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      WHAT, exactly, was a Judaizing heretic? At what point, and by what actions, did a professing Christian become an apostate from Truth? What were the signs by which his crime could be detected?

      Theology, with all its dialectical refinements, had always been a special interest of the Dominican order. Most of the Inquisitors, like their general Torquemada, were Dominicans and therefore subtly sophisticated about heresy. Besides, since Christians and Jews had been partners in Spanish civilization for so many centuries they were bound to know a good deal about each other's religion.


      At the outset, Torquemada provided his organization with one perfectly reliable source of information about backsliding Conversos. He ordered all the rabbis of Spain to denounce to the Inquisition any Conversos whom they knew to be practicing Judaism. The rabbis were also forced to announce to their congregations that under pain of excommunication from the synagogue all Jews must report to the Inquisition any Conversos who gave alms to the synagogue or who in any way whatsoever inclined to their ancestral faith. Excommunication for a Jew was as horrendous as it was for a Christian, and the mere threat brought forth a flock of denunciations to the Inquisition. A Jewish contemporary recorded that Torquemada's order resulted in the burning of 'many thousands" and the confiscation of private fortunes "without number."

      Some of the early Inquisition cases, however, suggest that the Inquisitors were not always sure about what properly constituted a Judaic heresy. For instance, a survey of cases conducted by the Holy Office at Saragossa reveals some curious examples of charges which sent some Conversos to prison and others to the stake as relapsed Judaizers. These include the expression of doubts regarding the immaculate conception, the real presence, and the corporate character of the Trinity, as well as a disbelief in Hell, Paradise, or a future life. Careless religious habits were also taken as evidence of Judaism; poor attendance at church, neglect of confession, failure to cross oneself on appropriate occasions, forgetting the words of the 'Pater Noster and the "Ave Maria," withholding the truth at confession, and eating meat on


Friday. In the same category were certain derelictions during the Mass-failure to kneel at the proper moments, eating before Communion, and letting one's attention wander when the Host was raised.

      Blasphemies of various kinds appear too. There were jokes about confession and about Christ. One "Judaizer" suggested that the twelve apostles drank too much; another observed that sitting through Mass gave him as much pleasure as a saddle gave to a jackass. And some of the cases involving abuse of the Crucifix have strong overtones of witchcraft. One tiresome case involved the charge of cheating an Old Christian in a business deal.1

      If the Inquisitors were to avoid wasting time on questionable cases at the cost of neglecting the really serious ones, a more precise definition of Judaism was essential. Early in the 1480's the Valencia Tribunal issued two documents designed to fill this need. The first, entitled "Audience with a self-confessed Jew," listed seventeen Jewish practices described by a prisoner. This was followed by the "Declaration of the ceremonies of the Jewish rites given by a certain Jewish rabbi" which said pretty much the same things in greater detail.

      However, the most comprehensive 'manual' of Jewish customs was the "Censure and Confutation of the Talmud," which appeared in Segovia about this same time. Prepared under the authority of the local Inquisitors, it was

1. In later years circumcision became standard evidence of secret Judaizing. In Spain's overseas provinces of the New World, even more wondrous signs were sought. A seventeenth century Inquisitor in New Mexico had a suspected Jew examined for scars of surgery to remove his tail so that he could 'pass' into the Christian flock.


the work of one Antonio de Avila, former Jew and present physician, and friar Alonso Enriquez, also a former Jew and now a Dominican colleague of Torquemada in the latter's cloister at Segovia. It also carried a dedication to Torquemada, written by another friar from the same cloister, Fernando de Santo Domingo. The object of the book, as the authors stated in the introduction, was to place it in the hands of Inquisitor General Torquemada to enable the Inquisition to proceed 'with greater confidence against those who ]">secretly] observe Talmudic rites.' To avoid repetition we have combined these documents 'into a composite 'manual,' including in it the most typical examples of Jewish practice which appear over and over in the cases of this period. We have followed closely the language and sense of the originals in an effort to retain their flavor as well as their sentiment.

