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Sabbateanism English Section

Sabbateanism English Section

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CONTENTS

Volume Two Zeev Gries Moshe Fogel Shifra Asulin The Definitions of Sabbatian Hagiographic Literature 353 The Sabbatian Character of Hemdat Yamim: . A Re-Examination 365 Another Glance at Sabbatianism, Conversion, and Hebraism in Seventeenth-Century Europe: Scr utinizing the Character of Johan Kempper of Uppsala, or Moshe Son of Aharon of Krakow 423 Jacob Frank and His Book The Sayings of the Lord: Religious Anarchism as a Restoration of Myth and Metaphor 471 Contributors Bibliography Index English Section Elisheva Carlebach Jacob J. Schacter Michaeł Galas The Sabbatian Posture of German Jewry 1* 549 551 581

Rachel Elior

Motivations for Radical Anti-Sabbatianism: The Case of Hakham Zevi Ashkenazi 31* . . Sabbatianism in the SeventeenthCentury Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: A Review of the Sources 51* ‘Should Napoleon Be Victorious…’: Politics and Spirituality in Early Modern Jewish Messianism

Hillel Levine

65*

David Biale

Shabbtai Zvi and the Seductions of Jewish Orientalism 85* English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles [v] 111*

Most of the articles published in these volumes (Nos. 16 and 17) of Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought are based on lectures delivered in connection with an international symposium held in memory of the late Professor Gershom Scholem on The Sabbatian Movement and its Aftermath: Messianism, Sabbatianism and Frankism which took place on 8–10 December 1997 under the auspices of the Israel Academy of Sciences, organized by the Department of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University of Jer usalem, together with the Department of the History of the Jewish People of Haifa University and The Gershom Scholem Center for the Study of Jewish Mysticism and Kabbala at the Jewish National and University Library in Jer usalem

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Elisheva Carlebach
Ÿ `le mizq`n `l mdiai` ux`a mzeida z`f mb s`e Ÿ mdidl` 'd ip` ik mz` izixa xtdl mzlkl mizlrb (44 ek `xwie)

And yet for all that, when they are in the lands of their enemies, I will not reject them nor will I abhor them to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God (Leviticus 26:44)1

This ‘pasuk nehama’ was one of several verses of consolation cited in . the great medieval anti-Christian polemical compilation, Nizzahon .. . Yashan.2 Seventeenth century memoirist Glikl of Hameln cited it as one of the several verses of consolation in the wake of her report on the disillusionment over the failed messianic movement of Sabbatai Zevi.3 It formed part of the arsenal of consolatory material routinely used by Ashkenazic Jews in the wake of messianic disappointment. By the time Glikl used this passage, it had acquired a defiant connotation. It had come to signify the Jewish explanation for a seemingly irrational hope in the face of persistent and pointed mockery. Christians, and Jews who had converted to Christianity, ridiculed the passage as ‘goldene Affe’ (the gilded ape), a play on the Hebrew word
* I thank audiences at the University of Scranton, the Hebrew University, the ¨ ¨ Institut fur Judische Geschichte, Hamburg, and Touro College, New York, where I delivered different versions of this lecture, for their questions and comments. Some portions of this lecture may be published in other proceedings. JPS Bible, Philadelphia 1951. The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages: A Critical Edition of the Nizzahon Vetus, ed. and tr. D. Berger, Philadelphia 1979, p. 227, parag. 242. The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln, tr. M. Lowenthal, New York 1977, p. 197. ¨
[Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 16-17, 2001]

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‘ve-af ’ that opens the passage, with reference to the demonic nature of these Jewish hopes. One of the earliest mockeries of this passage appears in sixteenth century convert Antonius Margaritha’s Der gantz ¨ Judisch Glaub (The Entire Jewish Faith).4 Son and grandson of rabbinic luminaries of fifteenth century Ashkenaz, Margaritha devoted his magnum opus to revealing Jewish traditions to the Christian world in the most derisive and contemptuous light. No belief of the Jews provided better grist for the mill of Margaritha, his precursors, and emulators, than the Jewish belief in the messiah yet to come. For medieval Christians, the messianic prophecies had been fulfilled long ago in the person of their redeemer. The long duration of Jewish hopes in a future messiah was explained as the result of innate Jewish obstinacy, spiritual blindness, and even a sign that the devil had vanquished their reason. German folk-tradition often represented the devil or evil spirits in the form of an ape, an accursed and inverse image of man.5 By referring to their cherished hope in this particular form, ‘the golden ape’, Christians were taunting a belief that went to the very heart of the Jewish-Christian divide.6 This interplay between Jewish sustenance and Christian mockery of Jewish messianic hopes is emblematic of the tension which existed for Jews living in the Christian world. It was a theme of the great Spanish disputations, essentially staged polemics with predetermined outcomes. After Jews were expelled from most of Western Europe, the lit4 5 Antonius Margaritha, Der gantz Judisch Glaub, Augsburg 1530, p. 105a. ¨ ¨ H. Bachtold-Staubli, Handworterbuch des deutchen Aberglaubens, I, Berlin and New ¨ York 1987, pp. 206-207. For an iconographic example, see the apelike figure clutching the Antichrist as he is being put to death in the Anglo-Norman Apocalypse, ms. fr. 403, fol. 18r, BN, Paris, reproduced in R. Emmerson, Antichrist in the Middle Ages, Seattle 1981. For other examples, see: C.L. Fels, Weg-Weiser der Juden, Frankfurt 1703, p. 83, who cited this passage as the greatest cause of Jewish stubbornness, since Jews use it as proof that God will lead them out of Edom. C.J. Friedenheim, Yehudi me-ba-Hutz: das ist der ausserliche Jud in Ansehung ihres dermaligen vermeintlichen ¨ Gottesdienstes..., Wirzburg 1785, p. 108, cited Mahari”l (R. Jacob Moellin, d. 1427) as the source of Jews’ false consolation from that verse along with Deut. 30:1. He gloated that Mahari”l, who offered this solace, died 357 years earlier according to David Gans’ Zemah David, ‘and still your messiah hasn’t come’. Gottfried Selig . . (Der Jude, 1772, 9:29) cited the passage as being ‘of such worth that they call it the Golden Af, which designation refers to the time when the pious King Friedrich told them: The Jews have an ape (“Afen”) in their holy Scriptures which they should inscribe in gold letters’. Selig linked this passage to the vain consolations among the Jews as they waited for their messiah.

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erature of ridiculing Jewish hopes remained a live and widespread tradition in German and Italian lands where Jews continued to live. Many Spanish and Portuguese Jews settled in the Ottoman Empire which granted conditions that seemed magnanimous and tolerant by comparison with the Christian world. These two cultural worlds form the setting for the discussion of Jewish messianic posture to follow. I Classical Jewish scholarship has endowed the two preeminent Jewish cultural communities, the Ashkenazic (Jews whose predominant cultural influence in the medieval period was the Franco-German sphere) and the Sephardic (those whose primary cultural influence was the Spanish sphere) with distinctive messianic postures. In an essay written some thirty years ago, and published four times, distinguished scholar and historian Gerson Cohen mapped out an elegant and influential set of typologies. In the essay, ‘Messianic Postures of Ashkenazim and Sephardim’, Cohen characterized Ashkenazim as messianically quietistic, passive, with a penchant for martyrdom, and portrayed Sephardim as active, dynamic and revolutionary.7 It should be mentioned at the outset, parenthetically, that while Cohen never drew lines to the more contemporary resonances of his categories, notions of Jewish passivity and military activism as responses to persecution have taken on new meaning in this century. The pain filled polemics over Jewish responses during the Holocaust and the values of Zionism form a silent subtext to any discussion of Jewish activism and passivity. Cohen’s thesis was one of those far reaching programmatic statements that influenced all subsequent discussions of Jewish messianism.8
7 G. Cohen, ‘Messianic Postures of Ashkenazim and Sephardim’, Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture, 9 (1967); Studies of the Leo Baeck Institute, ed. M. Kreutzberger, New York 1967, pp. 117-156; Studies in the Variety of Rabbinic Cultures, Philadelphia 1991, pp. 271-298; and in: M. Saperstein (ed.), Essential Papers on Messianic Movements and Personalities in Jewish History, New York 1992, pp. 202-233. All subsequent references in this paper use the pagination of the latter edition. For other approaches, see: S. Sharot, Messianism, Mysticism, and Magic: A Sociological Analysis of Jewish Religious Movements, Chapel Hill 1982, esp. chs. 4, 7, and 8; M. Idel, ‘Defusim shel Pe=ilut Go>elet bi-Ymei ha-Beinayim’, in Z. Baras (ed.), Meshihiyut ve-Eschatologia: Kovez Ma6amarim, Jer usalem 1983, . . pp. 253-279. Cohen’s revisitation of the subject of Jewish messianism (‘Messianism in Jewish

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It added a new dimension to the cluster of cultural and historical characteristics commonly associated with the constr uctions Ashkenaz and Sepharad.9 Several of the categories that form the basis of Cohen’s argument will require greater refinement if they are to be useful in approaching the question of Jewish messianism. These include the con´ cepts active and passive, the definitions of popular and elite, and even the application of Sephardic and Ashkenazic as historical explanations rather than as cultural markers. I want to address each of these issues briefly before proceeding to a central problem in Cohen’s thesis, the nature and limitations of the historical evidence. To his description of Sephardic messianism, Cohen prefixed the adjective ‘revolutionary’ and even the startling expression, ‘aggressive military action’. The Jews of Ashkenaz ostensibly provide the starkest contrast to this heroic and active profile. ‘Quiescence and passivity had somehow so permeated the whole mentality of that community [Franco-German Jewry] as virtually to eliminate such aggressive behavior’.10 In Ashkenaz, from the date of Palestine’s downfall through the seventeenth century, violent apocalypse replaced action, sublimated it; ‘These attitude and posture were doubtless conveyed to all parts of the Diaspora over which the academies of the Holy Land exerHistory: The Myth and the Reality’, Jewish History and Jewish Destiny, New York and Jer usalem 1997, pp. 183-212) was not a scholarly presentation and not nearly as influential. It presented a sweeping and dismissive re-evaluation of his earlier essay as well as the entire historical enterprise that has accepted Jewish messianism as an active reality. 9 The influence of these typologies has penetrated deeply. See most recently: S. Eidelberg, ‘Gilgulav shel ha-Ra‘ayon ha-Meshihi bein Yehudei Germania’, in: S. Nash (ed.), Bein Historia le-Sifrut: Sefer Yovel le-Yizhak Barzilai, Tel Aviv 1997, p. .. 25: ‘It is well known that in the history of Jews in medieval Germany there are not to be found appearances of redeemers and messiahs’. The controversial essay by I.J. Yuval, ‘Ha-Nakam ve-ha-Kelalah, ha-Dam ve-ha-=Alilah’, Zion, 58 . (1993), pp. 33-90, took Cohen’s essay as its point of departure, see esp. pp. 33, 59. A statement concerning a work from the medieval Judeo-Arabic world by historian M.R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages, Princeton 1994, is another example of how deeply the typology has penetrated: ‘The anecdotes are replete with depictions of classic, Ashkenazic-like responses to suffering: fasting, prayer, and chronicling of events for posterity’ (p. 188), as though these ‘passive’ reactions to suffering were not universal human, as well as Jewish, reactions to suffering. But see the more nuanced approach suggested by Saperstein, in his introduction to Essential Papers on Messianic Movements (above note 7). 10 Cohen, ibid., p. 219.

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cised influence’.11 According to Cohen’s constr uction, the Jews of Ashkenaz embroidered on the myth of the messiah by generating literary apocalypses while those of Sepharad initiated genuinely apocalyptic messianic movements. In fact, the clash or disintegration of great empires always generated messianic activity among Jews both in the Muslim and the Christian worlds. Messianic movements were recorded from the late fifth and sixth centuries, all apparently in anticipation of a confrontation between the Byzantine and Persian Empires. One occurred in Crete and three in Palestine, among the Samaritans. But even if we begin our discussion with the messianic figures that arose within the world of Islam, we may ask whether there was even one Jewish medieval messianic movement which can legitimately be characterized as an aggressive, bona fide ‘military’ movement. The movements which were so valorized in the influential essay by Cohen were disorganized, unarmed, often led by deluded visionaries. Cohen himself acknowledged this in a later essay.12 Cohen constr ucted an opposition between messianism and martyrdom: the first symbolizing active rebellion against history, the latter passive resignation.13 Martyrdom was never alien to the Sephardic world, nor messianism to the Ashkenazic, and neither accounted martyrdom as an expression of passivity.14 As the Jewish cr usade chronicles graphically depicted, martyrdom was a last resort when every other
11 Ibid., p. 221. 12 See the excellent discussion of ‘The Jewish Messiahs of Early Islam’, in S.M. Wasserstrom, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis in Early Islam, Princeton 1995, pp. 47-89. The most active and popular of these Jewish ‘uprisings’ at its most militantly confrontational moment, was described as follows: ‘They claimed that when he was embattled he made a line around his followers with a myrtle stick, saying, “Stay behind this line and no enemy will reach you with weapons”. [...] then Abu Isa went beyond that line, alone and on horseback, and fought and killed many Muslims [...] When he fought against the followers of Mansur at Rayy, he and his companions were killed’ (p. 76). Cohen’s characterization, see above note 8, p. 197. 13 See: G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, New York 1973, pp. 87-89; J. Dan, ‘Gershom Scholem and Jewish Messianism’, in: P. Mendes-Flohr (ed.), Gershom Scholem: The Man and His Work, New York 1994, pp. 75-78. Nineteenth century Jewish historiography tended to link mysticism and messianism as forcible er uptions into the generally rational Jewish psyche under extreme catastrophic pressure. 14 On typologies of Sephardic martyrdom, see most recently M. Bodian, ‘Ha-=Aliya al ha-Moked shel Nozerim Hadashim be-Einei Benei ha-Umah ha-Portugalit’, . . Pe5amim, 75 (1998), pp. 47-62.

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active form of resistance had failed. Yet in his description of Ashkenazic death at the hands of Christians, Cohen writes of a passive martyrdom which simply does not accord with any remaining accounts. For example, while Cohen agreed that during the Chmielnicki pogroms in Poland, Jews had no choices because the Cossacks were determined to kill them all, they elected ‘to die passively’ at the hands of their attackers.15 ´ Cohen linked the question of activism and pacifism to that of elite vs. popular messianic movements. In this constr uction, Ashkenazic quiet´ ism is ‘rabbinic, elite’, while Sephardic activism is ‘popular ’. The grand role in Jewish messianism of Sephardic rabbinic conservatism, from the Geonim to Maimonides through Jacob Sasportas simply did not enter into Cohen’s neat typology.16 In the Sephardic communities of Geonic Babylonia and of medieval Spain, home to great Jewish population concentrations, messianic movements often took on anti-establishment, anti-rabbinic character. In Ashkenaz, movements with a messianic ´ character were often led by the elite, the rabbis themselves, and so were of a more profound and thoroughgoing nature. In classical Ashkenazic culture, the practice of the God-fearing community carried the same weight as a sacred rabbinic text. When the rabbinic teachers, the tosafists, found contradictions between a text of the Talmud and the practice of the community, the Talmud was reinterpreted.17 In such communities, can it be as relevant to talk of anti-rabbinic animus as in Geonic Babylonia? In the smaller communities of medieval Ashkenaz there was a completely different communal configuration which gave rise to different conceptions of leadership which have little bearing on messianic postures.18
15 Cohen, p. 224. Emphasis on this phrase, the sole passage Cohen chose to emphasize in the original. 16 J.L. Kraemer, ‘On Maimonides’ Messianic Postures’, in: I. T wersky (ed.), Studies in Medieval Jewish History and Literature, II, Cambridge, Mass. 1984, pp. 109-142; D. Berger, ‘Al Toze>oteha ha-Ironiyot shel Gishato ha-Razionalistit shel . . ha-Rambam la-Tekufah ha-Meshihit’, in: A. Hyman (ed.), Maimonidean Studies, . II, New York 1991, pp. 1-8. 17 H. Soloveitchik, ‘Religious Law and Change: The Medieval Ashkenazic Example’, AJS Review, 12 (1987), pp. 205-222. 18 On the contrast between the conception of Thomas Carlyle that history is the biography of great men and of Plekhanov who saw the great men as puppets acting out the will of the people, see: I. Malkin and Z. Tzahor, Intro., Leaders and Leadership in Jewish and World History, Jer usalem 1992 (Hebrew), p. 7. In the analysis of narrative in Ashkenaz and Sepharad, Sara Zfatman, The Jewish Tale in the Middle Ages: Between Ashkenaz and Sepharad, Jer usalem 1993, pp. 150-152, demonstrated that in Ashkenazic stories, the heroes are of the community,

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The assumption that each ‘Jewry’, defined monolithically, must be aligned with a particular messianic typology, obscures the complexities of class, geography, and communal str ucture. The movements on the fringes of seventh century Persia were so different from the rarefied atmosphere of the rational courtiers of Andalusia and their mathematical messianic calculations, as to arouse questions concerning the usefulness of the r ubric Sephardic for both. Differences in liturgy are not valid categories of historical causality. Even the use of the cultural paradigms Ashkenaz and Sepharad as indicators of sweeping historical postures can be questioned. Imported from the world of custom and liturgy, ‘nusakh’ and ‘minhag’, Cohen argued that ‘What was tr ue of halakhah, philosophy, liturgy, poetry and Hebrew style had its counterpart in messianic posture and expression as well’.19 The constr ucts Ashkenaz-Sepharad as two absolutely distinct cultural-geographic units is constantly being reassessed. The cultural boundaries were not nearly as impermeable as was once thought. Mutual cultural influences, although they took time to interpenetrate, often affected the very core of what we perceive as Ashkenazic or Sephardic.20 Certain regions, such as Provence and parts of Italy, served as centers of continuous cultural overlap.21 The two earliest anti-Christian polemics to be written in Christian countries – ‘Milhamot ha-Shem’ by .
relying on traditions of their forefathers; in Sephardic stories, they are outside the community and rely on their own talents. 19 Cohen, 1992 (above note 7), p. 204. 20 The entire issue of Pe5amim 57 (Autumn 1993) was devoted to this theme. For another general discussion of the pervasive myth that there was little cultural contact between the two spheres, see: Zfatman (above note 18), particularly pp. 128-129. For some specific examples, see: S. Assaf, ‘Halifat She>elot u-Teshuvot . bein Sepharad u-vein Ashkenaz ve-Zarefat’, Tarbiz, 8 (1936-37), pp. 162-171; A. . . Grossman, ‘Bein Sefarad le-Zarefat’, Exile and Diaspora: Studies in the History of . the Jewish People Presented to Professor Haim Beinart on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, Jer usalem 1988, pp. 75-101 (in Hebrew); idem, ‘Zikata shel Yahadut Ashkenaz ha-Keduma el Eretz Yisrael’, Shalem, 3 (1981), pp. 57-92; Y.M. Ta-Shma, Ha-Nigleh she-ba-Nistar: Le-Heker Sheki5ei ha-Halakhah be-Sefer ha-Zohar, Tel-Aviv . 1995, pp. 19-40 on the Ashkenazic elements in the Zohar. For a modern manifestation, see I. Schorsch, ‘The Myth of Sephardic Supremacy’, Yearbook of Leo Baeck Institute, 34 (1989), pp. 35-47. 21 For example, see M. Perani, ‘The Italian Genizah: Hebrew Manuscript Fragments in Italian Archives and Libraries’, Jewish Studies, 34 (1994), p. 49. Fragments from books produced in Germany-Austria tended to remain in that location; fragments of Iberian works, in Iberia. In Italy, both Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Italian materials were to be found.

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Jacob b. Reuben and ‘Book of the Covenant’ by Yosef Kimhi – were . written by refugees from Muslim Spain – critiques of Christianity developed within Islamic context.22 In the sixteenth century, Josel of Rosheim, representative of German Jewry in the Empire, wrote a moralistic work which was a close paraphrase of the recently published work by Sephardic thinker Abraham b. Shem Tov Bibago, ‘Derekh Emunah’.23 R. Yair Hayyim Bacharach recalled a tradition that Sephar. dic philosophical classics were studied in the yeshivot of Ashkenaz.24 In the wake of the expulsions from Spain and Portugal of 1492/7, figures like Eliezer Ashkenazi traversed both worlds and helped to diffuse messianic dates, calculations, and ideas, so that hopes for deliverance among Spanish Jews mingled with those of Italian and German Jews.25 Factors such as demography, geographic distribution and communal str ucture must be taken into account along with the r ubrics Ashkenaz and Sepharad. I want to turn to consideration of another aspect of the comparative dimension of Jewish messianism: the reporting, chronicling and commitment to collective memory of Jewish messianic episodes, and the role of such memory in the shaping of subsequent messianic activities.26 Did Jewish societies record their memories in markedly different ways, depending on whether their milieu was Christian or Muslim? Historian Mark Cohen has argued that Jewish chroniclers in Christian lands tended to center on the memory of persecution so that it became the defining characteristic of their exilic experience, whereas Jewish chroniclers within Islamic lands tended to bury accounts of persecution of Jews, along with reports about the suffering of local Muslims and larger political events. It was the persistence and centrality of the memory of persecution, rather than the objective number and severity of the occur-

22 D. Lasker, ‘Judeo-Christian Polemics and their Origins in Muslim Countries’, Pe5amim, 57 (1993), pp. 5-16 (in Hebrew). 23 Iosephi de Rosheim, Sefer ha-Miknah, ed. and intro., H. Fraenkel-Goldschmidt, Jer usalem 1970, pp. 34-52. On this phenomenon see more generally M. Breuer, ‘ “Sephardic Influence” in Ashkenaz in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period’, Pe5amim, 57 (1993), pp. 17-18. 24 H.H. Ben-Sasson, ‘Jewish-Christian Disputation in the Setting of Humanism and Reformation in the German Empire’, Harvard Theological Review, 59 (1966), p. 371. 25 H.H. Ben-Sasson, ‘The Reformation in Contemporary Jewish Eyes’, Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 4 (1971), pp. 241-326. 26 See: M. Idel, Introduction to A.Z. Aescoly, Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot be-Yisrael, . Jer usalem 1987, p. 23.

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rences that appears to have generated the noted ‘lachrymose conception of Jewish history’ among Jews in medieval Christian lands.27 Emphasis on memories of suffering as the defining marker of existence among the nations in exile may have conditioned Jews living among Christians to see the messianic denouement as entirely transcending the prevailing order. It would have to contain decisive vengeance against these hideous oppressors.28 A recent study of the transformation of one sixteenth century historiographical text, the Shevet Yehudah, as it passed from its original Sephardic milieu to Ashkenazic readers, exemplifies brilliantly the process of cultural and literal translation that reshaped its message.29 Theologically sensitive material was simply edited out and chapters depicting conversion to Christianity, a central experience of Spanish and Portuguese Jews in the early modern period, were excised. While such an explicit and specific example of editorial reinvention may be more difficult to locate for other cases, it provides a vivid reminder of the constant process of revision and editing that rendered collective memories suitable for their intended milieu. II A comparison of the way Ashkenazic Jews recorded and remembered expressions of Jewish messianism within the Christian milieu, with memories among Sephardic Jews of those same events, demonstrates that there was a sharp division in the way each cultural cluster transmitted memories of messianic activism. If we juxtapose the historiographical treatment of two central messianic movements in the sixteenth century, a time in which there was both a relatively rich historiography, and considerable messianic activity, this discrepancy becomes conspicuous.30 In the discussion which follows, I am not primarily concerned with sifting the actual historical details of the
27 Cohen (above note 9), pp. 186-199. 28 Yuval (above note 9), pp. 34-55. 29 M. Stanislawski, ‘The Yiddish Shevet Yehudah: A Study in the “Ashkenization” of a Spanish-Jewish Classic’, in E. Carlebach, J. Efron and D. Myers (eds.), Jewish History and Jewish Memory, Hanover, NH 1998, pp. 134-149. 30 It seems to me that Cohen’s contention in ‘Messianism in Jewish History’ (above note 8), that sixteenth-century messianism differed radically from its predecessors is tendentious, if the criterion is open political activism. There was no great difference between the realism of Abulafia, Reubeni and Sabbatai Zevi. For a more accurate typology of medieval Jewish messianic-mystical activism, see: Idel (above note 7).

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movements, and have uncovered no new sources. I am interested here in the subsequent memory of the events as they were preserved by the respective Jewish chroniclers. The first Jewish messianic movement of the sixteenth century came at the very beginning of that century, when a Jew of German descent, Asher Lemlein of Reutlingen, appeared in Istria, near Venice. Reports concerning the details of his messianic activities differ. Most agree that at the very least, he announced tidings of the messiah.31 Renaissance Italian Jew Abraham Farissol was an eyewitness to the movement of Lemlein. He described Lemlein as an ‘Ashkenazi who had pretensions, saying, “I will rule”. With his little wisdom and the few actions that he undertook, and with the mediation of his disciples, he misled the entire region, concerning the coming of the redeemer, and he let it be heard that he [the redeemer] had already come’. Farissol also mentioned the intense movement of penitence that Lemlein’s movement had inspired.32 Among Ashkenazim, the movement was recorded in the historical chronicle of David Gans, Zemah David, published in Prague in the late . . sixteenth century: Rabbi Lemmlen announced the advent of the messiah in the year 1500/1, and his words were credited throughout the dispersion of Israel. Even among the Gentiles, the news spread and many of them also believed his words. My grandfather Seligman Gans z"l smashed the special oven in which he baked matzzot, being firmly convinced that the next year, he would bake matzzot in the Holy Land. And I, the writer, heard from my old teacher, R. Eliezer Trivash, head of the Bet din in Frankfurt, that the matter was not without basis, and that he had shown signs and proofs, but that perhaps because of our sins he [the messiah] was delayed.33
31 For Lemlein’s writings, see: E. Kupfer, ‘Hezyonotav shel R. Asher b. R. Meir . ha-Mekhuneh Lemlein Reutlingen’, Kobez al Yad, vol. 8, no. 18 (1975), pp. . 385-423; D. Tamar, ‘On R. Asher Lemlein’, Zion, 52 (1987), pp. 399-401. For . ´ further background, see: S. Krauss, ‘Le roi de France Charles VII et les esperances messianiques’, Revue des etudes juives, 51 (1906), pp. 87-96, esp. 94. ´ 32 Aescoly, Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, p. 329. Farissol dated Lemlein’s movement to 1502. See: D. Ruderman, The World of a Renaissance Jew: The Life and Thought of Abraham ben Mordecai Farissol, Cincinnati 1981, pp. 138, 200 note 38. 33 David Gans, Zemah David, ed. M. Breuer, Jer usalem 1983, pp. 137, #1530. Cf. the . . translation in A. H. Silver, A History of Messianic Speculation in Israel: from the First through the Seventeenth Centuries, Gloucester, Mass. 1978 [1927], p. 144.

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Several points in Gans’ account are worth noting. First, that Gans characterized Lemlein as a herald of the messiah, not as the messiah. Second, that Gans described in personal and poignant terms the very profound reaction to this messianic tiding within both popular circles – ´ his grandfather the matzah baker – as well as among the scholarly elite – his rabbi. Clearly, this movement str uck very deep chords among Ashkenazic Jews who heard the tidings. An anonymous chronicle from Prague in the early seventeenth century contains this entry for 1502: ‘News came of the messianic king, causing massive repentance among the many communities of Israel’.34 In this report Lemlein was apparently remembered as a messianic figure. He stimulated a very widespread penitential reaction, although the entry is so terse that the meaning of the phrase ‘news came’ is obscure. If we turn to Sephardic chroniclers of this event, a more painful perspective emerges. In his Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah (Chain of Tradition), published in Italy in the late sixteenth century, Gedaliah ibn Yahia reported: . ‘When the man [Lemlein] died and the messiah had not come, it caused many conversions, because when the fools saw that the messiah hadn’t arrived, they apostatized immediately’.35 Significantly, this incident was not recorded by Ibn Yahia as an inher. ently interesting and important event. Rather, it was related as a highlight in the life of Daniel Bomberg, the Christian printer of early Hebrew books. Chronicler Yoseph Ha-Kohen similarly had no kind words to spare for the ‘Ashkenazi, an evil prophet, a confused man of spirit’, to whom the Jews streamed, saying, ‘God has sent him to r ule over his people Israel, he will gather in the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth’.36
34 A. David (ed.), A Hebrew Chronicle from Prague c. 1615, tr. L.J. Weinberger with D. Ordan, Tuscaloosa 1993, p. 24. 35 Ibn Yahia was born to a Portuguese refugee family that had settled in Italy. On . his historiography, see: A. David, ‘R. Gedalya ibn Yahya’s Shalshelet Hakabbalah . [Chain of Tradition]: A Chapter in Medieval Jewish History’, Immanuel, 12 (1980), pp. 60-75; idem, ‘The Spanish Expulsion and the Portuguese Persecution through the Eyes of the Historian R. Gedalya ibn Yahya’, Sefarad, 56 (1996), pp. . 45-59. 'exind cin `a `l giyny mi`ztd ze`xa ik zelecb zexnd lblbe giyn `a `le yi`d zenie' cited in Silver (above note 33), note 144. 36 Joseph ha-Kohen, Sefer Emeq ha-Bakhah, ed. K. Almbladh, Uppsala 1981, pp. 67-68: lie` eny oilnil cg` ifpky` icedi yi` d`ivipie lv` xy` d`ixhqi`a mwie mdd minia idie'
zevetpe l`xyi enr lr cibpl edgly 'd ik `ed `iap j` exn`ie micedid eil` exdpe gexd yi` rbeyn `iapd drxd ekxcn yi` eaeyie miwy exbgie zenev exfbie eixg` ehp minkgd mbe ux`d zetpk rax`n uawi dcedi 'dpyigi dzra 'de `al epzreyi daexw exn` ik `idd zra

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The seventeenth century chronicler, Yosef Sambari, characterized Lemlein as an ‘Ashkenazi who proclaimed himself a prophet’.37 Sambari recorded: ´ Many of the elite, leaders and sages of Israel, tended to follow him; he imposed upon them fast days and penances but they did not obey him. Many of the sinners of Israel [apostates] repented of their evil ways, but they were immersed in mighty waters and came up empty handed, as a result of sins, as occurred in our own day, as a result of sins.38 Sambari too mentioned the episode of Lemlein in the context of the Sabbatian messianic movement of his own times, rather than an inherently significant event. Lemlein is the only Ashkenazic messianic figure to appear in Sambari. Both ibn Yahia and Sambari linked the failure of messianic move. ment to its polemical consequences within the Christian context, particularly the conversions to Christianity in its wake. Both Ashkenazic chroniclers were careful to avoid mentioning this aspect. Sambari noted the power of the movement to temporarily reverse the course of recent converts from Judaism to Christianity. When the movement failed, many more converted to Christianity. Sambari hinted to voices of resistance to Lemlein’s message during the height of the movement. Reactions to Lemlein reverberated beyond the Jewish community. Johannes Pfefferkorn, notorious convert to Christianity, recalled the strife among the Jews of Halle in the wake of the Jewish Messiah ‘Lemmel’ and urged the Jews in his Speculum adhortationis iudaice ad Christum (Mirror of exhortation of Jews to Christianity) to recognize the tr ue messiahship of Christ. He noted that ‘we’ Jews were often swindled, and played the incident to the greatest polemical advantage.39
37 Yosef Sambari, Sefer Divrei Yosef, ed. Shimon Shtober, Jer usalem 1994, pp. 266-267; Joseph ha-Kohen, Sefer Divrei ha-Yamim le-Malkhei Zarfat u-Malkhei beit . Ottoman ha-Tugar, Sabionetta 1554, p. 123b; Gedaliah ibn Yahya, Shalshelet . ha-Kabbalah, Venice 1587, 45a-b: '`iap envr dyry ifpky`' 38 l` exq `le zewqtde zenev mdilr xefbl eci dbiyde eixg` ehp l`xyi inkge ipivwe iliv`n miaxe'
mina ellv k"g`e mditka xy` qngd one drxd ekxcn yi` eay l`xyi ipa iryetn miax mpn` .ezrnyn 'zepeera dfd onfa rxi`y enk zepeera mcia qxg elrde mixic`. Sambari was referring to

conversions that occurred following the collapse of Sabbatai Zevi’s movement. 39 ‘Och wie iemerliche wir bedrogen sind’. H. M. Kirn, Das Bild vom Juden in Deutschland des fruhen 16. Jahrhunderts dargestellt an den Schriften Johannes ¨ ¨ Pfefferkorns, Tubingen 1989, p. 30, note 68.

