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Chmielnicki and the persecution of the jews - старонка 8


SABBATIANS IN ENGLAND.

Messianic follies were practiced in the synagogue. Jacob Sasportas, who because of the outbreak of the plague in London at that time resided in Hamburg, used serious arguments and satire against this Messianic delusion; but he could not make his voice heard, and only just escaped rough handling by the Sabbatians. The community recently established in London in the reign of Charles II, which had elected Jacob Sasportas as chief rabbi, was no less possessed with this craze. It derived additional encouragement from contact with Christian enthusiasts who hoped to bring about the millennium. Curious reports flew from mouth to mouth. It was said, that in the north of Scotland a ship had appeared, with silken sails and ropes, manned by sailors who spoke Hebrew. The flag bore the inscription,"The Twelve Tribes or Families of Israel." Believers living in London in English fashion offered wagers at the odds of ten to one that Sabbatai would be anointed king at Jerusalem within two years, and drew formal bills of exchange upon the issue. Wherever Jews dwelt, news of the Kabbalistic Messiah of Smyma penetrated, and everywhere produced wild excitement. The little community of Avignon, which was not treated in the mildest manner by the papal officers, prepared to emigrate to the kingdom of Judah in the spring of the year 1666.

If Sabbatdi Zevi had not hitherto firmly believed in himself and his dignity, this homage from nearly the whole Jewish race must have awakened conviction. Every day advices, messengers, and deputations came pouring in, greeting him in most flattering terms as king of the Jews, placing life and property at his disposal, and overwhelming him with gifts. Had he been a man of resolute determination and strength of will, he might have obtained results of importance with this genuine enthusiasm and willing devotion of his believers. Even Spinoza entertained the possibility, with this favor able opportunity and the mutability of human things, that the Jews might re-establish their kingdom, and again be the chosen of God. But Sabbatai Zevi was satisfied with the savor of incense. He cherished no great design, or rather, he lived in the delusion that men's expectations would fulfill themselves of their own accord by a miracle. Samuel Primo and some of his confidants appear, however, to have followed a fixed plan, namely, to modify the Rabbinical system, or even to abolish it. That was in reality implied in the reign of the Messiah. The fundamental conception of the Zohar, the Bible of the Kabbalists, is that in the time of grace, in the world of order (Olam ha-Tikkun), the laws of Judaism, the regulations concerning lawful and forbidden things, would completely lose their significance. Now this time, the Sabbatians thought, had already begun; consequently, the minute ritualistic code of the Shulchan Aruch ought no longer to be held binding. Whether Sabbatai himself drew this conclusion, is doubtful. But some of his trusted adherents gave this theory prominence. A certain bitterness towards the Talmud and the Talmudic method of teaching prevailed in this circle. The Sabbatian mystics felt themselves confined by the close meshes of the Rabbinical network, and sought to disentangle it loop by loop. In their wanton extravagance the Kabbalists had so entirely changed the conception of the deity, that it had dwindled away into nothing. On the other hand, they had so exalted and magnified the Messiah, that he was close to God. The Sabbatians, or one of them (Samuel Primo?), built on this foundation. From the Divine bosom (the Ancient of Days), they said, a new divine personage had sprung, capable of restoring the order in the world intended in the original plan of Divine Perfection. This new

DEIFICATION OF SABBATAI.

person was the Holy King (Malka Kadisha), the Messiah, the Primal Man (Adam Kadmon), who would destroy evil, sin, and` corruption, and cause the dried-up streams of grace to flow again. He, the holy king, the Messiah, is the true God, the redeemer and saviour of the world, the God of Israel; to him alone should prayers be addressed. The Holy King, or Messiah, combines two natures--one male, the other female; he can do more on account of his higher wisdom than the Creator of the world. Samuel Primo, who dispatched circulars and ordinances in the name of the Messianic king, often used the signature, “I, the Lord, your God, Sabbatai Zevi." Whether the Smyrna fanatic authorized such blasphemous presumptuousness cannot be decided, any more than whether in his heart he considered the Jewish law null and void. For, although some Sabbatians, who uttered these absurdities, pretended to have heard them from his own lips, other disciples asserted that he was an adherent of traditional Judaism.

The truth probably is that Sabbatai Zevi, absorbed in idle ruminating, accepted everything which the more energetic among his followers taught or suggested. They began the dissolution of Judaism by the transformation of the fast of the tenth of Tebeth (Asara be-Tebeth) into a day of rejoicing. Samuel Primo, in the name of his divinity, directed a circular to the whole of Israel in semi-official form:

"The first-begotten Son of God, Sabbatal Zevi, Messiah and Redeemer of the people of Israel, to all the sons of Israel, Peace ! Since ye have been deemed worthy to behold the great day and the fulfillment of God's word by the prophets, your lament and sorrow must be changed into joy, and your fasting into merriment, for ye shall weep no more. rejoice with song and melody, and change ihe day formerly spent in sadness and sorrow, into a day of jubilee, because I have appeared."

So firmly rooted in men's minds was faith in Sabbatai Zevi, that the communities which the letter reached in time discontinued this fast, although they believed that they could enter into the kingdom of the Messiah only by strict abstinence. The staunch orthodox party, however, was shocked at this innovation. They could not conceive the Messiah as other than a pious rabbi, who, if possible, would invent fresh burdens. A thousand times had they read in the Zohar, and repeated to one another, that in the time of the Messiah the days of mourning would be changed into days of feasting, and the Law in general would be no longer binding; but when words were changed into deeds, horror seized them. Those rabbis who before had regarded the movement half incredulously, or had not interfered with the penances and deeds of active benevolence to which many of the Sabbatians had felt prompted, thereby giving silent assent, now raised their voice against the law-destroying Messiahship. There began to be formed in every large community a small party of unbelievers (Kofrim), chiefly men learned in the Talmud, who desired to guard the established religion against attacks and disruption.

