Why So Many 17th-Century Jews Were Convinced an Eccentric Turkish Jew Was the Messiah

March 5 2021

Born in the city of Izmir (Smyrna) in 1626, Shabbetai Tsvi, while still in his twenties, pronounced God’s ineffable name and celebrated the three major festivals in a single week; later he married a prostitute. Only after that did he meet a mystic and self-proclaimed prophet named Nathan of Gaza who convinced him that he was the messiah. By the mid-1660s, much of European and Middle Eastern Jewry had become convinced that Shabbetai Tsvi was in fact going to lead them back the Land of Israel. They were thus shocked and disappointed when he converted to Islam—to avoid execution by the Ottoman sultan—but a minority of his followers interpreted this decision as a kabbalistic tactic to hasten the redemption. The distinguished medieval historian David Berger tells the story in detail, and seeks to explain why Sabbatianism had a degree of success unparalleled either before or since. (Audio, 64 minutes.)

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Read more at YU Torah

More about: Kabbalah, Messianism, Ottoman Empire, Shabbetai Tzvi

 

Like the Perpetrators of the 1994 Buenos Aires Bombing, Alberto Nisman’s Murderers Are Going Free

Jan. 20 2022

Seven years ago Tuesday, the Argentine Jewish lawyer Alberto Nisman—who was investigating the 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires’s AMIA Jewish center by Iranian agents—was shot under mysterious circumstances. As Toby Dershowitz explains, Nisman’s death was initially ruled a suicide, but the police, perhaps deliberately, contaminated the crime scene, and there is every reason to believe that Argentinian officials were responsible for his death:

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Read more at National Interest

More about: AMIA bombing, Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, Iran