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¨ Sebastian Munster, Christian Hebraist and disciple of Elijah Levita, had the Christians say in ‘Ha-Vikuah’, his polemical dialogue: . And it happened in the year 1502 that the Jews did penance in all their dwelling places and in all the lands of exile in order that the messiah might come. Almost a whole year, young and old, children and women did penance in those days, the like of which had never been seen before. And in spite of it all there appeared neither sign nor vestige, not to speak of the reality itself. For how did that repentance of 1502 help you, when all Jews in their habitations and places in exile […] young and old, infants and women, repented as never before and nothing was revealed to you[.] [The result was] You Jews [too] see and understand that your rabbis are confused and wrong.40 Johannes a Lent, author of the seventeenth century ‘list’ that was to become the canonical reference work on Jewish false messiahs, devoted a very substantial section to Lemlein, exceeding all prior descriptions of the movement in length.41 It consisted of several reports by Jewish (Ganz and ibn Yahya), non Jewish (Genebrardus), and convert (Isaac . Levita) sources, along with Lent’s introduction and translations from the Hebrew. In both Lent’s introduction to the section, as well as in the excerpts from Genebrardus and Levita, Lemlein is described as a

40 ‘Potissimum autem id fecer unt anno mundi q-n quies millesimo ducentesimo sexagesimosecundo, qui fuit annus Christi 1502. quando omnes Iudaei fecer unt publicam poenitentiam per omnes habitationes suas, in omnibus terris & per totam captivitatem, [...] fere, per integr um annum, tam pueri quam senes, per uuli & mulieres, qualis poenitentia nunque retroactis seculis audita est: eam autem fecer unt pro adventu Meschiae. Sed omnia fr ustra. Nihil enim est eis revelatum, necque signum ullum aut ullus nutus, (45) ut taceam maius quippiam. Et certe res istra est miraculum magnum, sibilus oris & complosio manuum apud cunctos qui id audiunt, quod nihil illis suffragatur, non lex, non poenitentia, non oratio neque ulla eleemosyna, quae omnia per singulos faciunt ¨ dies’. Sebastian Munster, Messias Christianorum et Iudaeorum Hebraice et Latine [Messiah of the Christians and Jews], Basel 1539, pp. 44-45. I thank Professor Stephen Burnett for sending this excerpt, and for sharing with me his article, ‘A Dialogue of the Deaf: Hebrew Pedagogy and Anti-Jewish Polemic, Sebastian ¨ Munster’s Messiahs of the Christians and the Jews (1529/39)’, Archiv fur ¨ Reformationsgeschichte, 91 (2000), pp. 168-190. English translation see in Silver (above note 33), p. 145, note 141. 41 Johannes a Lent, Schediasma Historico Philologicum de Judaeorum Pseudo-Messias, Herborna 1697.

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messiah.42 The excerpt from the former Jew turned Christian is the most polemical, chiding the blind Jews for continuing to await a messiah in their sinful state.43 Until the publication of Lemlein’s own writings by Ephraim Kupfer, scholars Tishby, Aescoly, and Cohen44 linked the movement of Lemlein to the expulsion from Spain, although there was not a shred of evidence for that assumption, and despite the fact that all the chroniclers emphasized that he was Ashkenazic. His own writings show him to have been something of a champion of Ashkenazic culture and contemptuous of the Sephardic, apparently in resentment of the newly arrived refugees from Spain that entered Italy.45 The historiography of the movement thus differed considerably depending on who was doing the reporting. It would be even more instr uctive to compare the reports by Ashkenazim and Sephardim of a messianically charged event that occurred within the fuller light of history. David Reubeni appeared in 1522 claiming to represent the Lost Tribes of Israel, with a scheme to liberate the Jews in the Diaspora.46 Armed with an offer to provide an army against
42 Lent, ibid., p. 70: ‘se pro Messia venditavit Rabbi Lemlem Judaeus Germanus’. Genebrardus: ‘Quidam Iudaeus nomine Lemlem, imposuit quibusdam (credo in Germania) se esse ver um Christum, quem exspectabant’. 43 Aescoly, in a brief translation (Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, p. 331), did not convey . the full polemical sting of Levita’s words. Levita translated Maimonides’ epistle on astrology into Latin, and introduced the epistle with the following paragraph on Lemlein, probably because the epistle ended with the consideration of a report of a messianic movement among the Jews of Yemen. The relevant text of the epistle, see: Iggerot ha-Rambam, II, ed. Y. Shilat, Jer usalem 1988, p. 479: ‘Tandem Lemlem Pseudo-messias, aliis propheta, periit, nusquamque magis appar uit, cum antea conquestus esset, impoenitentiam Judaeor um adventum Messiae retardare. In de factum, ut omnes Judaei Anno Christi 1502 in universa dispersione sua diligentissime poenitentiam agerent, per orationem, jejunium & Eleemosynas, ut adventum Messiae tam propinqui promover unt, sed nihil effecer unt. Non enim vider unt coeci homines, Messiam sic nunquam ventur um, quia peccare nunquam cessabunt. Vah, quam magnifica spe vos fr ustra toties implestis agnoscite vel tandem o miselli, cum ne ullo seculo non seducti estis, quod haec expectatio nimis sera sit. Adveniat Messias fatemur & forte in propinquo est, sed non ea ratione, qua vos persuasi estis. Sed de his plura in fine’. 44 Idel, Introduction to Aescoly, Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, p. 23. According to . Cohen (p. 206): ‘The call of Asher Lemmlein is an obscure and short-lived affair, which show[s] traces of Sephardic influence on the mind of an Ashkenazic Jew’. 45 See: Idel, ibid. 46 Ironically, the first Jewish historians to analyze the story of Reubeni, Neubauer and then Aescoly, thought he may have been of Ashkenazic descent. His origins

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the Turks, he met with the Pope and with King John III of Portugal. In Portugal he attracted the attention of Diego Pires, a Marrano who circumcised himself and took the name Shlomo Molkho. In 1532 they travelled together to Regensburg to meet Emperor Charles V. Molkho was ultimately burned at the stake in Mantua; Reubeni met his end in a Spanish prison.47 In addition to their own writing, or that produced by their camps, Reubeni and Molkho occupied center stage in several of the chronicles written by Sephardic Jews in the sixteenth century, particularly Joseph ha-Kohen and Gedaliah ibn Yahya. Joseph ha-Kohen reported: ‘And a . shoot went forth from Portugal, his name was Shlomo Molkho’, a distinctly messianic introduction to Molkho within a lengthy account of Reubeni and Molkho’s activities.48 The seventeenth century chronicler Yosef Sambari of Egypt wove their accounts together and created one unified chronicle.49 His account was far lengthier than any previous report of a failed messianic figure.50 It begins with the story of Shlomo Molkho ‘who proclaimed himself the messiah’, and David ‘Chief of staff for the messiah’. Sambari stated unambiguously from the beginning that Molkho was regarded as a messiah. Reubeni introduced holy names, flags and the shield of ‘king David’ intended for use to fight the wars of God. Since the Reubeni/Molkho adventure was widely known and recounted, those contemporaries who passed over it in silence or with very minimal notice must have chosen that path deliberately. Molkho’s sojourn in Regensburg in 1532, to request permission to draft Jews into his battle against the Turks, left a deep and lasting impression on the German Jews. Josel of Rosheim, spokesman for German Jewry in the first half of the sixteenth century, recorded in his chronicle: ‘There came [to Regensburg] that speaker of a foreign tongue [lo=ez], the righteous convert called R. Shlomo Molka [sic], may he rest in peace, with alien doctrines [de=ot hizoniyot] to arouse the emperor by . .
are still unknown but that possibility seems unlikely. See the bibliography cited in A. Shohat, ‘Le-Farshat David ha-Reuveni’, Zion, 35 (1970), p. 96, note 1. . For sources on the messianic careers of Reubeni and Molkho, see: A.Z. Aescoly, Sippur David ha-Reuveni, Jer usalem 1993; idem, Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, pp. 357-433. Emeq ha-Bakhah (above note 36), pp. 71-73. Sefer Divrei Yosef (above note 37), pp. 293-302. Sambari’s account of the Sabbatai Zevi period was excised from the manuscript in all extant copies. A later copyist inserted the Sabbatian section from Tobias Kohen’s Ma5aseh Tovia, editio princeps Venice 1707, chapter 1, part 6.

47

48 49 50

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saying that he had come to call all Jews to war against the Turks’.51 Josel then wrote that he had sent a letter imploring Molkho to desist from his plan; when that failed he left the city so as not to be associated by the Emperor with the schemes of Molkho.52 He concluded his entry by describing Molkho as having died the death of a martyr, and having caused many Jews to repent.53 Josel’s report is remarkable, both for what it contains as well as for what it omits. The word as well as the concept of messiah are totally absent from his account. He characterized Molkho as one who espoused alien doctrines; his activities consisted solely of his entreaty to the Emperor for a joint offensive against the Turks. There was no mention in Josel’s account that he was regarded by many Jews as a messiah. The name David Reubeni, whom Josel surely heard of, even if he had not met him, was suppressed. Molkho’s image in this source is that of an heretical fantasist, whose primary virtue resided in his martyrdom. If no other source had survived, we might never have known the messianic character of the movement. Other aspects of Molkho’s legacy, particularly his martyrdom, were preserved with great fidelity among Ashkenazim. R. Yom Tov Lipman Heller recalled: ‘Here in the Pinkas synagogue in Prague, which I had frequented prior to my appointment as head of the Rabbinical court, there is a pair of zizit [fringed four cornered garments] exactly the color . . green as in an egg yolk. It was brought here from Regensburg, and it

51 H. Fraenkel-Goldschmidt (ed.), Ketavim Historiyim: R. Yosef Ish Rosheim, Jer usalem 1996, p. 296. 52 On Molkho’s encounter in Regensburg, see: S. Eidelberg, ‘Ha->im Nitlaveh David ha-Reuveni le-Shelomo Molkho be-Masa5o le-Regensburg?’ Tarbiz, 42 . (1972-73), pp. 148-153. That Josel’s fears were not baseless can be seen in an anti-Jewish edict of 1543, in which the ‘deceitful calumnies and lies spread by the Jews against the tr ue Messiah’ were cited as justification by John Frederick, Elector of Saxony. S. Stern, Josel of Rosheim: Commander of Jewry in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, tr. G. Hirschler, Philadelphia 1965, p. 155. 53 Text from Fraenkel-Goldschmidt, Josel of Rosheim, p. 296: frel yi`d `a 'inid oze`ae'
z`vl 'iceid lk ueawl `ay exne`a xqwd xxerl zeipevig zrca r"p `wlen dnly iax 'peknd wcv xb eplk`i ot xqwd al xxerl `ly exidfdl eiptl zxb` izazk egexa 'zlry dn irneyke xbzd cbp dnglnl e`eaae zeipevg zerc ezk`lna ez` ici xqwd xn`i `ly ick bxety oibrx xird on izwlqe .dlecbd y`d xiqd 'iaxe l`xyi zezc myd yecw lr sxyp dny `iipela xir cr ekilede zelfxa ilaka qtzp xqwd l` 'r"ba 'xexv eznyp oern. Most historians assume that ‘the multitudes he removed

from sin’, referred to Marranos, perhaps those of Antwerp. But there is no reason to assume that Ashkenazic Jews were not also intended, given the messianic significance of the encounter with the emperor.

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belonged to the martyr Shlomo Molkho, may God avenge his blood. Also two of his banners, and the caftan called kittel’.54 Once again, there is no mention of messianic aspirations. David Gans recorded in ‘Zemah . . David’: R. Shlomo Molkho, righteous convert of the conversos of Portugal, was scribe of the king who converted in secret, and adhered to David Reubeni of the land of the Ten Tribes […] This R. Shlomo, although he was lacking in Torah from his youth, became an expert in Torah. He preached in public in Italy and Turkey and wrote a kabbalistic work. I, the writer, have seen a copy of that work in the possession of the Gaon my kinsman, my cousin R. Nathan Horodna. (His son later became Rosh Yeshiva and Head of the Rabbinical Court in Worms [143] so the tradition may have travelled there.) R. Shlomo and his companion Reubeni had audiences with the King of France and Charles V, and they tried to direct their hearts to the Jewish faith, for which R. Shlomo was condemned to the flames in Mantua, 1532/3, and they put a harness in his mouth so that he was unable to say anything.55 The word messiah or any overt references to a messianic mission are absent. Molkho had preached a sermon before an audience of both Jews and Christians in Mantua. References to Molkho’s anti-Christian polemical words were reported as pro-Jewish proselytization.56 The anonymous Prague chronicler of 1615 referred only to the r umors that were associated with the appearance of David Reubeni in the entry for 1523: ‘News of saviors from beyond the Sambatyon River spread among all the lands, in addition to other messianic expectations’.57 The chronicler did not mention Molkho’s name or messianic activities either in the entry for 1523 or in any subsequent entries. The contrast between the laconic descriptions of the Ashkenazic chroniclers and the expansive versions of the Sephardim chroniclers is striking. Christian Hebraist Johann Albert Widmanstadt, a contemporary,
54 Yom Tov Lipman Heller, Divrei Hamudot; commentary to Halakhot Ketanot . la-Ros"h, Hilkhot Zizit, end of parag. 25. Additional references in parags. 48, 59. . . Eidelberg (above note 52), p. 150. On the synagogue known as the Pinkasschul, founded in 1535, see: H. Volavkova, The Pinkas Synagogue, Prague 1955. 55 Gans, Zemah David (above note 33), p. 138, for the year 1533. . . 56 M. Idel, ‘An Unknown Sermon of Shlomo Molkho’s’, in: Exile and Diaspora (above note 20), pp. 430-436 (in Hebrew). 57 David (above note 34), p. 27.

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wrote: ‘R. Solomon Molkho who prophesied that he himself was the messiah of the Jews, and was burned in Mantua in 1532, at the command of Charles V […] wrote a book on Jewish kabbalah. I saw his banner in Ratisbon [Regensburg] in 1541, with the letters iakn’.58 In his catalogue of Jewish false messiahs, Johannes a Lent described the movement of Reubeni-Molkho as ‘qui se pro messia constanter venditavit’.59 Several patterns emerge from the examples of the two sixteenth century messianic movements of Lemlein and Reubeni-Molkho. Ashkenazim tended to be laconic in their record and description of these movements; they tended to minimize the messianic element within historical events or omit it altogether. It is no coincidence that Abravanel, a Sephardic Jew, recorded a messianic tradition among German Jews. ‘There is a tradition among the Jews of Ashkenaz, that because the seat of the emperor is there, the messiah will come there [first]’.60 Sephardic chroniclers of messianic movements tended to be less interested in Ashkenazic figures but they did not detract from the messianic character of events that came to their attention. For their own polemical reasons, Christians or converts to Christianity did preserve the messianic character of some of these same events. Fully aware of the polemical import of these movements, Christian lenses maximized what Ashkenazic memory minimized.61 Christian Hebraists included lists of Jewish false
58 ‘R. Salomonis Molchi, qui se Messiam Judaeor um esse praedicavit, atque Mantuae propter seditionis Hebraicae metum, Carolo V. Rom. Imp. pro vidente, concrematus fuit anno 1532, liber de Secreta Hebraeor um Theologia. Huius vexilium vidi Ratisbonae anno 1541 cum litteris iakn’. Cited in M.H. Landauer, Literaturblatt des Orients, 27 (1845), p. 419. Landauer noted that an earlier bibliographer had mistakenly attributed a manuscript of Abraham Abulafia’s to Molkho because the stories of their meetings with the Pope were similar, and the bibliographer had never heard of Abulafia. Hebrew translations of the text, see: Aescoly, Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, p. 433; idem, Sippur David ha-Reuveni, pp. . 190-191. 59 Johannes a Lent (above note 41), p. 72, parag. XI. Lent based his erroneous account, which dated the movement at 1534 and conflated the two figures, on Juan Luis Vives’ De Veritate fidei Christianae, p. 491. Lent’s indiscriminate use of inaccurate sources renders his book useless as history, but it is valuable as a Christian reading of Jewish messianism. 60 Isaac Abravanel, Perush al Nevi6im Aharonim, Jer usalem 1955, Commentary to . Zechariah 1:16, 281 col. 4. 61 For examples of failed messianic movements linked with conversion of Jews, see: D. Ruderman, ‘Hope against Hope: Jewish and Christian Messianic Expectations in the Late Middle Ages’, in: idem (ed.), Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, New York 1992, p. 299; E. Carlebach,

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messiahs in their descriptions of Jews and Judaism.62 This explains why it was that in Ashkenaz some Jewish messianic movements were preserved only in the memory of Christian chroniclers. From these observations it follows methodologically, then, that notices of messianic movements within Ashkenaz should be read in a manner that is sensitive to the context and aware of its likely distortions. Messianic movements in Ashkenaz that were remembered in an obscure manner must still be taken seriously.63 It is not that Ashkenazim did not produce movements, but that they did not preserve their memory because of their greatly negative theological valence. Historian David Berger has noted the theological import of messianism for Jews living among Christians. Medieval Jews living in Christian lands lived in a state of perpetual rejection of a false messiah, and may well have been more sensitive to claims of messianic pretenders.64 The question of the messiah was not simply that of Israel’s history having come to its teleological end sooner rather than later, through one agent rather than another. It was a matter of reading the entire postChristian history of the Jews as a deliberate fraud. This one issue alone contained within it the power to validate the entire Christian claim, to undermine the entire rationale for existence of Jews and Judaism in the Christian mind.65 It should come as no wonder that Jews and Christians would distort accounts of messianic activism accordingly.
‘Sabbatianism and the Jewish-Christian Polemic’, Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division C, Vol. II: Jewish Thought and Literature, Jer usalem 1990, pp. 1-7; Y.F. Baer (A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, II, Philadelphia 1961, pp. 277-281) reports on messianic movement in Castile in 1295 which shook the Jewish community to its foundations. The only surviving record is an apostate’s derisive and polemical account mocking Jews for their false hopes. The culmination of this listing was the monograph by Lent (above note 41). Cohen ignored reports of movements in Ashkenaz which he regarded as obscure yet included movements in the Sephardic world for which sources were equally obscure, such as the Leon/Lyon movement of 1068. On that movement see: S.W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (=ASRHJ), V, New York 1957, p. 199. D. Berger, ‘Three Typological Themes in Early Jewish Messianism: Messiah Son of Joseph, Rabbinic Calculations, and the Figure of Armilus’, AJS Review, vol. 10, no. 2 (1985), pp. 162-163, note 82. This comment was made with specific reference to Gerson Cohen’s thesis. J. M. Elukin, ‘Jacques Basnage and the History of the Jews: Anti-Catholic Polemic and Historical Allegory in the Republic of Letters’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 53 (1992), pp. 603-630, esp. 621.

62 63

64

65

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Cohen’s r ule of evidence disregarded all accounts of messianic movements that did not come from Jewish sources. By his decision not to ‘reckon reports about Jewish messianic movements that are not attested by Jews, or obscure incidents’, Cohen tipped the scales in favor of the religio-cultural sphere of Islamic influence.66 Sephardim who followed a messianist, ‘whatever the extent of their adherents’, were to be counted; Ashkenazic sources with equally weak reverberations were dismissed for: weak reverberations. Yet the opposite methodological approach might be more justified in this case. Christian sources highlighted aspects of messianic movements that were inimical to Jewish polemical interests, but that does not mean the incidents they described were imagined. The records of messianic movements in Ashkenaz were so fragile and elusive, that the historian can not afford to ignore evidence from sources that we have no reason to believe are fundamentally tainted. As a result of r ules which eliminated entire categories of sources, Cohen passed in virtual silence over periods of messianic ferment within Ashkenazic Jewry: Throughout this period, no segment of Ashkenazic Jewry is known to have risen in messianic revolt. Indeed, we may go even further and say that there is not a single case of a messianic movement or of a pseudo-messiah known from Ashkenazic Jewry until the beginning of the sixteenth century. If enumerating incidents over half a millennium or more constitutes sufficient evidence to draw a paradigmatic messianic posture, then it is very likely that re-evaluation of the sources will produce a new definition of the Ashkenazic posture. Without creating an exhaustive catalogue, a re-reading of the sources indicates that a re-evaluation is in order. For the messianism of the Cr usade period, Cohen defined Jews of Byzantium as essentially Sephardic because they were eastern, yet he never removed the Sephardic designation from Jews of Christian Spain, who were western.67 These Jews generated a great deal of active messianic ferment during the first Cr usade period. In Salonika, the impend66 Cohen, p. 229, note 11. 67 In a messianic report from 1096, one figure was the dayyan of the Babylonian Jewish community in Egypt, the other was Gaon of the Palestinian academy at Jer usalem. A. Sharf, ‘An Unknown Messiah of 1096 and the Emperor Alexius’, Journal of Jewish Studies, 7 (1956), p. 63; J. Mann, ‘Ha-Tenu=ot ha-Meshihiyot . bi-Yemei Mas=ei ha-Zlav ha-Rishonim’, Ha-Tekufa, 23 (1925), pp. 243-261. .

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ing Cr usades sparked a major messianic awakening: the rich gave their property to the poor, all were immersed in waves of prayer and repentance: ‘They sit in their prayer shawls, they stopped working and we do not know what they are hoping for. And we are afraid that the thing might be revealed to the Gentiles and they will kill us’.68 This ferment was communicated to western European Jewry, and it affected them deeply. The Cr usade chronicle of Solomon bar Samson opened with a statement concerning the impending redemption in a year that had turned into one of affliction.69 It is impossible to know how widespread such thoughts were in Ashkenaz, and whether or not they influenced the martyrdom of the Rhine communities.70 The influential compilation Sefer Hasidim already bears traces of a suppression of messianic thought . and activism. The readers are warned to distance themselves from ‘any person who prophesies concerning the messiah […] for if it will be revealed to the world, in the end it will be an embarrassment and humiliation before the world’.71 The mid-thirteenth century was another locus of messianic activism among Jews in the Christian world. The fifth Jewish millennium was inaugurated in the Christian year 1240; combined with the news of the Mongol invasions the atmosphere was ripe for messianism. A Bohemian chronicler reported, ‘In 1235 they [the Jews] were expelled from the city [Prague] and scattered over the countryside, because they had prepared to establish an army and showed letters in which they were notified that their messiah had come’.72 When Ezra of Moncontour arose in France and prophesied that Elijah would appear in 1226, the messiah in 1233 and the redemption itself would begin in 1240, the news spread almost exclusively through Sephardic channels. The news
68 J. Prawer, The History of the Jews in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Oxford 1988, pp. 10-13. Cohen cited and dismissed without comment, ‘two messianic incidents in Byzantium, c. 1096, and in Sicily’ (p. 206) and discounted these movements because these places had ‘cultural affinities with the East and Spain, respectively’. 69 Cited in A. M. Haberman (ed.), Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Zarefat, Jer usalem 1946, p. 24: .
awril e"px `iapd dinxi z`eapk dngple dreyil epieiw f` xy` e"px xefgnl dpy dxyr zg`a [...] idie' ' 'ebe miebd y`xa eldve dgny

70 Baron, ASRHJ, IV, p. 96. 71 Sefer Hasidim, ed. Y. Wistinetsky and Y. Freimann, Frankfurt a.M. 1924, pp. 76-77, . parag. 212. Cited in Eidelberg (above note 9), p. 39, note 5, although it tends to undermine his thesis rather than support it. 72 Aescoly, Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, p. 212. Aescoly notes that all the sources were . non Jewish or hostile.

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was spread by a letter from Marseilles, to North Africa, to Alexandria, from whence it passed into the Cairo Geniza.73 A Bavarian Chronicle reported that a comet appeared during 1337. ‘During this time of great controversy between Emperor and Pope, Jews thought that the end had begun for the Roman Empire and for the Christian religion (for in their great hatred of it, they think it to be vain), and they believed that the time for the arrival of their messiah had come. Toward this end, they united throughout the German lands, against the Christians, and dared to decide that they would kill them with poison. They stole the holy wafer of the flesh and blood of Christ […] When the matter was revealed, all the German Jews were caught and burned […] Nothing could save them – such was the wrath of God’.74 This is very dim memory of what may possibly have been a strong messianic movement from the time of the Armleder persecutions, and immediately following persecutions that began with shepherds.75 In Ashkenaz the memory of this movement could be preserved only in a Christian source. Medieval Italian Jewry, arguably a cultural unit that was neither Ashkenazic nor Sephardic did not fit neatly into Cohen’s paradigm either. As historian Yosef Yer ushalmi has characterized them, ‘Italian Jewry was particularly susceptible to every messianic tiding and, perhaps because of its geographic location, often served as an eschatological news agency for other parts of the Jewish world’.76 An early fourteenth century text described a messianic movement in the Italian Jewish community of Cesena in North Central Italy: ‘The Jews of Italy with their families and their entire goods started out to go Overseas [Ultra Mare, Latin term traditionally used for Holy Land]; they said that the messiah, whom they were expecting, was born in those parts’.77 This movement was probably stimulated by news of the fall of the last Cr usader Kingdom in 1291; it appears to have left no traces in Jewish sources. A very
73 S. Assaf, ‘New Documents Concerning Proselytes and a Messianic Movement’, Zion, 5 (1940), pp. 112-124 (in Hebrew). . 74 Aescoly (Ha-Tenu5ot ha-Meshihiyot, pp. 238-239) cited from the sixteenth century . Johannes Adventinus, Bayerische Chronik, ed. G. Leidinger, Jena 1926, p. 175. 75 Aescoly, ibid., p. 239. 76 Y. Yer ushalmi, ‘Messianic Impulses in Joseph Ha-Kohen’, Jewish Thought in the Sixteenth Century, Cambridge, Mass. 1983, pp. 460-487. 77 S. Schein, ‘An Unknown Messianic Movement in Thirteenth Century Italy: Cesena, 1297’, Italia, 5 (1985), p. 98. The text is from Annales Caesenates, composed prior to 1334, and published in the eighteenth century.

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similar expression – ‘They decided to leave their communities and emigrate Overseas [Ultra Mare], to the Holy Land without the Emperor or lord’s permission and consent’ – was used by Rudolph I of Habsburg when in 1286 he ordered confiscation of the property of Jews in Spires, Worms, Mainz, Oppenheim, and Wetterau.78 The end of the Cr usader kingdom in 1291, accompanied by the massacre of the flourishing Jewish community in the Holy Land, spurred a period of intense messianism throughout European Jewry.79 Can collective migrations to the Holy Land be counted as messianic activities? Scholars have debated the eschatological motivation behind various ‘aliyot’, beginning with that of the ‘three hundred rabbis’ in the early thirteenth century. While not every migration to Zion was undertaken for explicitly messianic reasons, an anonymous disciple of Nahmanides writing close to 1290, makes it clear that many such mi. grations were impelled by an active messianism. ‘Let no man assume that the king messiah will appear in an unclean land; let him not be deluded into imagining that he will appear in the Land of Israel among the Gentiles […] And now many are inspired and they volunteer to go to the Land of Israel. And many think that we are near the coming of the Redeemer seeing that in many places the Gentiles made their burden heavier upon Israel and many other signs have already been revealed to the Chosen’.80 R. Menahem, known as Zion or Zioni, who . . .
78 Baron, ASRHJ, IX, New York 1967, pp. 153-154, from Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Constitutiones, III, 368-369: ‘sine nostra sive domini sui speciali licencia et consensu se ultra mare transtulerint’. 79 Silver (above note 33), pp. 81-101. Abraham Abulafia calculated a date in the 1280s; Tosafot Sens, Isaac ben Judah Halevy, in his `fx gprt, calculated 1290; the author of the Zohar, 1300. For an interpretion of the fall of the Cr usader kingdom as a sign that the land would only absorb its own sons, see: B.Z. Dinur, Yisrael ba-Golah, II, Tel-Aviv 1965, pp. 441-442. A similar interpretation of the loss of ¨ Cr usader ships at sea, see: I. Perles, ‘Die in einer Munchner Handschrift aufgefundene erste lateinische Uebersetzung des Maimonidischen Fuhrers’, ¨ Monatsschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, 24 (1875), pp. 21-22; ¨ J. Prawer, ‘Jewish Resettlement in Cr usader Jer usalem’, Ariel, 19 (1967), pp. 60-66. 80 Perles, ibid., p. 22. Yuval cited a nearly identical passage from a disciple of `"avix (d. 1210) and dated a series of messianic =aliyot to this time. See: I.J. Yuval, ‘Likrat 1240: Tikvot Yehudiyot, Pehadim Nozriyim’, Proceedings of the Eleventh World . . Congress of Jewish Studies, Division B, I, Jer usalem 1994, pp. 114-115. Although some of the links between Jewish apocalypticism and the blood libel in Yuval’s thesis have been criticized as tendentious, the suggestions that he makes in this article concerning Jewish apocalyptic motivation are sound. See also: Yuval

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visited Israel for a time and appended the name Zion to his name and . all his writings, acts which bespeak more than a passive messianism.81 Cohen reduced the entire history of migration to the Holy Land to ‘At best, the rabbis tolerated the yen of some Jews to settle in the Holy Land, but the extremely restricted extent of such settlement betrays the ´ tr ue nature of the elitist-rabbinic messianic posture’.82 Surely the restrictions were more a function of the unbearable conditions imposed by geography, economics, and hateful overlords than by rabbinic indifference. For example, Cohen dismissed the migration of ‘several hundred rabbis from France and Germany to the Holy Land in 1210 and 1211’ as ‘betraying little if any messianic activity’.83 He characterized the movement as elitist, because ‘they made no move to carry the masses of Jews along with them’. In thirteenth century Ashkenaz, hundreds of people migrating to the Holy Land was a popular movement. Given the demography of north European Jewish communities in the thirteenth century, several hundred men are masses. In the very small communities of western Europe there was not as pronounced a social distance between rabbis and lay people. Rabbinic scholars were merchants and everyone was related. The social dynamics were so different from the vast population and huge distances of class and geography that characterized movements on the fringes of the Geonic world, that a comparison of the two on the basis of popular resentment against a rabbinic ´ elite seems to miss the mark entirely. Cohen’s study was informed by the Jewish historiographical tradition to which he was heir and its biases which were deeply embedded. In this tradition, medieval Ashkenaz became a metaphor for the ‘rab´ binic, elite’ which was identified with fundamentalism and intolerance:
(above note 9); D. Berger, ‘From Cr usades to Blood Libels to Expulsions: Some new Approaches to Medieval Antisemitism’, Lecture of the Selmanowitz Chair of Jewish History, Touro College, New York 1997. But cf. E. Kanarfogel, ‘The ‘aliyah of “Three Hundred Rabbis” in 121 Tosafist Attitudes toward Settling in 1: the Land of Israel’, JQR, 76 (1986), pp. 191-215, who does not attribute messianic goals to this ‘aliya. 81 On the messianic doctrines of Menahem Zion, see: I.J. Yuval, Hakhamim . be-Doram, Jer usalem 1988, pp. 291-310. 82 Cohen, p. 203. 83 Cohen, p. 229, note 14: ‘Certainly the considerations of piety motivating settlement in the Holy Land were messianically oriented, but they were “pre-millenarist” in charactervery similar to those motivating the move of Judah , ha-Levi’.

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‘Ashkenazic Jewry was always basically fundamentalist, unabashed by anthropomorphism or outlandish legends […] Andalusian type […] had in reality appropriated much of the Hellenic scientific spirit […] Ashkenazic fundamentalism had gained ground in many respectable areas in Spain, and even some fine Sephardim had more or less absorbed the Northern temper’.84 The real deficiency of Ashkenaz, then, resided not in its messianic posture, but in its deficient alignment with the temper of the historian.85 Active expressions of messianic hope were no less integral to the profile of one Jewish community than to the other, if the evidence is evaluated properly. In Islamic lands, Jewish messianism was perceived as political insubordination; whereas Jewish expressions of messianism in Christian lands were interpreted as blasphemy, an attack on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The interplay between Jewish sustenance and Christian mockery of Jewish messianic hope is emblematic of the tension which existed for Jews living in the Christian world. As a result of this unremitting cultural pressure in a hostile environment, the recorded memories of messianic movements among Ashkenazic Jews were muted or distorted.86 These memories shaped future perceptions of similar movements in turn. These perceptions were internalized by the chroniclers both Jewish and non Jewish who transmitted the memory of events. This mechanism was in full operation when it came to transmission of the memory of the messianic movement of Sabbatai Zevi. III In a recent paper, Professor Shlomo Eidelberg restated some of the popular conceptions concerning the messianic posture of Ashkenazic Jews, with specific reference to the Sabbatian posture of German Jews. ‘It is well known that among the Jews of medieval Germany we find no appearances of redeemers or messiahs’.87 Even with regard to the Sabbatian messianic movement, Eidelberg dismissed Scholem’s argument concerning ‘the large scale suppression
84 Cohen, p. 212. 85 Ibid., p. 223. 86 It is significant that in one of the few passages in Sefer Hasidim, devoted to . messianic prophecizing, the reason cited for its sharp discouragement was that ‘in the end it will cause shame and humiliation before the entire world’. 87 Eidelberg (above note 9), p. 25.

