Invitation of Jews into Flanders, Anonymous Eleventh-Century Hebrew Narrative


[In the folkish story of early persecution in northern Europe, of Jewish intercession with the pope in Rome, and a papal edict of protection (above, chap 1), the story ends on the following note.]

The Jewish leader received permission from the pope [to depart]. He [the pope] said to him [the Jew]- “If you require anything in your land, send me your emissary, and do you not burden yourself further. For I shall do whatever you wish. He [the Jew] then returned to his family in Lotharingia and remained there for twelve years.

Subsequently, Baldwin the Count of Flanders sent a writ, [urging] that this Jewish leader should come to him and bring along thirty Jews—his prior associates and confidantes—so that he [Baldwin] might settle them in his land. He [the Jewish leader] arose and went to him [Baldwin]. They accepted him with great honor, along with his two sons, Isaac and Judah. He [the Jew] remained with him [Baldwin] for three months, and then he went to his eternal rest. He passed away on the banks of the river in Arras. He had gone to bathe in the waters. As he exited, he sat on a stone and put his hands on his face. His soul departed in purity and sanctity. His sons brought him to the city of Rheims and buried him. There in his grave may his soul rest, bound up in the bond of life.

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