this story if it isn’t true”

Shadal (Luzatto) says that this story is unbelievable, absurd, and not true. He has 3 proofs that it can’t be true.
1) In all homes on the 1st. Seder night we say Yanai's Piyut “ובכן ויהי בחצי הלילה".

2) The Shibolei Haleket quotes the R. Gershom Meor Hagolah who praises highly R. Yanai.

3) The 300 [500] year old Soncino Machzor has the Piyut in there. Today (200 years ago) they do say it in Lombardia.

Perhaps one more proof

4) Tosfos (Meseches Zevachim 95b) quotes this Piyut.

Had he have been a murderer, the above would not have been said or quoted.


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