Rabbinical Judaism and the Kabbala, hitherto in close confederation, began to be at variance with each other; this doubtful ally showing herself at last in her true form as the enemy of Rabbinism. But this sobering discovery, that the Kabbala was a serpent nursed into life by the rabbis themselves, was recognized only by a few. They still remained true to her, imputing the growing hostility to the Shulchan Aruch to Sabbatai and his aiders and abettors. It was too late, their voices were drowned in shouts ofjoy. Solomon Algazi, and some members of the Smyrna rabbinate who shared his opinions, tried to oppose the abolition of the fast, but were nearly stoned to death by the multitude of believers, and were obliged, like Aaron de la Papa, to leave the city in haste.

But the Messiah was at last forced to tear himself out of his fool's paradise and the atmosphere

SABBATAI SUMMONED TO CONSTANTINOPLE.

of incense in Smyrna, in order to accomplish his work in the Turkish capital--either because his followers compelled him to put his light, not under a bushel, but upon it, that the world at large might see it, or because the cadi could no longer endure the mad behavior of the Jews, and did not wish to bear the sole responsibility. It is said that the cadi gave Sabbatai Zevi three days to go to Constantinople and appear before the highest Turkish authorities. In his delusion, Zevi perhaps believed that a miracle would fulfill the prophecies of Nathan Ghazati and other prophets, that he would easily be able to take the crown from the sultan. He prepared for his journey. Before he left Smyrna, he divided the world among his six-and-twenty faithful ones, and called them kings and princes. His brothers, Elijah and Joseph Zevi, received the lion's share; the former was named king of kings, the latter king of the kings of Judah. To his other faithful followers he disclosed, in Kabbalistic language, which soul of the former kings of Judah or Israel dwelt in each of their bodies,that is, had passed into them by transmigration. Among the better known names were those of the companion of his youth, Isaac Silveira, and Abraham Yachini at Constantinople, who had imparted to him the art of mysticism. Raphael Joseph Chelebi could least of all be passed over; he had been the first firm supporter of the Messiah, and was called King Joash. A Marrano physician, who had escaped from Portugal, and was his devoted adherent, received the crown of Portugal. Even his former opponent Chayim Penya received a kingdom of his own. A beggar, Abraham Rubio of Smyrna, was likewise raised to a throne, under the name of Josiah, and was so firmly convinced of his approaching sovereignty that he refused large sums for his imaginary kingdom Sabbatai Zevi appears purposely to have started on his Messianic journey to Constantinople exactly at the beginning of the mystic year 1666. He was accompanied by some of his followers, his secretary Samuel Primo being in his train. He had announced the day of his arrival at Constantinople, but circumstances proved false to him. The ship in which he sailed had to contend with bad weather, and the voyage was prolonged by weeks. At some place on the coast of the Dardanelles the passengers of the weather-beaten vessel were obliged to land, and there Sabbatai was arrested by Turkish officers, sent to take him prisoner. The grand vizir, Ahmed Coprili, had heard of the excitement of the Jews in Smyma, and desired to suppress it. The officers had strict orders to bring the pretended redeemer in fetters to the capital, and therefore hastened to meet the ship by which he came. According to orders, they put him in fetters, and brought him to a small town in the neighborhood of Constantinople, because the eve of the Sabbath was near. Informed by a messenger of his arrival at Cheknese Kutschuk, his followers hastened from the capital to see him, but found him in a pitiable plight and in chains. The money which they brought with them procured him some alleviation, and on the following Sunday (February, 1666), he was brought by sea to Constantinople--but in how different a manner to what he and his believers had anticipated ! However, his coming caused excitement. At the landing-place there was such a crowd of Jews and Turks who desired to see the Messiah, that the police were obliged to superintend the disembarkation. An under-pasha commissioned to receive him welcomed him with a vigorous box on the ear. Sabbatai Zevi is said, however, to have wisely turned the other cheek to the blow. Since he could not play the part of the triumphant,

SABBATAI A PRISONER.

he at least wished to play that of the suffering Messiah with good grace. When brought before the deputy-vizir (Kaimakam), Mustapha Pasha, he did not stand the first test brilliantly. Asked what his intentions were, and why he had roused the Jews to such a pitch of excitement, Sabbatai is said to have answered that he was nothing more than a Jewish Chacham, come from ]erusalem to the capital to collect alms; he could not help it if the Jews testified so much devotion to him. Mustapha thereupon sent him to a prison in which insolvent Jewish debtors were confined.

