When Did Jews Use Christian Blood for Passover?

During the season of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover, I am always reminded of the accusation that Jews, over the millennia, have used the blood of Christian children to make the matzah (unleavened bread) for Passover. This accusation is known as the "Blood Accusation" or "Blood Libel." It is, of course, a false allegation, but this hasn't stopped people from accusing Jews through the ages, and it has led to thousands of deaths.

The idea is that Jewish people murder young Christian children during the time of Passover, drain them of their blood, and use it to make unleavened bread. Passover often takes place around the time of Resurrection Sunday (Easter) and the Blood Libel can also be reinforced with the other lie about the Jewish people, the accusation of killing Christ or deicide (the killing of God.)

Biblically speaking, the Jewish people were to refrain from consuming blood, so much so that God made it very clear to them on several occasions (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 7:26, 17:14; Deuteronomy 12:6, 15:23; Acts 15:20, 28-29.) It was a grave sin to consume blood. The children of Israel had a firm order from God, punishable by death, as in Leviticus 17:14, “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off." The practice has continued through the ages, and one of the basic principles of kosher meat in contemporary Judaism is to drain the meat of all its blood before consumption.

So, when did it start in Jewish history? Like many of the false accusations, it started during the Middle Ages in Europe and has grown ever since. The first case on record was in 1144 in Norwich, England. When I say the case, I need to clarify that this is the first time that an accusation was made about the Jewish community, although there was absolutely no proof to make such an accusation.

A young child, known today as William of Norwich, died of a violent death (allegedly crucified by Jews on Easter Friday) during Holy Week in Norwich, England. The accusation was made by one single Benedictine monk, Thomas of Mommouth, who had claimed to have talked to some of the people in 1150 who witnessed the event. In other words, this was a second-hand story allegedly received by one monk six years after the alleged date of the murder that ignited the Blood Libel, occasionally still blazing across the globe today. This is so irrational, but that is the weapon of Satan to transform the irrational into the rational and make people believe it and go after the Jews.

The most recent book on the topic was Pasqua di Sangue (Passovers of Blood) by Ariel Toaff, published in His native Italian in 2007 and translated into English in 2016. That is 872 years after the death of William of Norwich. In his book, Ariel Toaff claims that the use of blood for Passover was a regular thing in Jewish communities, and it is very damaging to judeo/Christian relations. It should not come as a surprise, then, when we hear of people in the Middle East accusing Jews of the same crime today, as was the case in 2014, as reported in Time of Israel, “Israel is targeting the Palestinians… I would just like to remind you of the ruling by the Israeli rabbis, who have instructed the soldiers to knead the [dough for] the bread that the Jews eat with the blood of Arab and Palestinian children.” The old canard lives on, as irrational as ever and as believable as ever by those who loathe the Jews and seek their complete destruction.

If we want to connect Passover to blood, we can actually do it without too much difficulty, but it is not the blood of Christian children, but the blood of the Passover Lamb, sacrificed by each Jewish family after they came out of the Egyptian captivity and experienced the first Passover as retold in Exodus 12, and especially verses 21-22, "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Bring out and take for yourselves lambs according to your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the doorway of his house until morning."

The blood of the lamb was to be applied to the doorposts and lintel of the Jewish homes where the families were securely inside, and the destroyer (angel of death) would smite the Egyptians and preserve the Jewish people. Even back then, there was no sign of any blood consumption by anyone whatsoever.

Taking this biblical story to its perfect fulfillment, we must first look at the purpose of the Passover lamb for the Jewish people, and the true meaning of "life is in the blood" comes to life. But beyond this, we can also look at the ultimate Lamb of God, Yeshua of Nazareth, who sacrificed His own life to pay for the sins of all people just like John the Baptist cried out, "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John1:29.)" If we are to talk about blood during the Feast of Pesach (Passover), we'd better talk about the blood of Yeshua shed on the Cross for the salvation of all mankind. That is the only blood worth mentioning and it is not the blood of Christians, but the blood of Christ!