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of records and documents relating to the movement’. Scholem’s source for this assumption was the explicit description by Samuel Aboab of reports that Jewish communities in the Holy Land, Turkey, Germany, Holland, Poland, and Russia burned all the records that mentioned Sabbatai’s name and admitted that the anti-Sabbatians were correct. Aboab reported that he was an eye-witness to this process in Italy, and connected the destr uction of the Sabbatian evidence to a book ‘recently published’ in a non Jewish language which ‘to our shame’, listed false Jewish messiahs, including ‘the most recent and worst’.88 The long history of self censorship in messianic matters and the polemical sensitivity of Jews living among Christians lend credence and context to Aboab’s testimony and Scholem’s acceptance of it. Within his descriptions of the widespread acceptance of Sabbatai, Scholem noted a strong contrast among communities which received news of the messiah. Some communities issued festive messianic proclamations, others, ‘exhortations to secrecy lest the gentiles wreak vengeance on Israel’.89 Scholem attributed the differences to ‘temperament’ rather than to history. A re-reading of the evidence marshalled by Scholem in his closing arguments appears to sustain his picture of the profound belief of German Jews in Sabbatai’s mission. We can take, for example, Glikl’s paradoxical report in the ‘Zikhroynes’. On the one hand, her account stressed that all the formal excitement took place within the Sephardic synagogue; the Ashkenazim seemed to play a more passive role. Glikl even framed the reports about Sabbatai within the most personal portions of the ‘Zikhroynes’.90 Yet when we read the account of the one person whose activity she described in detail, her father in law, the picture that emerges is the reverse of the first superficial reading. The Sephardim r ushed into the synagogues and celebrated, but her Ashkenazi father in law already had his bags packed, and waited for three years in this state of limbo.91 This apparent contra88 G. Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, Princeton 1973, p. 763 and note 205. . 89 Ibid., p. 469. 90 The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln (above note 3), pp. 46-47; in the Yiddish edition, ¨ Zichroynos Moras Glikl Hamil, ed. David Kaufmann, Frankfurt 1896, pp. 80-81; Die Memoiren der Gluckel von Hameln, trans. B. Pappenheim, Vienna 1910, pp. 74-75. ¨ All the citations that follow are taken from the English translation. 91 ‘Our joy when the letters arrived [from Smyrna] is not to be told. Most of them were addressed to the Sephardim who took them to their synagogue and read them aloud; young and old, the Germans [iyhiih] too hastened to the Sephardic synagogue. The Sephardic youth came dressed in their best finery and decked in broad green silk ribbons, the gear of Sabbatai Zvi. “With timbrels and with

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The Sabbatian Posture of German Jewry

diction between the demonstrative show of messianic loyalty by the Sephardim, and the deeper, more private expression of hope by the German Jews is indicative of the fundamental complication that we have encountered in assessing memories of medieval Jewish messianism. This complication was operative in the sixteenth century and certainly did not cease in the seventeenth. There is plenty of evidence that Glikl’s father in law was not atypical in his profound acceptance of the messianic news. German Jews tried to sell their property and prepared to leave; they held to their messianic beliefs long after Sabbatai’s apostasy. They incorporated this belief into the records of their transactions with one another. In the well known case of the accord of 12 May 1666 between the Altona and Hamburg communities over the Ottensen cemetery, the unfolding messianic events left their mark. After agreeing that the Hamburg community would owe the Altona community 150 Reichsthaler over a period of time for the right to use the cemetery, the contract stipulated: ‘Even if the redemption were to occur […] before the stipulated time, viz. Chanuka of 5427 [1667], the Hamburg community would still be obligated to pay the 50 Reichsthaler installment to the Altona community; they can use it toward the building of the Temple. However, if the redemption were to occur between Chanuka of 5427 [1667] and [the Jewish] New Year 5428 [1668], then only 25 of the 50 outstanding Reichsthaler need be paid toward the building of the Temple.92 The few western Yiddish sources that refer to the movement also attest to a profound level of belief. Scholem described a series of Yiddish letters from Hamburg, written by Shaindel Schonchenn bas R. Solomon and Nathan ben Aaron Neumark, to Shaindel’s husband Jacob Segal of Hamburg who was then languishing in an Oslo prison.93 Both used tiddances” they one and all trooped to the synagogue and they read the letters forth with joy... Some [yiliih] sold their houses and lands and all their possessions, for any day they hoped to be redeemed. My good father-in-law ,d"r, left his home in Hameln, abandoned his house and lands and all his goodly furniture, and moved to Hildesheim.... For the old man expected [dheytk] to sail any moment from Hamburg to the Holy Land.... For three years the casks stood ready, and all this while my father-in-law awaited the signal to depart. But the Most High pleased otherwise’. I have inserted the relevant Yiddish phrases into the English text. 92 I. Lorenz and J. Berkemann, Streitfall judischer Friedhof Ottensen, II, Hamburg ¨ 1995, p. 36, parag. 13. 93 Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 590. But as Beshraybung (below note 95) shows, there is . room in the Judeo-German tradition for a more active involvement in

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ings of the imminent messianic denouement to buoy the spirits of the prisoner. An active Yiddish literary tradition of messianic-polemical literature existed in Glikl’s time. Two Yiddish chronicles, ‘Zemach David’ of Abraham Kap-Serlis,94 and the ‘Beshraybung’ of Leib b. Ozer, affirm a picture of profound popular involvement by German Jews who held to their messianic beliefs long after Sabbatai’s apostasy.95 Yiddish tales of the Ten Lost Tribes and their battles with the mythical king Prester John from the late sixteenth century, may have served as precursors to the Yiddish literature of Sabbatai Zevi.96 Yiddish translations of German folktales judaized the works by adding references to the coming of the messiah.97 Yet in their public posture, particularly toward Christian neighbors and authorities, the record shows a much more restrained reaction. Glikl’s account sustains this dichotomy between deep private belief and more disengaged public posture. A significant strand in early modern German culture, popular as well as scholarly-theological, was devoted to the theme of Jewish blindness and perfidy embodied in the Jewish hopes for a future messiah. Early modern German literature devoted many works in different genres to the theme of vain Jewish messianic expectations.98 This was not simply a theological datum of which Jews were vaguely aware; it was an acmessianism, and certainly part of a literary tradition. Zfatman-Biller (below note 96) mentions a Yiddish translation of the Prester John tales of late 16th century. Although its origins were apparently within the Sephardic world, it shows how the traditions were transmitted interculturally. Abraham Kap-Serlis, ‘Zemah David’, MS. JTS mic 3543, 3b. On this work, see: . . Ch. Turniansky, ‘The First Yiddish Translations of Sefer Hayashar’, Tarbiz, vol. . 54, no. 4 (1985), pp. 567-620. Leib ben Ozer of Amsterdam, Beshraybung fun Shabse Tsvi, ed. Z. Shazar, Jer usalem 1978. The Beshraybung is only part of the manuscript; the first twelve pages contain ‘Gezeros Yeshu ha-notzri’, a Yiddish version of the counterChristian Toledot Yeshu. For a critical review, see: L. Fuks, ‘Sabatianisme in Amsterdam in het begin van de 18e Eeuw: Enkele Beschouwingen over Reb Leib Oizers en zijn Werk’, Studia Rosenthaliana, 14 (1980), pp. 20-27. S. Zfatman-Biller, ‘A Yiddish Epistle from the Late Sixteenth Century concerning the Ten Tribes’, Kobez al Yad, 10 [20] (1982), pp. 217-252. ¨ C. Daxelmuller, ‘Organizational Forms of Jewish Popular Culture since the Middle Ages’, R. Po-Chia Hsia and H. Lehmann (eds.), In and Out of the Ghetto: Jewish–Gentile Relations in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany, Washington, D.C. 1995, p. 37. See my forthcoming paper, ‘The Last Deception: Failed Messiahs and Jewish Conversion in Early-Modern German Lands’, in a volume to be edited by M. Goldish and R. Popkin.

94

95

96 97

98

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tive, oppressive, constant live wire, with which they were continually tormented. By linking Jewish messianic hope to the most negative images of Jews in polemical as well as popular representation, early modern German-Christian culture inscribed its very inhibiting imprint upon the Sabbatian posture of German Jews.

[xxix]

Motivations for Radical Anti-Sabbatianism: The Case of Hakham Zevi Ashkenazi . .
Jacob J. Schacter One of the most significant and lasting contributions of Gershom Scholem to Jewish scholarship is his serious and objective treatment of the Sabbatian movement in all of its phases and complexity. In his magisterial two-volume history of Sabbatianism and in a number of important articles, Scholem broke important new ground in the study of this movement, presenting the history of its rise, heyday, and ongoing impact in dramatic and comprehensive detail.1 Scholem’s wide-ranging studies elucidated many aspects of the Sabbatian phenomenon: the state of mind of mid-seventeenth century world Jewry which set the stage for the unprecedented spread of this messianic movement against a background of Jewish messianic activism which, until that time, had been the province of only a select few; the actual story of the movement itself until the death of Nathan of Gaza in 1680; the backgrounds and personalities of the major protagonists in this extraordinary drama; the various complex and conflicting kabbalistic teachings which gave meaning to the movement; the features which differentiated its ‘radical’ from its more ‘moderate’ factions; the role of the movement in the history of Jewry in the eighteenth century and in setting the stage for Haskalah, Hasidut and other devel.
1 See: G. Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi ve-ha-Tenu5ah ha-Shabbeta6it bi-Yemei Hayyav, . . Tel-Aviv 1957 (=Shabbetai Zevi). English version, see: idem, Sabbatai Sevi: The . . Mystical Messiah, tr. R. J. Z. Werblowsky, Princeton 1973 (=Sabbatai Sevi). See also: . idem, Mehkarim u-Mekorot le-Toledot ha-Shabbeta6ut ve-Gilgulehah, Jer usalem 1982 . [1974]. More than three dozen of Scholem’s articles relating to Sabbatianism were collected, introduced and brought up to date by Y. Liebes in Mehkarei . Shabbeta6ut, Tel-Aviv 1991. For analyses of Scholem’s treatment of Sabbatianism, see: D. Biale, Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History, Cambridge and London 1979, index, s.v. ‘Sabbatai Zevi’, ‘Sabbatianism’; J. Dan, Gershom Scholem . and the Mystical Dimension of Jewish History, New York and London 1987, pp. 286–312; and the reviews of Werblowsky and Kurzweil, cited below in note 5.
[Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 16-17, 2001]

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[2

opments in modern Jewish history; and, most significantly, the ideology which motivated Jews to remain ‘believers’ in that most paradoxical of phenomena, an apostate messiah. In analyzing these and other complex issues, Scholem single-handedly placed the study of the Sabbatian messianic movement and its crypto-Sabbatian aftermath, in all their intensity, scope and drama, on the agenda of serious Jewish scholarship. But while the spectacular spread and continued influence of Sabbatianism was carefully chronicled and painstakingly presented by Scholem, the substantial opposition to the movement, especially after Shabbetai Zevi’s apostasy, also deserves equally thoughtful considera. tion. On first glance, it would appear that the phenomenon of anti-Sabbatianism offers much less of a challenge to the historian. After all, once Shabbetai Zevi converted to Islam, it was only obvious and . logical to conclude that he could not be the messiah, however sad and painful such a conclusion might have been to those who had been absolutely convinced that they had been living in the long-awaited messianic era. Simply put, an apostate messiah could not be a messiah. Yet, the matter is not as simple as that. Scholem, his students and their students have clearly demonstrated that Sabbatian ‘believers’ did not share one single unidimensional ideology but rather, on the contrary, held very different and often contradictory positions. The fundamental differences between the theologies of Shabbetai Zevi himself, Nathan . of Gaza, Abraham Cardozo, Samuel Primo, and the members of the radical Salonika school, to name just a few, were so significant that it is impossible to speak simplistically of a monolithic Sabbatian ‘movement’. And what is tr ue of the ‘believers’ is also tr ue of their opponents. A multiplicity of motives and orientations characterizes the antiSabbatian camp as well. There are factors other than the logical and obvious one that need to be considered in a fuller and more nuanced presentation of the anti-Sabbatian position. For example, in attempting to explain the opposition of Isaac Cardozo (1603/1604-1683) to Sabbatianism, Yosef Hayim Yer ushalmi did not simply assume the obvious – that after Shabbetai Zevi’s conversion . to Islam, Isaac could simply no longer believe him to be the messiah – and leave it at that. Scholem had already noted how various theories advanced to justify Shabbetai Zevi’s conversion resonated particularly . among former Marranos who could especially identify with a dissonance between an external conversion to another faith and an inner reality of a far different order. The justification advanced by Isaac’s own [xxxii]

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brother Abraham, who took a position diametrically opposed to that of Isaac and who emerged as one of the leading architects of postconversion Sabbatian theology, ‘For he [the messiah] was destined to become a Marrano like me [ipenk qep`]’, had a special meaning for former Marranos and accounts for a disproportionate number of them maintaining their faith in Shabbetai Zevi even after his conversion to Islam.2 . However, Yer ushalmi argued that the Marrano connection can work two ways. For if there were factors in the life experience of former Marranos which militated in favor of their being continued believers in Shabbetai Zevi even after his conversion, there were also equally com. pelling factors which militated against such a belief. Yer ushalmi showed how it was precisely his experiences as a former Marrano which led Isaac to disavow any association with the apostate messiah, for continued belief in Shabbetai Zevi after that point presupposed ac. cepting certain assumptions which smacked of the Christianity Isaac had rejected when he moved from Spanish court to Italian ghetto.3 In explaining the phenomenon of anti-Sabbatianism, then, additional considerations have been taken into account, other than the simple logic of the basic position itself. I want to extend this analysis into the next generation or two and ask not what factors accounted for an anti-Sabbatian position per se, but what factors accounted for a particularly vehement and extreme anti-Sabbatianism. By the time Shabbetai Zevi died in 1676, and cer. tainly in the decades that followed, the rejection of Sabbatianism was even more commonplace and obvious. Why someone could no longer believe in a dead apostate messiah required less and less of an explanation. What needs to be addressed, however, is the issue of the intensity of the anti-Sabbatian position. Why did some rabbis and communal leaders became extreme in their anti-Sabbatianism while others were
2 See: G. Scholem, ‘Mizvah ha-Ba>ah ba-=Averah’, Knesset, 2 (1937), pp. 347–392, esp. 358–359; reprinted in: idem, Mehkarim u-Mekorot (ibid.), pp. 9–67, esp. 23–24; . tr. into English as ‘Redemption Through Sin’, in: idem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism, New York 1971, pp. 78–141, esp. 94–95. See also: idem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, New York 1946, pp. 309–310. For the phrase ipenk qep`, see: A. Freimann (ed.), 5Inyenei Shabbetai Zevi, Berlin 1913, p. 88; reprinted in: Jacob . Sasportas, Sefer Zizat Novel Zevi, ed. I. Tishby, Jer usalem 1954, p. 291. . . . Y. H. Yer ushalmi, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto, New York 1971, pp. 302–349. For a similar example in the case of Isaac Orobio de Castro, see: Y. Kaplan, Mi-Nazrut le-Yahadut, Jer usalem 1982, pp. 183–203; idem, From . Christianity to Judaism, Oxford 1989, pp. 209–234.

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more moderate and subdued in their opposition to that movement? Why, for example, did R. Jacob Sasportas (c. 1610-1698) and R. Moses Hagiz (1671-1751) devote so much of their enormous talents and pro. digious energies to combating Sabbatianism while the vast majority of their contemporaries did not? Why did R. Jacob Emden (1697-1776) become such an extreme and obsessive anti-Sabbatian while others in his generation like R. Ezekiel Landau (1713-1793), the author of the Noda5 bi-Yehudah, for example, did not? After all, Sid Z. Leiman has shown that ¨ Landau too, like Emden, was convinced that R. Jonathan Eybeschutz was a Sabbatian.4 Yet, unlike Emden, his position in the famous ¨ Emden-Eybeschutz controversy was a far more mild and moderate one. There is no doubt that in considering the question of extremism or obsession in behavior, one’s personal psychological predisposition plays a major role. Some people are just more contrary and extreme in their behavior than are others. There are always those who see huge conspiracies and dangerous threats where others see only petty distractions and minor nuisances. But these psychological considerations alone are insufficient to account for this phenomenon and other factors have been and need to be introduced to provide for a fuller and more nuanced analysis. In her study of R. Moses Hagiz, Elisheva Carlebach placed Sasportas’ . anti-Sabbatianism within the context of his long time role as a social critic, expressing his strong opposition to those phenomena he observed in the Jewish community which, he believed, would undermine the rabbinic tradition.5 As far as Hagiz himself is concerned, Carlebach .
4 See: S. Z. Leiman, ‘When a Rabbi is Accused of Heresy: R. Ezekiel Landau’s ¨ ¨ Attitude Toward R. Jonathan Eibeschutz in the Emden-Eibeschutz Controversy’, in: J. Neusner, E. S. Frerichs and N. M. Sarna (eds.), From Ancient Israel to Modern Judaism. Intellect in Quest of Understanding: Essays in Honor of Marvin Fox, III, Atlanta 1989, pp. 179–194. E. Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy: Rabbi Moses Hagiz and the Sabbatian . Controversies, New York 1990 (=The Pursuit of Heresy), p. 5. The matter of Sasportas’ anti-Sabbatianism is a complicated one and it still merits further analysis. See the problematic assessment of his personality and character in Tishby’s introduction to his edition of Sasportas’ Sefer Zizat Novel Zevi, pp. 13–39, . . . repeated and amplified by Scholem in Shabbetai Zevi, pp. 468–470; Sabbatai Sevi, . . pp. 566–569. Scholem’s famous characterization of Sasportas’ portrait as presenting ‘the face of a Jewish “Grand Inquisitor”’ (Shabbetai Zevi, p. 468; . Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 566–567) clearly shows that he went too far in his desire to . present the Sabbatian movement fairly and objectively, and underscores the need for a more balanced view of the entire phenomenon of anti-Sabbatianism.

5

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noted a number of considerations: a ‘personal proclivity for zealotry’; a desire to follow the example set by his father, R. Jacob Hagiz, and his . teacher, R. Abraham Yizhaki; and a lifelong passion for revitalizing the .. rabbinate and rabbinic authority.6 In the case of Emden, in particular, there is no question that psychological considerations played a major role. The complexities of his personality and his propensity for controversy are well known and not open merely to speculation.7 Nevertheless, here too other considerations have been suggested. As in the case of his senior colleague Hagiz, and even more so, Emden had an almost . obsessive desire to relive the life of his father, Hakham Zevi Ashkenazi, . . who, as we will see, was a leading anti-Sabbatian.8 In addition, Yehudah Liebes has argued that Emden’s messianic pretensions for himself as well as for the members of his immediate family were a significant factor (if not the significant factor) in accounting for the extremism of his
For critiques of their attitude towards Sasportas, see: R. I .Z. Werblowsky’s review of Scholem’s book, ‘Hirhurim =al “Shabbetai .Zevi” le-G. Scholem’, Molad, 15 (1957), p. 545 (see Scholem’s reply to Werblowsky’s criticism in his =Od Davar, Tel-Aviv 1989, pp. 98–104); B. Kurzweil, ‘He =arot le-“Shabbetai .Zevi” shel Gershom Scholem’, Ba-Ma6avak =al =Erkhei ha-Yahadut, Tel-Aviv 1969, pp. 130–134; A. Korman, Zeramim ve-Kitot ba-Yahadut, Tel-Aviv 1966, pp. 278–283; A. Gross, ‘Demuto shel R. Ya=akov Sasportas mi-Tokh Sefer ha-Shu"t “Ohel Y a=akov”’, Sinai, 93 (1983), pp. 132–141; E. Moyal, Rabbi Ya5akov Sasportas, Jer usalem 1992, pp. 55f. In order fully to understand Sasportas’ motivation, it is obviously essential to determine whether his opposition toward the movement was clear and unambiguous from the very beginning or whether there was even a brief period of time when he entertained a positive attitude toward it. This issue is dealt with by Tishby in Sefer Zizat Novel Zevi, pp. 43–44, and in a later article by . . . him, ‘=Al Mishnato shel Gershom Scholem be-Heker ha-Shabbeta>ut’, Tarbiz, 28 . . (1958–1959), pp. 119–123; reprinted in: idem, Netivei Emunah u-Minut, [Ramat-Gan 1964] Jer usalem 1982, 1994, pp. 258–262, and in two reviews of Tishby’s book: R. Shatz-Uffenheimer, Behinot, 10 (1956), pp. 50–67; M. A. Anat . (Perlmutter), ‘Ha-Sefer “Zizat Novel . Zevi” le-Rabbi Y a=akov Sasportas’, Tarbiz, . . . vol. 26. no. 3 (1957), pp. 338–344. See too: Moyal, ibid., pp. 128–143. Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy, pp. 6, 39–40, 43, 52–53, 123, 157–159. Carlebach also briefly discusses the anti-Sabbatianism of R. Jacob Zemah (p. 34), the . . Frances brothers (pp. 34, 137), and R. Joseph Ergas (pp. 137–143). I am completing a critical edition of Megillat Sefer, Emden’s autobiography, to be published by Mossad Bialik, where all this will be spelled out in great detail. Emden consistently refers to himself as ‘a zealot, the son of a zealot [ i`pw oa i`pw]’. For a list of sources, see: J. J. Schacter, ‘History and Memory of Self: The Autobiography of Rabbi Jacob Emden’, in: E. Carlebach, J. Efron and D. Meyers (eds.), Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Hanover 1998, p. 448, n. 30.

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anti-Sabbatianism.9 Clearly more than psychological predisposition to controversy needs to be considered. I would like to suggest another consideration which, I believe, should be taken into account when assessing the factors which led some to adopt a particularly vociferous and vehement anti-Sabbatian position. The family backgrounds of several leading anti-Sabbatians in the eighteenth century reveal that they shared one thing in common – close relatives who were known to have been confirmed followers of Shabbetai Zevi in the previous generation or two, not only before but . ´ even after his conversion. For example, R. Moses Galante (1620-1689) was a leading Sabbatian.10 His grandson, R. Moses Hagiz, was a prom. inent anti-Sabbatian.11 R. David Yizhaki (c.1615-1694) had been a de.. voted follower of Shabbetai Zevi for many years.12 His son, R. Abraham . Yizhaki (1661-1729), was one of the principal opponents of Sabbatian.. ism at the beginning of the century.13 R. Moses Pinheiro (d. 1689) was a childhood friend and early associate of Shabbetai Zevi and remained . an ardent spokesman for the movement as late as 1690.14 His grandson, R. Joseph Ergas (1685-1730), was a prominent and active antiSabbatian.15 Further research will undoubtedly yield additional examples of this phenomenon as well. Given the enormous popularity of Shabbetai Zevi in the heyday of .
9 See: Y. Liebes, ‘Meshihiyuto shel R. Ya=akov Emden ve-Yahaso la-Shabbeta>ut’, . . Tarbiz, 49 (1980), pp. 122–165; reprinted in: idem, Sod ha-Emunah ha-Shabbeta6it, . Jer usalem 1995, pp. 198–211, 396–421. ´ See: G. Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, index, s.v. ‘Galante, Moshe’; Sabbatai Sevi, index, . . ´ s.v. Galante, R. Moses; Encyclopaedia Judaica, 7 (1971), pp. 259–260. There is some ´ question as to how long Galante remained a ‘believer ’. See: Carlebach, The ´ Pursuit of Heresy, pp. 35–36, 42. Carlebach considers Galante to have been ‘a supporter’ as late as 1674 (p. 42). See above note 5. See: G. Scholem, ‘Parshiyot be-Heker ha-Tenu=ah ha-Shabbeta>it’, Zion, 6 (1941), . . pp. 87–89; idem., ‘Li-She >elat Yahasam shel Rabbanei Yisra>el >el ha-Shabbeta>ut’, . Zion, 13–14 (1948–1949), pp. 59–62; reprinted in: idem, ‘R. David Y izhaki . .. ve-Yahaso la-Shabbeta>ut’, Mehkarei Shabbeta>ut, pp. 194–201. For an updated . . bibliography on Yizhaki (prepared by Y. Liebes), see: ibid., pp. 201–202. .. See: Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy, index, s.v. ‘Yizhaki, Abraham’. See too: M. . Friedman, ‘Iggerot be-Farashat Pulmus Nehemiah Hiyya Hayyon’, Sefunot, 10 . . . (1996), pp. 490–491; Encyclopaedia Judaica, 16 (1972), pp. 839–840; A. Almaliah, Ha-Rishonim le-Ziyyon: Toledoteihem u-Pe5ulatam, Jer usalem 1970, pp. 76–80. . Encyclopaedia Judaica, 13 (1971), pp. 536–537. Ibid., 6 (1971), pp. 839–841; Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy, index, s.v. ‘Ergas, R. Joseph’.

10

11 12

13

14 15

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the movement, it is fair to assume that almost any Jew in the eighteenth century had some relative who had once been a ‘believer ’ prior to Shabbetai’s conversion. What is of special significance in the examples ´ cited here, however, is that Yizhaki, Pinheiro and Galante continued to .. maintain their belief in Shabbetai Zevi even after his conversion, at a . time when he had been abandoned by the vast majority of his followers. That each of these persistent Sabbatians had direct descendants who were later in the forefront of the movement against Sabbatianism is what I want to highlight here. First, a methodological consideration. To be sure, Sabbatianism in one’s family, in and of itself, is not enough to explain one’s extreme and rabid opposition to the movement. There were undoubtedly many moderate anti-Sabbatians (who were opponents of the movement but in a less extreme and vir ulent fashion) and even non-Sabbatians (who simply were neither opponents nor followers of the movement) who also had close family members who were ‘believers’ even after Shabbetai Zevi’s conversion. The presence of a Sabbatian forebear . surely did not insure a vir ulent and extreme anti-Sabbatian descendant. Conversely, there probably were active anti-Sabbatians in the eighteenth century who did not have a Sabbatian skeleton in their family’s closet and whose motivations stemmed from other considerations entirely. Nevertheless, for some, with a certain type of psychological temperament, having had a Sabbatian in their family might account, to some extent, for their own unusually strong, active and vehement reaction to that movement. This was not necessarily the only motivation, or even the dominant one, but I suggest that it too needs to be taken into account. There are a number of ways to explain this nexus. For example, one possibility may be that these later anti-Sabbatians were reacting to the extreme embarrassment and discomfort they felt over the presence of this heresy within the confines of their own immediate families. Rather than feel defensive, they took the initiative and positioned themselves in the forefront of the str uggle against it, to actively search out and uproot any vestige of that foulness which had contaminated their own loved ones. In other words, the best defense was an offense. Or maybe it was not simply a matter of discomfort or embarrassment. Is it possible that this discomfort or embarrassment led these virulent anti-Sabbatians to feel a great deal of anger towards their heretical Sabbatian forebears which, due to their close personal connection, they found difficult to express? Is it conceivable that, as a result, they transferred this anger onto the Sabbatian movement as a whole? [xxxvii]

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Perhaps, in a different vein, the knowledge that Sabbatianism had penetrated their own families and affected their respected forbears made these descendants more aware than were others of the potential power and alluring attractiveness – and therefore danger – of the movement. For if their beloved father or grandfather could have been misled, so could anyone else. They knew, from their own intimate experience, just how dangerous this heresy could be. This consideration, in and of itself, can be operative on two different, even contradictory, ways. Perhaps their ancestors, having seen the error of their ways, became so full of hatred and venom for the movement that led them astray and transmitted the intensity of their anti-Sabbatian feelings to their descendants. Conversely, it may even be possible that these descendants themselves were tempted – at some level – to follow in their forebear ’s footsteps and so, perhaps, needed to be extra vigilant to defend against an impulse which may have been real and threatening to them. Perhaps, therefore, they needed to quiet their own inner doubts and fears – and maybe even unconscious wishes – by taking the of fensive against what for them loomed as a formidable personal threat. Unlike the first set of possibilities that reflect unconscious (or maybe even conscious) shame regarding personal identity, this consideration focuses on unconscious (or maybe even conscious) anxiety over potentially destr uctive behavior. In either case, the result is the same – a concerted effort to uproot and destroy the source of the evil perceived of as a threat. Finally, perhaps the suggestion made regarding R. Abraham Yizhaki .. could be applied to others as well: ‘The man who was cognizant of the original deeds of his father and of his [father’s] regret and deep remorse became a determined opponent of the movement that led his father astray. In this way, he sought to achieve atonement and purification for his father’s soul’.16 While all these psychological suggestions are pure conjecture, they are plausible in helping explain a recurrent pattern that, I believe, is worthy of consideration. * How relevant is this analysis to help account for the particularly strong and extreme anti-Sabbatian behavior of Hakham Zevi Ashkenazi, one . . of the leading opponents of the movement through the second decade
16 See: M. Benayahu, ‘Ma=amadah shel ha-Tenu=ah ha-Shabbeta>it biYer ushalayim’, in: S. Lieberman and A. Hyman (eds.), Sefer ha-Yovel li-Khevod Shalom Baron, Jer usalem 1975, pp. 66–67.

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of the eighteenth century?17 In 1666, as a young boy, Zevi moved to . Ofen-Buda, later known as Budapest, together with the members of his family.18 His arrival in that city directly coincided with the rise of the Sabbatian movement which swept through almost the entire Jewish world at that time. Ofen was no exception. Like many other Hungarian communities, it too became a center of Sabbatian influence and activity.19 Many years later, Hakham Zevi related to his son, R. Jacob Emden, . . some of his own eyewitness experiences with Sabbatians at that time: My revered father, who was a child during the time of Shabbetai Zevi, told us and testified that at that time there were women who . said: ‘Let us go and slay demons’. They dressed themselves in white linen garments and moved their outstretched arms to and fro in the air, one here and one there. They spread out the dress20 and collected much blood from the air with their clothes, as if with their own hands they shed much blood. [. . .] One woman said: ‘Who wants me to give him the aroma of Gan Eden?’ With
17 This major figure has not received the scholarly attention he deserves. The best study to date is still J. Bleich, ‘Hakam Zebi as Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazic . Kehillah of Amsterdam (1710–1714)’, unpublished Masters’ thesis, Yeshiva University, New York 1965. 18 See: Jacob Emden, Megillat Sefer, Warsaw 1896 (=Megillat Sefer), p. 7, where Emden writes that his father arrived in Buda together with his father, R. Jacob Zak, and maternal grandfather, R. Ephraim ha-Kohen. For 1666 as the date of their arrival, see the introduction of R. Judah ha-Kohen to the responsa of his father, R. Ephraim ha-Kohen, She6elot u-Teshuvot Sha5ar Ephraim, Lemberg 1886 (=Shu"t Sha5ar Ephraim), beginning. It is impossible to determine young Zevi’s . precise age at that time because his date of birth is unknown, with suggestions ranging from 1648 to 1661. See: A. H. Wagenaar, Sefer Toledot Yavez, Lublin 1881, . p. 4; M. Gr unwald, Hamburgs deutsche Juden, Hamburg 1904, p. 66; M. Balaban, ‘Shalshelet ha-Yahas shel Mishpahat Orenstein-Broda’, Sefer ha-Yovel li-Khevod . . Dr. Mordekhai Ze6ev Broda, Warsaw 1931, p. 21; D. Kahana, Toledot ha-Mekkubalim, ha-Shabbeta6im ve-ha-Hasidim, I, Tel-Aviv 1921 (=Toledot ha-Mekkubalim), p. 130; . Z. Y. Lerer, ‘He=arot ha-Hakham Zevi ve-ha-Yavez =al Sefer “ha-Bahur” Zefunot, ’, . . . . . 14 (1992), p. 101. See Megillat Sefer, where Emden writes that his father was ‘still a lad, young in years [mipya jx xrp]’ while living in Buda. 19 See: Sasportas, Sefer Zizat Novel Zevi, pp. 129, 131, 209, 215; Scholem, Shabbetai . . . Zevi, index, s.v. ‘Budapest’; Sabbatai Sevi, index, s.v. ‘Budapest’ and ‘Ofen . . (Buda)’. For other references, see: D. Kaufmann, Die Ersturmung Ofens und ihre ¨ Vorgeschichte, Trier 1895, p. 19; reprinted in: idem, Gesammelte Schriften, II, Frankfurt a. Main 1910, p. 301; idem, Die letzte Vertreibung der Juden aus Wien und Niederosterreich, Vienna 1889, p. 91; Y. Greenwald, ‘Le-Toledot ha-Mekubbalim ¨ be-Ungaryah’, Sinai, 24 (1949), pp. 193–195. 20 Cf. Deuteronomy 22: 17.