Far from being disappointed at this treatment, his followers in Constantinople persisted in their delusion. For some days they kept quietly at home, because the street boys mocked them by shouting, “Is he coming ? is he coming? " (Gheldi mi, Gheldi mi.) But they soon began again to assert that he was the true Messiah, and that the sufferings which he had encountered were necessary, a condition to his glorification. The prophets continued to proclaim the speedy redemption of Sabbatai and of all Israel. A Turkish dervish filled the streets of Constantinople with prophecies of the Messiah, whose enemies said that Sabbatai’s followers had bribed him. Thousands crowded daily to Sabbatai's place of confinement merely to catch a glimpse of him. English merchants whose claims were not satisfied by their Jewish debtors applied to the Messiah. An order in his handwriting, admonishing defaulters to do justice to their creditors, as otherwise they would have no share in his joy and glory, had the best effect. Samuel Primo took care that most fabulous accounts should reach the Jews of Smyrna and those at a distance, of the reverence paid the Messiah by the Turkish authorities. At heart, he wrote, they were all convinced of his dignity. The expectations of the Jews were raised to a still higher pitch, and the most exaggerated hopes fostered to a greater degree. It was looked upon as a palpable miracle that summary Turkish justice allowed him, the rebellious Jew, to live. Did not this act of mercy prove that he was feared? The Turkish government in fact seems to have stood in awe of the Jewish Messiah. The Cretan war was impending, which demanded all the energy of the half-exhausted Turkish empire. The prudent grand vizir, Ahmed Coprili, did not like to sentence him to death, thus making a fresh martyr, and causing a desperate riot among the Jews. Even the Turks, charmed by Sabbatai's manner, and deceived by extraordinary miraculous manifestations, especially by the prophecies of women and children, joined the ranks of his worshipers. It seemed to Coprili equally dangerous to leave Sabbatai, during his absence at the war, in Constantinople, where he might easily add fuel to the ever-increasing excitement in the capital. He therefore commanded, after Sabbatai had been imprisoned in Constantinople for two months--from the beginning of February to April 17--that he be taken to the castle of the Dardanelles at Abydos, where state-prisoners were wont to be kept in custody. It was a mild confinement; some of his friends, among them Samuel Primo, were allowed to accompany him thither. The Sabbatians called this fortress by a mystical name, the Tower of Strength (Migdal Oz).

If Sabbatai Zevi had doubted himself for a moment, his courage rose through his change of abode, the respectful clemency shown him by the divan, and the steady and increasing devotion of the Jews. He felt himself the Messiah again. On his arrival at the castle of the Dardanelles on April 19, the day of preparation for the Passover, he slew a Paschal lamb for himself and his followers, and ate it with the fat, which is forbidden by the laws of the Talmud. He is said, while doing so, to have used a blessing which implied that the Mosaic, Talmudic, and

SABBATAI AT ABYDOS.

Rabinical law was abrogated--”Blessed be God, who hath restored again that which was forbidden”. At Abydos he held regular court with the large sums of money which his brothers and his rich adherents sent him with lavish hand. His wife Sarah, who was allowed to remain with him, demeaned herself as the Messianic queen, and bewitched the multitude by her charms. From the Turkish capital a number of ships conveyed his followers to the castle of the Dardanelles. The fare on vessels rose in consequence daily. From other countries and continents, too, crowds of Jews streamed to the place of his captivity, in the hope to be deemed worthy of beholding him. The governor of the castle reaped advantage thereby, for he charged the visitors entrance money, and raised it to fifteen or thirty marks a head. Even the inhabitants of the place profited, because they could earn high prices for board and lodging. A veritable shower of gold poured into Abydos. The impression which these facts, industriously circulated and exaggerated, made on the Jews in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the effect which they produced, are indescribable. With few exceptions all were convinced of Sabbatai's Messiahship, and of a speedy redemption, in two years at the latest. They argued that he had had the courage to go to the Turkish capital, although he had opehly proclaimed the dethronement of the sultan, yet had not forfeited his life, but had been left in a sort of mock imprisonment. What more was needed to confirm the predictions of prophets of ancient and modern times? The Jews accordingly prepared seriously to return to their original home. In Hungary they began to unroof their houses. In large commercial cities, where Jews took the lead in wholesale business, such as Amsterdam, Leghorn, and Hamburg, stagnation of trade ensued. In almost all synagogues his initials, S and Z, were posted up with more or less adornment. Almost everywhere a prayer for him was inserted in the following form: “Bless our Lord and King, the holy and righteous Sabbatai Zevi, the Messiah of the God of Jacob." In Europe the eyes of all communities were directed to Amsterdam, the representatives of which adhered to the movement most enthusiastically. Every post-day which brought fresh letters was a holiday for them. The Amsterdam Jews showed their joy openly, and were afraid neither of the Christian population nor of the magistrates. Isaac Naar, of Amsterdam, and the rich Abraham Pereira, prepared themselves for a journey to the Messiah, and the former ironically announced it to the unbelieving Jacob Sasportas. The Hamburg community always imitated that of Amsterdam, or went beyond it. The council introduced the custom of praying for Sabbatai Zevi, not only on Saturday, but also on Monday and Thursday. The unbelievers were compelled to remain in the synagogue and join in the prayer with a loud Amen. And all this was done at the suggestion of the educated physician Bendito de Castro. The believers went so far as to threaten their opponents if they ventured to utter a word of censure against Sabbatai. At Venice, on the Sabbath, a quarrel broke out between the Sabbatians and their opponents, and one of the latter nearly lost his life. When Sabbatai was asked how the Kofrim (unbelievers) should be dealt with, he, or Samuel Primo, answered that they might be put to death without ado, even on the Sabbath; the executors of such punishment were sure to enjoy eternal bliss. A learned Talmudist at Buda, Jacob Ashkenazi of Wilna, whose son and grandson became zealous persecutors of the Sabbatians, was guided by the decision, and declared a member of the community worthy of death, because he would not say the blessing for Sabbatai Zevi. In Moravia (at Nikolsburg) there were such violent dissensions and tumults in consequence of

CHRISTIAN BELIEF IN SABBATAI.

the craze about the Messiah, that the governor of the province was obliged to post up notices to calm men's minds. At Salee, in the north-western part of Africa, the ruling Emir Gailan (Gailand) ordered a persecution of the Jews, because they too openly displayed the hope of their coming redemption.

