Erst sein Vater Mordechai, hebr. Nathan von Gaza gibt das Jahr an. Man vermutet, dass er diese Information von Zvi selber erhalten hat. Eine andere Tradition behauptet, dass er im Jahr geboren sei.
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His name literally meant the planet Saturn , and in Jewish tradition "The reign of Sabbatai" The highest planet was often linked to the advent of the Messiah. During the war between Turkey and Venice , Smyrna became the center of Levantine trade.
Mordecai became the Smyrna agent of an English trading house and managed to achieve some wealth in this role. He attended a yeshiva under the rabbi of Smyrna , Joseph Escapa.
Studies in halakha Jewish law did not appeal to him, but apparently Zevi did attain proficiency in the Talmud. On the other hand, he was fascinated by mysticism and the Kabbalah , as influenced by Isaac Luria.
He found the practical Kabbalah — with its asceticism , through which its devotees claimed to be able to communicate with God and the angels , to predict the future and to perform all sorts of miracles — especially appealing.
They included ideas of the redemption of the Jews and their return to the land of Israel , with independent sovereignty. The apocalyptic year was identified by Christian authors as and millenarianism was widespread in England.
This belief was so prevalent that Manasseh ben Israel , in his letter to Oliver Cromwell and the Rump Parliament , appealed to it as a reason to re-admit Jews into England , saying, "[T]he opinions of many Christians and mine do concur herein, that we both believe that the restoring time of our Nation into their native country is very near at hand. In order to prove this claim he started to pronounce the Tetragrammaton , an act which Judaism emphatically prohibited to all but the Jewish high priest in the Temple in Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement.
For scholars acquainted with rabbinical , and kabbalistic literature, the act was highly symbolic. So too, he declared regularly that he was having various visions of God. Even though Sabbatai had led the pious life of a mystic in Smyrna for several years, the older and more established rabbinic leadership was still suspicious of his activities. The local college of rabbis, headed by his teacher, Joseph Escapa , kept a watchful eye on him.
When his Messianic pretensions became too bold, they put him and his followers under cherem , a type of excommunication in Judaism. It is not certain where he went from there. He will humble the great dragon; With this document, Sabbatai chose Salonica , at that time a center of kabbalists, for his base.
He proclaimed himself the Messiah or "anointed one," gaining many adherents. He put on all sorts of mystical events—e. The sources differ widely as to the route he took after this expulsion, with Alexandria , Athens , Constantinople , Jerusalem , and Smyrna mentioned as temporary centers.
After wandering, he settled in Cairo , where he resided for about two years — He led an ascetic life, which included fasting, bathing in cold water, and scourging his body at night. He used his great wealth for charity, supporting poor Talmudists and Kabbalists, fifty of whom reportedly dined at his table regularly. Sabbatai befriended Raphael Joseph, who became a supporter and promoter of his Messianic claims. Here he resumed his former ascetic practice of frequent fasting and other penances.
Many saw this as proof of his extraordinary piety. He was said to have a good voice, and sang psalms all night long, or at times Spanish love-songs, to which he gave mystical interpretations. He attracted crowds of listeners. At other times he prayed and cried at the graves of pious men and women. He distributed sweetmeats to children on the streets. Gradually he gathered a circle of adherents.
The community was coming up short of funds to pay these levies, and these arrears could have dire consequences. Sabbatai, known as the favorite of the rich and powerful Raphael Joseph Halabi in the Turkish government center in Cairo, was chosen as the community envoy to appeal to Halabi for money and support. His success in getting the funds to pay off the Turks raised his prestige. His followers dated his public career from this journey to Cairo. During the Chmielnicki massacres in Poland , a Jewish orphan girl named Sarah, about six years old, was found by Christians and sent to a convent for care.
After ten years, she escaped through a miracle she claimed , and made her way to Amsterdam. Some years later she went to Livorno where, according to reports, she led a life of prostitution. She also conceived the notion that she was to become the bride of the Messiah, who was soon to appear. Her beauty and eccentricity reportedly helped him gain new followers. In , Nathan announced that the Messianic age would begin the following year with the conquest of the world without bloodshed.
The Messiah would lead the Ten Lost Tribes back to the Holy Land , "riding on a lion with a seven-headed dragon in its jaws". Acknowledging that Jerusalem would not be the best place to enact his plans, Sabbatai left for his native city, Smyrna.
Nathan proclaimed that henceforth Gaza, and not Jerusalem, would be the sacred city. On his way from Jerusalem to Smyrna, Sabbatai was greeted enthusiastically in Aleppo. In Smyrna, which he reached in the autumn of , the greatest homage was paid to him. After some hesitation, he publicly declared himself to be the expected Messiah during the Jewish New Year in ; his declaration was made in the synagogue , with the blowing of horns , and shouts of "Long live our King, our Messiah!
Assisted by his wife, Sabbatai became the leader of the community. He used his power to crush the opposition. His popularity grew, as people of all faiths repeated his story. His fame extended far and wide. Italy , Germany , and the Netherlands had centers of his Messianic movement.
Henry Oldenburg , a distinguished German savant who became the first secretary of the Royal Society, wrote to Baruch Spinoza Spinozae Epistolae No 33 : "All the world here is talking of a rumour of the return of the Israelites Should the news be confirmed, it may bring about a revolution in all things.
