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Salmon Ben Yeroham - Account of his Life



Salmon ben Yoroham was born, presumably, in either Israel or Iraq. The date of his birth is believed to be some time between 910 CE and 915 CE. While still a young man, he traveled to Egypt to study. Upon completion of his studies, he may have moved to Yerushalayim. Toward the end of his life, he moved to Aleppo, Syria, where he died. According to ibn al-Hitti, Salmon's tomb was a well-known landmark in his time. Salmon is most noted for his "Book of the Wars of YHWH," a scathing poetic epistle that deconstructs Rabbanism. What follows is a brief selection from that work, in paraphrase:

When I was of the age of vanity
I searched for the right road
So I might learn, and teach, in the midst of my Karaite congregation
I sought to clear stones from my path.

I was a stranger in a foreign land
Searching the ways of the Law.
I saw in the Jewish congregation
A man devoid of a good heart
straying away from justice.

He bent his bow to write complaints
To remonstrate in all languages
To tear up good roads
To pervert with foolishness and trivialities the path of understanding.

I understood his purpose, and was overwrought with apprehension
My wrath kindled like a blazing fire
I was seized with passion for the sons of Judah
And for YHWH, and for the Book of the Testimony.