The Fruit of Her Hands revolves around events that take place between 1215 and 1293.
Meir ben Baruch is born in Worms.
The Church’s Fourth Lateran Council decrees that Jews be differentiated from others by their type of clothing to avoid intercourse between Jews and Christians. Jews are sometimes required to wear a badge; sometimes a pointed hat.
Nicholas Donin is excommunicated by Rabbi Yechiel of Paris.
Meir received early talmudic education in Wurzburg under R. Isaac ben. Moses of Viena, the author of the Or Zarua
A rabbinic ban was placed on the works of Rambam and in 1233; Rambam’s works were denounced to the Church in order to rid the Jewish community of what the Jewish leaders considered to be a dangerous influence. At the urging of Rambam’s foes, the Church burned copies in Montpellier.
Having for ten years clung to Judiasim while living in the state of excommunication, Donin now converts to Christianity and joins the Franciscan order.
Donin stirs up the Crusaders to the bloody persecutions in Brittany, Poitou, and Anjou. Jewish communities in Anjou, Poitou, Bordeaux and Angouleme were attacked by Crusaders. 500 Jews chose conversion and over 3,000 were massacred.
Donin denounces the Talmud to Pope Gregory IX.. Thirty-five articles were drawn up, in which Donin stated his charges. Donin insisted that the Talmud and all other products of the “oral tradition” were heretical cocuments that kept the Jews from adopting the True Faith.
On March 3, Parisian authorities broke into Jewish homes and seized every Talmud they could find.
On June 12, 1240, a public debate was opened between Donin (as prosecutor) and four representatives of the Jews: Yehiel of Paris, Judah b. David of Melun, Samuel b. Solomon ( Sir Morel de Falaise), and Moses de Couçy.
Some 10,000 copies of the Talmud, carried in 24 wagon loads, were burned at the stake.
Meir ben Baruch writes his elegy, “Sha’ali Shrufa” or ” O You, who burn in fire, ask how your mourners fare” to commemorate the burning.
Maimonides’ cousin, Rabbi Yonah, realized his mistake in opposing the Rambam’s writings. He decides to travel from city to city in penance, retracting all that he had previously said against Maimonides.
Meir ben Baruch settles in Rothenberg ob der Tauber and founds a Jewish seminary. He writes almost a thousand responsa, shaping Ashkenazic custom and lifestyle.
The dead body of the child, Hugh of Lincoln is discovered near the house of Jopin, a Jew. Under torture and because his torturers offer him a pardon in exchange for his confession, Jopin declares that Hugh was murdered for a ritual. But King Henry III orders Jopin’s hanging after he is dragged through the streets tied to a horse. Of the 100 Jews brought to London for trial, 18 were hanged without trial, 79 others were convicted and hanged, 2 were pardoned and one was acquitted.
After suffering further persecution, Yechiel of Paris and his followers settle in Israel, founding a seminary there.
A disputation is held at Barcelona, Spain, before King James. Rabbi Moses ben Nacheman defends the Talmud against a converted Jew, Pablo Christian. King James orders the Jews to erase passages from the Talmud that are objectionable to Christians
In a special session, the Vienna city council forced Jews to wear the Pileum cornutum, a cone-shaped headress. In some manuscript drawings a cap, unpointed, may be seen secured around the chin with cloth or a strap. The basis for stems from one of Meir’s responsum, who ruled that it is permissible to go out in the street on the Sabbath wearing tall hats that cannot be blown off by the wind, but those that are not so secure on the head must be attached with a strap.
Jews are massacred in Weissenberg, Magdeburg, Sinzig, Erfurt and other German cities. In Sinzig, the community is locked in the synagogue on the Sabbath and burned alive.
King Rudolf of Habsburg takes the German throne and ends the interrugum (kingless years).
Ten Jews were murdered by a mob in Mainz after they had been charged with ritual murder.
26 Jews were killed as a result of a ritual murder charge in Bacharach.
40 Jews were murdered after a ritual murder charge in Oberwellel.
In Munich 180 Jews were burned alive in the synagogue after a ritual murder charge.
Emperor Rudolph I declares that all Jews are his property (servi comarae, “serfs of the treasury”). Thousands of Jews flee Germany. Meir ben Baruch decides to emigrate to Palestine with his family. He is betrayed by an apostate, and imprisoned. Emperor Rudolf I demands an exorbitant sum for his release. Meir refuses to allow the Jews of Europe to raise the funds to ransom him, fearing he will set a precedent.
Meir dies in captivity.