+ Manual of Jewish practices

      Preliminary observations + The Inquisitors must be aware of the ceremonies customarily performed by the Jews so that they can effectively interrogate criminals brought before them and ascertain whether they are confessing the truth about their Judaizing heresies. This manual will also enable the Inquisitors to prompt criminals brought before them to testify fully regarding all the Jewish ceremonies they or their neighbors have secretly practiced. It should also be remembered that the observance of any one of these Jewish practices is sufficient to condemn a professing Christian as a Judaizing apostate from the True Faith. For, as is well known,


      Yom Kippur + This Fast day, also known as the day of Atonement, is observed in memory of the forty days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai without eating or drinking, awaiting the light and pardon which God was to give to the people of Israel for the sin of idolatry, which sin God forgave them because of their prayers. And so on Yom Kippur the Jews go barefoot, asking forgiveness of one another, the younger ones kissing the hands of their elders. This Fast day generally falls on the tenth day of the moon in September.1

      The Feast of Purim + This is in memory of the deliverance of the Jews from Haman, minister of King Ahasuerus of Persia. Ahasuerus liberated the Jews because his life was saved through the efforts of Mordecai, stepfather of Queen Esther, as related in the Book of Esther. The Feast of Purim is preceded the day before by the Fast of Queen Esther, which the Jews also refer to as the "Loss of the holy house."

      The Feast of unleavened bread + This Feast commemorates the passage of the Jews through the Red Sea. During the seven days it took them to pass through the waters they ate nothing but certain cakes ]">matzohs] which they carried on their shoulders. And therefore the Jews eat only unleavened bread during these seven days in memory of that event, in accordance with the instructions in Exodus: "seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread."

      The Feast of lights + They celebrate the Feast of the small candles, which they light one by one up to

1. That is. in the Hebrew calendar, which was (and is) lunar.


the Jewish conscience of a Converso can be soothed by observing merely a single one of these rites even if, under the pressure of necessity, the Converso were obliged to neglect all the others. The most common of such rites and ceremonies are those which follow.

      The Messiah + They say that the promised Messiah has not yet come but that he will some day come to free them from the captivity they claim they now suffer and to take them to the Promised Land. Thus they deny the Law of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

      Blessing the children + They pray Jewish prayers and recite the Psalms of David without "gloria patri." At night they beg forgiveness of one another, the fathers putting their hands on their children's heads, saying: "Of God and of me be blessed." They place the hand on top of the head, dropping it down over the face without crossing themselves. This is done in imitation of the blessing which Jacob gave to his grandchildren Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph.

      Burying the fingernails + They cut their nails and bury them in the earth so that no superstitions may be practiced with them and so that they may be collected on the Judgment Day.

      Fast days + On the eve of their Fast days, they wash themselves, cutting their nails and the ends of their hair. They recite Jewish prayers, raising and lowering their heads, their faces turned to the wall. Before they pray they wash their hands with water or rub them with earth, and they dress themselves in white shrouds of twill, tammycloth, or linen, with fringes around the bottom.


ten 1 in number, and afterward they snuff them out again, and they recite Jewish prayers.

      The Feast of booths + This comes on the fifteenth of September. It is a solemnity which the Jews celebrate in memory of the time when the Israelites left Egypt and wandered forty years in the desert, living in huts made of green boughs, before they entered into the land of Canaan. During this Feast they erect small huts, covering them with willows, fennels and other greens and fruits. These huts must be built exposed to the night air, in a place open to the sky, as was the case with their ancestors in the desert. This Feast lasts nine days, the Jews giving thanks to God because the fruits of the earth have been harvested, and for seven days of the nine they must eat under these shelters.

      Feast of the ram's horn + This is in memory of the day when God freed Isaac from the sacrifice which his father Abraham was planning for him by substituting for Isaac the ram which Abraham found with its horns caught in the brambles. On this Feast day the Jews blow a horn in memory of that event. This Feast falls on the first day of the new moon in the month of September.

      The Jewish Sabbath + They celebrate Saturday as their holy day in honor of the Law of Moses. On that day they put clean linen on the table, clean sheets on the bed, and dress up in clean clothes. They bless the table according to the Jewish custom, and filling a glass with homemade wine, they say certain words over it, after which everyone takes a swallow from it. For this day

1. Actually nine.


they also prepare the Sabbath loaf, in memory of the bread which the people of Israel were obligated to give to the high priest of Jerusalem as a sacrifice. In making this Sabbath loaf they throw a small piece of dough into the fire, in accord with the ancient practice of offering a portion of this dough to their high priest. All this is done on Friday as the Jews do not make fires or perform any other work on Saturday.1

      Anim + Because the Jews cannot prepare food on Saturday they prepare on Friday a kind of stew called anim. It is made of meat, peas, beans and other vegetables. It is cooked all night Friday and- kept hot until mealtime on Saturday. The preparation of this anim on Friday night marks the beginning of the Saturday Sabbath.

      Meat + They eat meat and fowl only when it has been killed in the Jewish fashion, which consists of severing its windpipe to drain it completely of blood. For in the Jewish Law they are forbidden to eat any animal which still has blood left in its body. This is why, in Mosaic Law, the Jews are commanded not to eat any animal which has died a natural death, as it is certain to have blood still remaining in its body.