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her hands outstretched towards the heavens she caught some air and offered an exceedingly fragrant odor to whoever wanted.21 He also told a story about a young boy in Sarajevo during the days of Shabbetai Zevi who, for a period of time, was suddenly endowed with . the prophetic power of being able to inform people about all the sins they had ever committed.22 As a young man, Hakham Zevi traveled to the East to study Torah,23 . . and there came into contact with former followers of the movement from whom he undoubtedly heard a great deal about its traditions and beliefs. In Adrianople, he encountered R. Jacob Straimer who had been a ‘believer ’ prior to Shabbetai’s conversion.24 On a visit to Belgrade in 1679, he also met R. Joseph Almosnino who had been a follower of Shabbetai Zevi.25 Interestingly, Hakham Zevi’s first-hand knowledge of . . . Sabbatian lore is indicated by the fact that a later work quotes him as a source for the Sabbatian tradition that the messiah died in ArnautBelgrade, Albania.26
21 Jacob Emden, Zot Torat ha-Kena6ot, Altona 1752, p. 5a. Sabbatians claimed that a fragrant odor exuded from Shabbetai Zevi’s body which they identified as the . smell of Gan Eden. See: Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 139. . 22 Emden, ibid. See also: Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 636–637. Hakham Zevi served . . . as rabbi in Sarajevo for a few years beginning around 1686. See: Emden, Megillat Sefer, p. 9; She6elot u-Teshuvot Hakham Zevi, Amsterdam 1712 (=Shu"t Hakham Zevi), . . . . introduction; R. Judah ha-Kohen, introduction to Shu"t Sha5ar Ephraim. See also: Jewish Encyclopedia, 2 (1903), p. 202; M. Levy, Die Sephardim in Bosnien, Sarajevo 1911, pp. 16–17; A. L. Fr umkin and E. Rivlin, Toledot Hakhmei Yerushalayim, II, . Tel-Aviv 1969 [1928] (=Hakhmei Yerushalayim), p. 82 and n. 1; I. Solomons, ‘David . Nieto and Some of his Contemporaries’, Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, 12 (1931), p. 18; Encyclopaedia Judaica, 14 (1971), p. 871. 23 Emden, Megillat Sefer, p. 8; Emden, Zot Torat ha-Kena6ot, p. 27a; Kerem Shelomoh, vol. 10, no. 7 (1987), p. 10. 24 See: Shu"t Hakham Zevi, #7,141. J.L. Puhvizer, Divrei Hakhamim, Hamburg 1692, . . . p. 28b, cited by A. Ya=ari, Ta5alumat Sefer, Jer usalem 1954, p. 21. For evidence of Straimer’s Sabbatianism, see: Emden, ibid. 25 See: Shu"t Hakham Zevi, #41, 168. For Almosnino’s Sabbatianism, see: Kahana, . . Toledot ha-Mekkubalim, p. 89, n. 3; Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, pp. 189, 535; Sabbatai . Sevi, pp. 232, 636; M. Benayahu, Ha-Tenu5ah ha-Shabbeta6it be-Yavan (Sefunot, 14) . (1971–1978), p. 249, n. 138. 26 See: Leib b. Oyzer, Bashraybung fun Shabsay Tsvi, ed. Z. Shazar, S. Zucker, and R. Plesser, Jer usalem 1978, pp. 166–167. For this issue and Hakham Zevi’s central . . role in it, see: Y. Ben-Zvi, ‘Mekom Kevurato shel S"Z ve-ha-=Edah ha-Shabbeta>it be-Albaniah’, Zion, 17 (1952), pp. 75–78, 174; G. Scholem, ‘Heikhan Met . Shabbetai Zevi’, Zion, 17 (1952), pp. 79–83; idem, Shabbetai Zevi, p. 790; Sabbatai . . . Sevi, p. 921; Benayahu, ibid., pp. 247–251. .

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Also interesting is some anecdotal evidence which indicates that Hakham Zevi was considered to have been an opponent of . . Sabbatianism even in his youth. It was told that when Shabbetai Zevi . demonstrated that he was, indeed, the messiah by flying through the air in Adrianople, Hakham Zevi ridiculed him by himself duplicating . . that feat. In fact, close to two hundred years later, Adrianople’s Jewish elders were still pointing to the two houses where this miracle had allegedly occurred.27 While serving as head of the klaus in Altona during the last decade of the seventeenth century, Hakham Zevi became further involved in . . anti-Sabbatian activities in a variety of ways. His son later recorded how his father opposed the itinerant Sabbatian teachers Hayyim . Mal>akh and Zadok of Grodno.28 According to Emden, his father was . also instr umental in supporting Polish opposition to R. Judah Hasid . and his Sabbatian followers. He had received a request for information about them from R. Shaul, rabbi of Cracow, who ‘assiduously inquired from my revered father who was reared in the East and about whom he was certain that he knew the nature of this cursed sect’. It was apparently clear that Hakham Zevi enjoyed a reputation as an expert on this . . movement due to his early contact with some of its followers. He advised R. Shaul to harass them and, when his advice was followed, they left Poland for Germany. Upon their arrival in Hakham Zevi’s then . . hometown of Altona, he continued his personal opposition to this group.29 Finally, Hakham Zevi’s anti-Sabbatian career culminated, of . . course, in his major bitter battle against Nehemiah Hiyya Hayyon . . . while serving as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam in 1713-1714.30 In trying at least partially to account for the intensity of Hakham . Zevi’s anti-Sabbatianism, it might be useful to examine the attitudes of . some of the members of his immediate family towards that movement. There is, in fact, good reason to believe that his own mother’s brother, R. Judah ha-Kohen, and even his own father, R. Jacob Zak, were Sabbatians, at least for some period of time. I do not enter here into the
27 See: A. Danon, ‘Kat Yehudit-Muslemit be->Erez Togarmah’, Sefer ha-Shanah, I, . Warsaw 1900, p. 178; idem, ‘Documents et traditions sur Sabbatai Cevi et la secte’, REJ, 37 (1898), p. 104. Danon also cites an anecdote regarding the antiSabbatianism of Hakham Zevi’s wife. . . 28 Emden, Zot Torat ha-Kena6ot, pp. 26b-27a. 29 Emden, ibid. 30 This entire dramatic story has been most recently treated by Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy, pp. 75–159.

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absolutely cr ucial and, I believe, ultimately most important question of what, precisely, did it mean to be a ‘Sabbatian’ in the last third of the seventeenth century. Scholem, his students and their students have already shown in great detail that under no circumstances did post-conversion Sabbatian theology represent one single, unified, monolithic ideology. On the contrary. The nuances not only of ‘who is a Sabbatian’ but ‘what is Sabbatianism’ are still in the process of being identified and refined. Nevertheless, as far as the argument of this study is concerned, even a most minimal identification with the movement will suffice and, perhaps, the evidence may suggest even more than that. R. Judah was the son of R. Ephraim ha-Kohen, the renowned communal rabbi and author of She6elot u-Teshuvot Sha5ar Ephraim.31 R. Ephraim had four children; one was R. Judah and another was Nehamah, married to R. Jacob Zak and mother of Hakham Zevi.32 . . . The evidence for R. Judah’s Sabbatianism comes from the very close relationship he enjoyed with R. Avraham Rovigo, the well known Italian Sabbatian activist and leader. Around 1686-1687, R. Judah visited Rovigo at his home in Italy.33 The two remained in contact, and about a decade later, in 1697, Rovigo informed his followers, including R. Judah,
31 For R. Judah, see his introduction to his father’s Shu"t Sha5ar Ephraim; S. J. Fuenn, Kiryah Ne6emanah, Vilna 1915, pp. 90–91; Fr umkin and Rivlin, Hakhmei . Yerushalayim, pp. 82–85; Y. Y. Greenwald, ‘Rabbanei Ungariyah she-=Alu le->Erez . Yisra>el mi-Shnat 5445 =ad 5655’, Sinai, 26 (1949–1950), pp. 222–225; M. Benayahu, ‘Halifat Iggerot bein ha-Kehillah ha-Ashkenazit bi-Yer ushalayim ve-R. David . Oppenheim’, Yerushalayim, 3 (1950), pp. 108, 115, 118–122; idem (above note 16), pp. 62–63, 65; Y. Buksbaum, ‘Ha-Gaon Rabbi Aryeh Yehudah Leib Katz zz"l, . ha-Rishon mi-Gedolei Hungariyah she-=Alah le->Erez ha-Kodesh’, Moriyah, vol. 14, no. 5–8 (1986), pp. 30–39; M. A. Z. Kinstlicher, ‘Bein Oyvin le-Erez . ha-Kodesh’, Zefunot, vol. 1, no. 3 (1989), pp. 90–99. . 32 For R. Jacob, see: Megillat Sefer, pp. 3–7 (the manuscript of Megillat Sefer [A. Neubauer, Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford 1886, p. 590, parag. 1723:2], 117a contains an important passage missing in the Kahana edition which will appear in my forthcoming edition of this work); Shu"t Hakham Zevi, introduction; Encyclopaedia Judaica, 9 (1971), p. 1216, and the . . references cited there; Greenwald, ibid., pp. 225–226; Y. D. Feld, ‘Helkei Avanim’, . in She6elot u-Teshuvot Nish6al David, Jer usalem 1982, pp. 246–47; idem., ‘Halukei . Avanim’, in R. Pinhas Katzenellenboigen, Sefer Yesh Manhilin, Jer usalem 1986, . . pp. 416–417; Kinstlicher, ‘Bein Oyvin le-Erez ha-Kodesh’, Zefunot, vol. 1, no. 2 . . (1989), p. 91 and n. 21; S. Englard, ‘Shibushim Nefozim bi-Megillot Yohasin’, . . Zefunot, 13 (1991), p. 88. . 33 I. Sonne, ‘=Ovrim ve-Shavim be-Veito shel Rabbi Avraham Rovigo’, Sefunot, 5 (1961), pp. 283–284, parag. 18.

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about the appearance of a maggid in his school in Italy.34 R. Judah was also the leader of a group of members of Rovigo’s circle who traveled with their teacher from Livorno to Jer usalem in the winter of 1701-1702.35 Upon arriving there, Rovigo and his family stayed for a while in R. Judah’s home.36 Finally, and most significantly, Rovigo chose R. Judah as one of a select group of ten students to study in his yeshiva there. There is strong reason to believe that Rovigo selected only those who shared his Sabbatian views and, indeed, many of the members of this group which constituted Rovigo’s innermost circle have already been independently identified as having been followers of that movement.37 It has already been claimed that mere membership in Rovigo’s Jer usalem yeshiva may be enough to establish one’s Sabbatian credentials,38 a conclusion which would seem to be certainly warranted in the case of R. Judah whose closeness with Rovigo was of such intensity and long duration. But the evidence here may be even stronger. A listing of amounts of money that Rovigo sent to R. Judah in Jer usalem in 1694 and 1695 contains the following entry: ‘Afterwards I also sent him two other pizi for [a copy of] Derush Taninim’. Isaiah Sonne, who published this text, simply assumed that this is a reference to the well-known Sabbatian tract by Nathan of Gaza, and concluded that it fully confirms R. Judah’s Sabbatianism.39 Like Sonne, Scholem also asserted, albeit tentatively, that R. Judah was a Sabbatian,40 but neither he nor Sonne
34 G. Scholem, Halomotav shel ha-Shabbeta6i R. Mordekhai Ashkenazi, Jer usalem 1938 . (=Halomotav), pp. 34–35. . 35 An account of this journey was printed by Jacob Mann in Me6asef Zion, 6 (1934), . pp. 71–84, and reprinted by A. Ya=ari, Iggerot Erez Yisrael, Tel-Aviv 1943, pp. . 226–242. For R. Judah, see: Mann, ibid., pp. 64, 71, 76, 79, 81; Ya=ari, pp. 226, 231, 236, 238. 36 See: Mann, ibid., pp. 64, 81; Ya=ari, ibid., p. 239. 37 See: Mann, ibid., pp. 64, 68, 84; Ya=ari, ibid., p. 241. For another link between R. Judah and Rovigo, see: M. Benayahu, ‘Shemu=ot Shabbeta>iyot mi-Pinkeseihem shel Rabbi Binyamin ha-Kohen ve-Rabbi Avraham Rovigo’, Michael, 1 (1973), p. 24; reprinted in: idem, Ha-Tenu5ah ha-Shabbeta6it be-Yavan (above note 25), p. 464. 38 See: M. Benayahu, ‘Rabbi Ya=akov Vilna u-Veno ve-Yahaseihem la-Shabbeta>ut’, . Yerushalayim: Mehkarei Erez Yisrael, vol. 1, n. 4 (1953), p. 205; A. Ya=ari, Sheluhei . . . Erez Yisrael, Jer usalem 1951, p. 337. . 39 Sonne (above note 33), p. 284. For the text of this work, see: G. Scholem, Be-5Ikevot Mashiah, Jer usalem 1944, pp. 9–52. For the particular significance of Nathan of . Gaza’s works in the school of Rovigo, see: G. Scholem, Leket Margaliyot, Tel-Aviv 1941, p. 18. 40 Scholem, Halomotav, p. 35 ('i`zay did [... ] odk dcedi 'x mby xryl aexw'). See below, n. 42. .

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made the obviously significant familial connection between him and Hakham Zevi. . . One may also possibly adduce proof of R. Judah’s Sabbatianism from a subtlety in a description of him by his grandnephew, R. Jacob Emden. At the beginning of his autobiography, Megillat Sefer, Emden stated that R. Judah moved to Jer usalem ‘[and died] with a good name [aeh mya]’.41 Such a characterization is rare in Emden’s writings and one gets the impression that R. Judah did not enjoy ‘a good name’ for his entire life, perhaps due to an involvement at some point with the Sabbatian movement.42 We know that, as a child, Hakham Zevi enjoyed a close relationship . . with his uncle. R. Judah writes at the beginning of his introduction to his father’s She6elot u-Teshuvot Sha5ar Ephraim that the two of them were the same age and, as boyhood friends, had studied together with R. Ephraim in the city of Ofen where the latter served as rabbi.43 In addition, R. Judah kept in contact with R. Jacob Zak, his brother-in-law and Hakham Zevi’s father.44 Although there is no evidence of further direct . . contact between R. Judah and Hakham Zevi, it is unlikely that . . Hakham Zevi was unaware of his uncle’s and close childhood friend’s . . peregrinations, including his Sabbatian predispositions.45 And so, perhaps the knowledge that his own uncle had been a Sabbatian was one factor in motivating Hakham Zevi to take such a strong stand against . . the movement.
41 Emden, Megillat Sefer, p. 4. 42 Cf.: M. Benayahu, ‘Kehal Ashkenazim bi-Yer ushalayim bi-Shenot 1687–1747’, Sefunot, 2 (1958), p. 145, who adduced this very quote as proof that R. Judah had never been a Sabbatian. Benayahu’s other proof, that R. Judah was part of an anti-Sabbatian delegation in 1704 which published a sharply worded proclamation against followers of the movement, can be challenged by the example ¨ of R. Jonathan Eybeschutz who was accused of being a ‘believer ’ in spite of the fact that he publicly condemned and excommunicated Sabbatians. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that in his handwritten notes in the margin of his personal copy of his Halomotav shel ha-Shabbeta6i R. Mordekhai Ashkenazi (p. 35), . Scholem wrote: did c"qz zpya ik i`zay df u"k ail dix` 'x did `ly dnw 'a zepetq giked edipa' 'i`zay ihp` zegilya. See also: M. Benayahu, ‘ “Ha-Hevrah Kedoshah” shel Rabbi . Yehudah Hasid ve-=Aliyato le-Erez Yisrael’, Sefunot, 3–4 (1959–1960), p. 157, n. . . 102. 43 R Judah ha-Kohen, introduction to Shu"t Sha5ar Ephraim (beginning). 44 See: ‘Kuntres Aharon’, ibid., 99a-b. . 45 Even though Hagiz, Hakham Zevi’s anti-Sabbatian colleague, was not aware of . . . Rovigo’s Sabbatianism (see Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy, pp. 76–77), it is likely that Hakham Zevi knew the full tr uth about his uncle and his affiliations. . .

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But what is even more striking is that there is evidence that Hakham . Zevi’s own father, R. Jacob Zak, may have been, for at least a short pe. riod of time, a believer in Shabbetai Zevi. Indeed this assertion has been . widely accepted as tr ue. Heinrich Graetz, David Kahana, Jecheskiel ¨ Caro, Leopold Greenwald, Sandor Buchler, Salomon Rosanes, Aharon Fuerst and Gershom Scholem all asserted, with varying degrees of certitude, that he was a Sabbatian.46 The sole evidence for this assertion comes from an admittedly biased and potentially unreliable source and needs to be weighed very, very carefully. In responding to the charge leveled by Hakham Zevi in Amsterdam, 1713, that he was a Sabbatian, . . Nehemiah Hayyon wrote a number of pamphlets, including one enti. . tled Ha-Zad Zevi which was printed in that city the following year. In . . the course of his remarks in the introduction to this work, Hayyon . wrote: Mr. Zevi b. Jacob is the son of the firm believer in Shabbetai Zevi . . who was in the city of Budin (called Ofen in German).47 It was he who caused a Jew to die for refusing to make a mi she-berakh in the synagogue for the life of Shabbetai Zevi. He r uled that this con. stituted a rebellion against the kingdom of the house of David

46 See: H. Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, X, Leipzig 1868, pp. 238–239; H. Graetz–S. P. Rabinovitz [SPR], Sefer Divrei Yemei Yisrael, VIII, Warsaw 1899, p. 256, n. 2; D. Kahana, Even ha-To5im, Vienna 1873, p. 34, n. 4; reprinted in: Ha-Shahar, 3 (1872), . p. 490, n. 4; idem, Toledot ha-Mekkubalim, p. 90, n. 4; J. Caro, Geschichte der Juden in Lemberg, Crakow 1894, p. 128; L. Greenwald, ‘Le-Korot ha-Shabbeta>im beUngaryah’, Ha-Zofeh me-Erez Hagar, 2 (1912), p. 149; also printed as a separate . . monograph, Weitzen 1912, p. 5; idem., ‘Le-Korot ha-Hasidut be-Ungaryah’, Ha. Zofeh le-Hokhmat Yisrael, 5 (1921), p. 267; Greenwald (above note 31, pp. 225–226; . . ¨ S. Buchler, A Zsidok Tortenete Budapesten, Budapest 1901, pp. 154–155; S. Rosanes, ´ ¨ ´ Korot ha-Yehudim be-Turkiyah ve-6Arzot ha-Kedem, IV, Sofia 1934–1935, p. 14 0; A. . Fuerst, ‘Budapest’, 5Arim ve-6Immahot be-Yisrael, II, Jer usalem 1948, p. 127; Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, p. 467; Sabbatai Sevi, p. 565. See too: J. Zsoldos, . . Encyclopaedia Judaica, 4 (1971), p. 1449. Cf.: Y. Y., Greenwald, Korot ha-Torah ve-ha-Emunah be-Hungaryah, Budapest 1921, p. 15; L. Greenwald, Toledot Hakhmei . Yisrael, Kolel Toledot ha-Gaon R. Ephraim ha-Kohen mi-Vilna, Cluj 1924, p. 9; S. A. Horodezky, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 11 (1971), p. 1216. 47 The city was known as Budin in Turkish, Ofen in German and Buda in Hungarian. These names are often interchanged in Hebrew texts. See, for example, Shu"t Hakham Zevi, introduction; Emden, Megillat Sefer, p. 4. See also . . Freimann (above note 2), p. 65; Rosanes, ibid., p. 135; Y. Margalit, Seder ha-Get, ed. Y. Satz, Jer usalem 1983, p. 311, n. 8, end; Y. Satz, ‘Seder Get be-Kehillot Hungaryah’, Moriyah, 14 (1985), p. 9, n. 1.

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and permitted the blood of that Jew [to be shed]. There are witnesses here who can corroborate this fact.48 Clearly, utilizing this text as the sole evidence of R. Jacob’s alleged Sabbatianism requires an explanation. After all, how can one accept at face value the testimony of a bitter adversary of Hakham Zevi who . . might have been prepared to publish anything in the heat of their controversy in order to promote his position? Indeed, Aryeh Leib Fr umkin rejects this evidence from Ha-Zad Zevi primarily for this reason.49 Nev. . ertheless, it is reasonable to argue that this source is, indeed, a reliable one and that, in fact, all the distinguished historians who accepted it as legitimate may have been correct. It may be argued that what was at issue for Hayyon here was not the . Sabbatianism of R. Jacob, per se. Had he so desired, Hayyon could have . attempted to blunt the sharpness of Hakham Zevi’s attack against him, . . at least to some extent, by turning around and pointing out to him that his own father had himself been a Sabbatian. Hayyon could have . plausibly and effectively responded to Hakham Zevi by arguing that . . he (Hakham Zevi) not be so quick in condemning others for maintain. . ing such a position if his own father had been similarly guilty. If, in fact, asserting the Sabbatianism of R. Jacob was the essence of Hayyon’s ar. gument (your own father was a Sabbatian; what do you want from me?), then one could plausibly argue that this information would be suspect. However, this was not the essence of his claim. What he did stress in R. Jacob’s behavior was not his Sabbatianism but, rather, his callous disregard for the sanctity of human life which, in this one particular instance, happened to express itself in a Sabbatian related case. R. Jacob’s crime, according to the Sabbatian Hayyon, was that, by being . prepared to kill an opponent, he was being too fervent in his Sabbatian belief. It was this violation of the sanctity of human life that Hayyon . charged was shared by father and son. In the case of the latter, this hap48 N. Hayyon, Ha-Zad Zevi, Amsterdam 1714, n.p., pp. 2b-3a. . . . 49 Fr umkin and Rivlin, Hakhmei Yerushalayim, II, p. 152. Fr umkin also raises . another, less serious objection. He claims that only somebody with a great deal of authority in the Ofen Jewish community could have the power to make such a r uling. Since, according to Fr umkin, R. Jacob became the rabbi there only in 1678 after the death of his father-in-law, this event would have had to have occurred at that time and it is unlikely that such a blessing on behalf of Shabbetai Zevi would still be recited publicly two years after his death and twelve years . after his apostasy. For my rejection of this argument, see the first chapter of my forthcoming edition of Megillat Sefer.

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pened to express itself in exactly opposite circumstances, for Hayyon . accused Hakham Zevi for being prepared to kill him for his Sabbatian . . beliefs. But, for Hayyon, the essence of his argument was that both fa. ther and son shared a lack of concern for human life; the fact that the father expressed such a tendency in a matter involving a Sabbatian seems to be only incidental. If this is, indeed, the case, and if R. Jacob’s Sabbatianism was not the central focus of Hayyon’s argument, then . there may be some tr uth to his statement and the evidence contained therein may be, maybe, considered reliable. In addition, Hayyon made sure to add, ‘there are witnesses here who . can corroborate this fact’. He could easily have omitted this sentence entirely or have eliminated even just the word ‘here’. The impression he gives is that he is prepared to produce these witnesses if necessary, a willingness which further militates in favor of the authenticity of his report. This is especially telling because just a few pages later Hayyon . showed a special sensitivity to matters whose tr uth can be easily ascertained. In describing the criticism leveled at one of his works, he wrote: ‘He heaped calumny and [spread] various lies and fabrications upon my book, even in a matter whose truth can easily be verified [ciarc `zlna elit`e iielibl]’.50 Someone who could attack others for not being sensitive to ‘a matter whose tr uth can easily be verified’ would surely be sensitive to this charge himself. And, indeed, one should not lose sight of the fact that Hayyon published this in 1714, during the lifetime of Hakham . . Zevi, and there is no evidence that Hakham Zevi, or anyone else, ever . . . disputed it. It is obvious that the preceding analysis is predicated upon the assumption that Hayyon was generally a writer not prone to wild, reck. less or wholly unsubstantiated fabrications. Indeed, a reasoned objective reading of Hayyon’s works reveals an author who may have often . exaggerated, and even, on occasion, lied,51 but who, also, did not always disregard the tr uth in order to defend himself. Surely Hayyon is . not to be automatically tr usted, especially when attacking his archenemy, but, at the same time, the veracity of his writings is not to be automatically rejected. Each statement must be carefully and objectively assessed on its own merits.52
50 Hayyon, Ha-Zad Zevi (above note 48), p. 5a. . . . 51 See, for example, Carlebach, The Pursuit of Heresy, p. 299, n. 33. 52 Indeed, Benayahu does give credence to an allegation made by Hayyon in this . same text against R. Moses Hagiz, another of his major adversaries. See: M. .

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Finally, the essence of Hayyon’s charges against R. Jacob and his son . are neither as inherently implausible nor as extreme as they may appear to be. The merciless sentence attributed to R. Jacob could possibly have had a precedent in the behavior of Shabbetai Zevi himself who permit. ted shedding the blood of ‘non-believers’ and even commended those who did.53 Furthermore, there are a number of examples of vigorous physical str uggles in the synagogue between Sabbatians and their opponents.54 The story could have happened and, perhaps, it really did.55 In conclusion, if, in fact, either R. Judah ha-Kohen or R. Jacob Zak were Sabbatians, maybe their behavior can be considered one factor among others that account for the vir ulence and aggressiveness of Hakham Zevi’s attitude towards that movement. As far as his son, R. . . Jacob Emden, is concerned, this was much less of a consideration. Besides being one further generation removed, there are enough other,
Benayahu, ‘Le-Toledot Batei ha-Midrash bi-Yer ushalayim ba-Me>ah ha-17’, HUCA, 21 (1948), pp. 15–16 (Hebrew section). 53 In Venice a dispute broke out in the synagogue on the Sabbath and an opponent of Sabbatianism was almost killed. One of the ‘believers’ who was present at the time wrote Shabbetai Zevi and asked whether it was sinful to kill a ‘non. believer’ on the Sabbath. Shabbetai responded that, on the contrary, ‘there is no greater sanctification of the Sabbath than this’, and promised great rewards for such behavior. See: Freimann (above note 2), pp. 55–56; Sasportas, Sefer Zizat . . Novel Zevi, pp. 129–130, 150. See also: Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, pp. 415, 421–422; . . Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 505, 511–512; M. Benayahu, ‘Yedi=ot me-Italyah u-me-Holand . al Reishitah shel ha-Shabbeta>ut’, Erez Yisrael, 4 (1956), p. 195. See also: Emden, . Zot Torat ha-Kena6ot, p. 5b; R. Hayyim Benveniste, She6elot u-Teshuvot Ba6ei Hayyei, . . 3:228; Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, pp. 423–24; Sabbatai Sevi, p. 514. . . 54 In addition to the sources cited above, see: Sasportas, Sefer Zizat Novel Zevi, pp. . . . 3, 192–193 (for an incident which took place in Hamburg); Benayahu, ibid., p. 199, n. 48; Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, p. 481; Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 579–580; B. D. Weinryb, . . The Jews of Poland, Philadelphia 1973, p. 218; Anat (Perlmutter) (above note 5), p. 341. For examples of special prayers recited in the synagogue for Shabbetai Zevi, . see: Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 262, 424–425, 533–534, 579–580. . 55 It must be noted that here, in the case of R. Jacob and unlike the case of R. Judah, no evidence at all is forthcoming from the works of Emden. On the contrary, Emden writes with only the highest regard about the grandfather for whom he was named. See the references in Megillat Sefer cited above in note 32. Also directly relevant to this discussion is the attitude of R. Ephraim ha-Kohen himself to Sabbatianism. This issue is a complex one and revolves primarily on a close analysis of two of his responsa, Shu"t Sha5ar Ephraim, #64–65, and R. Joseph Almosnino, Sefer 5Edut be-Yehosef, 2:32. For a preliminary treatment of this matter, see: L. Jacobs, ‘Rabbi Ephraim Ha-Kohen and a Heretical Sermon’, Three Score and Ten: Essays in Honor of Rabbi Seymour J. Cohen on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, Hoboken 1991, pp. 133–141.

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more direct, factors to account for the intensity of his antiSabbatianism.56 In the case of Hakham Zevi, however, one generation . . closer and in the absence, as yet, of any other compelling explanation, perhaps this can be considered a militating factor. Perhaps, like R. Abraham Yizhaki, R. Joseph Ergas, and his colleague R. Moses Hagiz, . .. Hakham Zevi too was influenced by the Sabbatianism he encountered . . within his own close personal immediate family.

56 See above notes 8, 9. This notion of one generation’s point of view strongly affecting how future generations would deal with a particular issue has far reaching implications in other areas as well. For example, Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert suggested to me that it could account for the particular vir ulence of some opponents of Hasidism whose close relatives were adherents of that movement. See, for example, Y. Hisdai, ‘Reishito shel ha-Yishuv ha‘Mitnagdi’ ve-ha-‘Hasidi’ be-Erez Yisrael – =Aliyah shel Mizvah ve-=Aliyah shel . . . Shlihut’, Shalem, 4 (1984), pp. 231–269. Professor Moshe Idel suggested another example of this phenomenon, but with opposite results. He hypothesized that the reason Hakham Zevi and R. Jacob Emden were so adamant in denying any . . halakhic validity to a golem was to provide a defense for their ancestor who killed one, for if a golem could count to a minyan, R. Elijah Ba‘al Shem would have been guilty of murder. In this case, their unusually strong position supported an ancestor’s behavior. For their position on this matter, see: M. Idel, Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid, Albany 1990, p. 207ff.

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Sabbatianism in the Seventeenth-Century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: A Review of the Sources
Michał Galas Research on the beginnings of Sabbatianism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth does not have a long tradition and important studies of the origins of this movement are few. Among the scholars researching Sabbatianism in Poland, Meir Balaban is the most prominent. His article ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’,1 has long been considered the most authoritative source of knowledge on Sabbatianism in Poland. Balaban devoted half of the article to analysis of anti-Jewish incidents in Poland prior to the inception of Sabbatianism. The remainder of the article is devoted to sources of the movement. Many subsequent scholars who studied Sabbatianism in Poland based their work on this article and other similar Balaban studies,2 in which he repeated much of the same information. Unfortunately, as we will see, these other scholars did not verify the sources presented by Balaban. Gershom Scholem, and Bernard D. Weinryb the author of the well-known work, The Jews of Poland,3 both relied on sources presented by Balaban but drew completely different
* 1 I would like to thank the Central European University (RSS/HEST No. 358/1995) for their support of my research related to this topic. ´ ˙ M. Balaban, ‘Sabataizm w Polsce: ustep z dziejow mistyki zydowskiej w Polsce’, ˛ in: Ksiega jubileuszowa ku czci prof. dr. Mojzesza Schorra, Pisma Instytutu Nauk ˛ ˙ Judaistycznych w Warszawie, Warsaw 1935, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 45-90 [=‘Sabbateanism in Poland’]. ˙ ´ M. Balaban, Historia Zydow w Krakowie i na Kazimierzu, I-II, Cracow 1936 [=History of the Jews in Cracow and Kazimierz], pp. 40-50, 487-495; idem, ‘Rok ´ ˙ ´ zbawienia i lata niedoli (Do dziejow Zydow krakowskich w latach 1666-1670)’ [The Year of Salvation and Years of Distress], Nowy Dziennik, 190 (16.7.1928), pp. 16-17; idem, Le-Toledot ha-Tenu5a ha-Frankit, I, Tel-Aviv 1934, pp. 17-48. See also: I.M. Biderman, Mayer Balaban: Historian of Polish Jewry, New York 1978, pp. 190-207. B.D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100 to 1800, Philadelphia 1982.
[Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 16-17, 2001]

2

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Michał Galas

[2

conclusions concerning the reception of Sabbatianism in Poland. According to Scholem, Sabbatianism had a profound influence in Poland, not only among Jews but also among Christians. In his works on Sabbatianism – also in Poland – he paid close attention to nonJewish sources. He thought that the numerous letters and pamphlets distributed throughout Europe and Poland at that time were an important source of information on the scope of influence of Sabbatianism. He also thought that this material could have penetrated into Jewish circles.4 On the other hand, he mentioned that Christians, no less than Jews, were thirsty for news about Shabbatai Zevi.5 It has to be stressed, however, that Scholem derived information about Sabbatianism in Poland during the period of 1665-1666 mainly from Balaban’s work. Most sources cited by Scholem came from the Balaban’s article, ‘Sabbateanism in Poland’. Weinryb, on the contrary, concluded that Sabbatianism in Poland had few followers.6 He strongly criticized Scholem’s thesis about the vast spread and interest in Sabbatianism in Poland during Shabbatai Zevi’s life. He thought that most sources cited by Scholem were false or misinterpreted. Weinryb rejected not only all of Scholem’s Polish sources, but also some of his Jewish sources, as anti-Jewish and therefore unreliable.7 He stated that since the names of not more than six of Shabbatai Zevi’s followers in Poland were known, one could not speak about the broad spread of the movement.8 Weinryb’s criticism, however, is unwarranted on a close analysis of all the sources. Perhaps Scholem realized this, as he had never replied in writing to Weinryb’s objections. In recent studies, Scholem and Weinryb’s theses continue to clash with each other. A few years ago Professor Michael Stanislawski re-evaluated the positions held by both Scholem and Weinryb in an effort to determine who was correct. 9 Stanislawski analyzed the sources
4 ¨ See specially: G. Scholem, ‘Le mouvement sabbataiste en Pologne’, Revue de l’histoire des religions, 143 (1953), pp. 30-90, 209-232 (also published in Hebrew); idem, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah: 1626-1676, Princeton, NJ 1973, . pp. 591-602. ¨ Scholem, ‘Le mouvement sabbataiste en Pologne’, ibid., p. 46. Weinryb (above note 3), ch. 10: ‘The Sabbatai Sevi Upheaval and Its Impact’, pp. . 206-235. Ibid., pp. 230-231 and note 61 p. 372. Ibid., pp. 229-230. M. Stanislawski, ‘The State of the Debate over Sabbatianism in Poland: A Review of the Sources’, Proceedings of the Conference on Poles and Jews: Myth and Reality in

5 6 7 8 9

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on Sabbatianism in Poland in 1665-1666 cited by Scholem with a special emphasis on Jewish sources.10 This provoked my own analysis of all non-Jewish sources available to Balaban and Scholem, which in my opinion may be important evidence of the spread of Sabbatianism in Poland at the beginnings of the movement. This article presents results of my current research and documents previously unknown.11 I Polish sources can be divided into two groups: sources dealing directly with Poland and sources dealing with Sabbatianism in general. The first group, consisting of original source materials dealing directly with Poland, includes an especially interesting book, The True Messiah,12 written by Orthodox monk Joannicjusz Galatowski (died 1688). A paragraph from Galatowski’s work was cited by Balaban and Scholem. Unfortunately, Balaban cited an excerpt, given out of context without even providing a page number.13 In addition, Balaban made some abridgements in the citation which were not marked. Scholem, in subsequent translations, introduced additional changes which also slightly distorted the character of that source.14 Galatowski’s book is one of the most important sources for the histhe Historical Context, ed. J. Micgil, R. Scott and H.B. Segel, New York 1986, pp. 58-69. Among sources listed by Stanislawski only two were Polish. Stanislawski based their analysis on Balaban’s and Scholem’s studies. All sources quoted in this article and others will be published in full versions in my forthcoming book: Sabataizm w Rzeczypospolitej w XVII wieku (Sabbatianism in the 17th Century Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth). Here I present only excerpts or summaries in English translation. J. Galatowski, Messiasz prawdziwy, Iezus Chrystus, Syn Bozy, od poczatku ´ ˙ ˛ swiata przez wszystkie wieki ludziom od Boga obiecany i od ludziey oczekiwany, i w ostatnie czasy; dla Zbawienia ludzkiego; na ´ swiat Posłany, po przyjsciu zas swym za Błogo´ ´ sławienstwem Wysocy w Bogu, Przewielebnego Jego Mosci Ojca Innocentego Giziela ´ ´ Archimandryty ´ ˛ swiatey Wielkiey Cudotworney Ławry Pieczerskiey, Stauropigji ´ s. Aecumenici Patriarchae Constantinipolitani. Od Grzesznika Joannicjusza Galatowskie[go], Archimandryty Czernichowskiego. Z Typographiey z Kijowo.- Pieczerskiey, zydowi niewiernemu rozmaitemi znakami, o Messiaszu napisanemi, y na Chrystusie ˙ wypełnionemi, Roku 1672 pokazany (= The True Messiah). Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, pp. 79-81. See: M. Galas, ‘Sabbatianism in Polish Historiography’, Proceedings of the EAJS Copenhagen Congress 1994, ed. U. Haxen, K. L. Salamon and H. Trauter-Kromann, Copenhagen 1998, pp. 240-246.