The attention bestowed by educated classes of Christians upon the extraordinary events, which were published as news of the day, in turn enhanced the credulity of the Jews. In short, every circumstance tended to increase the deception. Only Jacob Sasportas raised his warning voice against the imposture. He sent letters in all directions, here to point out the absurdity of current rumors, there to collect exact information. He failed to obtain striking evidence of Sabbatai's, or Nathan's, roguery. Forged letters and documents were the order of the day ; conscientiousness and uprightness had utterly disappeared. Thus the mist of false belief grew thicker and thicker, and one was no longer able to get at the truth.

For three months, from April to July, Sabbatai had been leading the life of a prince in the castle of the Dardanelles, intent only upon his own apotheosis. Either from caprice or at Samuel Primo's suggestion, he declared the fast of the I7th Tammuz to be abolished, because on this day he had realized his Messianic character. Was this a mere freak, or was it done with the intention of accustoming his adherents to the abolition of Rabbinical Judaism ? At all events, he appointed the 23d of Tammuz (July 25th), a Monday, to be kept as a strict Sabbath. More than four thousand Jews, men and women, who happened to be at Abydos, celebrated this new Sabbath with great scrupulousness. Sabbatai, or his secretary, sent circulars to the communities directing them to celebrate the next fast, the ninth of Ab, his birthday, as a festival by a special service, with Psalms specially chosen, with eating of choice meats, and the sound of the harp and singing. He is said to have contemplated the annulling of all the Jewish festivals, even the Day of Atonement, and the introduction of others in their stead. But before this could be done, he was guilty in his pride of an act of folly which caused the whole fabric to collapse.

Among the many thousand visitors from far and near, two Poles from Lemberg made a pilgrimage to him, to confirm their faith and feast on his countenance. One was Isaiah, son of a highly-esteemed Rabbinical authority, the aged David Levi (Ture Zahab), and grandson of the no less celebrated Joel Serkes; the other, his half-brother, Leb Herz. From these two Poles Sabbatal heard that in the distant land from which they came, another prophet, Nehemiah Cohen, was announcing the approach of the Messiah's kingdom, but not through Sabbatai. He gave Isaiah Levi a laconic letter to take to his father, in which he promised the Jews of Poland revenge for the massacre by the Cossacks, and peremptorily ordered Nehemiah to come to him with all speed. He laid so much stress on Nehemiah's coming, that he made his followers eager for his arrival. The two Poles traveled back delighted to Lemberg, and everywhere told of the splendor amid which they had seen the Messiah. Nehemiah was ordered to hasten to Sabbatai, and he was not

NEHEMIAH COHEN.

deterred by the length of the journey. When he arrived at Abydos at the beginning of September, he was immediately admitted to an audience which lasted several days. The Polish prophet and the Smyrna Messiah did not laugh in one another's faces, like two augurs, but carried on a grave discussion. The subject of their mystical conversation remained unknown, as may be imagined. It was said to concern the forerunner of the Messiah--the Messiah of Ephraim--whether or not he had appeared and perished, as had been predicted. Nehemiah was not convinced by the long argument, and did not conceal the fact. On this account, the fanatical Sabbatians are said to have secretly made signs to one another to do away with this dangerous Pole. He fortunately escaped from the castle, betook himself forthwith to Adrianople, to the Kaimakam Mustapha, became a Mahometan, and betrayed the fantastic and treasonable designs which Sabbatai Zevi cherished, and which, he said, had remained unknown to the government, only because the overseer of the castle of Dardanelles had an interest in the concourse of Jews.

The Kaimakam conveyed the intelligence to the sultan, Mahomet IV, and the course to he pursued with regard to Sabbatai was maturely considered, the mufti Vanni being also admitted to aid the deliberations. To make short work with the rebellious schemer appeared impracticable to the council, particularly as Mahometans also followed him. If he should fall as a martyr, a new sect might arise, which would kindle fresh disturbances. Vanni, a proselytizing priest, proposed that an attempt be made to bring Sabbatai over to Islam. This advice was followed, and the sultan's physician (Hakim Bashi), a Jewish renegade, by name Guidon, was employed as the medium. A messenger suddenly appeared at Abydos, drove away the Jews, who were besieging the Messiah with homage, conveyed him to Adrianople, and brought him first to the Hakim Bashi, who, as a former co-religionist, would be able to convert him the more easily. The physician represented to him the dreadful punishment that would inevitably befall him if he did not appease the wrath of the sultan by adopting Islamism. It is not known whether this call to apostatize from Judaism cost the conceited Messiah great mental conflict. He had not much manly courage, and Judaism, in its existing form, was perhaps dead for him. So he adopted Guidon's advice. The following day (Elul 13, September I4, 1666) he was brought before the sultan. He immediately cast off his Jewish head-dress, in sign of contempt; a page offered him a white Turkish turban and a green instead of the black mantle which he wore, and so his conversion to the Mahometan religion was accomplished. When his dress was changed, it is said that several pounds of biscuit were found in his loose trousers. The sultan was highly pleased at this termination of the movement, gave him the name of Mehmed Effendi, and appointed him his door-keeper--Capigi Bashi Otorak--with a considerable monthly salary; he was to remain near the sultan. The Messiah's wife, Sarah, the Polish rabbi's fair daughter of loose behavior, likewise became a Mahometan, under the name of Fauma Kadin, and received rich presents from the sultana. Some of Sabbatai's followers also went over to Islam. The mufti Vanni instructed them in the Mahometan religion. Sabbatai is said to have married a Mahometan slave, in addition to his wife Sarah, at the command of the mufti. Nehemiah Cohen, who had brought about this sudden change, did not remain in Turkey, but returned to Poland, took off the turban, and lived quietly without breathing a word of what had happened. He disappeared as suddenly as he had come forward. The ex-Messiah