      The sciatic nerve + They remove the sciatic nerve from the legs of cattle before cooking. This is done in memory of the time when Jacob wrestled with an

1. One of the Inquisitors of Seville--a very clever fellow indeed-used to tour the town on Saturday mornings during the winter, inspecting the roofs of the houses to see which chimneys were not smoking. These, of course, would be the chimneys of Conversos who were secretly Judaizing. For they would not light a fire on Saturday nor hire a Christian to do it for fear of being denounced to the Inquisition as Judaizers.


angel and the angel touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, putting it out of joint, as it is told in Genesis.

      Forbidden meats + They do not eat pig because Mosaic Law prohibits them from eating animals that do not ruminate. They do not eat rabbit because that same Law forbids them to eat animals that do not have a cloven hoof. And they abstain from eels and fish without scales or fins because Mosaic Law forbids these too.

      Newborn children + Their women, after giving birth, do not enter the synagogue for forty days. As soon as the children are born the Jews circumcise them and give them Jewish names. Although they bring them to the True Church to be baptised, under the pretense of being Christians, they wash off the consecrated oil of baptism as soon as they get the children back home. Also, on the seventh night after the birth of a child they fill a basin with water and throw into it gold, silver, a pearl, wheat, barley, and other things. Then they wash the infant in it, reciting certain words which are supposed to preserve the newborn from future dangers.

      Ceremony for the dead + When a Jew is on the point of death they turn his face to the wall in memory of the time when the prophet Isaiah said to King Hezekiah: "Oh king, set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live." And then King Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and wept for his sins, and God prolonged his life fifteen more years. And so a Jew about to die turns his face to the wall to weep for his sins. When he dies they wash him with hot water and shave his beard, underarms and other parts of the body. Then they shroud him in new linen with trousers, a clean shirt and a plaited cape.


      Under his head they place a bag of Palestinian earth and in his mouth a silver coin, pearls or other things. Then they go through his house and pour out the water in his pitchers and water jars. After that they sit on the floor eating fish and olives, but not meat; and finally, they bury the deceased in consecrated Jewish soil.

      The surviving widow + Jewish Law provides that when a brother dies the surviving brother may marry the widow on the principle of keeping alive the seed of the dead brother. However, if he does not wish to marry his brother's widow he must wear on his right foot a special leather shoe with twelve straps and twelve bows. The widow then comes and spits on him to signify that as the twelve straps of the shoe come untied so too is untied the obligation of either party to marry the other. Each one is then free to marry anyone else. It should also be noted that even if the surviving brother is already married but has no children of his own, he can take his brother's widow as his second wife, for that part of Jewish Law permits a man to take a second wife provided he has no children from the first one. The purpose of this custom of permitting a surviving brother to marry his widowed sister-in-law is to perpetuate the progeny of the deceased. Therefore, the first child born of such a marriage must be named after the dead brother, which is what is meant by the phrase "keeping alive the seed of the dead."

+ The Alboraico

      One other document deserves mention here. As a manual for the detection of secret Judaizers it has none


of the practical advantages of those described above. But we may be sure that it was more entertaining reading for the Jew-hating generation of Torquemada. Moslem tradition tells us that when Mohammed was about to die Allah sent the angel Gabriel to bring him up to Paradise. With him Gabriel brought an animal for the Prophet to ride, called "al-Burak." It is traditionally represented as a mare with a woman's head and the tail of a peacock, and in the mosque at Jerusalem is an oddly shaped stone said to be the saddle of al-Burak.

      In the library at Torquemada's monastery in Segovia was a book called the "Alboraico,"written in 1488 by an anonymous author who clearly loved his work. In this piece of learned nonsense Mohammed's "horse," the Alboraico, becomes the symbolic equivalent of the Judaizing Converso of Spain, and each part of his body represents a particular characteristic of these apostates from the True Faith, as follows:

      The mouth of a wolf + The Alboraicos of Spain (i.e., the Judaizing Conversos) are hypocrites and false prophets who call themselves Christians when they are not. They claim the Messiah is yet to come when, as everybody knows, He came over fourteen centuries ago. They say the True Messiah will come in Seville, not as a poor man on an ass but as an emperor, richly attired, riding in a golden chariot and carrying a great sword with which to slay all Christians.
      The face of a horse + The horse, because of his quickness and daring, is used in war for spilling the blood of humans. Likewise these Alboraicos used their speed and boldness to kill the prophets Isaiah and Zacharias,