10 11

12

13 14

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tory of Sabbatianism in Poland. It was published in both Polish and Russian and a Latin version was also planned. The book is written in the form of a discussion between an Orthodox Christian and a Jew about the authenticity of the messianic mission of Jesus. The introduction, foreword (a small paragraph is quoted by Balaban and Scholem) and chapter six (where other Polish sources on Sabbatianism are listed) are relevant. Galatowski revealed important information which explains his motivation to write this work. Neither Balaban nor Scholem mentioned that news about the messianic aspiration of Shabbatai Zevi, and doubts felt by some Christians of Jesus as the tr ue messiah, were the immediate causes for writing that book.15 I believe that those paragraphs from the introduction not cited by Balaban and Scholem are equally important. Galatowski writes: […] I wrote this book in Little Russian, Polish and Latin dialect because Jews in Little Russia, Polish Kingdom and in Latin countries, were rejoicing and abusing and laughing at Jesus the tr ue Messiah and at all Christians, hearing that in eastern parts of Smirna their false Messiah appeared called Shabbatai Zevi […] For that Orthodox Christians living in Little Russia, Poles and all Catholics who read that book; could show Christ, the tr ue Messiah to unbelieving Jews.16 The Foreword begins: To all Orthodox Christians, it contains the reasons why this Tr ue Messiah has been written and shown to the world.[…] Not long ago, in 1666, in Volhynia, Podolia, in all the provinces of Little Russia, in the Great Duchy of Lithuania, in the Kingdom of Poland and the neighboring countries, Jewish godlessness raised on high its horn and its insolent obstinacy, it hoisted the flag of wontonness and insolence blew the tr umpet of victory at the time when an impostor called Shabbatai Zevi appeared in the city of Smyrna and called himself the Messiah of Jews. […] At that time,
15 About J. Galatowski and his book, see: K. Bartoszewicz, Antysemityzm w literaturze polskiej XV-XVII w. [Antisemitism in Polish Literature], Warsaw and ´ Cracow 1914, pp. 138-140; J. Janow, ‘Galatowski Joannicjusz’, Polski Słownik Biograficzny [Polish Biographical Dictionary], VII, Cracow 1948-1958, pp. 221-222; D. Waugh, ‘News of the False Messiah: Reports on the Shabbetai Zevi in Ukraine and Muscovy’, Jewish Social Studies, 41 (1979), pp. 301-305. 16 Galatowski, The True Messiah, fol. 15.

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Sabbatianism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth some Christians with small hearts and character, hearing great Jewish impudence[,] started to fear and doubt Christ, that he was a tr ue Messiah and started to incline their thoughts towards a false Messiah, fearing his atrocities. That is why I wrote the book, so that faithful Christians do not fear the false Jewish Messiah and without doubt believe and know that Jesus is the Tr ue Messiah. […] That false Jewish Messiah is a motivation for me to that work, he motivated me to write this book called: The True Messiah Jesus Christ, son of God.17

The quoted paragraphs may testify to a great interest in news about a Messiah – Shabbatai Zevi – in Christian circles, because news about a new messiah caused fear even among some priests. Galatowski continues by describing the spread of Shabbatai Zevi’s followers in Poland and their behavior during the peak of this messianic fervor. According to Galatowski, Sabbatianism had followers throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but most were in Volhynia and Podolia. On the one hand, Galatowski writes that Jews were happy with the coming of a Messiah who would lead them on a cloud to Jer usalem.18 Believing that the moment was close at hand, they were selling their belongings. On the other hand, he describes acts of penance and asceticism. Additionally, he writes about Jewish-Christian relations and says that Jews were threatening Christians that soon ‘we will be your lords and you will be our servants’. Balaban and Scholem treated the paragraph from Galatowski’s book as a very important and tr ustworthy source for the history of Sabbatianism in Poland.19 Weinryb questioned the credibility of this source, but his critique has no basis, in the light of Waugh’s research,20 as well as my own work . But it seems obvious after an initial analysis that neither Balaban and Scholem nor Weinryb and Stanislawski had seen Galatowski’s book, otherwise they would have noted that Galatowski listed other Polish sources in the introduction and foreword and in the sixth chapter.
17 Ibid., fols. 20-21. 18 According to Scholem, the belief that the messiah would lead them by means of a miraculous cloud, was present not only among Jews in Poland, but also in Germany and Turkey (Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 594-595). . 19 Credibility of Galatowski’s work was questioned by Weinryb, but it seems that he also did not see the original source (above note 3, p. 372, note 61). 20 Waugh (above note 15), pp. 301-308.

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Balaban writes,21 and after him Scholem,22 that many anti-Jewish incidents subsequently took place. Jews overcome with messianic fervor, who marched through the streets with portraits of Shabbatai Zevi and his prophet Nathan of Gaza, prompted a strong reaction from Christians. In response, King Jan Kazimierz issued a proclamation, dated May 4, 1666, which forbade Jews to carry pictures of Shabbatai Zevi and ordered the authorities to stop harassing the Jews. Scholem gives the text of the proclamation citing Balaban.23 Although it was thought that the proclamation was lost and only a copy made by Balaban existed, during my research in the archives in Lvov I found this proclamation which served as a base for Balaban’s copy. The proclamation is written in Polish and Latin and is more extensive than the version provided by Balaban.24 Balaban quoted only a paragraph from the Polish text, a slightly distorted version was cited later by Scholem.25 In the proclamation the King writes that he heard the news about the escalation in persecutions of the Jews due to accounts about ‘a messiah’, propagated to simple people through printed letters and painted portraits. In response, the King ordered to protect the Jews and to treat as false all information about this so-called Messiah, destroy all prints about him and his portraits. Again, Weinryb’s objections about the reliability of the king’s decree are baseless. There is no doubt about misinterpreting this part of the proclamation which speaks about Sabbatian propaganda in Poland. The intent of the proclamation is reinforced by a pastoral letter by bishop Stanisław Sarnowski, 26 dated June 22, 1666, in which Jewish processions and distributions of pictures and prints are strictly forbidden.27
21 Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, pp. 87-88. ¨ 22 See: Scholem, ‘Le mouvement sabbataiste en Pologne’ (above note 4), p. 48; idem, Sabbatai Sevi, pp. 596-597. . 23 See: Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, pp. 88-89; idem, History of the Jews in Cracow and Kazimierz, II, p. 45. Balaban did not provide the full text of the proclamation and in his various works he gave different sources. 24 The Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in Lvov, f. 5, op. 1, no. 160, Castr. Haliciensia, fols. 707-712. 25 See: Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 597. . 26 Balaban and Scholem erroneously wrote his name as Sarnicki. See: Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, p. 89; Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 597. . ´ 27 The letter was added to the book: Samuel Rabi Marokanski, Prawda Chrzescijan´ ´ ska od nieprzyjaciela swego zeznana: To iest Traktat Rabina Samuela, Pokazuiacy błe dy ˛ ˛ zydowskie około zachowania Prawa Moyzeszowego, y przyscia Mesyaszowego, ktorego ˙ ˙ ´ ˙ Zydzi czekaia [...], tr. J. Radlinski, Lublin 1733, pp. 499-502. Compare: Balaban, ˛

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One can assume that this relates to the above mentioned demonstrations despite the fact that there is no specific mention of Shabbatai Zevi or his followers. Maybe the King’s proclamation and the susbequent compliance with it resulted in the situation that only very few documents, pamphlets and other sources to which the proclamation alluded have survived until the present. Scholem, however, assumed the existence of such materials.28 He also thought that the King’s proclamation and the pastoral letter of bishop Stanislaw Sarnowski served as good examples of the popular character of the movement in Poland and that processions and pilgrimages of Shabbatai Zevi’s followers were characteristic only for Poland.29 Another little known example of interest in Sabbatianism in Polish historiography is documented in the Chronicle of Joachim Jerlicz from 1620-1673, which includes a paragraph on Sabbatianism.30 This work is second only after Galatowski’s in terms of information written in Polish about Sabbatianism in Poland. The Jerlicz source is not included in the works of Balaban, Scholem and contemporary scholars of Sabbatianism. In the Chronicle, under the date May 10, 1665, one can read: This year [1665] news has spread among Jews in all cities, towns and villages where Jews live in the Polish Kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under the r ule of Jan Kazimierz: that a Messiah, a new prophet appeared. Born in Egypt, he was raised by Jewish father and mother and at reaching his 30’s, began to perform great miracles. […] Showing various abilities and powers which become only to God, he raised from the dead, cured the blind and ill, destroyed walls around the cities where they were not allowing him in and opposed him […]. […] Jews, men and women, old and young, tormented themselves and their bodies, by making a hole in the ice of a pond or river and jumping into the water. At that time they gave alms both to their own people and to Christians. They sold their houses,
‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, p. 89; idem, History of the Jews in Cracow and Kazimierz, p. 45; idem, The Year of Salvation and Years of Distress (above note 2), pp. 16-17; Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 597. . ¨ 28 Scholem, ‘Le mouvement sabbataiste en Pologne’ (above note 4), p. 48. 29 Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 598. . 30 J. Jerlicz, Latopisiec albo kroniczka [A Chronicle], ed. K. Wł. Wojciecki, I, Warsaw 1853, pp. 99-102.

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live-stock, various things, as some of them wanted to go from the Polish state to Jer usalem. […] They placed all their trust in him for their salvation.31 The similarity and consistency of information in Jerlicz’s Chronicle and Galatowski’s book seems to confirm the credibility of those sources. Jerlicz devoted much space to Shabbatai Zevi although a lot of the information about his life has quite a legendary nature. Other less important Polish sources may also testify to a great interest of Christians in Shabbatai Zevi and his movement. The epigram by Po˙ lish poet Wacław Potocki (1621-1696), Nowy Mesjasz Zydowski (A New 32 Jewish Messiah), may serve as a good example of the type of sources. A similar illustration of interest and knowledge about the messianic movement among Jews in Poland is found in descriptions of events during a Sejm (Diet) session in 1668. ‘Member of the Sejm Teodor Łukomski was laughed at by other members when he gave his opinion on relegating foreign residents: “leave me alone, do not confound me, because I have spiritum propheticum” [...], everyone started to laugh and pointing at him they called him a new prophet or recent Jewish Messiah’.33 II Other very important Polish sources, not related directly to Sabbateanism in Poland mentioned by Balaban, are so-called ‘hand written newspapers’ that are reports of correspondents kept by wealthy Polish nobility in European capitals.34 Presently the reports are in the collection of Czartoryski’s Museum Library in Cracow.35 Unfortunately suspicions arise that Balaban had not seen those reports himself because his quotation was full of revisions and errors. He suggests the
31 Ibid. 32 W. Potocki, Ogrod fraszek [A garden of epigrams], I, Lvov 1907, p. 278. Compare: ´ Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, p. 81; Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 598. . ˙ ´ 33 A. Kamierczyk, Sejmy i sejmiki szlacheckie wobec Zydow w drugiej połowie XVII wieku [Seyms and Diets of nobility towards Jews in the second half of the 17th century], Warsaw 1994, p. 154. 34 Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, pp. 81-87; Scholem thought that they came ¨ from Amsterdam. Compare: Scholem, ‘Le mouvement sabbataiste en Pologne’ (above note 4), p. 46; idem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 593. . 35 Manuscript no. 1656, fols. 486-501.

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same, writing: ‘I do not give here the origins of those letters as I do not have adequate sources in Warsaw’.36 The manuscripts include letters and accounts written in Latin and Polish about Shabbatai Zevi and an interest in his mission in various countries of Europe and the Middle East. Their content does not concern Poland directly. Some of them were published by Balaban and later used by Scholem.37 The manuscripts contain the following titles in Latin: De messia Judeorum falso et Extremo Judicio Pseudoprofeta, Relationes ex Italia huc transmissae 1666, 20 Martii; Extractum ex Epistula Sabbea Barbaria, 6 Aug. 1665; Copia Epistulae ab Augusto Jerosolima in Algier transmissae; Extractum ex Literis ab Urbe Veneta et Livorno, continentibus descriptionem neonati inter Hebraeos Prophetae, ipsius facinora et miracula; Extractum ex Literis Roma Religiosi cuiusdam ad Amicum Contin. Haebreorum aggregationem cum Novo Messia qui in preasenti? plurimos sibi habet adherantes et magna perpetrat Miracula 26 Nov: 1665.38 The Polish titles include: Opisanie Nowego krola Zyd. Sabetha Sebi, ´ ˙ ktorego poczatek, starosc, osoba, uczynki i cuda, jako tez Chrzescijanow, ´ ˛ ´´ ˙ ´ ´ ˙ ´ Zydow, Turkow i inszych zadanie, i cokolwiek z roznycha pism o tym dotad ´ ´˙ ˛ ˛ wiadomo jest opisano. Przy tym Proroka Natana Levi, i krola Sabeta Sevi ´ ˙ ˛ własnej osoby contrafect,39 Do Obłakanego Zydostwa40 Continuatio o 41 ˙ Messiaszu Zydowskim. Balaban published in his article large fragments of manuscripts written in Polish but he made many mistakes and the text contains many inaccuracies. Therefore, these fragments cannot serve as a base for scholarly research. In the above mentioned work by Galatowski, in chapter 6, ‘Sixth Prophecy’, a Christian arguing with a Jew about the tr ue messianism of Shabbatai Zevi refers to three pamphlets printed in Polish: Opisanie nowego krola zydowskiego, Obszerna Continuantia Dziwny poczatek a ´ ˙ ˛ strasny koniec, tak zwanego zydowskiego Krola: Sabetha Sebi, roku 1666 ´ ˙ ´ wydany. A comparison between the titles of Polish fragments of manuscripts from the Czartoryski’s Library and the titles of printed pamphlets quoted by J. Galatowski42 provokes the search for parallels and confirms similarities.43
36 37 38 40 42 43 Balaban, ‘Sabbatianism in Poland’, p. 82. See: Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, p. 963 index (Balaban M.). . Manuscript no. 1656, fols. 486-490. 39 Ibid., fols. 490-492. It is the name of a poem. 41 Manuscript no. 1656, fols. 498-501. Galatowski, The True Messiah, fols. [44-54]. The following evidence suggests that Balaban, as well as Scholem, did not know Galatowski’s work in its entirety.

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During my research I was able to find the three old prints quoted by Galatowski.44 They are anonymous, anti-Sabbatian pamphlets. Many scholars doubted their existence, as they were not mentioned by Balaban nor by Scholem. Zalman Rubashov (Shazar),45 Daniel C. Waugh46 and Kazimierz Bartoszewicz47 wrote about their probable existence and origin but they did not have access to them, and Hanna ´ Swiderska, who first wrote about their existence, was not able to classify them correctly.48 The first of the pamphlets, Opisanie nowego krola Zydowskiego… (De´ ˙ 49 scription of a New Jewish King), was published in 1666. It is probably a translation from a German pamphlet: Beschreibung des neuen judischen ¨ Konigs Sabetha Sebi… or its Dutch edition. In the Polish version, however ¨ , pictures of Shabbatai Zevi and Nathan of Gaza were not included.50 The second pamphlet, Obszerna Continuatia… (Extended Continuatia),51 was also published in 1666. It consists of two parts, the first is entitled: Copia listu przez nie jakiegos przyjaciela zyczliwego o powroceniu ´ ˙ ´ zydow do obiecanej Ziemi… (A copy of a letter by some well-wishing ˙ ´ 52 friend about a return of Jews to the Promised Land…). The second is
44 The three above mentioned pamphlets are from the British Library collection; about other copies see: Judaika polskie z XVI-XVIII wieku: Material do ˙ bibliografii, czesc I: dr uki w jezykach nie-zydowskich, ed., K. Pilarczyk, Cracow ˛´ ´ ˛ 1995, p. 104. 45 Z. Rubashov, Kristori sabbationetva w Polski “Evriejskaia Starina” 5 (1912), pp. , 219-221. 46 Waugh (above note 15), p. 304. 47 Bartoszewicz (above note 15), p. 140. 48 H. ´ Swiderska, ‘Three Polish Pamphlets on Pseudo-Messiah Sabbatai Sevi’, The British Library Journal, 15 (1989), pp. 212-216. 49 The title in Polish is: Opisanie nowego krola zydowskiego Sabetha Sebi, ktorego ´ ˙ ´ poczatek, starosc, osoba, uczynki […] innych zdanie y cokolwiek z r ˙ ˛ ´´ oznych pism o nim ´ dotad wiadomo jest opisane. Przy czym y prorok tegoz wtasney osobey prawdziwy ˛ ˙ contrefect. W roku 1666 dr ukowany. 50 Waugh considers this pamphlet to be a translation of: Beschreibirung Des Newen Juedischen Koenigs Sabetha Sebi ... (above note 15, p. 304 and note 17). 51 The full title in Polish is: Obszerna continuanta, w ktorej sie znajduje dalszy progress, ´ ˛ tego co sie w orientalnych krajach, mianowicie w Jeruzalem, Szmyrnie, i Alkairu: takze ˛ ˙ w inszych roznych miejscach w nadzieie zydowskiego do swoiey Ojczyzny powrocenia, ´˙ ˙ ´ jako y przytomne onychze do wiary nawrocenia. Z occasie ich pomazania krola i proroka ˙ ´ ´ stato; i co za cuda a dziwny u nich sie dzieja z okolicznoscia mi opisano iest; jako tez i ˛ ˛ ´ ˛ ˙ proroka Nathana Levi prawdziwy contrafect, dziwny ksztat y odzienie w miedzy ˛ wyrazone, przytomne sa. Dr ukowano w roku 1666. ˙ ˛ 52 Waugh considers it to be a translation of: Umbstaendliche Continuation ... (above note 15, p. 304 and note 17).

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Zebranie z roznych pisaniow (A collection of various writings), containing ´˙ ´ two letters: one letter from Jer usalem and Smyrna to Amsterdam, dated March 10, and another, dated December 26, year 5426. It seems that it is a translation of a German pamphlet, Umbstandliche Continuation..., published in 1666. In the German version there is a poem at the beginning, ‘An die verirrcte Judenschafft’, which is not published in the Polish printed version but which is placed in Polish manuscript from the Czartoryski’s Library in Cracow.53 The third pamphlet was published in 1666. Its origin is the easiest to establish because its title and content are in Polish and German. The Polish title reads: Dziwny poczatek a straszny koniec…(Strange beginning ˛ and dreadful end) and German title is: Wunderlicher Anfang und 54 ¨ Schmahlicher Aussgang… However, the text is longer than the one included by Scholem under the same title.55 It also does not contain illustrations, although twelve illustration titles are listed at the end. According to Waugh, the Polish version of this pamphlet was later translated into Russian.56 The first two pamphlets described above are not identical to the manuscripts of the same titles, as ´ Swiderska suggested.57 The manuscripts are an independent translation from the German printed version of pamphlets by a correspondent. Existence of those pamphlets published in Polish confirms the reliability of Galatowski’s book and direct interest in Sabbatianism in Poland among non-Jews. News about Shabbatai Zevi sent from Poland to Western Europe, especially to Germany, can be treated as a supplement to Polish sources. In 1666, three such incidents were published in German newspapers.58
53 Manuscript no. 1656, fols. 497-498. 54 The full title, in German and in Polish, is: Wunderlicher Anfang und schmachlicher ¨ Aussgang des judischen Koniges Sabetha Sebi. Welcher Gestalt derselbige auff Befehl des ¨ ¨ Turckischen Kaysers gerichtet worden. Hat der Leser auss folgender Relation und dem ¨ ¨ beygefugtem Kupfer mit mehrem zu vernehmen. Anno 1666; Dziwny poczatek a strasny ¨ ˛ koniec tak zwanego zydowskiego Krola, Sabetha Sebi, Jakim sposobem tenze na ˙ ´ ˙ Rozkazanie Tureckiego Cesarza z ´ swiata znoszony y stracony. łaskawy czytelnik z najstabujacego Opisania y przytomnego Obrazu szerzy obaczy. Anno 1666. ˛ 55 Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, picture VI. . 56 Waugh (above note 15), p. 304 and note 14. According to Waugh, this pamphlet served as a basis for a Russian translation . 57 ´ Swiderska (above note 48), p. 216. 58 Ch. Ahrens, Sabbatai Zwi (1626-1676). Untersuchungen zu einer messianischen Bewegung und ihrer Rezeption in deutscheprachigen, zeitgenoessischen Quellen, Schriftliche Hausarbeit zur wissenschaftlichen, Pr uefung fuer das Lehramt am

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Nordischer Mercurius published news from Łwow from March 26 with information about the imprisonment of the Jewish Messiah by the Emperor of Turkey.59 In Wochentliche Donnerstags other similar accounts from Warsaw appeared, dated April 4,60 and Nordischer Mercurius also published news from Kamieniec Podolski from April 12,61about the torture of Shabbatai Zevi in prison. The number of sources related to the origins of Sabbatianism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its dissemination throughout this territory is rather small. Because of this, our knowledge about the movement and its reception among Jews and Christians at that time is incomplete . For many years scholars relied on Balaban’s studies and tr usted their reliability without doing new research or searching for additional sources. But from sources and information which survive to our times, one can draw some general conclusions. The Polish sources which were found recently, and were unknown to Scholem, can prove his thesis about the wide spread news about Sabbatai Sevi and his mission in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth among Jews and Christians alike. Paramount among the sources is the existence of at least one Polish pamphlet which served as a base for its Russian version and that through this pamphlet, information about Sabbatai Sevi was sent from Poland to Western Europe. Analyzing all sources – Jewish and Polish – it seems that we have enough evidence to substantiate great interest in Sabbatianism in Poland, at least similar to other countries in Western Europe. The sudden appearance of Sabbatai Sevi as the Messiah and his surprising apostasy, and spontaneity of the movement, could be the reason for the lack of information about names of his followers in the extant sources. In addition to that, documents on Sabbatai Sevi and his followers were ordered destroyed not only by the King and bishops – an unusual case in other countries – but also by rabbis and the Council of the Four Lands. Presented in this article, the anti-Sabbatian pamphlets and other previously unknown sources in Polish confirm the reliability of the sources which were questioned by some scholars. Naturally, a rehabilitation of Polish sources should cause greater interest in them, attract the attenGymnasium, 1979, pp. 137-138, 150. I used a copy from the Gershom Scholem Library. 59 Nordischer Mercurius, 1666, pp. 223-224. 60 Wochentliche Donnerstags, 15 (1666), p. 3. 61 Nordischer Mercurius, 1666, p. 268.

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tion of historians of the movement and lead to a new, detailed research on the comprehensive history of Sabbatianism in 17th-century Poland. New study and increased understanding of the origins of Sabbatianism in Poland can be very helpful in the study of the Sabbatianism and Frankism in Poland in later periods, as well as in studies on PolishJewish and Jewish-Christian relations during that period.

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‘Should Napoleon Be Victorious…’: Politics and Spirituality in Early Modern Jewish Messianism
Hillel Levine
Should Napoleon be victorious, wealth among the Jews will be abundant and the glory of the children of Israel will be exalted. But the hearts of Israel will be separated and distanced from their father in heaven. But if our master Alexander will triumph, though poverty will be abundant and the glory of Israel will be humbled, the heart of Israel will be bound and joined with its father in heaven. Shneur Zalman of Lyadi, 1812

Can we establish how political and spiritual orientations and agendas of Jewish messianism relate in the early modern period? For this period, the internal discourse on the messianism of post-conversion Sabbateanism in Frankism and Hasidism have been well analyzed. Are there developments, external to the Jewish community, that in this period particularly encroach on Jewish life, and which influence the political and spiritual dimensions of messianism? Michel Foucault tells us: ‘If it moves it is political; and it is emancipatory, at that’. But both Foucault’s radical reductionism and his optimism – in relation to history and any method with which we might interpret that history – are more than problematic; and they are certainly suspect when it comes to understanding experiences and aspirations of Jews and their messianism on the eve of modernity. Can the boundaries between the political and spiritual be readily fixed? Can they be altogether blurred? Granted, in this period, the political realm, at least as defined by the power of the state, begins to infringe considerably more upon Jews in positive and negative ways making political questions more timely, even urgent. That state now challenges such intermediary str uctures as the guild and the church that stood between the state’s macropolitical
[Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 16-17, 2001]

Hillel Levine

[2

domain and the individual’s microspiritual domain. That state now possesses new administrative tools and technical apparatuses for the control of individual citizens as well as the political resolve, concentrated and ready, to implement that control. Is it any wonder, therefore, that seemingly impertinent questions of the nature and implications of Jewish messianism were raised in some of those early political discourses about Jewish rights and emancipation? For the Jews themselves, some times participating in this discourse about the status of Jews and Judaism in the changing polities and societies, in other situations, avidly watching over their shoulders and speculating upon the consequences of these developments, concerns about their political future in this fluid situation may have taken on a new measure of salience influencing their messianism as well. But there was a more subtle issue in regard to these changing political str uctures. The questions for Jews of messianism in the early modern period, as in other periods, continued to have to do with how – the political and spiritual means by which that messianism transforms – but now, also, more with where – the social location in which eschatological beliefs would be protected from the new demands of the centralized absolutist state and could continue to be compellingly plausible. A well known Hasidic text, the above cited letter, written by Shneur Zalman of Lyadi, reveals to us – at first glance, seemingly, in such an explicit manner – how and why he analyzed and made decisions about choosing sides at an apocalyptic moment. This epistle, pulsating with realistic assessments of the machinations of readily identifiable, thisworldly r ulers, so well illustrates how not all that prompts movements primarily expresses political motivations – political at least in the sense of maximizing security and worldly benefits in relation to political r ulers. It illustrates in programmatic terms the interdependence of the spiritual and political aspirations for the future – if not the actual messianism, then the responses made to a messianically charged moment by a principle and influential Hasidic thinker. It illustrates the equivocal terms of emancipation. It illustrates complexities of reading Hasidic texts. In regard to early modern messianism, ‘political’ and ‘emancipatory’ simply do not describe the fullest range of possibilities.1
1 J. Katz, ‘The term “Jewish Emancipation”: Its Origin and Historical Impact’, in: A. Altman (ed.), Studies in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Intellectual History, Cambridge, MA 1964, pp. 1–25; P. Birnbaum and I. Katznelson (eds.), Paths of Emancipation: Jews, States, and Citizenship, Princeton 1995, pp. 3–36.

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A contemporary of Shneur Zalman, a man from a similar background, whose path may have crossed that of Shneur Zalman’s in one Hasidic court or another is Solomon Maimon (1749-1800). He became one of our great informants about early modern East European Jewish life, including its messianism. As the promulgator and popularizer of the image of the blurry eyed and otherworldly Ostjude – ‘if it moves, it is spiritual’, he might have said – Maimon’s descriptions of their milieu well illustrate the interpretive problems at the opposite extreme posited by Foucault. Solomon Maimon often neglected to pay sufficient attention to the political motives and movements of the Jews he described. Born in Lithuania, he ‘emancipated’ himself sufficiently from the shtetl, including those Hasidic courts which he frequented in his youth, to move to Berlin, to write Versuch uber die Transzendentalphilosophie in re¨ sponse to the Critique of Pure Reason, and to win Kant’s attention as his leading disciple. Maimon also wrote a vastly popular autobiography, in the tradition of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions. Published serially, in 1792 and 1793, in what was a coffee table publication, it became favored reading in German salon circles. Sundry parvenus found in Maimon’s memoirs both slapstick amusement and credible confirmation for their prejudices against those who came to be known as Ostjuden. His elliptic and ungenerous reading of worldly and otherworldly orientations can be found in the portraits that he presents of his own family. His grandfather, for example, was an arendar, a lease holder for an estate of Prince Radziwill, who came of a family known for its Calvinist attachments. The estate, in a small village on the Neman River, included houses, fields, and a tavern as well as a toll bridge. Maimon describes the dire neglect of these estates reflecting the thwarted entrepreneurialism of autarkic Poland. But Maimon ultimately attributes the neglect to his grandfather who ‘could not tolerate any innovations; all matters had to be conducted in the old manner’. Maimon tells of the comic and pathetic situation of a bridge that had fallen into disrepair longer than anyone could remember. Gentry carriages traversing the broken bridge would be damaged. The lords would quickly vent their spleen on the Jewish manager and his family. Maimon’s grandfather, however, trained the family to take evasive measures. Each time a magnate’s carriage would approach, the family would escape into the forest. After slaking their thirst and spilling out what would remain of the grandfather’s liquor supply, the lords could avenge themselves by ransacking the house. But members of the family [lxvii]

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would not be harassed nor wounded. Solomon Maimon asks the obvious question: Why didn’t his grandfather repair the bridge? Maimon presents this as evidence for the otherworldliness and backwardness of his grandfather, his incapacity to plan, his lack of assertiveness and responsiveness to quotidian reality while waiting for the messiah. Traditional society, Maimon would lead us to believe, was as precarious as his grandfather’s bridge. The bridge was never repaired. What Maimon does not tell us is that in accordance with the standard form of the late feudal gentry-Jewish contract, capital improvements and repairs were to be at the expense of the owners who often tried to pass the responsibility on to their Jewish agents. What he may not have known is now evidenced by abundant archival documents. Otherworldly Jews, like his grandfather, often were busy battling it out in the courts with the Polish gentry, even those, like the Radziwills, imbued with the spirit of capitalism.2 In fact, if you calculate the interest rates and the rates of return on investment, you quickly realize: within the autarkic economic and political system of serfdom, Solomon Maimon’s grandfather was demonstrating what might be considered higher rational economic thinking and decision making capacity. His Kantian grandson did not sufficiently appreciate the singularly significant fact: in strictly economic terms, it did not pay to repair the broken bridge. Foucault, narrative historians, and post-modernists of various sorts would overlook other types of movement that bolstered broken bridges. Indeed, there is evidence that what was really moving was capital; that through the unrivaled, expanded, international circles of tr ust and accountability that a member of Jewish civic society enjoyed, Solomon Maimon’s grandfather could invest in entrepreneurialism and state building, elsewhere. The Court Jews of Germany and Central Europe, funding princes in the constr uction of consolidated and absolutist states, were at the same time venture capitalist investing on behalf of Jews in Eastern Europe.3 Maimon directs us to the questions that we must ask when trying to interpret Shneur Zalman’s choice of the Tsar over Napoleon and his motivations. What other broken bridges did Jews in the early modern period confront in relationship to the disintegrating autarky with
2 3 S. Maimon, Sefer Hayyei Shelomo Maimon, tr. Y.L. Bar ukh, Tel-Aviv 1953, pp. . 213–214. H. Levine, Economic Origins of Antisemitism: Poland and Its Jews in the Early Modern Period, New Haven 1991; J. Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550–1750, Oxford 1985.

