Middle Ages
Middle Ages

Aliyah of the 300 Rabbis

I went from there to Jerusalem the holy city and there I sat and prayed in a large and holy congregation, some of whom were scholars of Mishnah, Talmud and Bible… and I donated a Torah scroll…  


The year 1240, the beginning of the sixth millennium according to the traditional Jewish calendar, was steeped in messianic anticipation. Even before that, beginning in 1211, groups of Jews came from the Diaspora to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem in expectation of redemption. This wave of arrivals is known as the “aliyah of the 300 rabbis,” or the “aliyah of the Tosafists.” It was headed by important rabbinic figures like Rabbi Jonathan of Lunel and Rabbi Samson of Sens. 

The Jewish immigrants were apparently forced to leave Jerusalem in 1229 when the city fell into Crusader hands for a few years. One of these early thirteenth-century immigrants, Menachem HaHevroni, left a description of the Jerusalem Jewish community at the time.