EFFECTS OF SABBATAI'S APOSTASY.
impudently wrote, some days after his conversion, to his brothers at Smyrna: "God has made me an Ishmaelite ; He commanded, and it was done. The ninth day of my regeneration." Nearly at the same time the rabbis and presidents of schools at Amsterdam assembled, and sent a letter of homage to Sabbatai Zevi, to testify their belief in and submission to him. The semi-Spinozist Dionysius (Benjamin) Musaphia, vexed at not being invited, wrote a separate letter to Sabbatai Zevi, signed by himself and two members of the school (Elul 24th). A week later, twenty-four distinguished men of Amsterdam sent another letter of homage to the apostate Messiah. At their head was Abraham Gideon Abudiente. Did these letters reach the Mahometan Mehmed Effendi! At Hamburg, where likewise his conversion was not suspected, the blessing was five times pronounced over the renegade Sabbatai, on the Day of Atonement (October 9, 1666).

But when the rumor of his apostasy went the rounds of the communities, and could no longer be denied, confidence was succeeded by a bewildering sense of disenchantment and shame. The highest representative of Judaism had abandoned and betrayed it! Chayim Benvenisti, the rabbi of Smyma, who had invested the false Messiah with authority from motives far from honorable, almost died of shame. Mahometans and Christians pointed with scorn at the blind, credulous Jews. The street boys in Turkey openly jeered at Jewish passers-by. But this ridicule was not all. So widespread a commotion could not die out and leave no trace. The sultan thought of destroying all the Jews in his empire, because they had formed rebellious plans, and of ordering all children under seven to be brought up in Islamism. The newly converted Mahometan, Mehmed Effendi, in order to revenge himself, is said to have betrayed his own plans, and the consent of the Jews thereto. Two councilors and the sultana-mother are reported to have dissuaded the sultan from his design by the observation that the Jews ought to be regarded as having been misled. Fifty chief rabbis, however, because they had neglected their duty in teaching the people, were to be executed--twelve from Constantinople, twelve from Smyrna, and the remaining twenty-six from the other communities in Turkey. It was regarded as a special miracle that this resolution remained a dead letter, and that the Jews did not even have to pay a fine. The division in the communities might have had even worse consequences, if the unbelievers had heaped scorn and mockery upon the late devotees. But the colleges of rabbis in the East interposed,and sought to appease and reconcile, and threatened to excommunicate any one who, by word or deed, offended a former Sabbatian.

Although men's minds were calmed for the moment, it was long before peace was restored. After the first surprise at Sabbatai's conversion was over, his zealous followers, especially at Smyrna, began to recover. They could not persuade themselves that they had really been running after a shadow. There must be, or have been, some truth in Sabbatai's Messianic claims, since all signs so entirely agreed. The Kabbalists easily got over objections. Sabbatai had not turned Mahometan; a phantom had played that part, while he himself had retired to heaven or to the Ten Tribes, and would soon appear again to accomplish the work of redemption. Others, such as Samuel Primo, Jacob Faliachi, Jacob Israel Duchan, who had designed, through him, to bring about the fall of Rabbinical Judaism, and would not abandon their plan lightly, still

EXCOMMUNICATION OF SABBATIANS.
clung to him. The prophets, who had been manifestly proved false through his conversion, were most interested in remaining true to him. They did not care quietly to renounce their functions and withdraw into obscurity, or be laughed at. The prophets residing at Smyrna, Constantinople, Rhodes, and Chios were silenced; but the itinerant prophets, Nathan Ghazati and Sabbatai Raphael, did not choose to abdicate. The former had remained in Palestine during Sabbatai's triumph in order to be paid homage on his own account. After the deception was unmasked he regarded himself as no longer safe ; he made preparations to go to Smyrna, and continued to send out his mystical, bombastic letters. From Damascus he warned the Jews of Aleppo by letter not to allow themselves to be discouraged by strange circumstances in their belief in the Messiah; there was a deep mystery shortly to be revealed; but wherein the mystery consisted could not yet be disclosed. By these circulars the credulous were confirmed afresh in their delusion. In Smyrna many synagogues continued to insert the blessing for Sabbatai in their prayers. Hence the rabbis were obliged to interfere vigorously, especially the rabbinate of the Turkish capital. They laid under a ban all who should even pronounce the name of Sabbatai', or converse with his followers, and threatened to hand them over to the secular arm. Nathan Ghazati, in particular, was excommunicated, and everyone warned against harboring him or approaching him (Kislev 12, December 9, 1666). These sentences of excommunication were so far effectual that Nathan could not stay anywhere for any length of time, and even in Smyrna he could remain only a short time in secret at the house of a believer. But the rabbis were not able entirely to exorcise the imposture. One of the most zealous Sabbatians, probably Samuel Primo, who was ready in invention, threw out a more effective suggestion than that of mock conversion. All had been ordained as it had come to pass. Precisely by his going over to Islam had Sabbatai proved himself the Messiah. It was a Kabbalistic mystery which some writings had announced beforehand. As the first redeemer Moses was obliged to reside for some time at Pharaoh's court, not as an Israelite, but to all appearance an Egyptian, even so must the last redeemer live some time at a heathen court, apparently a heathen, "outwardly sinful, but inwardly pure." It was Sabbatai's task to free the lost emanations of the soul, which pervade even Mahometans, and by identifying them with himself, as it were, bring them back to the fountain-head. By redeeming souls in all circles, he was most effectually furthering the kingdom of the Messiah. This suggestion was a lucky hit; it kindled anew the flame of the imposture. It became a watchword for all Sabbatians enabling them, with decency and a show of reason, to profess themselves believers, and hold together.

