Jewish Martyrdom: Part 1

Eleazar Avaran dies while killing Seleucid war elephant.

ZS wrote this two-part overview of Jewish martyrdom in 2018. We post it now with consideration of those who joined the ranks of kedoshim on October 7, 2023. The concept of martyrdom within Judaism wrestles with several issues. Martyrdom carries different functions within Judaism, often changing with historical context. Judaism tries to set clear determinations for situations in which a martyr’s death is preferred, although this tends to be a difficult task with gray areas. A martyr receives rewards in haolam haba (“the world to come,” or the afterlife). Unlike Christian martyrdom, Jewish halakhah arguably focuses more on the action … Continue reading “Jewish Martyrdom: Part 1”