Dionysius Musaphia , an adherent of Spinoza, likewise became a follower. People spread fantastic reports, which were widely believed. For example, it was said, "In the north of Scotland a ship had appeared with silken sails and ropes, manned by sailors who spoke Hebrew. There is no doubt that for most of the Jews of Europe there could not have been a more propitious moment for the messiah to deliver salvation than the moment Sabbetai Zevi made his appearance.
The fast of the Tenth of Tevet became a day of feasting and rejoicing. Rejoice with song and melody, and change the day formerly spent in sadness and sorrow into a day of jubilee, because I have appeared. There was outrage and dissension in the communities; many of the leaders who had regarded the movement sympathetically were shocked at such radical innovations.
He may have been forced to flee by city officials. He was treated well in prison, perhaps because of bribes paid. This seems to have strengthened belief within his immediate circle of followers. Fabulous reports concerning the miraculous deeds "the Messiah" was performing in the Turkish capital were spread by Ghazzati, Abraham Yachini , and Primo among the Jews of Smyrna and in many other communities, and the messianic expectations in the Jewish diasporas continued to rise.
Some of his friends were allowed to accompany him. As Sabbatai had arrived on the day preceding Passover , he slew a paschal lamb for himself and his followers. He ate it with its fat, a violation of Jewish Law. It is said that he pronounced over it the benediction: "Blessed be God who hath restored again that which was forbidden.
Accounts of his life there were exaggerated and spread among Jews in Europe , Asia , and Africa. In some parts of Europe, Jews began to unroof their houses and prepare for a new "exodus". Unbelievers were compelled to remain in the synagogue and join in the prayer with a loud Amen.
In Moravia excitement reached such a pitch that the government had to intervene, while at Sale , Morocco, the emir ordered a persecution of the Jews. During this period Sabbatai declared the fasts of the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av his birthday would henceforth be feast-days. He contemplated converting the Day of Atonement to one of celebration. Sabbatai ordered the prophet to appear before him.
See Jew. Nehemiah ha-Kohen. Nehemiah obeyed, reaching Abydos after a journey of three months at the beginning of September, The meeting between the two ended in mutual dissatisfaction. Some Sabbataians are said to have contemplated the secret murder of the rival. The kaymakam informed the sultan , Mehmed IV.
Thus his conversion to Islam was accomplished. The sultan was much pleased, and rewarded Sabbatai by conferring on him the title Mahmed Effendi , and appointing him as his doorkeeper with a generous salary. Some days after his conversion he wrote to Smyrna: "God has made me an Ishmaelite; He commanded, and it was done. The ninth day of my regeneration. Muslims and Christians alike ridiculed his followers after the event.
False Prophets such as Ghazzati and Primo, who were interested in maintaining the movement, encouraged such belief. In many communities, the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av were still observed as feast-days in spite of bans and excommunications by the rabbis. In March, , he announced that he had been filled with the " Holy Spirit " at Passover , and had received a "revelation. He told the sultan, however, that he was trying to convert Jews to Islam.
The sultan permitted Sabbatai to associate with other Jews and preach in their synagogues. He succeeded in bringing over a number of Muslims to his kabbalistic views. When he was discovered singing psalms with Jews, the grand vizier ordered his banishment to Dulcigno today called Ulcinj , a small town in present-day Montenegro. His tomb was believed for a long time to have been in Berat , at a tekke built in the yard of the Imperial Mosque Albanian : Xhamia e Mbretit , where a tomb stood until However, more recent research on the issue, done in , has suggested that he was buried in Dulcigno.
For the next years, they would lead an independent communal life—intermarrying, doing business together, maintaining their own shrines, and handing down their secret traditions.
Donate While faith in the coming of the messiah is a linchpin of Judaism, Jews have traditionally taken a patient, quietistic approach to their messianic beliefs. Yet in the midth century, belief in the false messiah Shabbetai Zevi often spelled Tzvi spread like wildfire throughout the Jewish world, sweeping up entire communities and creating a crisis of faith unprecedented in Jewish history. Shabbetai Zevi was said to be born on the 9th of Av in , to a wealthy family of merchants in Smyrna now Izmir, Turkey. However, Shabbetai Zevi was interested less in Talmud than in Jewish mysticism.
As a young man, Shabbetai steeped himself in the influential body of Jewish mystical writings known as the Kabbala. His extended periods of ecstasy and his strong personality combined to attract many disciples , and at the age of 22 he proclaimed himself the messiah. There he encountered an esteemed and forceful Jewish preacher and Kabbalist, Abraham ha-Yakini, who possessed a false prophetic document affirming that Shabbetai was the messiah. Shabbetai then traveled to Palestine and after that to Cairo , where he won over to his cause Raphael Halebi, the wealthy and powerful treasurer of the Turkish governor.
Who Was Shabbetai Zevi?
His name literally meant the planet Saturn , and in Jewish tradition "The reign of Sabbatai" The highest planet was often linked to the advent of the Messiah. During the war between Turkey and Venice , Smyrna became the center of Levantine trade. Mordecai became the Smyrna agent of an English trading house and managed to achieve some wealth in this role. He attended a yeshiva under the rabbi of Smyrna , Joseph Escapa.