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which they were most familiar and the new forms of autocracy and totalitarian democracy4 that partitions and wars were bringing to their doorstep? How did they understand and by what criteria did they choose among the respective modes of state building and the allowance of social space for a civic society within which Jews could locate themselves and live the collective, associational lives that they desired? How did the macrostr uctures of modernizing, often somewhat elusive, present the background for important shifts in Jewish cognition and strategizing for their own safety and future?5 How were they motivated by messianism? And, perhaps most important, in the shifting demands of the state and their own desire for security, even for a modicum of participation, how did Jews seek to carve out the social space in which they could sustain the plausibility of their eschatological beliefs? In all fairness to Foucault, it must be pointed out that his bon mot is not too distant from interpretative models of the late Gershom Scholem and his generalizations about Jewish messianism.6 If it moves, particularly, if it mobilizes a messianic movement, it is political and somewhat emancipatory. We hear echoes of this in his critique of Martin Buber who, Scholem claims, presents ‘Hasidism as a spiritual phenomenon and not a historical one’.7 Scholem’s own position is now coming under the respectful but sharp critique of a younger generation of scholars, precipitating vigorous debates in Jer usalem. Yehuda Liebes takes Scholem to task for his over emphasis of the political side of messianism. Scholem’s magisterial study of the early modern messiah-claimant, Sabbatai Sevi, for example, makes Sabbatai Sevi’s plan sound too ‘similar to Herzl’s charter’. Liebes claims that in reviewing thousands of pages of Sabbatean
4 5 J. Talmon, The Rise of Totalitarian Democracy, Boston 1952. In Moses Mendelssohn, the icon of Aufklarung for Jews and Germans of his time, ¨ we find similar misreadings of the political macrostr ucture. He overstated the good intention of autocratic r ulers. In the 1770s, fashionably scientific concepts of the indicators of mortal death were used to criticize and intervene in the communal life of Jews. Mendelssohn tried to defend specific Jewish interests in practice. But he sided with the autocratic r ulers in regard to the quality of their science as well as the legitimacy of their intervention into the internal domain of Jewish life, what might be considered civic society. See: A. Altmann, Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study, Alabama 1973, pp. 288–295. G. Scholem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism and Other Essays on Jewish Spirituality, New York 1971. G. Scholem, ‘Martin Buber ’s Interpretation of Hasidism’, Commentary, XXII (1961), pp. 305–316; idem, op. cit., p. 230.

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texts, he found ‘virtually no trace to the idea of political and national redemption’.8 He acknowledges traces of this in the early period among the hoi polloi. ‘The messianism of the conceptual leaders of the Sabbatean movement has nothing to do with political redemption but rather with another sphere: metaphysics and faith’.9 Moshe Idel, in contrast to Scholem’s ‘messianic idea’, emphasizes that there are ‘messianic ideas’. But, he boldly states, ‘the main point of the messianic phenomenon moves from the outside to the inside, from history to the soul, from the many to the individual’.10 And Scholem’s grand interpretative scheme, an elegant, parsimonious, counter-intuitive theory of Jewish modernity first adumbrated in 1937 (‘Redemption through Sin’) his efforts to locate the roots of Jewish Enlightenment and worldly political action in antinomian mysticism and messianism falters on the fate of his single case study and questions posed by evidence from new archival material.11 The sociological analysis of messianism that Liebes implies and Idel directly calls for would likely, for starters, describe a continuum between Jewish messianism as territorial politics versus messianism as unencumbered spirituality; it would not impose a priori definitions of one extreme position or another. Moreover, in attempting a more systematic theory for analyzing theological ideas in relation to social behavior, it would be worthwhile to reappropriate Max Weber’s notion of order, further developed by Kenneth Burke,12 Northrop Frye,13 David Little14 and others. These concepts of order bring together questions of meaning and purpose, organization and coordination. Messianism must be seen in terms of order: its reciprocal relationship with the social forms that it takes on as well as its reciprocal relationship
8 9 10 Y. Liebes, On Sabbateanism and Its Kabbalah: Collected Essays, Jer usalem 1995, pp. 10–18 (Hebrew). For an excellent summary of the debate, see: M. Idel, Messianic Mystics, New Haven and London 1998, pp. 1–37. M. Idel, Introduction to A.Z. Aeshkoly, Jewish Messianic Movements, I: From the Bar-Kokhba Revolt until the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain2, Jer usalem 1987, pp. 11–14 (Hebrew). Ha-Khronika – Te‘uda le-Toledot Ya‘akov Frank u-Tenu‘ato, Jer usalem 1984 [=The Kronika – On Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement ], ed. and tr. H. Levine, Jer usalem 1984. K. Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion, Boston 1961. N. Frye, Academy of Criticism, Princeton 1957. D. Little, Religion, Order, and Law: A Study in Prerevolutionary England, New York 1969.

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with the authority, commands, and legitimations which it expresses. As such, messianism is not only the yearning for an improved worldly existence nor the yearning for otherworldly experiences but different combinations of both. A sociology of knowledge analysis of this raging intergenerational conflict may in and of itself be a messianic act in the biblical terms of ‘turning the hearts of fathers unto their sons and the hearts of sons unto their fathers’. But it borders on the banal to point out that Scholem, born to an assimilated family in late 19th century Germany who became an ardent Zionist, might have different perspectives from his disciples who came of scholarly age decades after the establishment of the State of Israel, are Zionists of absolutely no less ardor than Scholem, have fought Israel’s wars, and have made personal, existential, and professional choices to live in that country but for whom political emancipation is not a paramount concern.15 There are current developments, outside of the scholarly domain, that may influence the concerns, the reactions, and the interpretations of scholars of messianism. In our generation, not part of Scholem’s experience, we have observed the development of still two more full blown messianic movements within Judaism, to be added to the prior list of Christianity and Sabbatianism: dangerous millennial statements are being made publicly and, more likely, harbored as esoteric teachings among some of the religious nationalists on the West Bank.16 Moreover, against Scholem’s characterization of the messianism in Hasidism, what has developed in recent years within the largest, most powerful, and public Hasidic group, the Lubavitcher, during the illness and after the demise of its leader, Rabbi Menahem Mendel Schneerson, surely qualifies as a messianic movement, political and emancipatory, in Foucault’s terms. That messianism percolated precisely among those Hasidim who showed little enthusiasm for anything other than systemic, rational thinking, systematic political action, community building, and, an outside observer might have assumed, enough worldly activity with which to keep themselves altogether busy until the Messiah does come. It is in this regard that our enigmatic text, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe’s
15 D. Biale, Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah and Counter-History, Cambridge, Mass. 1979, pp. 52–78. 16 For a delightful fictional treatment of messianism among the West Bank settlers that is becoming frighteningly plausible, see: T. Reich, The Jewish War, New York 1995.

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response to Napoleon, is all the more intriguing. Why did Shneur Zalman choose the Tsar over Napoleon? Do we have a glimpse at any trace, in the founder of the movement and in the unique manner in which he reacts to a serious cataclysm that is spurring apocalyptic messianic responses, of what is so messily exoteric and overt seven generations later? Notwithstanding the temptations and dangers of the most common of historical fallacies, the ‘genetic fallacy’, can we discover any roots to the contemporary and most perplexing Lubavitcher messianic movement, so powerfully abrogating centuries of Jewish reticence, in Shneur Zalman’s politics and his impressive cost/benefit analysis?17 Post Modern historians have no monopoly on contextualizing: we must try to interpret Shneur Zalman’s response to Napoleon within the range of Hasidic responses to Napoleon; we must relate the Hasidic leader’s response to his personal experiences, particularly his experiences with tsardom. The Napoleonic incursions into the large population centers and Hasidic communities of East European Jewry – in 1807 into the Polish territories that had been annexed by Pr ussia, in 1809 into Western and a sliver of Eastern Galicia, and in 1812, into the very heartland of Eastern Europe – should provide a very special Rorschach Test, a proto ‘clash of civilizations’, an early 19th century ‘remaking of the world order’.18 Napoleon, for Jews in remote corners, was their first unmediated experience of the French Revolution. More than two decades after the fall of the Bastille and after a variety of messianic French Revolution radicals had turned the message of that revolution inside out and outside in, slogans about liberty, equality, fraternity were trouncing upon the vestiges of feudal autarky and threatening Russian autocracy. Napoleon himself seems to have had messianic fantasies. There are reports, even documents, not wholly authenticated, that Napoleon was trying hard to arouse messianic responses as well as political support.19 Rumors were spread about his conquests in Palestine and his recr uitment of Jewish soldiers from exotic communities of the East. Na17 D.H. Fischer, Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought, New York 1970, p. 155. The genetic fallacy ‘mistakes the becoming of a thing for the thing which it has become’. Historicism, ‘the most hateful forms of the genetic fallacy, converts a temporal sequence into an ethical system, history into morality’. 18 B. Mevorakh, Ha-Yehudim Tahat Shilton Napoleon, Jer usalem 1970; idem (ed.), . Napoleon u-Tekufato: Reshumot ve-5Eduyot Ivriyot Shel Benei ha-Dor, Jer usalem 1968, pp. 171-189. 19 F. Kobler, Napoleon and the Jews, New York 1976.

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poleon, in his first round, so demonstrably opened the ghetto gates. The same Napoleon in 1806 convened nothing less than a Sanhedrin, reminiscent of the Great Assembly of Rabbis, a legislative body not convened since the Talmudic period. Did Napoleon know that according to some rabbinic opinions, the reconvening of the Sanhedrin was one of the precursors to the coming of the Jewish messiah? Yet the early modern emancipator used this Sanhedrin to pry into the inner life of Jews with forcefulness from which ancient, classical, and medieval enemies of the Jews, politically and spiritually motivated, would have had much to learn from Napoleon. Dangling the promise of full citizenship, he tested Jewish loyalties. In inquisitorial tones, he elicited the position of rabbis in Paris and elsewhere under his control, pressuring them to make politically correct statements by the standards of his Enlightenment, tragic choices for them as rabbinic leaders. The Napoleon who opened the ghetto gates is the same Napoleon who tried to control Jewish communal life. The messianic fervor was confused and confusing as he made his incursion into Eastern Europe. What of his equivocal reputation was salient and where, what reality factors, what range of concerns might have been encoded in mythic language and how might these illuminate the junction of large scale social processes, motives, and the personal decisions of historical actors; what insights into early modern messianism can we derive from the diverse responses to Napoleon from Jews in different regions – all of these questions require much research, particularly, if we are to assess relationships between the political and spiritual and make any evaluations of what is emancipatory. Martin Buber’s novel, For the Sake of Heaven, presents a fictionalized version of responses, across the Hasidic world, to Napoleon and the messianic interpretations engendered by the French liberator, far away from home.20 In other sources we find, for example: During the first Napoleonic War, Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Rymanov wanted to make of him Gog and Magog. He supplicated through his prayer that he should win in order that there should be redemption and he said that in his opinion it would be beneficial for Jewish blood to be spilled, from Frystak to Rymanov. They should go up to their knees in Jewish blood in order that there should be an end to our exile. But the masters of
20 M. Buber, For the Sake of Heaven, tr. from the German by L. Lewinson, Philadelphia 1945.

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Koznitz and Lublin did not agree with this and they prayed that he should fall in the war because they saw through their vision that the end had not yet arrived […] And the Holy Rabbi Naftali of Ropczyce, then young of years, lived in the town of Dokle. He sided with the rabbis of Koznitz and Lublin and visited the Rabbi of Rymanov to try to dissuade him. He arrived on the eve of Passover, a day of particularly fierce fighting. Rabbi Mendele was standing there, placing Matzahs into the oven. Each time he would say: ‘Another five hundred Russians have fallen’. And so it was in the war.21 Another tale about Hasidic responses to ‘the fall of the King Napoleon’, describing reactions to his downfall, provides the dramatic background for Buber’s treatment: After 1813, when the mightiness of God was apparent in the fall of the King Napoleon who was taken into exile, many prophesied that God’s name would become exalted. And the Rabbi of Lublin always anticipated God’s redemption that the redemption would be made by the King the Messiah soon in our days, Amen. And this is what Levi Isaac of Berditchev said before he died that he would not give any rest to the masters because the Son of Jesse has not arrived.22 What do these point to in regard to ways in which Napoleon might have been perceived? To be sure, these Hasidic masters were not systematic thinkers. Nevertheless, can we try to identify patterns in their cosmological thinking that correspond with phenomenological categories in the history of religion such as pantheism, theism, theurgic magic and explore their sociological correspondances with social boundaries and internal organization? Buber tries to present the responses as an intra-Hasidic debate on magic versus non-theurgic religious action, more spiritual in its orientation. The legends that he uses, we note, were transmitted and preserved as oral traditions; they were transcribed during and after the first decade of the 20th century. For Buber, Shneur Zalman’s response to Napoleon and the elaborate explanations that Shneur Zalman and
21 Mevorakh, Napoleon u-Tekufato (above n. 18), pp, 186–187. See Mevorakh’s discussion of the oral sources of these legends and their first appearance in writing, ibid., pp. 183–184. 22 Ibid., p. 188.

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others provide for this response were of scant interest even though Shneur Zalman’s 1812 letter provides what is most likely the earliest written record. Most of the responses seem to have been prompted by a very practical consideration: ‘Why waste a good war! Let’s make something of it in terms of the churning of the messianic gears’. The Hasidic Masters and presumably their growing number of disciples interiorized Napoleon’s sojourn across the lands of East European Jewry and gave it meaning within their Jewish framework of life and the Jewish spiritual world. Bracketing Buber’s glosses and insofar as the anthologies of Hasidic tales transcribed a century later preserve any reliable reportage, Napoleon was experienced largely as an external event, not someone introducing radical differences into the governance of their lives. Even those Jews who had lived since 1772 under Russian autocracy preserved the political thinking of Jewish experiences under Polish autarky. The political and economic orders were considered to be based on decrees and capriciousness which Jews could negotiate, not on principle. The hand of a later generation of transcribers of Hasidic tales is recognizable in a pious spin given to these reports: Perhaps because of their inappropriate zeal in hastening the end and for their applied messianism, the major Rebbes involved in this experiment died within the same year. But those native ethnographers and pious oral historians were not oblivious to those internal Hasidic politics. The Napoleonic incursion was used to demonstrate the power of the Hasidic master or the competition between the different courts.23 All this makes Shneur Zalman’s response, within the context of his own life, all the more interesting. Another monopoly not possessed by narrative historians involves the joys of unpacking an exemplary tale.24 The Alte Rebbe, as he is lovingly called by his disciples, to this day, lived in the northwest sector of the Hasidic world, in that area of the Polish Commonwealth that had been annexed by Catherine the Great and that is now in Belar us and Lithuania. He wrote profound theological tracts that point to a deep spiritual life. At the same time, his communal ordinances would be a proud piece of work for a McKinsey consultant. And anyone who has observed Congressional
23 Ibid., pp. 173–175. 24 The recent work of John Demos, Natalie Zemon Davis, and David Hackett Fischer well illustrate this point.

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advocacy, Lubavitcher style, will have no doubts about political propensities that Shneur Zalman of Lyadi was able to pass on. Let us examine his epistle in its entirety: On the first day of Rosh Hashana, prior to the Musaf prayer, they showed me: Should Napoleon be victorious, wealth among the Jews will be abundant and the glory of the children of Israel will be exalted. But the hearts of Israel will be separated and distanced from their father in heaven. But if our Master Alexander will triumph, though poverty will be abundant and the glory of Israel will be humbled, the heart of Israel will be bound and joined with its father in heaven. And here is a sign: In the coming days the delight of your eyes will be taken from you and they will begin to recr uit soldiers from among the brethren of Israel. And do remember how when we last parted recalling, ‘Princes have persecuted me without a cause; But my heart stands in awe of your words.’ And for God’s sake: Burn this letter25 . A line of commentators interpret Shneur Zalman’s motives, expressed in cost/benefit analysis terms, so disarmingly stark and pithy, as a call for asceticism.26 ‘When you are oppressed then you will discover the Lord your God’. Napoleon the liberator, Napoleon who would establish a rational economy in which Jews would be allowed to participate in productive enterprises, Napoleon the false Messiah would lead the Jews to political and economic security – and to religious indolence. Shneur Zalman, according to this reading of the epistle, picked up a whiff of what Jewish emancipation and modernization is all about. He sensed that if it will be good for the Jews it will be bad for Judaism. Perhaps he envisioned Jewish opulence in an open society with an intermarriage rate of over 50% and, conservative ascetic that he was, had the courage to reject this. Yet, this interpretation – of what might be called the ‘Jews love tsuris school’ – is out of character with Shneur Zalman of Lyadi and his thinking. Was the author of the most detailed set of communal ordinances and an architect of governance and leadership which has endured to this very day, fearful of mortally-imposed security? Would a leader
25 Mevorach, Napoleon u-Tekufato (above n. 18), pp. 182–183. 26 S. Dubnow, Toledot ha-Hasidut, Tel-Aviv 1975, pp. 325–344. Alan M. Dershowitz begins his recent book, The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century, Boston, MA 1997, with this tale of Shneur Zalman of Lyadi calling this the Jewish delight in tsuris.

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who was concerned with the economic pursuits of his followers, whose administrative ordinances included detailed considerations of matters of livelihood and finance, would this type of leader welcome persecution and summarily dismiss opportunities for stability? His son and successor made proposals to the government for vocational schools and agricultural colonies saying, ‘No Jew need be ashamed of engaging in farm work, for our ancestors in Palestine were farmers. If we will purchase or rent the land for long periods, we shall 27 obtain a livelihood…’. That son, better than the Maskilim, the Jewish modernist savants who accepted French physiocratic notions of what in later years would be called pruduktivizatsya, productive contributions to the wealth of the state – that son of Shneur Zalman, and likely Shneur Zalman himself, understood that Enlightenment inspired ‘reform’ in Eastern Europe was little more than a fraud and that agriculture was a code word for ‘serfdom’. There is little else in Shneur Zalman’s Hasidism that suggests that he accorded such religious significance to tsuris. He was not particularly on the ascetic side of Hasidism. Furthermore, his rejection of Napoleon was so vehement as to suggest some other motives. The opening of the archives in the former Soviet Union, for now, at least, holds limited promise for a solution to these problems. A new cottage industry among underpaid academics and librarians has generated custom made forgeries. Moreover, the demonstrated alacrity and competence of contemporary Lubavitcher Hasidim in moving documents from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Crown Heights makes access even a greater problem than in the days of the former Soviet Union. An examination of the original epistle seems to be impossible for the moment. We do have a cache of documents that round out the reports of Shneur Zalman of Lyadi’s imprisonment in St. Petersburg, fourteen and twelve years before Napoleon’s arrival on Hasidic turf. Indeed, Shneur Zalman was incarcerated by Tsar Paul and Tsar Alexander I which should make him no great fan of tsardom. Could his enthusiasm be little more than an early and undiagnosed symptom of the Stockholm Syndrome?
27 M. Teitelbaum, Ha-Rav Mi-Lyadi u-Mifleget Habad, Warsaw 1910, pp. 238–246. On Shneur Zalman teachings and on his son, see: R. Elior, The Paradoxical Ascent to God, New York 1992; idem, Torat ha-Elohuth ba-Dor ha-Sheni shel Hasidut Habad, Jer usalem 1982; N. Loewenthal (ed.), Communicating the Infinite, Chicago 1990.

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He was also released by those tsars, it might be pointed out. This should provide some explanation for his gratitude. Indeed, we now better understand those circumstances under which he was released. And it may be those circumstances that shed new light on Shneur Zalman’s loyalty to the Tsar. The new documents provide some insight into what the Russian prosecutors were fishing for, how Shneur Zalman handled them, and ultimately, why, unlike so many Old Believers and religious leaders of various sorts that were subject to these types of investigations and ultimately sent to Siberia, why Shneur Zalman was freed – not once but twice. Let us allow for the possibility of a rather pedestrian explanation. As to the unexpectedly happy ending to Shneur Zalman’s political problems, let us once more evoke the image of politically active Lubavitcher Hasidim; lobbying in the Tsar’s court; this surely involved one primary means – bribes. It could be that what Shneur Zalman liked about the Tsar and his administration is their inefficiency and corr uptibility. From the first annexations of Polish territory by Catherine the Great and the first encounters with Jews, all sorts of reforms were promulgated, some fair and favorable to the interests of many Jews now residing in Russian territory, most absolutely not. The common denominator: virtually none was implemented. New documents indicate that Shneur Zalman’s first arrest, at least, was not primarily the consequence of the Jewishly prompted anti-Hasidic agitation and internecine warfare, as we thought; neither was it planned by the tsarist officials to provide the opportunity for extortion.28 We now have the text of the first accusation against Shneur Zalman, made on May 8th, 1798 by a certain ‘Hirsch the son of David’ of Vilna. He accuses the rabbi and his associates of fomenting rebellion among the youth, a fairly standard accusation; the Hasidim live unbridled lives with no framework of law, again, not an unusual mode of defaming. An accusation that he makes that is not standard is that Shneur Zalman is sending money to assist the French Revolution. ‘Rabbi Zalman the son of Bar ukh […] tries to assist the French Revolution’ is written on the cover page of the investigation. Shneur Zalman was accused of sending money to the Sultan as well as to Napoleon in
28 These documents from the Prosecutor General’s archives in Petersburg are reviewed in Kerem Habad, Kefar Habad 1992, pp. 17–21, 29–31. Kerem Habad, a journal of the movement, is not always up to scholarly standards. But a reproduction of the original accusation is presented.

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Palestine. The irony should not be lost; Shneur Zalman’s efforts to establish a well r un Hasidic court, to protect his followers from Russian autocracy and its administrators involved political maneuvering about which those officials said little. The accusation against him for political activity is based on Shneur Zalman’s most messianic act – organizing financial support for pious Jews residing in the Holy Land who were praying for the redemption. This was seen as a political act of supporting the French Revolution. There is good reason to believe that the accuser, Hirsch the son of David of Vilna, did not exist and that a clumsy effort was being made to attribute this particular attack to Jews. The accuser recommends to the Tsar that the Hasidim be sent into exile ‘and there they will have their promised land for which they have been hoping and also the messianic wild ox and leviathan’. Though Jewish attacks on Hasidim in no way lacked vir ulence, this frighteningly cynical taunt does not sound like it comes from a Jewish voice. The Prosecutor General Lopukhin reports these accusations in a letter to the Tsar. Paul who was having enough problems consolidating power during his short-lived reign seems to have had the time and concern to review this case himself. On August 14th, 1798 he writes, ‘…should it turn out that they indeed did participate in any type of rebellion, of these do send them to me immediately’. We are still left with the question as to who organized this initiative. Whatever the case may be, it is evident that Russian autocratic leaders could hardly be characterized as interested only in the surfaces of Jewish life. Napoleon, however, was certainly more the interventionist and generally a lot more efficient. In view of the serious charges leveled against him by the tsarist administration and – what he likely did not know – Paul himself, Shneur Zalman had reason to be grateful, perhaps, even loyal. If archival material up to this point has been suggestive but not conclusive as to Shneur Zalman’s tr uest motives for his enthusiastic support of the Russian autocrats, perhaps we should take a more careful look at the epistle itself. In comparing some of the printed versions of this letter, it is clear that there have been deletions. Some of the historians who wanted to like Shneur Zalman as one of the more reasonable of Hasidic masters, did not pay attention, even took liberties with some phrases that they did not understand or that did not lend support to their image of this Rebbe. The recipient, we should note, is Moses Meizeles, who was also a friend of Shneur Zalman’s most important [lxxix]

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and vitriolic enemy, the Gaon of Vilna. Meizeles was himself, like his Vilna friend, a man who combined traditional study, even mysticism, with scientific er udition. Meizeles seemed to be under some suspicion of organizing a spy ring on behalf of Napoleon. He escaped to Palestine and years later made a most positive impression on the secretary of the visiting magnate and philanthropist, Moses Montefiore. From our perspective, his singularly great contribution to Jewish history is that he did not follow Shneur Zalman’s instr uctions to burn the letter. Shneur Zalman makes two predictions that will serve as a validation for his position. ‘The delight of your eyes will be taken from you’,29 he tells Meizeles, sharing an intuition about his own numbered days, and also that some other precious ones will be taken away, perhaps with less permanence. Shneur Zalman alludes to the conscription of young Jewish men, even children, which had been instituted in another part of the lands of former Poland. This reminds us that Napoleonic influences were closer to the heartland of East European Jewry a few years before the War of 1812. The Duchy of Warsaw, which Napoleon had much to do with the assemblage of its parcels, was also governed by the Napoleonic Code. There, as well as in the lands of Joseph II, going back to the early 1780s – conscription was imposed upon the Jewish community. Shneur Zalman was reminding his friend that Napoleon’s political and emancipatory program may not only weaken Jews’ ties to their celestial father but also to their terrestrial children. But there seems to have been a heading to the letter – in fact, an encoded secret heading – ignored by most historians. ‘It is the way of the world to leave behind the hides and empty jugs’. In and of itself, this statement is seemingly meaningless. But it refers to a discussion in the Babylonian Talmud, Yoma, 12a. How should the pilgrims to Jer usalem during the three major festivals handle their fiscal affairs, the Talmud asks. Insofar as the holy city belongs to the entire Jewish people, it would violate that principle for pilgrims to pay their hotel bills. On the other hand, as much as the rabbis, like medieval scholastics, were concerned to ‘save the appearance’ not allowing reality to interfere with theory and principle, their economic savvy encouraged them to predict a desolate future for Jer usalem’s tourist industry if pilgrims did not pay for their accommodations and hotel keepers had no economic incentives to provide public services. The solution to the dilemma? ‘It is the way of the world to leave behind the hides and empty wine jugs’.
29 Mevorakh, Napoleon u-Tekufato (above n. 18), pp. 182–183.

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‘Should Napoleon Be Victorious…’

How does this respond to Jer usalem’s problems or to Shneur Zalman’s problems and what was his association to that Talmudic formulation at the moment that he was making his inspired cost/benefit analysis of Jewish choices in the modern world? The hides were the one part of the animals for which pilgrims, bringing their sacrifice to the Temple, had no use. They could not be a part of any special sacrifice or priestly gift. On the other hand, they were not without intrinsic value. Similarly, the wine jugs that had been used to transport the fr uits of local vineyards, dedicated to spiritual elevation during the festivals, were now merely empty vessels that would be a burden to transport back home. They, too, were far from worthless. ‘It is the way of the world…’. That is how you pay the hotel bill while preserving the principle that Jer usalem belongs to all of the people. But what does this have to do with Napoleon? Here we have a real opening into Shneur Zalman’s political thinking and spiritual proclivities. In the lands of the Tsar, he thought, ‘It is the way of the world to leave behind the hides and the empty jugs’. One can pay tutelage with objects that have value, to be sure, that are external, functional, and ultimately empty in relation to the core of Jewish living. The Tsar demanded, even deserved, loyalty. But Napoleon would be satisfied with nothing less than patriotism, the fullest, the most enthusiastic, and most exclusive commitment. Shneur Zalman of Lyadi was no less inclined than his colleagues to find deeper eschatological meaning in the War of 1812. But seeing the events outside of his window as the representation of predestined apocalyptic battles did not exonerate him, he believed, from worldly choices and activities. He could envision cosmic circles while at one and the same time organizing spy rings. Indeed, while praying for Tsar Alexander, he organized espionage against Napoleon; he ingratiated himself and his followers, by services rendered, to the Russian generals. In this cryptic letter we hear what he is telling the sixty wagons of his disciples who are escaping with him, eastward, through the fall and winter of 1812, hardly staying ahead of Napoleon’s troops. His son reports about his father’s last days in a letter sent to the same Moses Meizeles. The peril and the impurity that Shneur Zalman associates with Napoleon seem to meld as he urges his followers to move, quicker and quicker, in their escape. Napoleon is the quintessence of evil, violence, and – what he seems to condemn the most – hubris and arrogant secularity. The ‘Kings of the North’ are the source of compassion. In an extraordinarily ecumenical observation, Shneur Zalman, as reported [lxxxi]

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by his son, notes with appreciation the manner in which the Tsar includes in his soldiers’ preparedness for battle the blessings and sprinkling of holy water administered by Russian Orthodox priests. Each Napoleonic victory is accorded hidden blessing in the transvaluated world of messianism. He succumbed to the difficulties of the journey and the anguish of choosing between ‘paths of emancipation’, before witnessing the fulfillment of one of his predictions – ‘ nafol tipol Napoleon’, verily will Napoleon fall. With all of his messianism, Shneur Zalman was not opposed to long-range strategic planning. With his characteristic deliberation, he examined the redefinition of the relationship of Jews to the state, change that was taking place across Europe and in America. He realized that the future welfare of Jews as individuals, the viability of their collective lives, and the plausibility of their faith could not depend on charters here or concessions there as had been the case in feudal societies and in societies organized by estates and with corporate str uctures. He confronted a tragic choice envisioning greater opportunities for civic society and associational life in the interstices of tsarist autocracy than in Napoleonic totalitarian mass society. He was prescient about Napoleon and his heirs; less so in regard to the Tsar and tsardom in its metamorphoses. The Hasidic movement that Shneur Zalman of Lyadi founded and inspired endured under the unique duress of the autocratic repressiveness of the Tsar and the totalitarian democracy of Napoleon, as their commissar disciples institutionalized both legacies in the Soviet Union. The stories of the survival of Lubavitcher Hasidism under the most repressive conditions of Communism and the reconstr uction of East European Jewish life in the corners of liberal democracies on our planet, such as Brooklyn and Bnai Brak, following Nazi mass murder of Jews and massive delegitimation of Jewish faith are stories yet to be told. That social space, the intermediary str uctures of civic society, were offered neither by Napoleon nor by the Tsar. How did the delayed reaction to the Holocaust as it was expressed in that cognitively and socially well protected civic society of liberal democracies catalyze shifts in the delicate balances of the spiritual and political dimensions of Shneur Zalman’s messianism and worldly preoccupations that contribute to a messiansim that was by no means ‘sublimated’, that addressed the political as well as the spiritual domain, and that was as thisworldly in its orientation as the messianism of early Christians and Sabbateans? Whatever may be learned from Shneur Zalman of Lyadi’s deliberations [lxxxii]

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‘Should Napoleon Be Victorious…’

that might reflect on the means or how questions – the political and spiritual dimensions of Sabbateanism and other earlier forms of messianism – the where questions, of the social location of messianism and how to retain their plausibility, which confronted Shneur Zalman were quite different than those facing Sabbateanism and other earlier messianic movements. So much for reductionism, post-modernist or otherwise. There was a lot that moved that was demographic and economic, spiritual, certainly, but even political in a fashion that Foucault would not quite recognize. Whether or not modernity for Jews and for others ultimately will be emancipatory, for those of us who possess neither Shneur Zalman of Lyadi’s messianic optimism nor planning skills, we might ever so cautiously state – not all of the data is in.

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Shabbtai Zvi and the Seductions of Jewish Orientalism
David Biale In one of his earliest diary entries, dated just before the outbreak of World War I, Gershom Scholem describes a trip to the Swiss Alps.1 There he engaged in a series of romantic meditations which include a reference to Shabbtai Zvi who, he says, astonished the people by going into the marketplace in Izmir and pronouncing the four-letter name of God. Despite the popular belief that he should have been str uck by lightning, nothing happened. Scholem uses this historical anecdote as a rather surprising way of demonstrating the deluded nature of the Jewish people, who cannot recognize the metaphysical meaning of the grandeur and beauty of the high mountains. Whatever this obscure text may have actually meant to him, one has the distinct feeling that Scholem is comparing himself to Shabbtai Zvi, a comparison that gains some support from his later claim in the diary to be the Messiah.2 How and what did Scholem know about Shabbtai Zvi in 1914? He certainly might have encountered him in Graetz’s History, which, as he tells us in his memoirs, he already read in 1911.3 What I wish to argue in this paper, however, is that Shabbtai Zvi was in the air in many different forms in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the first sentence of his great essay, ‘Redemption Through Sin’, Scholem says that ‘no chapter in the history of the Jewish people during the last several hundred years has been as shrouded in mystery as that of the Sabbatian movement’.4 Despite the common belief today, cultivated in

[Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 16-17, 2001]

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part by Scholem himself, that he rescued the Sabbatian movement from obscurity and turned it into the major watershed between the Jewish Middle Ages and modernity, there was a rich historical and imaginative literature about Sabbatianism available in German, Yiddish, Hebrew, English and Russian when Scholem was a young man. In his biography of Shabbtai Zvi, Scholem refers occasionally in passing to this literature and generally dismisses it as historically worthless, an accusation that is largely accurate, if exaggerated. But regardless of their historical validity, these novels, biographies and essays created a climate of interest in Sabbatianism that must have caught the young Scholem’s attention and suggested certain themes for his later investigations. Some of this literature about Sabbatianism was surveyed by Shmuel Werses in a his book on Sabbatianism and the Haskalah.5 But Werses ends where I propose to begin: with the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which witnessed perhaps an even greater profusion of writing about Sabbatianism than had been the case earlier in the nineteenth century. Werses concludes with a short chapter on the way Jewish nationalist writers transformed attitudes towards Sabbatianism from the negative stance of much of the Haskalah to a new appreciation. Although some of the material that I will cover overlaps with this chapter – and some with material that he covers in other chapters – I want to look not only at literature written by Jewish nationalists, but also by some who are often labeled as assimilationists. Beyond staking out a somewhat different literary territory from that of Werses, I am interested in some very different issues. Sabbatianism functioned as a kind of cultural code for authors working on the borders between Judaism and modernity, as a projection back onto the seventeenth century of modern problems of Jewish identity and assimilation. The most interesting literature of the fin de siecle period was neither ` pro- nor anti-Sabbatian in the sometimes dichotomous sense we find in Werses. Instead, these works often involve ambiguities that point in suggestive ways to the ambivalence of their authors towards a whole host of contemporary issues: rabbinical authority, heresy, conversion and messianism, among others.