Nathan Ghazati also caught up this idea, and was encournged to resume his part as prophet. He had fared badly so far; he had been obliged secretly to leave Smyrna, where he had been in hiding several months (end of April, 1667). His followers, consisting of more than thirty men, were dispersed. But by this new imposture he recovered courage, and approached Adrianople, where Mehmed Effendi presided, attended by several of his adherents, who as pretended Mahometans lived and made fantastic plans with him. The representatives of the Jewish community at Constantinople and Adrianople rightly feared fresh disturbances from the presence of the false prophet, and desired to get rid of him. Nathan Ghazati, however, relied on his prophecy, which might possibly, he said, be fulfilled at the end of the year. He expected the Holy Spirit to descend upon the renegade Mehmed on the Feast of

NATHAN GHAZATI’S ACTIVITY.

Weeks (Pentecost), and then he also would be able to show signs and wonders. Until then, he defiantly replied to the deputies, he could entertain no propositions. When the Feast of Weeks was over, the people of Adrianople again urged him to cease from his juggleries. After much labor they obtained only a written promise to keep at a distance of twelve days' journey from the city, not to correspond with Sabbatai, not to assemble people round him, and if by the end of the year the Redeemer did not appear, to consider his prophecies false. In spite of his written promise, this lying prophet continued his agitation, and admonished the Sabbatians in Adrianople to make known their continued adhesion by the suspension of the fast on the 17th of Tammuz. In this city there was a Sabbatian conventicle under the leadership of a former disciple, who stood in close connection with Mehmed Effendi. The rabbinate of Adrianople did not know how to check the mischievous course of this daring sect, and were obliged to have recourse to falsehood. They announced that the renegade had suddenly appeared before the Jewish communal council, had repented of his imposture, and laid the blame on Nathan and Abraham Vachini, who had made him their dupe. In this way the rabbinate succeeded in deceiving the Sabbatians. The effect did not last long. Nathan on the one hand, and Mehmed Effendi's circle on the other, awakened new hope, the number of believers again increased, and they made a special point of not fasting on the 9th of Ab, the birthday of their Messiah. The rabbinates of Constantinople and Smyrna sought to repress this imposture by the old means--excommunication and threats of punishment (end of July)--but with little success. The Sabbatians had a sort of hankering after martyrdom in order to seal their faith. The false prophet renewed his propagandism. He still had some followers, including two Mahometans. At Salonica, the home of a swarm of Kabbalists, he fared badly. The more easily did he find a hearing in the communities of the islands of Chios and Corfu. His hopes were however directed principally to Italy.

Here also confusion continued to reign. The first news of Sabbatai's defection had not been confirmed, as in consequence of the war in Crete the ships of the Christians had been captured by the Turks. Thus the Sabbatians were left free to maintain their faith and denounce the report as false, especially as encouraging letters arrived from Raphael Joseph Chelebi of Cairo and others. The most absurd stories of Sabbatai's power and dignity at the Porte were published in Italy, and found credence. Moses Pinheiro, Sabbatai's old companion, Raphael Sofino at Leghorn, and the Amsterdam fanatics, Isaac Naar and Abraham Pereira, who had gone to Italy to search for the Messiah, had a special interest in clinging to straws; they feared ridicule as dupes. The ignorant mountebank and strolling prophet, Sabbatai Raphael, from the Morea, then residing in Italy, was bent upon deception and fraud, and appears to have reaped a good harvest there. When at last there could be no doubt of Sabbatai's change of religion, Raphael turned his steps to Germany, where, on account of defective postal arrangements and the slight intercourse of Jews with the outer world, they had only a vague idea of the course of events, and took the most foolish stories for truth. Sabbatai Raphael was there regarded as a prophet; but, as he expected greater gain from the rich Amsterdam community, he betook himself thither (September, 1667). Here also the imposture continued. Ashamed that they, the shrewd and educated Portuguese, should have been so signally deceived, they at first placed no faith in the news of Sabbatai's treachery. Even the rabbis Isaac Aboab, Raphael Moses d'Aguilar, and the

NATHAN GHAZATI IN ITALY.

philosophical sceptic Musaphia, remained staunch. Justly Jacob Sasportas laughed them to scorn, especially Musaphia, on account of his present unshaken faith as contrasted with his former incredulity.