as well as the apostles and martyrs and our Lord Himself. For they know not the way of peace and the fear of God is not in their eyes. And those who have fled Spain to escape the justice of the Inquisition have, as everybody knows, gone to join the Turks to help spill the blood of Christians.
     The eyes of a man + They look like human beings but are really devils in disguise.
     The ears of a dog + As the dog is not ashamed to perform his excretions in public where everybody can see him, so these Alboraicos are not ashamed to perform their heresies and lies and Jewish ceremonies in full view of God. Also, as the dog returns to eat his own vomit, so the Alboraico returns to his Jewish Sabbath and circumcision.
     The neck of a mare, with a mane + The mare is useless for any kind of hard work, preferring instead to promenade idly about the square. So too with the Alboraico: he is not any good as a laborer or as a soldier against the enemies of the Faith. Instead, like the mare, he prances about in public in all his finery.
     The body of an ox + Like the ox he stuffs his belly and thinks only of material things, priding himself on his palatial home, his expensive furnishings, his wealth and his painted daughters.
     The tail of a serpent + Like the serpent the Alboraico crawls about on his belly, lying in ambush to spread the poison of his heresies among True Believers.
     At the end of the tail, the body of a peacock. + This symbolizes his lust for the pomp and vanities of the world as well as his admiration of himself and his own works.


     On the peacock, the head of a crane + The crane is a cowardly creature, always in hiding, just as the Alboraico lives in fear and trembling among Christians, always trying to hide his true character from them. It is difficult to kill a crane for he covers himself up with his wings, as the Alboraico protects himself with his great wealth and his winepots.
     One foreleg: the leg of a man clothed in fancy hose and with a shoe on the foot + This symbolizes his great pride, his love of luxury and his madness in wishing to subjugate Christians.
     The other foreleg: the leg of a horse with a horseshoe + Whenever they get a Christian in their power they kick and squeeze and crush him like grapes in a winepress.
     One hindleg: the leg of an eagle with claws extended + They live by rapine, robbing the churches, buying bishoprics, canonries and other Church offices, taking holy orders and despoiling good Christians, all the while believing nothing of the Faith or the Christian ceremonies they perform. They also cheat the workers and the poor and rob from widows and orphans.
     The other hindleg: the leg of a lion without its claws + They descend from Judas, who is compared to a lion. But they are without strength, like a lion without his claws. They will never become strong until they accept Jesus Christ.
     The hair of all colors + They perform all kinds of evil. Among Jews they say they are Jews; among Christians they claim to be Christians. They adapt themselves readily to whatever pretense they think will do them the most good.


     It eats anything and everything + They eat the same meats as Christians and Moors; they eat Jewish foods also. They even eat during both the Christian and Jewish Fast days.
     It is neither male nor female + They are sodomists. The tribe of Benjamin sinned in sodomy and on one day 125, 000 of them-men, women and children-died because of it. From the Jews the practice of sodomy passed to the Moors, who passed it on to the Alboraicos of Spain.
     A richly adorned saddle + They lust after wealth and the material things of this world, caring nothing for the riches of the spirit.
     The saddle made of the wood of the fig tree + Their synagogue is like the fig tree which Christ cursed, after which it dried up and never again bore fruit. Likewise their synagogue has never borne fruit for Paradise, since none of its members will be saved.
     The stirrups made of many metals + The Alboraico has many origins. Some were Jews converted by Christ, after which they turned against and rejected Him. Saint Peter and the other Apostles converted some, but they too returned to the synagogue. In our own times many others were converted to the True Faith and have since relapsed into Judaism. Also, in their many captivities and wanderings they have married with women of other races and are now mixed breeds of many metals. In addition they have adhered to many and diverse heresies throughout their history, including the errors of the Sadducees and Pharisees among others.
     The bridle of fire and a sword for the reins + If the Alboraico is not held in strong check he will spread



the fire of heresy from one end of Spain to the other and will ultimately destroy the whole of these Christian realms.

     Throughout this little study our unknown author buttresses his tortured allegories with appropriate passages wrenched from Scripture. He also seasons his work with secular tidbits from the human gutters of hatred. We are told, for example, that the backsliding Converso is pompous, vainglorious, wicked, cruel, impenitent, inhuman, insane, damned, condemned, scorned of God. He is consumed with indolence, wanton arrogance and diabolical envy. He is an unbeliever, a deceiver, heretic, evil-doer, traitor, false prophet, liar, idolater, hypocrite, a wolf in sheep's clothing. He comes from a foul lineage and a cursed generation of thieves, plunderers and blasphemers. He is a devil, dog-man, mongrel, sodomite, venomous viper, poisonous asp. His temple is the synagogue of Satan and he is the Antichrist on earth.

     Thus the Alboraico, a ballad of hate in a chorus of death and destruction, transformed by the alchemy of righteousness into a hymn of exaltation to Almighty God.


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