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Jewish Orientalism One issue that I want to address in particular is Sabbatianism as a vehicle for constr ucting a kind of Jewish Orientalism at a time when the Orient was exerting a particularly complex fascination on Jews. As I shall try to show, ambivalence about the Jewish Orient captured many of the other ambivalences of these writers about contemporary Jewish culture. It is in the context of this Jewish Orientalism that I also want to situate the young Scholem’s fascination with Sabbatianism, a context quite different from where he is usually located. In his now classic work, Orientalism, Edward Said suggests that the range of European associations with the Orient, such as ‘the Oriental character, Oriental despotism, Oriental sensuality and the like’, are really projections or constr uctions by Westerners, primarily during the age of Imperialism.6 The power to constr uct the Orient as a field of knowledge in certain stereotyped ways was part and parcel of the projection of Western power into the area of the Near East. Yet, because Orientalism had little to do with the actual Orient, it tells us much more about those doing the constr ucting than those being constr ucted: ‘Orientalism is – and does not simply represent – a considerable dimension of modern political-intellectual culture, and, as such, has less to do 7 with the Orient than it does with “our” world’. The history of Jewish Orientalism remains to be written,8 and I can

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only offer the barest outlines here, insofar as they connect to the theme of this paper. Paul Mendes-Flohr has suggested that Jewish views of the Orient shifted with Jewish attitudes towards assimilation. In the middle of the nineteenth-century, Jews sought to distance themselves from their ostensibly ‘Oriental’ behaviors; with the rise of Zionism and other forms of Jewish self-affirmation at the fin de siecle, many Jews, following ` Martin Buber,9 enthusiastically embraced their Oriental heritage in rebellion against the bourgeois West.10 Without disputing this overall picture, I believe that even those Jews who affirmed the Oriental in themselves did so in ways that were often quite ambivalent, an ambivalence typical of the way the Western imagination generally depicted the Orient. Although Jewish attitudes often resembled those of other Europeans, Jewish treatments of the Orient were complicated by several factors. Jewish Orientalism, as opposed to non-Jewish, involved constr ucting an object which was also in some sense ostensibly one’s self, the subject which was doing the constr ucting: those who imagined a Jewish Orient were always conscious of the fact that they themselves were being imagined by non-Jews as Orientals. If the Orient became the classic site of the Other, Jewish Orientalism involved a complex dialectic of projection and displacement of oneself onto an object that was never really other. The fact that the Jewish people originated in the Orient as well as the presence of real Jews in the contemporary Orient aroused contradictory feelings among European Jews of identification and alienation.11 These Oriental Jews might represent the vestiges of biblical Jews or, alternatively, primitive Jews still mired in medieval obscurantism and irrationality. If one imagined Jewish identity to be primarily European, the Oriental Jews were an inconvenient embarrassment; on the other hand, if one wished to see in Judaism the ‘spirit of the Orient’, one might represent both the Orient and the Orientals in far more positive terms. What has not been sufficiently noticed is the way these contradictory attitudes might exist simultaneously even in those eager to affirm their Oriental ‘otherness’. When Zionism emerged as both a political and settlement move-

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ment, the question of the Orient took on great urgency.12 Zionist Orientalism, undoubtedly indebted to both European and Jewish Orientalism of the nineteenth-century, developed its own peculiar dynamic, especially once European Zionists confronted real Oriental Jews, such as the Yemenites, who came to settle in the Land of Israel. Since the Zionists proposed to take the Jews out of Europe and back to the Middle East, ambivalence about becoming once again ‘Levantine’ turned into a touchstone for the tension in early Zionism between Eurocentric modernism and anti-European anti-modernism. Was Zionism to be part of the Orient or was it to be a movement of European modernity projected into the Middle East? European Orientalism itself can be divided between those who had actual contact with the Orient and those whose images were constr ucted much more out of sheer imagination. The French and the English fit loosely into the first category and the Germans into the second. Similarly, Jewish Orientalism divides between those who had direct contact with the Jews of the Middle East and those who did not. Because of the French involvement in the region, French Jews were among the first to develop complex direct relationships with Jews in North Africa, Turkey and other areas of the Ottoman Empire. This new interest in the Orient was awakened by the Damascus Blood Libel in 1840 and, as Aron Rodrigue has shown in recent work, was expressed in the ´ educational network of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.13 The Alliance’s project of bringing French Enlightenment to the backward Jews of the Ottoman Empire was the product of Orientalist images of these Jews, but it also contributed towards the production and dissemination of these images. German and East European Jews had less direct contact with Jews of the East, but the images were often similar. Much, although not all, of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century literature on Sabbatianism was produced in German. As we will see, these German Jewish authors often conflated images of the Orient with images of the Ostjuden, who, as Steven Aschheim has shown, functioned for German

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Jews in a similar cultural fashion as Oriental Jews.14 An additional aspect to the German Jewish literature about the Orient is the curious role of the Sephardic Jew. As Ismar Schorsch has argued, Sephardic Jews often served for enlightened German Jews as models of acculturation without assimilation; the Sephardic Jew represented a kind of Jewish nobility, as opposed to the obscurantist and vulgar Ostjuden.15 With the discovery of the ‘degraded’ Oriental Jews as an ostensible offshoot of the Sephardim, the image of the Sephardim shifted to a contradictory mixture of nobility and degeneration, a mixture which is particularly evident in the representations of Sabbatianism. Sabbatianism and the Orient One example of this ambivalent representation can be found in a travelogue written by the German-Jewish newspaper publisher, Esriel Carlebach, under the title Exotische Juden.16 For Carlebach and, one presumes, his readers, the ‘exotic’ was the Orient, defined primarily as the Mediterranean. The first chapter treats the ‘proud Spaniards’ (Stolze Spanier), the Sephardic Jews of Salonica. Following the long tradition described by Schorsch, Carlebach contrasts the nobility and pride of these Jews with the ‘hunchback’ (gebeugten-Ruckens) Jews of the North. The Spanish Jews of Salonica set the stage for Carlebach’s journeys to other exotic communities of the Orient, including Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli, Yemen and Smyrna. There he found a variety of ‘exotic’ Jews, not only exotic because of their geographical location, but also because of their heterodox beliefs: Karaites, Marranos and Sabbatians. ¨ Carlebach’s Sabbatians are the remains of the Donmeh sect in Izmir. He describes the ‘half-darkened’ synagogue, mysterious and virtually r uined where he encounters old men and women, the vestiges of the community. In contrast with this contemporary scene of decay, Carlebach describes the birth of Sabbatianism in almost revolutionary terms. Shabbtai Zvi was a ‘sensitive, ecstatic young man’ who dared to duel with God in protest against the slaughter of the Polish Jews by Chmielnitski. Anticipating Scholem and in line with most of the other

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descriptions of the impact of Sabbatianism, Carlebach claims that the movement swept the whole Jewish world. Yet, Carlebach blames the failure of Sabbatianism on Shabbtai Zvi who, he says, thought more about himself than about redemption; he was a Messiah not fully committed to messianism. Carlebach sees the continuing faith of latter-day Sabbatians like Jon¨ ¨ athan Eibeschutz and the Donmeh sect not as a belief in Shabbtai Zvi himself, but as a belief in the spiritual phenomenon represented by Sabbatianism; it is therefore curiously positive and even prescriptive ¨ for modern European Jews: the Donmeh Sabbatians read Maupassant and Voltaire, but when they pray, they put away Western literature, just as they do the Koran, speak only Hebrew and refer only to sacred Jewish texts. Like European Jews, many of the sect ‘became Greek and married foreigners’. Those who remained faithful had learned the art of dissembling, of seeming to be Muslims while actually remaining Jews. To be able to believe in Shabbtai Zvi nearly three hundred years after his apostasy is a ‘trick of the soul’ not that different from that required to be a Jew in modern times. Thus, the movement that began in ecstasy, but failed due to the weakness of its leader, still held a message for Jews facing the challenge of assimilation. In this conclusion, the Sabbatian community of Smyrna represented for Carlebach a peculiar mixture of antiquated decay and stubborn national pride, a combination typical of others of Carlebach’s exotic Jews of the Orient. The role of the Orient as the birthplace of Sabbatianism is evident as well in Josef Kastein’s vivid biography, Shabbtai Zewi: Der Messias von Ismir, published in Germany in 1930. Kastein’s book resembles much of the nineteenth-century literature discussed by Werses in combining historical sources with fictional embellishment. Although Scholem dismissed Kastein’s work as little more than a novel, his bibliography includes many of the sources in Hebrew and European languages from the time of the events. Even if Kastein did allow himself poetic license, he did so after some fairly extensive historical research. Seeking to explain the widespread impact of the movement, Kastein argues that, he succeeded, for the people he was addressing were not only credulous Jews, but also Orientals. In this connection, one should not forget that there were two factors which did much towards increasing credence for the reports that were circulated – in the Orient, the fickle receptivity towards fantasy [die leichte, phantasie[xci]

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begabte Empfanglichkeit], and in the West the allure of the alien [der ¨ Reiz der Entfernung] and respect for the written word.17 If the movement’s attraction in the East had to do with Oriental irrationalism, the Western Jews were drawn in by two contradictory impulses: a kind of rationalism connected with respect for written reports, and the enchantment of the exotic. Kastein is describing a kind of seventeenth-century Jewish Orientalism as the source for Western Sabbatianism. But he also captures the reasons for contemporary fascination with Sabbatianism. In the twentieth century, the Orient still represented the exotic, as it did in the seventeenth, but knowledge of the Orient, mediated through the written word (that is, Kastein’s own book), gives this exoticism a veneer of scientific respectability. This is exactly the combination that Said describes in his analysis of nineteenth-century European accounts of the Orient. Despite the impression a passage like this might leave, Kastein was not at all hostile to Sabbatianism. In fact, his attitude was generally quite sympathetic since he saw Sabbatianism as a legitimate response to Jewish homelessness, a theme that he repeats almost like a litany in his introductory chapter. As a Central European Jew, Kastein needed to account for how the more ‘rational’ and ‘skeptical’ Jews who were his ancestors were attracted to the movement in a way different from the alien Oriental Jews. For example, in Venice, the news was received with skepticism: ‘here is intelligent soil, where much is investigated and much is doubted. Here is no more of the fantastic Oriental imagination’.18 Similarly, in Hamburg and Amsterdam, the descendants of the Marranos were more fully equipped with spiritual or intellectual (Geistigen) qualities than the Polish Jews, because their suffering was ‘sublimated’. These Jews, who are clearly Kastein’s heroes, regarded [Sabbatianism] from a more worldly, concrete and political point of view than the Oriental and Polish Jews. To the other Jews it was a fresh beginning; to them it was a continuation on a higher and clearer plane. And in their response they showed passionate joy and unfettered exuberance rather than dark and painful penitential practices.19

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The East – whether Eastern Europe or the Middle East – is dark and ascetical, while the West is joyful and worldly, a theme to which I will return. Among the political responses to Sabbatianism, Kastein includes Spinoza’s famous ‘Zionist’ passage in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus: Jewish sovereignty might in fact be restored under the proper political constellation.20 In connecting Spinoza with Sabbatianism in this positive sense, Kastein turned Graetz’s association of the two on its head: where Graetz had seen Spinoza as the mirror image of Shabbtai Zvi – rationalism versus irrationalism – Kastein brought them together under the category of politics.21 Spinoza understood the import of Sabbatianism politically. While it is unlikely that Spinoza was in fact commenting on Sabbatianism in this passage, Kastein may well have been on to something interesting. Following Scholem, much of the work on Sabbatianism has focused primarily on mystical ideas and less on the overtly political side of the movement, such as the persistent use of royal titles for Shabbtai Zvi and the way the movement unfolded within the political relations between the Ottoman Jewish communities and the Turkish state. Interestingly, this fr uitful direction for research was anticipated by some of the literature that Scholem dismissed, such as Kastein’s work, which typically focuses much more on the political than on the mystical.22 Despite his identification with the ostensibly reasoned position of the Amsterdam and Hamburg Jews, Kastein was by no means a dogmatic rationalist. In language reminiscent of Martin Buber, he notes that ‘an Age is ripe for a great experience [Erlebnis], when it has the courage momentarily to abandon the lamentable control of the brain and surrenders oneself to necessities of the heart’.23 This distinction between brain and heart corresponds to Kastein’s dichotomy in his introductory chapter between the Bible, which stirs the emotions, and the rationalism of the Talmud. He saw the Talmud as a legal system of ‘endless interpretations, reflections, speculations and theories’ that weaned the Jews from the emotional sustenance of the Bible. He even claims that

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the rabbis forbade Jews from reading the Bible before age twenty!24 The Kabbalah attempted a synthesis between the Bible and the Talmud, and Shabbtai Zvi represented the great experience in which the dictates of reason were suspended in favor of a higher law. For a secular Jew like Kastein (and Scholem), Sabbatianism was a precursor of the modern revolt against rabbinic legalism. As for Carlebach, the failure of Sabbatianism was a failure of its leader, who was not himself transformed by this great experience. Here Kastein becomes rather obscure: Shabbtai Zvi ‘emulated an historical form of leadership without any adequate spiritual equipment’. He never tr uly transcended the religion against which he rebelled. In a sense, Kastein holds that Sabbatianism was not radical enough: it did not address the universal desire for redemption, ‘the fundamental fact that a whole world wished to be reconciled with its God and its own existence’. This desire for redemption continued to echo weakly in movements like Hasidism and Zionism, but it succeeded in neither; writing in 1930, Kastein, who was himself sympathetic to Zionism and ended up emigrating to Palestine, declared that ‘in Zionism, which was an attempt at a partial solution on the plane of reality, it [redemption] met with defeat’.25 Interestingly enough, it was only in the philosophy of Martin Buber that Kastein found the tr ue realization of the idea of redemption and, as we have just seen, there are several places in his book where such Buberian terms as Erlebnis and Zwiesprache appear. Arguing that ‘nothing can so disfigure God’s countenance as religion’,26 he seems to have believed that Shabbtai Zvi was not able to translate his antinomianism into a tr ue spirituality of dialogue. Might it be that, for Kastein, Shabbtai Zvi’s Oriental origins precluded the possibility of such philosophical messianism? Only the spiritual equipment of the Central European Jews, and not the fantastic imaginations of the Oriental or East European Jews, could provide the necessary synthesis between emotion and reason. If Kastein saw in Shabbtai Zvi’s Orientalism the fatal flaw of the movement, the same perhaps was tr ue for Theodor Herzl. A number of early Zionist writers, such as Shai Ish-Hurwitz, drew explicit compari-

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sons between Zionism and Sabbatianism and between Herzl and Shabbtai Zvi.27 Herzl himself was evidently uncomfortable with such associations, although he devoted relatively little attention to his ostensible seventeenth-century forer unner. At one point in his diaries Herzl says: ‘the difference between Shabbtai Zvi and myself is that he made himself great to be like the great ones of the world, whereas I find the great just as small as I am’.28 This is a rather enigmatic entry, given Herzl’s megalomania attested in other places in the diaries. A more decisive statement of Herzl’s position on Sabbatianism, and one more relevant for our purposes, can be found in his utopian novel, Altneuland. When his two protagonists return to Palestine after twenty years on a desert island, they tour the now-thriving Jewish utopia. At one point, their hosts propose attending one of the cultural offerings of the colony. The choices are a play about Moses at the ‘National Theater ’, which they reject as too pietistically uplifting, several popular Yiddish farces, which they dismiss as beneath them, and an opera about Shabbtai Zvi, advertised as ‘the most beautiful of all modern Jewish operas’. Curious about this figure of whom they claim ignorance, they are told: ‘Shabbtai Zvi was a false Messiah who appeared in Turkey at the beginning of the seventeenth century [sic]. He succeeded in gathering a great following among Oriental Jews, but later he became a Moslem and met a sorry end’. The visitors declare: ‘The perfect villain for an opera’,29 and off the party goes to see the performance. This brief passage deserves some careful attention. The opera about Shabbtai Zvi stands culturally somewhere between pious ‘high’ religion, represented by the theatrical treatment of Moses, and the low culture of the Ostjuden, represented by the Yiddish farces. In light of Herzl’s dismissal of religion and patronizing attitude towards the Ostjuden, only the theme of a messianic movement can be said to have ‘national’ significance. The opera treats a theme out of Jewish history

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whose value, Herzl suggests, is as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls that Zionism must avoid: although initially sincere, Shabbtai Zvi became a ‘villain’ as the mob began to follow him. Here is an example of Herzl’s own ambivalence about leading a popular movement; his own ´ theory of Zionism as a vanguard suggests rather a certain elitism. Unlike other contemporary treatments of Sabbatianism, Herzl sees the movement as primarily an Oriental affair, thus implicitly contrasting it with his own movement. In one place in his diaries, Herzl insists that while Sabbatianism was based on utopian fantasy, his movement will succeed since ‘we have machines’,30 that is, Western technology. For the Jews of the Middle Ages, only fantasies based on charismatic figures might inspire action, while in modern times when the people are able ‘to gauge its own strength’, miracles and charismatic leaders would no longer be needed. Here, once again, we encounter a certain ambivalence on Herzl’s part about his own status as a charismatic leader. Despite Herzl’s explicit distancing from Sabbatianism, expressed in his narrative description of the movement, the capsule libretto of his fictional opera tells a somewhat different story. Shabbtai is persecuted by a ‘choir of angry rabbis’, but his ‘strong personality charmed even his opponents and they fell back before him’. Here, Herzl may have in mind his own controversies with orthodox authorities who opposed his movement and, in fact, he suggests that ‘sensible pious Jews’ have rejected the ‘partisan rabbis’ and joined the Zionist movement. The opera about Shabbtai Zvi is the only place in Altneuland – with one exception31 – in which Herzl refers to Oriental Jews. The Eurocentric character of Herzl’s Zionism is, of course, no great surprise and he was not the only one to suffer from a blind spot about the Orientals, whether Jews or Arabs. But his treatment of Sabbatianism was designed to contrast those backward Jews, whether of the Orient or elsewhere, who believed in miracles and were therefore swept up by false messianism, with an enlightened, modern movement based on technology. The Orient represented for Herzl the religious obscurantism and utopian thinking that Zionism had to oppose. The lack of any identifiable Oriental Jews in the Altneuland (as opposed to the presence

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of enlightened, pro-Zionist Arabs) suggests that Herzl proposed to ignore rather than modernize the real Jews of the Middle East. Erotic Messianism and the Orient In Altneuland, Shabbtai Zvi’s finest moment comes when a young girl, who is his disciple, tries to defend him ‘in a grand aria’ and is attacked by rabbis ‘in a great rage’. The prophet then returns to save her and she follows him after the rabbis ban him from Smyrna. At this point, Friedrich, the character who might be called Herzl’s alter ego, stops following the opera when he spies the now decrepit woman he had been in love with twenty years earlier and as a result of whose betrayal he had left Europe. The contrast between the manly, charismatic Shabbtai Zvi and the jilted Friedrich is clear: the European Jew cannot find his erotic fulfillment in Europe, for the woman of his initial dreams will turn into a middle-aged hag. Only by the end of the novel does Friedrich find tr ue romantic fulfillment in Miriam, the daughter of the Jewish colony in the Orient.32 In his fictional opera about Shabbtai Zvi, Herzl never exploits the erotic possibilities of Sabbatianism. The young female disciple is described only as following Shabbtai and not as his romantic partner. In this chaste presentation, Herzl may, in fact, be suggesting his own repressed ambivalence about the erotic energies inherent in leading a great political movement. Yet, Herzl’s avoidance of explicit eroticism left him very much in the minority, for most of the writers about Shabbtai Zvi from our period focused disproportionate attention on the erotic and, not surprisingly, on Eros linked to the Orient. One aspect of the Orient as imagined by Orientalists has almost invariably been its effeminate sensuality, personified, as Said demonstrates, in Flaubert’s courtesan, Kuchuk Hanem.33 For Jewish Orientalists, the Sabbatian movement provided a rich opportunity for imagining an Oriental eroticism within the traditional Jewish world. This opportunity was a result of the stories that circulated already in the seven-

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teenth century about Shabbtai Zvi’s marriages, the first two unconsummated and the third to the mysterious Sarah, who some accounts claim was a Polish orphan of the Chmielnitski pogroms and who had pursued an adventurous and promiscuous life before marrying Shabbtai Zvi in Egypt. The figure of Sarah allowed authors to conflate East Europe with the Near East. Thus, for example, Kastein calls this ‘eccentric, erotic and uncommonly vital creature’ a ‘child of the East’.34 Kastein claims that the rabbinical response to Sarah’s eroticism was similar to that of the Christian witch trials, but it never reached quite the same extreme: the Christians ‘hated Eros and stifled the weird sensations provoked by witches by putting them to death. The Jewish rabbis and scholars were also afraid of Eros, but they tried to circumvent it by sublimating its influence’.35 In any event, Shabbtai himself was never tempted by Sarah’s seductions and Kastein argues, quite implausibly, that he no more consummated this third marriage than he had the previous two. We recall that for Kastein the spirit of the Orient was ascetic, and in his account Shabbtai Zvi never gives in personally to the erotic. However, Sarah instigates orgies and has relations with Shabbtai’s young followers. She also agitates for equality of women at Shabbtai’s table and in the reading of the Torah. At her instigation and as a tactic for gaining power, Shabbtai adopted a proto-feminist position, freeing women from the curse of Eve. As a result, says Kastein, women took an active part in the movement, ‘as sometimes happens in the case of revolutions when feminine instinct, added to the deliberations and motives of men, acts as a liberating and inciting factor’.36 Whether or not one wants to accept Kastein’s dubious claim for the liberatory nature of ‘feminine instinct’, his observation of the importance of women in the movement deserves further investigation.37 Other authors exploited the erotic possibilities of Shabbtai’s marriages to the hilt. Israel Zangwill’s 1898 anthology, Dreamers of the Ghetto, contains a chapter on ‘The Turkish Messiah’ among other fictional and factual tales of marginal Jews. Zangwill revels in Orientalist imagery throughout his tale:

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Shabbtai Zvi and the Seductions of Jewish Orientalism Obediently marrying […] the maiden provided by his father the , young ascetic passionately denied himself to the passion ripened precociously by the Eastern sun and the marvelling Beth-Din released the virgin from her nominal husband. Prayer and self-mortification were the pleasures of his youth. The enchanting Jewesses of Smyrna, picturesque in baggy trousers and open-necked vests, had no seduction for him, though no muslin veil hid their piquant countenances as with the Turkish women, though no prescription silenced their sweet voices in the psalmody of the table, as among the sin-fearing congregations of the West.38

The Orient is the sun-drenched land of sensuality and liberation, the Jewish women seductive and available, unlike either the Muslims or the women of the Western Jewish communities. Shabbtai denies himself these pleasures, but his asceticism is itself a ‘passionate’ denial of the passions. Sarah comes to free him from his self-abnegation: She was clad in shimmering white Italian silk, which draped tightly about her bosom, showed her as some gleaming statue […] Her eyes had strange depths of passion, perfumes breathed from her skin. […] Not thus came the maidens of Israel to wedlock, demure, spotless, spiritless, with shorn hair, priestesses of the ritual of the home.39 There can be little doubt that Zangwill prefers this ‘Oriental’ Jewess to the more conventional domestic ‘priestesses’ of Western Jewry. Sarah declares to Shabbtai: ‘Thou hast kept thyself pure for me even as I have kept myself passionate for thee. Come, thou shalt make me pure and I will make thee passionate’.40 Zangwill plays out Shabbtai’s conversion to Islam as a str uggle between the yin of his divinity and the yang of her worldliness. Shabbtai at first blames Sarah for his failure to embrace martyrdom: ‘Tis through thee that I have forfeited the divine grace […] Thou hast made me unfaithful to my bride the Law […] W oman, thou has polluted me! I have lost the divine spirit. It hath gone out from

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me; it will incarnate itself in another, in a nobler. Once I was Messiah, now I am man.41 Then he reverses himself and embraces love as ‘the Kingdom’ and his humanity as his tr ue destiny. He is now prepared to become a Muslim, if only to live with Sarah: ‘I am a man, and thou a woman’. But Sarah for her part declares that if Shabbtai is only a man, then her love for him is dead: ‘Nay, as a man, I love thee not. Thou art divine or naught’.42 Then, when he is taken to the Sultan, she realizes that she has come to love him as a man and not only as Messiah. Zangwill produces this str uggle between Shabbtai and Sarah with a great deal of ambiguity, neither allowing his characters to take a definitive position on the apostasy, nor, it would seem, taking one himself either. Dreamers of the Ghetto was Zangwill’s attempt to work out a Jewish identity on the margins by identifying with other heterodox Jews. It is also a surreptitious str uggle with Christianity, as the poem on the frontispiece, entitled ‘Moses and Jesus’, attests. Moses and Jesus, the two Jews who ‘met by chance’: Then for the first time met their eyes, swift-linked In one strange, silent, piteous gaze, and dim With bitter tears of agonized despair. The encounter between Judaism and Christianity has no positive, definitive outcome as it would in Zangwill’s later, assimilationist play, The Melting Pot,43 but, instead, like Shabbtai Zvi’s conversion to Islam, it is fraught with ambiguity and ‘agonized despair ’. The very ambiguity of the ending of his Sabbatian chapter signals Zangwill’s own ambivalence about whether a Jewish identity was even possible in the modern world. Within a few years, he was to become engaged to and marry a non-Jewish woman, an act which earned him the opprobrium of a number of his friends in Jewish and Zionist circles.44 Perhaps Shabbtai Zvi’s str uggle between ascetic purity and Juda-

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ism on the one hand, and erotic worldliness and apostasy on the other was a projection of Zangwill’s own inner str uggles. In this light, it is no surprise that he invested his account of Shabbtai Zvi with such melodramatic sensuality and romance, a tale of the passionate Orient far removed from the straitlaced Jews of late nineteenth century England. The intersection of eroticism, interfaith relations and the Orient appears as well in Sholem Ash’s 1908 Yiddish play Shabbtai Zvi. Ash’s admittedly mediocre melodrama cannot be divorced from its author’s preoccupation with Christianity, which, several decades later, would result in such controversial works as Der Man fun Natseres. Ash’s Shabbtai Zvi is announced in phrases reminiscent of the Christian appropriation of the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14): ‘The voice of God came to me thus: “A son is born to Mordecai in the city of Izmir in the East, near 45 the sea. And I have called him Shabbtai Zevi”’. The several references to Izmir as ‘the East’ in Act 1 are revealing because the setting is supposed to be Jer usalem, relative to which Izmir would be in the West. It is, of course, the author and his audience who are in the West and for whom Izmir, Jer usalem and, indeed, the whole drama of Sabbatianism, all lie in the Orient. But, of course, the Orient is also important for Ash as the site of Jesus’ origins. His comparison of Shabbtai to Jesus in the opening Act is reinforced later in the play by Shabbtai’s claim that ‘I have torn the human from my heart and have become God’, and Sarah’s statement that Shabbtai is a ‘Man-God’, formulations that have no basis in Sabbatian theology, although they do appear in other ninteenth-century imaginative literature about Shabbtai Zvi.46 For Ash, it seems, Sabbatianism was a seventeenth-century version of Jewish Christianity, an episode in Jewish history that might perhaps make Jews more understanding of the Christian heresy. For if, as he suggests in his monumental novel of the life of Jesus, Judaism and Christianity differ only in whether one believes that the Messiah has already come, then the Sabbatian experience means that many Jews also once believed in an historical Messiah.

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Ash’s account of Shabbtai’s failure is, however theologically confus, ing. At one point, Shabbtai blames God for having sent him, but then having taken fright at how people considered him like a god, retracted Shabbtai’s divine powers. Much of the dialogue in the latter part of the play focuses the blame on Sarah, the erotic seductress who, as in Zangwill’s story, represents sensual worldliness in opposition to Shabbtai’s spirituality. Shabbtai’s first two, rejected wives, significantly named Leah and Rachel, refer to Sarah as ‘the black queen’ and Ash attributes to her the urge towards antinomianism. In one speech, she castigates the Torah as a set of prohibitions given by ‘foreign gods’ and pleads with Shabbtai to choose her as a bride rather than the Torah, since she represents a Nietzschean mixture of ‘sin, death […] repentance, resurrection, anger and reconciliation, loneliness and companionship, desire and negation’.47 It is Sarah who attracts followers to the movement by her eyes, her hair and her passion, and she does so precisely because she is human, a ‘daughter of the Earth’, but also the emissary of Satan. Despite her Eastern European origins, Sarah is depicted as Oriental, promising Shabbtai a paradise made of Middle Eastern imagery, drawn in part from the language of the Song of Songs.48 In the end, Shabbtai has been irrevocably contaminated by Sarah’s sensuality and he surrenders to his humanity by converting to Islam. The scene of his apostasy ends with the Sultan promising him his most beautiful slave girls as wives. The Orient triumphs. Like Zangwill, Ash ends his play in ambiguity. Where does he really stand on the choice between the Torah and Sarah as the Messiah’s bride? Can Jewish messianism sustain the idea of a ‘man-God’ without collapsing either into antinomian sensuality or ascetic spirituality? The play gives no definitive answers, but it certainly suggests how perilous the course is for those Jews who reject the strictures of the law for a more worldly (modern?) existence, represented, here as elsewhere, by the sensuous Orient. If, indeed, sensuality is a sign of modernity, then the Orient here is pressed into an unexpected role as the site of modern virtues. The erotic implications of Shabbtai Zvi’s biography were not discovered first by writers of the fin de siecle and, in fact, these writers probably ` borrowed from earlier nineteenth-century models. S. Meschelssohn’s

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Sabbathey Zwy, for example, published in 1856, demonstrates as much fascination with Shabbtai’s asceticism in his first two marriages as with his later consummated marriage to the mysterious Sarah. Meschelssohn exaggerates Shabbtai’s rejection of a first wife named Rachel by describing in exquisite detail Rachel’s beauty and her attempts to seduce the celibate Messiah. One has the sense in this novel, as in others as well, that Shabbtai’s initial celibacy and later presumed libertinism, as alien as both were to conventional Jewish marriage, exerted equal erotic attraction. Perhaps the most bizarre instance of erotic exploitation of Shabbtai Zvi’s biography is a novella written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch,49 best known as the author of the sadomasochistic work of pornography, Venus in Furs (the sexologist Richard Krafft-Ebbing invented the term ‘masochism’ from Sacher-Masoch’s name, just as he invented ‘sadism’ from the Marquis de Sade). Sacher-Masoch was both a pornographer (at least in twentieth-century terms) and a writer of Ghettogeschichten (romanticized stories of the ghetto).50 Sacher-Masoch’s Shabbtai Zewy is a fascinating reworking of the Shabbtai Zvi story for modern purposes. Drawing on earlier literature, Sacher-Masoch suggests that Shabbtai Zvi deliberately chose beautiful wives to put his asceticism to the test and, like Meschelssohn, he embellishes on the erotic attempts of his two first wives, named here Sarah and Hannah, to seduce the young Kabbalist. It is with the third wife, named mistakenly (but perhaps, as we shall see, intentionally) Miriam, that Sacher-Masoch interjects his own sexual inclinations. Unlike the previous wives, Miriam’s tactic is to forbid her husband to touch her rather than to seduce him. As might be the case for any good masochist, this only inflames him. Miriam sees her task as converting Shabbtai from a ‘saint into a man’, since she no longer believes that he is the Messiah. To convince him of this, she must force him into sin. Claiming to be overcome by the spirit of God, she

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leads Shabbtai to the river and forces him to bathe her in a remarkably erotic scene. She then takes him into a garden where she binds a crown of thorns around his head until he bleeds and proceeds to flagellate him with a thorn branch. After this sadomasochistic scene, Miriam tells him: ‘I have made you a man, you saint. […] Shabbtai Zewy you are not the , savior of Israel, you are not the Messiah’. Shabbtai then converts to Islam and lives out his days as a Moslem practicing the Jewish religion in secret. Sacher-Masoch mixes his own sexual proclivities here with religious allegory. He regards Shabbtai Zvi as deluded because of his sexual asceticism. He must be transformed from an ascetic saint into a man and this can only be accomplished by a domineering woman. The release of Shabbtai’s sexuality, which symbolizes his return to humanity, is connected with sin: conversion to Islam. Yet, as in Ash’s drama, Shabbtai’s treatment also conjures up associations of Christianity, particularly in the crown of thorns and, perhaps, with the name Miriam, not as mother of the Messiah, but as his wife. For Sacher-Masoch, Christ seems to have represented the incarnation of God in an inverted sense: the turning of religion into worldliness. From other writings, it appears that SacherMasoch tried to constr uct a kind of secularized Christianity in which redemption consists in accepting and even rejoicing in the cr uelties of this world. It is possible that Sacher-Masoch intended the Shabbtai Zvi story as an allegory of the modern Jewish problem: Jews must give up their ostensibly ascetic separatism in favor of his vision of worldliness, represented by women. In fact, in many of Sacher-Masoch’s Ghettogeschichten, it is powerful Jewish women who are the forces of modernization and enlightenment. The figure of Sarah, as a Jewish woman who, according to some accounts, was converted temporarily to Christianity, allowed writers to explore the relationship between Judaism and its Christian offspring. Some writers, such as Kastein, went so far as to claim that Christian millenarianism actually inspired the Sabbatian movement. For all the writers I have discussed, the Sabbatian episode could be exploited as a site for working out problems of Jewish identity in the modern world, and particularly the boundaries between Judaism and Christianity. And, women repeatedly played a critical role in their works as the catalysts for transgressing those boundaries. A final example of this complex of ideas which I should like to treat is Jacob Wassermann’s Die Juden von Zirndorf, first published in 1897. Wassermann is often considered an assimilationist, a contention that [civ]