Meanwhile Nathan Ghazati, the prophet of Gaza was pursuing his mischievous course in Italy. Coming from Greece, he landed at Venice (end of March, 1668), but the rabbinate and the council, who had had warning of him, would not allow him to enter the Ghetto. A Sabbatian interceded for him with some Christians of rank, and under such protection he could not be expelled. To cure those who had shared in the delusion, the rabbinate wrung from him a written confession, that his prophecies of Sabbatal Zevi's Messiahship rested on a freak of his imagination, that he recognized them as such, and held them to be idle. This confession was printed with an introduction by the rabbinate of Venice, in order at last to open the eyes of the Sabbatians in Italy. But it was not of much avail. The delusion, resting as it did on the Kabbala, was too deeply rooted. From Venice Ghazati was sent to Leghorn, with the suggestion to render him innocuous there, where Jews enjoyed more freedom; but Nathan Ghazati secretly escaped to Rome, cut off his beard, disguised himself, and is said to have thrown notes written in Chaldee into the Tiber, to bring about the destruction of Rome. The Jews recognized him, and, since they feared danger for themselves on papal soil from his fraudulent absurdities, they procured his banishment. Then he went to Leghorn, and found followers there also. Promising himself more honor and profit in Turkey, or more opportunity to satisfy his restless mind, Nathan returned to Adrianople. He did not pay great regard to word and oath. Nathan Ghazati compiled much Kabbalistic nonsense, but acquired no fame. He is said to have died at Sophia, and to have been laid in a vault dug by himself (1680). Other men appeared at the head of the Sabbatians who far surpassed him, and pursued a definite end.

Sabbatai, or Mehmed Effendi, at this time began his revolutionary chimeras afresh. Immediately after his apostasy he was obliged, under the direction of the mufti Vanni, to acquire Mahometan ways, and guard carefully against any appearance of inclination to Judaism and the Jews. He therefore figured as a pious Mahometan. Gradually he was permitted greater freedom, and to give utterance to his Kabbalistic views about God and the universe. Vanni, to whom much was new, heard his expositions with curiosity, and the sultan also is said to have listened to his words attentively. Probably Sabbatai won over some Mahometans to his Kabbalistic dreams. Weary of quiet, and anxious to play an active part again, he once more entered into close relations with Jews, and gave out that he had been filled anew with the Holy Spirit at Passover (end of March, 1668), and had received revelations. Sabbatai, or one of his aiders and abettors, published a mystical work (" Five Evidences of the Faith," Sahaduta di Mehemnuta) addressed to the Jews and couched in extravagant language, in which the following fantastic views were set forth: Sabbatai had been and remained the true Redeemer; it would be easy to prove himself such, if he had not compassion on Israel, who would have to experience the same dreadful sufferings as the Messiah; and he only persisted in Mahometanism in order to bring thousands and tens of thousands of non-Jews over to Israel. To the sultan and the mufti, on the other hand, he said that his approximation to the Jews was intended to bring them over to Islam. He received permission to associate with Jews, and to preach before them at Adrianople, even in synagogues. Thus he played the part of Jew at one time, of Muslim at another. If Turkish spies

ABRAHAM MICHAEL CARDOSOi

were present, his Jewish hearers knew how to deceive them. They threw away their Jewish headdress, and put on the turban. It is probable that many Jews were seriously converted to Islam, and a Jewish-Turkish sect thus began to form round Sabbatai Zevi. The Jews who had hitherto felt such horror of apostatizing, that only the outcasts amongst them went over to Christianity or Islam, became less severe. They said without indignation that so and so had adopted the turban. Through such jugglery Sabbatians at Adrianople, Smyrna, Salonica, and other cities, even in Palestine, allowed themselves to be confirmed in their obstinate faith in the Messiah. Even pious men, learned in the Talmud, continued to adhere to him.

As though this complication were to become more involved, and the Kabbalistic-Messianic disorder were to be pursued to its utmost limits, a Sabbatian champion unexpectedly appeared in a man of European culture, not wanting in gifts, Abraham Michael Cardoso. He was an original character, a living personification of the transformation of the Portuguese Jews after their expulsion. Born of Marrano parents in a small town of Portugal, Celarico, in the province of Beira, Mislel Cardoso, like his elder brother Fernando, studied medicine. While the latter devoted himself earnestly to science, Miguel dawdled away his days amidst the luxury of Madrid, sang love-songs with the guitar under the balconies of fair ladies, and paid very little heed to Kabbala or Judaism. What influenced him to leave Spain is not known. Perhaps his more serious and thoughtful brother, who, after making a name in Spain as a medical and scientific author, out of love to Judaism migrated to Venice, where he plunged deeply into Jewish literature, infected him with enthusiasm. Both brothers assumed Jewish names after their return to the religion of their forefathers. The elder, Isaac Cardoso, gave up his name Fernando; the younger took the name of Abraharn in addition to that of Miguel (Michael). Both composed verses in Spanish. While the elder brother led a regular life, guided by moral principles and a rational faith, the younger fell under the sway of extravagant fancy and an eccentric manner of living. Isaac Cardoso (born 1615, died after 1680) conferred renown on Judaism, while Abraham Michael Cardoso (born about 1630, died 1706) was a disgrace to it.

The latter lived as a physician at Leghorn, but not flourishing he accepted the position of physician in ordinary to the Bey of Tripoli. His warm-blooded, dissolute nature was a hindrance to his advancement. Contrary to the custom of African Jews, he married two wives, and instead of employing himself with his difficult science, he revolved fantastical schemes. Cardoso appears to have been initiated into the Kabbala and the Sabbatian delusion by Moses Pinheiro, who was living at Leghorn.

