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

 

How the Abraham Accords Can Ease the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

June 28 2022

According to numerous critics, many of whom have positions at prestigious think tanks and publications, the normalization agreements the Jewish state reached with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain constituted an abandonment of the Palestinians. Peter Berkowitz argues that, to the contrary, the Abraham Accords can help to improve the lot of the Palestinians, and to reduce the intensity of their conflict with Israel:

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Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Abraham Accords, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian economy, West Bank