Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Kalir Killer


One of the original פיוטים for שבת הגדול is the פיוט
"אדיר דר מתוחים" *. This פיוט was supposedly written by R. Yanai.

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

An old כתב יד (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 פיוט is not recited. It is said the reason for it is because R. Yanai was jealous of his Talmid R. Elazar b. Hakalir, whose פיוטים 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) claims this story to be 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 שבלי הלקט quotes the R. Gershom Meor Hagolah who praises highly R. Yanai.

3) The 300 [500] year old Soncino Machzor has the פיוט in there. Today (200years 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.




תוספות ד"ה עירה לתוכו זבחים צ"ה ע:"ב


This Piyut is only found in the אוצר התפילות Siddur.to be said during Musaf. It is not found in other Siddurim.

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