He continually had dreams and visions, which increased in frequency after the public appearance of Sabbatai at Smyrna and Constantinople. He communicated his delusion to his wives and domestics, who likewise pretended to have seen all sorts of apparitions. The apostasy of the false Messiah from Judaism did not cure Cardoso of his delusion; he remained a zealous partisan, and even justified the treachery of the Messiah by saying that it was necessary for him to be counted among sinners, in order that he might atone for Israel's sin of idolatry, and blot it out. He sent circulars in all directions, in order to support the Messianic claim of Sabbatai, and figure as a prophet. In vain his more sober brother, Isaac Cardoso, warned and ridiculed him, asking him ironically, whether he had received the gift of prophecy from his former gallantries and from playing the guitar for the fair maidens of Madrid. Abraham Cardoso's frivolity was in no way

CARDOSO’S PROPAGANDISM.

lessened, he even assumed a didactic tone towards his grave elder brother, who despised the Kabbala as he did alchemy and astrology, and sent him numberless proofs, from the Zohar and other Kabbalistic writings, that Sabbatai was the true Messiah, and that he must necessarily be estranged from Judaism. By his zeal he gained many adherents for the Sabbatian delusion in Africa; but he also made enemies, and incurred dangers. He continued to prophesy the speedy commencement of the Messiah's reign, although often proved false by reality. He put off the event from year to year, performed Kabbalistic tricks, set up a new God for Israel, and at last declared himself the Messiah of the house of Ephraim, until he was rigorously prosecuted by an opponent of these vagaries. Cardoso was driven back to his former uncomfortable position, forced to lead an adventurer's life, and win bread for himself and his family, so to speak, by his delusions, going through all sorts of jugglery, at Smyrna, at Constantinople, in the Greek islands, and at Cairo, and promoting the Sabbatian delusions with his abundant knowledge, eloquent tongue, and ready pen. Thanks to his education in Christian schools, he was far superior to other Sabbatian apostles, and knew how to give an air of rationality and wisdom to nonsense, thus completely blinding the biased, and stultifying even those averse to the Sabbatian movement.

Encouraged by the support of the Jews, continued in spite of his change of religion, Sabbatai persisted in keeping up his character as Messiah, and associated more and more with Jews. His weak brain had been turned by the overwAelming rush of events, and he completely lost balance. At one time he reviled Judaism and the God of Israel with foul words of abuse, and is said even to have informed against Jews as blasphemers of Islam before Turkish magistrates. At other times he held divine service according to the Jewish ritual with his Jewish followers, sang psalms, expounded the Zohar, ordered selections from the Torah to be read on the Sabbath, and frequently chose seven virgins for that purpose. On account of his constant intercourse with Jews, whom he was not able to bring over wholesale to Mahometanism, as he may have boastfully asserted, Mehmed Effendi is said to have fallen into disfavor, forfeited his allowance and been banished from Adrianople to Constantinople. He finally married another wife, the daughter of a man learned in the Talmud, Joseph Philosoph of Salonica. The Turkish patrol having surprised him in a village (Kuru Gisme) near Constantinople, while singing psalms in a tent with some Jews, and the Bostanji Bashi (officer) having reported it, the grand vizir commanded the Kaimakam to banish him to Dulcigno, a small town in Albania, where no Jews dwelt. There he died, abandoned and forsaken, it was afterwards said, on the Day of Atonement, 1676.

Spinoza, who had likewise broken away from Judaism, may well have looked with great contempt on this Messianic craze of his contemporaries. If he had cared to dig the grave of Judaism and bury it, he would have been obliged to recognize Sabbatai Zevi, his private secretary, Samuel Primo, and his prophets, as allies and abettors. The irrationality of the Kabbala brought Judaism much more effectually into discredit than reason and philosophy. At this time, when two forces of Jewish origin were antagonizing Judaism in the East and the West, the Portuguese community, increased to the number of four thousand families, undertook (I671) the building of a synagogue, and after some years finished work, which had been interrupted by war The dedication of the synagogue (Ab 10, August 2, 1675),

DEATH OP SPINOZA.

was celebrated with great solemnity and pomp. Neither the first Temple of Solomon, nor the second of Zerubbabel, nor the third of Herod, was so much lauded with song and eloquent speech as the new one at Amsterdam, called Talmud Torah. Copper-plate engravings, funlished with inscriptions in verse, were published. Christians likewise took part in the dedication. They advanced money to the Jews in the times of need, and a poet, Romein de Hooghe, composed verses in honor of the synagogue and the Jewish people in Latin, Dutch, and French.

Spinoza lived to see this rejoicing of the community from which he had become a pervert. He happened to be at Amsterdam just at the time. He was engaged in seeing through the press a treatise (Ethics) which reversed the views hitherto prevailing, and the second, enlarged edition of his other work, chiefly directed against Judaism. He may have laughed at the joy of the Amsterdam Jews, as idle; but the building of this synagogue in a city which a hundred years before had tolerated no Jews and had supported a Spanish Inquisition, was loud testimony of the times, and contradicted many of his assertions. He died not long afterwards, or rather, passed gently away as with a divine kiss (February 21, 1677), about five months after Sabbatai Zevi. Against his will he has contributed to the glory of the race which he so unjustly reviled. His powerful intellect, logical acumen, and strength of character are more and more recognized as properties which he owed to the race from which he was descended. Among educated Jews, Isaac Orobio de Castro alone attempted a serious refutation of Spinoza's philosophical views. Though his intention was good, he was too weak to break through the close meshes of Spinoza's system. It was left to history to refute it with facts.

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