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has recently been challenged.51 Although severely critical of both Western and Eastern European Jews, Wassermann extolled by contrast the Oriental Jew as ‘certain of himself, of the world, of humankind. […] He is free, while they are slaves, he lives with his mother, he rests and creates, while they are the eternally wandering unchangeables’.52 As Michael Brenner has pointed out, Wassermann, although not a Zionist, claimed hyperbolically that the lengthy prologue of his book, which is a fictional account of the impact of Sabbatianism on the Jews of Franconia, was ‘one of the most important causes of the emergence of the entire Zionist movement’.53 Many of the themes that we have already encountered – eroticism, Jewish-Christian relations and, more indirectly, the Orient – inform Wassermann’s story. As in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s 1935 novel, Satan in Goray, the Jews, believing that the Messiah had come, throw off all legal restraints, abandon their religion and indulge in wild sexual orgies, including lesbianism. Two women are at the center of the story: Zirle, who is modeled on the historical Sarah, except that she never actually marries Shabbtai Zevi, and Rachel, who conceives a child out of relations with a Christian seminarian. Zirle is said to be the Messiah’s bride, but after Shabbtai Zvi’s apostasy, she vanishes forever. Her wild beauty attracts the son of an anti-Semitic Pastor, named Wagenseil (after the anti-Jewish Christian Hebraist), who converts to Judaism and brings catastrophe upon the Jews. Rachel, on the other hand, is the daughter of a materialistic usurer, described by Wassermann in terms indistinguishable from those of contemporary anti-Semites. Wassermann says of Rachel: ‘she could not be called beautiful but she had the opulent figure and superficial passionateness of the Jewess and there was in her eyes some dull sensuous gleam that drew the men to her’.54 Her Christian lover puts out a story that she has conceived her child as a virgin and that the child is destined to be the Messiah’s bride, a kind of parody of Christianity. Thus, a cer-

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tain dramatic tension is set up between Zirle and Rachel’s child. As the Jews travel towards the East in response to Shabbtai’s call, Rachel gives birth, but to a boy, which causes her opportunistic father to go insane. Wassermann seems to be suggesting in this episode that the Jews are incapable of realizing their deepest desires, whether it be for sexual relations with Christians or for the coming of the Messiah: ‘The dark God of the Jews was not to be jested with; he stretched out his cr uel hand till it stood like a wall cutting them off from the sweet and seductive prospects conjured up by an oriental imagination’.55 The messianic liberation of the European Jews, originating out of the Orient, fell victim to the cr uel dictates of (Western?) Judaism, which had irrevocably distorted the character of the Jews. Yet, anticipating Scholem, Wassermann suggests that Sabbatianism, the abortive movement of liberation from the East, formed the great watershed between the Middle Ages and modernity, serving, as in ¨ Carlebach’s tale of the Donmeh sect, as a model for the modern Jew: And what came was always greater, freer and more perfect than what had gone before and the Jew, at first only a bondsman, fit to suffer the kicks of his angry lord, opened his eyes, discovered the weaknesses and guessed the secrets of his master. […] Shabbtai became a Moslem, though some say but outwardly. The Jew became a civilized man, and again some say but outwardly. […] This is certain: an actor or a tr ue man, capable of beauty, yet ugly, lustful and ascetic, a charlatan or a gambler, a fanatic or a cowardly slave – the Jew is all these things. […] the nature of a people is like the nature of an individual: its character is its fate.56 In his autobiography, Mein Leben als Deutscher und Jude, Wassermann, torn between his Jewish and German identities, describes his need to see the Jews as neither totally saintly nor totally materialistic, but rather a human synthesis of all extremes. As the above passage suggests, underneath the modern Jew’s ‘civilized’ exterior lurked all the complexities of the Jew’s real identity. Sabbatianism itself was the first movement of liberation that created this modern bifurcated identity. For Wassermann, writing Die Juden von Zirndorf was also an act of personal liberation,57 an attempt to reconcile his Jewish and German

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identities. Story-telling, which he calls ‘an Oriental instinct in my blood’,58 functioned for Wassermann as his personal form of Sabbatian liberation, an attempt to reconnect with the Oriental Jews he so admired. Wassermann’s Die Juden von Zirndorf brings us back to Scholem. In the July 28, 1915 entry to his diary,59 Scholem relates an intense discussion he had of Wassermann’s novel with his friend, Meta Jahr. As a book written not out of literary impulses, but rather the ‘necessity of the soul’ (Seelennot), Scholem describes Die Juden von Zirndorf as, together with Herzl’s life, the two monuments, two myths of Jewish suffering from the nineties of the nineteenth century. Wassermann had provided a myth for the Western Jews; another would be needed for the Jews of the East. Scholem does not clarify exactly what he found so ‘mythical’ in Wassermann’s novel and it would perhaps be hasty to conclude that the long Sabbatian prologue was what particularly drew his interest. Yet, his preoccupation with questions of Jewish national redemption, attested repeatedly in the diary entries from these years, as well as the early reference to Shabbtai Zvi mentioned above, suggest that Sabbatianism could not have been far from his mind. At the same time, Scholem was equally obsessed with longings for the Orient. Part of this longing came from Martin Buber’s essay on ‘Judaism and the Orient’, which exercised a powerful early influence on the young Scholem. But it also stemmed from his disillusionment with Germany, fed in part by his revulsion at German war fever, and with his belief that personal salvation, like salvation for the Jews, lay in the East.60 As he wrote on December 11, 1915, It is clear that I would like to be away from here, but would I not like just as much to go to Arabia, Persia, China, the Orient? I have in me a great love for the Orient and believe that Eretz Israel can only enjoy its resurrection [Auferstehung] in conjunction with the rest of the Orient. But I also believe that while I wish to journey to the Orient, I wish to live in Eretz Israel. And this is the difference.61

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If one can draw conclusions from this passage, Scholem’s early relationship to the Orient was marked by ambivalence: the Orient would be the site for Zionism to establish itself outside of Europe, but Eretz Israel would nevertheless be different. How, we might ask, did this difference play itself out in Scholem’s historiography, especially his work on Sabbatianism? Can we identify an Orientalist dimension to his reading of Shabbtai Zvi? On the face of it, the more obvious hallmarks of Orientalism that we have discovered in the fiction and popular histories about Sabbatianism are absent from Scholem’s work. To take one example, he devoted relatively little attention to the erotic side of the Shabbtai Zvi’s biography, especially by contrast to the more popular writers.62 Similarly, the role of women as early followers of Shabbtai Zvi, which we have seen in a number of accounts, failed to attract his interest. The Sabbatian movement remained for him largely a male affair. This one-sided focus corresponds to his more general position on the role of women in Jewish mysticism,63 which he stated at the beginning of Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism: The long history of Jewish mysticism shows no trace of feminine influence. […] [Kabbalah], therefore, lacks the element of feminine emotion which has played so large a part in the development of non-Jewish mysticism, but it also remained comparatively free from the dangers entailed by the tendency toward hysterical extravagance which followed in the wake of this influence.64 If the ostensibly effeminate qualities of ‘hysterical’ emotionalism and ‘extravagance’ are those commonly associated with the Orient, Scholem was seemingly determined to portray Jewish mysticism as ‘non-Oriental’. Yet, as Gil Anidjar has persuasively argued, such overtly ‘anti-Orientalist’ statements may well conceal a more subtle, quite possibly unconscious Orientalist agenda in the field of Kabbalistic

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historiography.65 Like others who wrote on Sabbatianism, Scholem focused on the curious bouts of passivity which Shabbtai Zvi exhibited, explaining them with a diagnosis of manic-depression. Yet, how far is such modern clinical language from the less clinical ‘hysterical extravagance’? Isn’t this passivity exactly the kind of ‘effeminacy’ typically associated with the Orient? Similarly, Scholem associates the degeneracy of the later Frankist movement with its explicitly ‘feminine’ theology, which may explain his surprising expressions of revulsion at this eighteenth-century by-product of Sabbatianism: one of the ‘most frightening phenomenon in the whole of Jewish history: a religious leader who […] was in all his actions a truly corr upt and degenerate individual’.66 One might extend this analysis further. Scholem’s interpretation of Sabbatianism as first and foremost a mystical movement has been accepted as virtually canonical. Yet, as we have seen, it is possible to offer a political interpretation in which the Kabbalistic theology of the movement is no longer primary. According to the typical Orientalist view, the West is the realm of politics and reason, the East of impotent mysticism and emotionalism. By attributing such weight to the mystical and virtually ignoring the political, Scholem perhaps unwittingly painted a portrait of Sabbatianism that was almost quintessentially Orientalist. The obvious response to this suggestion is that, for Scholem, mysticism was anything but pejorative and Sabbatianism itself was to be given pride of place in the dialectic of Jewish history. Yet, my hypothesis that Scholem’s reading of Sabbatianism may have involved Orientalist ambivalence can help solve one of the central tensions in his thought. As is well known, Scholem was politically active in the Brit Shalom group in the 1920s. In his polemics against the Revisionists, he repeatedly labeled these extreme nationalists ‘latter-day Sabbatians’. He used almost identical language at the end of his life to describe the religious Zionists of the Gush Emunim.67 How can one reconcile his positive historiographical estimation of Sabbatianism with this use of the term as a politically pejorative remark?

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The answer, it seems to me, lies in the ambivalence of the European Orientalist who is at once fascinated and repelled by the mysterious East. Scholem famously called Zionism a ‘retreat back into history’ and denied that it should have anything to do with apocalyptic messianism.68 Zionism meant a turn to politics and not to mysticism. In this respect, for Scholem, Zionism was quintessentially a Western movement of political rationality and pragmatism, a ‘male’ movement, if one wishes, as opposed to the ‘female’ extravagance of the East. Despite his efforts to purge Jewish mysticism of the ‘feminine’ element and Sabbatianism of its female side, his unease about their possible recurrence in Zionism demonstrates the anxiety of the European confronting the ambiguities of the Orient. In this respect, despite the sophistication and er udition of his research on Sabbatianism, Scholem remained in the same Orientalist universe of discourse as the many popular works on Shabbtai Zvi that proliferated early in the century: the messianic movement out of the East became the site for projection of the str uggles and anxieties of a generation living between tradition and modernity.

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ENGLISH ABSTRACTS OF THE HEBREW ARTICLES

SABBATIANISM AND THE BOUNDS OF RELIGION Yehuda Liebes This article explores the compatibility of the figure of the Sabbatian Messiah with the tradition of established religion. The point of departure is a thirteenth-century kabbalistic text by R. Joseph Ashkenazi, recently researched by Haviva Pedaya, who analyzed the messianic fig. ure described in it, and by Moshe Idel, who proved that it played a cr ucial role in fashioning the figure of Sabbatai Sevi. Their findings on . the cr ucial role of this text and its implications for the messianic claims of Sabbatai Sevi are discussed herein. The Messiah of R. Joseph is the . introverted, passive and destr uctive figure responsible for the low status of Jews in this world. By comparing R. Joseph’s Messiah figure with the Messiah of Maimonides, it is possible to delineate two types of Jewish Messiah: the one, mythical, mystical and destr uctive, the other, functional and constr uctive. It is my contention, however, that a messianic candidate needs elements of both types in order to be acceptable. The Messiah of R. Joseph was intended as a symbolic myth, not a description of an actual, living person. The Messiah’s embodiment or ‘incarnation’ in the figure of Sabbatai Sevi posed a serious problem for his . followers, for the messianic figure that emerged was nihilistic and unbalanced. For Shabbetai Sevi himself and for his closest followers this . meant the destr uction and abandonment of Judaism. It was Nathan of Gaza, the prophet and most profound thinker of Sabbatianism, who developed a cabbalistic theory about two opposing cosmic elements that together bring salvation, the one destr uctive (Thought-less Light), the other constr uctive (Thought-full Light). By identifying Sabbatai Sevi with the former, and himself with the latter, Nathan was able to . believe in Sabbatai Sevi and at the same time avoid following his de. str uctive path. He could thus use Sabbatai Sevi to revive Judaism with. out destroying it.
[Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought, 16-17, 2001]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles THE ‘WINTER KING’ AND THE MESSIAH Joseph Dan The endeavor to integrate the major Jewish messianic movement launched by Sabbatai Sevi and Nathan of Gaza in 1666 with a wider . range of religious phenomena was initiated by Gershom Scholem, who dedicated only a few pages of a detailed monograph to the subject. This article presents an analogy to Sabbatianism in the series of events that surrounded the attempt to crown Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate, as King of Bohemia, in order to establish a Protestant Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The group of spiritualists and politicians who took part in this attempt were involved with the emergence of the Rosicr ucian movement, and their world view was saturated with ideas derived from the Christian Kabbalah which had spread through Europe in the sixteenth century. The marriage of Frederick and Elizabeth, daughter of James I, King of England, in 1613, gave additional impetus to apocalyptic expectations, but the attempt was cr ushed in the defeat of Frederick and his Bohemian allies in the White Mountains battle in 1620, at the start of the Thirty Years War. The shameful failure of the ‘W inter King’, as Frederick was called, led to underground activity among various European sects in many ways reminiscent of the Sabbatians after the conversion of the Jewish Messiah to Islam in 1666. The two movements are analogous in their reaction to a catastrophic failure: both split into numerous sects, adopted esoteric doctrines, failed in establishing a central leadership, and shrouded their activities in a cloak of secrecy. It is possible to identify some similarities in their attitudes to language and texts as well. An additional note of some interest is that Johannes Vermeer, who lived in Delft, near Elizabeth of Bohemia’s palace in the Hague, painted his Girl with a Pearl Earring probably in 1666, the same year that Sabbatai Sevi appeared wearing the Turkish hat that signified his conversion to . Islam.

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English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles SABBATIANISM AND THE RECEPTION OF THE ZOHAR Boaz Huss The Zohar gained an authoritative and sacred status amongst Kabbalists soon after its appearance in the late thirteenth century and ´ has been highly venerated amongst the intellectual elite of most Jewish congregations since the late 15th century. Yet the dissemination of the Zohar amongst wider strata of the Jewish community occurred only during the eighteenth century when many editions of the Zohar began to appear, together with texts containing Zoharic passages, meant for ritualistic recitations, as well as a translation of the Zohar into Yiddish. The wider dissemination of the Zohar and the growth of its ritualistic application occurred soon after the emergence of Sabbatianism. The Zohar played a central role amongst the various Sabbatian movements and was regarded by them as the most authoritative text, at least in eschatological matters. The central place of the Zohar in the Sabbatian movements raises the possibility of a linkage between Sabbatianism and the dissemination of the Zohar. Indeed, as this article shows, there are many indications that Sabbatian scholars were involved in the printing of Zoharic literature and in the dissemination of its ritualistic use. The involvement of Sabbatians in the dissemination of the Zohar did not escape the notice of their opponents. As a result several scholars called for the restriction of the study of the Zohar. The reliance of Sabbatians on the Zohar provoked some scholars to criticize the Zohar’s authority and sanctity. Thus, dialectically, Sabbatianism contributed to the wider dissemination of the Zohar as well as to the attempts to restrict its study and undermine its authority.

SEFER GEHALEI ESH . Michal Oron This article deals with a manuscript (autograph) from the eighteenth century. The manuscript, Sefer Gehalei Esh, at the Bodleian Library, Ox. ford, is a compilation of documents, letters and testimonies on the Sabbatian movement, and centers on the controversy between R. Yonathan Eibshitz and R. Yaacov Emden. The importance of the present manuscript to the study of the [cxiii]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles Sabbatian movement is immense. The compilator, R. Yoseph Prager, added his own interpretations to the various documents he had collected and copied. His words are the living testimony of one who had played an active role in those events and devoted two years of his life to the copying and compiling of this work. This article reviews the contents of the manuscript and draws the biography of the compilator, who, according to various testimonies was the driving spirit in the sharp controversy between the two giants of those days, R. Yonathan Eibshitz and R. Yaacov Emden.

A NEW SOURCE ON THE SABBATIAN MOVEMENT AND ITS AFTERMATH IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY Joseph Sadan In December 1666, a Jewish Sabbatian movement er upted in the Yemen and was firmly suppressed by the Muslim authorities. Considered rebels by the Muslims, the Yemenite Jews, especially those residing in Sanaa, were harshly punished. These episodes and their aftermath are described in a rather incomplete and equivocal manner in Jewish sources (such as Megillat Teman, minutely studied by Yoseph Tobi), whereas Muslim sources offer more details and shed light on aspects ˆ© ˆ neglected by Jewish sources. Ahmad ibn Nasir al-Zaydı’s account of . events (edited and translated by Van Koningsveld, Sadan and Al-Sammarai in a special book [Leiden 1990] and in Hebrew by Sadan [in Pe5amim, 43]) is undoubtedly the most thorough, and may even represent the author’s own ‘eye-witness’ testimony, since he lived at this time and had access to the state chancellery documents. The source examined in the present contribution is Yahya ibn . ¯ ¯ al-Husayn ibn al-Qasim’s Bahjat al-zaman (the author being a contem. ˆ porary of al-Zaydı), recently published under the title Yawmiyyat ¯ San5a. This book describes the events in a more partial and less ob¯ jective manner since the author lived far from Sanaa, the main scene of most of these episodes. The paragraphs on Yemenite Jewry provide the opportunity to re-examine and compare accounts of various historiographers, and the assumptions of the above-mentioned studies, that the ‘revolt’ broke out in three stages, that the symbolism of the movement is related to the messianic events and the expulsion of the Sanaa Jews to Mawza= which took place a few years later, and to the series of pun[cxiv]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles ishments and limiting decrees imposed upon them. An anecdotal narrative that bears re-examining concerns an ‘error ’ apparently committed by the Jews, a few years after the messianic events, in adjusting their calendar to the solar year (by means of the 5ibbur): did the Muslim his¯ toriographers understand what they saw and did they report it correctly? This is rather unlikely, but not altogether inconceivable. Several years ago another Arabic chronicle of a relatively later period became known to scholarly researchers (Serjeant, followed by Tobi; a complete text of the paragraphs concerning the Yemenite Jewry is inˆ cluded in Koningsvelt, Sadan, Al-Sanarrai), Ibn al-Wazır’s Tabaq al-halwa. This later source contains a rather biased and fragmentary de¯ . scription of the events of Yemenite Jewish history. It can easily be proved that this biased historiographer copied most extensively from ¯ Yahya ibn al-Husayn ibn al-Qasim’s chronicle studied in the present . . ¯ contribution. Within the scope of Muslim chronicles, it is always interesting to analyze the root of the seemingly biased atmosphere characterizing the attitude of certain sources and to compare it with the relatively more objective historiographical style adopted by others.

THE EVENTS OF 1667 IN THE YEMEN: SABBATIAN MOVEMENT OR LOCAL MESSIANIC ACTIVITY Yosef Tobi The Episode began with the emissaries and letters of the followers of Sabbatai Sevi, which arrived at various localities in the Yemen from . Egypt and the Land of Israel. This probably happened in 1665, the year before Sabbatai Sevi was supposed to reveal himself as Messiah. Yet, . already during the years preceding the Sabbatian activity in Yemen, a strong messianic tension had developed among the Jews there. These Sabbatian stirrings occurred as a result of the enhancing of nationalistic emotions among the local Muslims and the expulsion of the Ottoman Turks who had controlled the country for a hundred years. The messianic activity reached its climax on Passover 1667, when R. Shelomo Jamal, one of the Jewish scholars of Sanaa, addressed the governor of that city ordering him to relinquish his throne as it was the time of the deliverance of the Jewish nation. The present article aims to prove that the events of 1667 which had spread through most of the Jewish centers, though undoubtedly af[cxv]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles fected by the great Sabbatian movement, were not actually a part of it. They were rather a local variant, the result of mounting messianic tensions that culminated at certain times with the appearance of would-be Messiahs. Moreover, even after the failure of the expected redemption of Passover 1667 and its grave aftermath, the Jews of the Yemen retained their messianic beliefs.

SOME SOCIAL ASPECTS OF THE POLEMICS BETWEEN SABBATIANS AND THEIR OPPONENTS Jaacov Barnai Further research into the social history of Sabbatianism is sorely needed for a number of reasons: to deepen our understanding of the largest and most important messianic movement in the history of the Jewish people, and to broaden our grasp of the formative processes in Jewish history from the end of the Middle Ages to the modern period. We must try to place Sabbatianism in its historical context, beginning with the Jewish perspective, since the movement affected almost all of the Jewish communities of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But we must also try to place Sabbatianism within the larger framework of the surrounding non-Jewish societies and their religions. The larger framework increases our perspective both on Sabbatianism and the European and Islamic movements and social trends prevailing at the same period. A few guiding principles emerge: Sabbatianism is a highly complex phenomenon, and thus a mono-causal view of Sabbatianism as a Jewish religious movement steeped in messianism and mysticism outside the context of history cannot provide an adequate explanation. It is necessary to look at the multiple facets of Sabbatianism, especially from the social-historical point of view. In this article I have attempted to outline the significant differences between the polemics of the Sabbatians and their opponents during the messianic period of Sabbatai Sevi and its . immediate aftermath on the one hand, and eighteenth-century polemics on the other. In the process of this analysis, significant differences are brought to light about the direction of Jewish history in the course of these two centuries. During the seventeenth century there is a certain uniformity in evidence between the European and the Islamic communities, while in the eighteenth century a rift begins to appear. The controversies themselves, as I see them, do not merely reflect the religious [cxvi]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles str uggle between Sabbatians and their opponents, but show deeper roots in Jewish society as a whole, coping as it had to with changes in the surrounding world during the period under discussion.

ON THE POSITION OF WOMEN IN SABBATIANISM Ada Rapoport-Albert Women played an unusually prominent role in all the stages and diverse manifestations of the Sabbatian movement. Many women – some of them young girls, ‘maidens’, ‘virgins’ or ‘spinsters’ – were among the earliest prophets of the movement who, by the very extraordinary nature of their prophetic revelations, served as highly effective propagandists of the Sabbatian message. Other women, including some married prophetesses, played leading roles in the rituals of transgression instituted by the movement as redemptive cosmic ‘restorations’. It would appear that virginity and celibacy co-existed with sexual licentiousness within marriage, both functioning as modes of female empowerment among the Sabbatians. This empowerment may have been facilitated by the substitution – fundamental to Sabbatianism from the outset – of the traditional doctrine of salvation by merit, which depended on compliance with the halakhic framework of Judaism, with a new doctrine of faith in the person of the Messiah, which alone secured salvation for the ‘believers’. Gender differentiation – a built-in feature of the halakhic framework – had traditionally resulted in the relegation of women to a marginal position in cultic life. By contrast, the Sabbatian women were able to occupy center stage, since their messianic faith, which transcended the domain of Halakhah, and which now came to define their religious experience, was free from regulation by any halakhic mechanism of gender differentiation. Moreover, the Sabbatian principle of ‘redemption through sin’ – particularly by means of sexual transgression – allowed much scope for women, traditionally perceived to be marked by their sexuality and physical nature. The paper assembles the admittedly fragmentary but incontrovertible evidence for the activities of the Sabbatian prophetesses. It places them in the context of such precedents as exist for this phenomenon in the Jewish sources, while at the same time drawing attention to parallel phenomena in both the Christian and Islamic spheres of Sabbatianism, both of which may have contributed to the surprising readiness of the [cxvii]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles Sabbatians to grant women parity with men. The origins of their ‘egalitarian’ eschatology are traced back to Sabbatai Sevi’s own vision of . redemption for women, which may have been inspired by classical kabbalistic sources. This vision found expression in such extraordinary practices as the inclusion of women, in either exclusively female or mixed company, in the ceremonial and ritual obligations of men, in the instr uction of women in Zohar and Kabbalah, as well as in the initiation of women in their own right as equal members of the sectarian Sabbatian fraternities. These tendencies culminated in the perfect symmetry between ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in Jacob Frank’s court, maintained alternately by the strict segregation of the sexes or by the eradication of all traditional boundaries between them. Finally, Jacob Frank’s revolutionary doctrine of the redeeming ‘Maiden’ is shown to have been inspired by the Catholic cult of the ‘Black Madonna’ at Chestochova, where Frank had been imprisoned by the Polish authorities for some thirteen years. The Mother of Christ was constr ued in his mind as the outer ‘shell’ concealing the ‘fr uit’ – the female Messiah who was the physical manifestation of the kabbalistic sefirah, Malkhut. This sefirah, as he came to realize, was embodied in his own daughter, Eva, who became, alongside him, and ultimately on her own, the center of the messianic cult at his court until her death in 1816. It is suggested that this radical development of Sabbatian ‘feminism’, which envisaged the inauguration of redemption by a messianic couple – J acob Frank and his daughter Eva – was anchored in some authentic kabbalistic traditions. Yet its most immediate and powerful inspiration derived from Frank’s well-attested contacts with the Russian schismatic sectarians, some peculiar elements of whose eschatology and social organization closely resemble his own.

A NEW COLLECTION OF SABBATIAN HYMNS Paul B. Fenton Though mystical hymns were an important part of Sabbatian prayer, because of the esoteric nature of their worship few collections of such hymns have survived. The author describes in the present article four manuscript hymn-books preserved in the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jer usalem, only one of which has been fully published. Attention is also drawn to an important, hitherto unnoticed, Sabbatian hymnal, pre[cxviii]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles served in the Harvard College Library, Ms. Heb. 80. Containing nearly 700 items, this is by far the largest known dıwan of Sabbatian songs. ˆ ˆ Their profoundly mystical mood provides a further source for knowledge of the forms of Sabbatian worship and their doctrinal content, especially the section containing songs for festive occasions. While most of the hymns are in Judaeo-Spanish, a small number are in Hebrew or Turkish, one particular song combining all three. The small number of Turkish songs must not minimize the influence of Ottoman culture. Indeed, the dıwan is laid out according to the Turkish maqamat and many ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ of the hymns bear Turkish titles indicating the tunes to which they are to be sung. These constitute a wealth of information for the musicologist, pointing, as they do, to the musical sources upon which the sectarians drew. Some of these obviously derive from Derwish and Bektashi religious melodies. Furthermore, many of the items are memorial hymns bearing the invariably Muslim names of the deceased. These too are a precious source for knowledge of Sabbatian nomenclature. THE DEFINITIONS OF SABBATIAN HAGIOGRAPHIC LITERATURE Zeev Gries The Sabbatian hagiographic literature is scattered within different literary genres: memoirs, letters, visions, poetry and homiletical discourses. Yet there has been no attempt made to collect it and review its place and function in the rise and fall of this fascinating messianic movement. Followers of the movement, as well as opponents or enthusiastic contemporaries at its peak, contributed their versions of the life, fortunes and misfortunes of the Messiah Sabbatai Sevi and his prophet Nathan. . Collections of stories and reports of Christian diplomats and others should be compared to their Jewish counterparts. Heading the abovementioned list of sources is the novel phenomenon bearing the title Me6ora5ot Shabbetai Zevi – Sipurei Halomot (Sabbatai Sevi – Dream Sto. . ries), an anonymous popular book, sixteen Hebrew editions of which were published in the course of the nineteenth century. The foundation of Sabbatian hagiographic literature within Jewish hagiography in general and kabbalistic hagiography in particular is discussed here alongside the book’s picaresque plot. [cxix]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles THE SABBATIAN CHARACTER OF HEMDAT YAMIM: . A RE-EXAMINATION Moshe Fogel Hemdat Yamim is an anonymous work r unning to hundreds of pages, . and essentially constituting a discussion of the purpose of the commandments from the perspective of the Lurianic Kabbalah. The book was widely disseminated, with six editions published over the period 1731–1763 in Turkey, Galicia and Italy. Several years after the first printed edition appeared, Hemdat Yamim came under suspicion of . Sabbatianism and its circulation in Eastern Europe was restricted, although customs and liturgies originating in the work became widespread even in these communities. In the Eastern countries, the book has been widely accepted since its first publication and up to modern times. Several reasons lay behind the claim by halakhic authorities that Hemdat Yamim is a Sabbatian book: The initial letters of the verses of the . piyyutim included in Hemdat Yamim form an acrostic of the name ‘Na. than of Gaza’; the Gematria relates to the name and character of Sabbatai Sevi; and the fact that the book ignores the customs of mourning for the . destr uction of the Temple, as did the Sabbatians. However, other halakhic authorities did not share this position, particularly since the name Sabbatai Sevi does not appear in the book. Modern research has re. vealed additional indications of the Sabbatian character of Hemdat . Yamim. The article suggests several angles from which one may examine the question of the Sabbatian character of Hemdat Yamim according to the . criteria established by scholars: (a) belief that Sabbatai Sevi was the . Messiah; (b) use of Sabbatian liturgies and customs as an indication of the belief that Sabbatai Sevi was the Messiah; (c) belief in a double. edged world in which the messianic age has already begun – a hidden world already in the process of redemption, as opposed to the overt world still in exile. The attitude of the book toward individuals known to have been either Sabbatian or anti-Sabbatian is also examined, as is the question of whether or not the book does indeed ignore the customs of mourning for the destr uction of the Temple. The question is posed whether the author’s view of redemption may be characterized by the expectation of a personal Messiah who will redeem Klal Israel in the immediate term. [cxx]

English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles The article reaches the conclusion that the connection between Hemdat Yamim and the world of Sabbatianism is tenuous. The inclusion . of liturgical sections, forms of repentance and customs of Sabbatian origin does not necessarily imply that the author believed Sabbatai Sevi . to be the Messiah, nor does it imply his perception of the world in the midst of the messianic process. Liturgies and customs common among the Sabbatians were adopted by broad circles in the mainstream of Judaism. Accordingly, it is suggested that like most Jewish thinkers of the time, the author of Hemdat Yamim may have been influenced by . Sabbatianism, but he did not accept all the principles of Sabbatian belief.

ANOTHER GLANCE AT SABBATIANISM, CONVERSION, AND HEBRAISM IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY EUROPE: SCRUTINIZING THE CHARACTER OF JOHAN KEMPPER OF UPPSALA, OR MOSHE SON OF AHARON OF KRAKOW Shifra Asulin This paper examines the biography and writings of Johan Kempper, a convert Hebraist at Uppsala University. Kempper, a former Sabbatian, converted in 1696 after his disappointment with R. Zaddok, an east European Sabbatian prophet. His writings include some translations of the New Testament, and more specifically, Christological commentary of the Zohar. An analysis of Johan Kempper’s writings reveals an interesting application of the Sabbatian code language and commentary on the Zohar and on the Torah. Considering the resemblance between radical Sabbatian ideas and Christian beliefs, we try to examine Johan Kempper’s tr ue identity. What was his religious faith? Who did he write his books for? What was the cause of his conversion? The present study attempts to answer these questions, reading between the lines of ‘Mate Moshe’, Johan Kempper’s Christological commentary on the Zohar.

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English Abstracts of the Hebrew Articles JACOB FRANK AND HIS BOOK THE SAYINGS OF THE LORD: RELIGIOUS ANARCHISM AS A RESTORATION OF MYTH AND METAPHOR Rachel Elior The subject of the present study is Jacob Frank and his book, The Sayings of the Lord. This book, written in the second half of the eighteenth century beyond the confines of the Jewish community, reflects the liminal position of the founder of the Frankist movement and his followers. The text, published recently in Polish and translated into Hebrew by Fania Scholem some forty years ago (and due to be published in the near future), is the exceptional autobiography of a person who felt neither shame nor fear nor any cultural or religious restriction. Frank’s sayings reveal the acute transformation of the mystical-mythical tradition of the Zohar and the extreme opposition to traditional Judaism that was evident in Sabbatian circles. Messianic and mystical ideas inspired ¨ by the circles of the Donmeh were amalgamated with his own idiosyncratic world-view. The discussion focuses on the passage from the written kabbalistic myth of the heavenly world and its abstract symbols to the concrete ritual-mystical experience of the anarchic Frankist community that expressed the new messianic era. Frank demanded that his followers participate in a mythological reality that operated within a carnivalesque framework transcending all norms and boundaries. Under Frank’s messianic leadership and charismatic inspiration, the new mythological reality was associated with omnipotence and eternal life, liberty and redemption, new messianic figures and other expressions of the new world as revealed to Jacob Frank.

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