||An account of the ten sages put to death by the Romans copied from a manuscript in the Hamburger Stadt-Bibliothek and transcribed and brought to press by the renowned scholar Adolf Jellinek. The manuscript was written in 1556 by the scribe R. Samuel ben Hayyim מרויץ. The story of these sages is part of the Yom Kippur liturgy.
Asarah harugei malkhut (the ten martyrs) is the name given to the ten sages put to death by the Romans. A number of late Midrashim, such as Elleh Ezkerah relate that the Roman emperor decided to execute ten great Jewish sages, corresponding to the ten sons of Jacob who had sold Joseph. After one of those sages ascended to Heaven and heard that it had been a heavenly decree irrevocably sealed, they accepted it, and by the emperor's orders were, one after another, tortured and executed in various violent manners. Among them were R. Akiva and R. Hananiah ben Teradyon, who, according to tannaitic sources, were tortured and put to death at the time of the Hadrianic persecutions. There is no mention in early sources, however, of a collective sentence passed upon a group of sages tried together. Moreover, neither tannaitic literature nor the Jerusalem Talmud and the early amoraic aggadic Midrashim know the term harugei malkhut in this aggadic connection, while in halakhic sources this term denoted people condemned and put to death by a Jewish king (Sanh. 48b). A list of ten martyrs is first enumerated in Lamentations Rabbah (2:2) with no description of the manner in which they were put to death, and without being referred to as harugei malkhut, this appellation (with no mention of the number ten), the list, or the story itself being employed, meaning martyrs, in Song of Songs Rabbah (8:9) and in the Babylonian Talmud (Sot. 48b; BB 10b). The story of the "ten" appears for the first time in Heikhalot Rabbati, composed in the circles of the "Ba'alei ha-Merkavah" (the mystics who studied Ezekiel's vision of the Heavenly Chariot, in which circles were, even later still, composed of the particular Midrashim of the Ten Martyrs, including Elleh Ezkerah).The various versions of the legend, all bearing a distinct mystical stamp, contradict one another in certain details and are often at variance with early accounts. For example, the description of the martyrdom of Judah b. Bava conflicts with the early tradition according to which he was killed by Roman soldiers after ordaining students between Usha and Shefaram (Sanh. 14a). The list of the martyrs differs in practically all of the sources, and not all of the alleged victims are contemporaries.
Adolf Jellinek, (Aaron; 1820/21–1893), Vienna preacher and scholar. He was born in a village near Uhersky Brod (Ungarisch Brod), Moravia, into a family which he believed to be of Hussite origin. After attending the yeshivah of Menahem Katz (Wannfried) in Prostejov (Prossnitz), in 1838 he moved to Prague where he was influenced by R. Solomon Judah Rapoport, Michael Jehiel Sachs, and Wolfgang Wessely. Moving to Leipzig in 1842, he studied philosophy and Semitics at the university there, assisted Julius Fuerst in editing the Orient, and in 1845 was appointed preacher in the new synagogue which was established under the guidance of Zacharias Frankel. Although he opposed the radical views of his brother, Herman Jellinek, he enthusiastically hailed the freedom resulting from the 1848 revolution. In 1862 Jellinek founded the Beit ha-Midrash Academy where public lectures were delivered by himself, Isaac Hirsch Weiss, and Meir Friedmann. A scholarly periodical, also called Beit ha-Midrash, was published under its auspices.
Jellinek was considered the greatest preacher of his day and some 200 of his sermons were published, some in translations into Hebrew and other languages. Their most striking characteristic was that, while related to actual problems of the day, they made brilliant and original use of aggadah and Midrash. Personally lenient in matters of ritual, he advocated a moderately liberal line, striving for unity in the community. Thus although he wanted to install an organ in the synagogue "to attract the indifferent," he took I. N. Mannheimer's advice and abandoned the idea. He also opposed the omission from the prayer book of references to Zion and prayers for the restoration of sacrifices. Due to the conciliatory attitude of both Jellinek and the leader of the Orthodox group, R. Solomon Benjamin Spitzer, a split in the community was avoided. He was hostile to the emerging Jewish nationalist movement, and when Leo Pinsker approached him he refused to back his ideas.
Jellinek also produced a large number of scholarly works in numerous fields. He had taken an early interest in the study of Kabbalah (one of the very few who did in that golden age of modern Jewish scholarship) and translated A. Franck's La Cabbale into German (1844). Jellinek's original contributions in this field were: Moses b. Schemtob de Leon und sein Verhaeltnis zum Sohar (1851); Auswahl kabbalistischer Mystik (1853); Beitraege zur Geschichte der Kabbala (1852); Thomas von Aquino in der juedischen Literatur (1853); and Philosophie und Kabbala (1854). He also edited Abraham Abulafia's Sefer ha-Ot (1887), in which he showed that Moses b. Shem Tov de Leon and not Abulafia wrote the Zohar. In his Leipzig period Jellinek also edited Menahem de Lonzano's Ma'arikh (1853), a dictionary of foreign words in Talmud, Midrash, and Zohar; wrote "Sefat Hakhamim" (1846–47) on talmudic idioms (in L. Benjacob, Devarim Attikim); and edited, with an introduction and commentary, Bahya b. Joseph ibn Paquda's Hovot ha-Levavot (1846). In Vienna Jellinek's main scholarly effort was directed toward the publication of 99 smaller, largely unknown Midrashim (Beit ha-Midrash, 6 vols., 1853–78, 1938), many of which were of prime importance for the study of early Kabbalah, such as the Heikhalot Rabbati, Nistarot R. Shimon bar Yohai, etc.