The Blood Libel: A Twenty-First Century "Medieval " Myth Against the Jews

Blood has a very important role in the Bible. It was through the shedding of blood that the Levitical sacrificial system functioned (Leviticus 17:11, 2 Chronicles 30:16.) Animals had to be split or sacrificed and their blood poured on the altar throughout the year or the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. That is of course until AD 70, when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed rendering any sacrifice impossible. Blood also plays an important part in the laws of kashrut (the kosher laws.) Jewish people are required to drain all the blood from the meat they consume. This is based on a biblical principle also found in the Bible (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:12, Deuteronomy 15:23.) So as a result, religious Jewish people go to great lengths to make sure no blood is left.

In spite of all this, one of the oldest myths created against the Jewish people persists today. It is a myth that is almost 900 years old. The twelfth century introduced this new charge against the Jews that would be added to the list of reasons why they should be converted, ostracized, abused, or even killed. This new charge was fabricated from beginning to end for the sole purpose of stigmatizing Jewish people further into a demonized state. It is also known as the “Blood Libel” or “Blood Accusation.”

A broad definition of the Blood Libel is the following proposition: "The Jews would commit an official murder of a Christian, preferably a child, during Holy Week for ritual purposes." More than 150 false charges of blood libel were recorded throughout history, resulting in the death of Jewish people (mostly during the Middle Ages). Some people even went as far as claiming that the collected blood of Christian children was used to make matzoh (the unleavened bread used for Passover.)

The first claim of the Blood Libel recorded came out of Norwich, England, in 1141 as recorded in the Catholic Encyclopedia.The dead body of a boy was found on Good Friday. The boy was later referred to as William of Norwich. The testimony of a monk (Thomas of Monmouth) was the only record of the event. No proof was ever found to substantiate the accusation.

The William murder was responsible for the crowd attacking a Jewish delegation coming to the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted in 1189. The following year, most of the Jews of Norwich were slaughtered in the village. More accusation of ritual murders and blood libels followed the first one throughout England. Jews were eventually expelled from England in 1290, and they were not allowed to return until 1655 under Oliver Cromwell.

The ritual murder libel claims picked up momentum across the Channel in France and then Germany. In France, in 1187, Jews were burned for failing the water test (the accused would either sank or remain afloat depending if they were lying or not while submerged in a tub of Holy Water).

The charge later re-emerged in Poland in the late eighteenth century, as well as the late nineteenth century in France, Germany, and Russia (1911). The same accusation has appeared more recently, in New York in 1928, in Nazi propaganda during WWII, and even in a booklet entitled “Jewish Ritual Murder” published in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1962.

While it is absolutely ludicrous and impossible to prove, it continues to be propagated today, mostly in the Middle East by anti-Semitic Muslims indoctrinated early to hate the Jews. Occasionally, it resurfaces in places where we less expect it, as is the case of the recent events that took place in Eastern Europe in November 2017. A Russian bishop close to President Putin re-introduced the idea that Csar Nicholas II and his family were killed by Jews in a ritual murder. It is a historical fact that the chief perpetrator of Czar Nicholas II was Yakov Mikhailovich Yurovsky, who was Jewish. Accusing Yurovsky of ritual murder is akin to holding all Jews responsible for the killing of Jesus when just a few within the leadership of Israel were involved along with the leadership of Rome and Roman soldiers. In reality, Jesus gave His own life for all (John 10:17-18.)

Yurovsky was a killer who happened to be Jewish and NOT a killer because he was Jewish. Additionally, there is no proof that the killing of Nicholas II and his family was a blood ritual any more than the very first accusation 876 years ago. Unfortunately, factual truth is not required when anti-semitism strikes, and it isn't even required by those witnessing acts of anti-semitism.

The "Blood Libel" is one of the oldest and longest lasting lies against the Jewish people. It is sad that there would still be people to propagate it but even sadder that there are also people left to believe it. It is considered part of classic anti-semitism, culminating in racial Jew-hatred, which was believed to have ceased after the Holocaust. It was replaced by the New anti-semitism in the name of social justice and human rights. Who would have thought that the two branches of the same weed would intertwine and become stronger as "End-Times anti-semitism?"

For more, make sure to get a copy of my latest book: End-Times Antisemitism-A New Chapter In The Longest Hatred