Sabbatai Zevi

Sabbatai Zevi

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Sabbatai Zevi, (August 1, 1626 – c. September 17, 1676 in Dulcigno (present day Ulcinj), Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

) was a Sephardic Rabbi and kabbalist
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 who claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah
Jewish Messiah
Messiah, ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25...

. He was the founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement. At the age of forty, he was forced by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV
Mehmed IV
Mehmed IV Modern Turkish Mehmet was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1648 to 1687...

 to convert to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Some of his followers also converted to Islam, about 300 families who were known as the Dönmeh
Dönmeh
Dönmeh refers to a group of crypto-Jews in the Ottoman Empire and present-day Turkey who openly affiliated with Islam and secretly practiced a form of Judaism called Sabbateanism...

 (aka Dönme) (converts).

Early life and education


Sabbatai Zevi was born in Smyrna
Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

 on (supposedly) Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

 or the 9th of Av, 1626, the holy day of mourning. Zevi's family were Romaniotes
Romaniotes
The Romaniotes or Romaniots are a Jewish population who have lived in the territory of today's Greece and neighboring areas with large Greek populations for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people...

 from Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

 in present-day Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

; his father, Mordecai, was a poultry dealer in the Morea
Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

. During the war between Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Smyrna became the center of Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

ine trade. Mordecai became the Smyrnan agent of an English trading house and managed to achieve some wealth in this role.

In accordance with the prevailing Jewish custom of the time, Sabbatai's father had him study the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

. He attended a yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

under the rabbi of Smyrna
Smyrna
Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey...

, Joseph Escapa
Joseph Escapa
Joseph Escapa served in the rabbinate of İzmir. He was probably born at Skopje, European Turkey, after which place he is named....

. Studies in halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (Jewish law) did not appeal to him, but apparently he did attain proficiency in the Talmud. On the other hand, he was fascinated by mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 and the Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

, as influenced by Rabbi Isaac Luria
Isaac Luria
Isaac Luria , also called Yitzhak Ben Shlomo Ashkenazi acronym "The Ari" "Ari-Hakadosh", or "Arizal", meaning "The Lion", was a foremost rabbi and Jewish mystic in the community of Safed in the Galilee region of Ottoman Palestine...

. He found the practical kabbalah, with its asceticism, through which its devotees claimed to be able to communicate with God and the angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s, to predict the future
Prediction
A prediction or forecast is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge...

 and to perform all sorts of miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s, especially appealing.

In his youth he was inclined to solitude. According to custom he married early, but he avoided intercourse with his wife; she applied for a divorce
Get (divorce document)
A is a divorce document, which according to Jewish Law, must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce. The essential text of the is quite short: "You are hereby permitted to all men," i.e., the wife is no longer a married woman, and the laws of adultery no longer apply...

, which he granted. The same thing happened with a second wife. When he was about twenty years of age, he began to develop unusual behaviors. He would alternately sink into deep depression
Depression (mood)
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

 and isolation, or become filled with frenzied restlessness and ecstasy. He felt compelled to eat nonkosher food, speak the forbidden name of God, and commit other "holy sins."

Influence of English millenarianism


During the first half of the 17th century, millenarian
Millenarianism
Millenarianism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society, after which all things will be changed, based on a one-thousand-year cycle. The term is more generically used to refer to any belief centered around 1000 year intervals...

 ideas of the approach of the Messianic
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 time were popular. They included ideas of the redemption of the Jews and their return to the land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

, with independent sovereignty. The apocalyptic
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 year was identified by Christian authors as 1666 and millenarianism was widespread in England. This belief was so prevalent that Manasseh ben Israel, in his letter to Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 and the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
The Rump Parliament is the name of the English Parliament after Colonel Pride purged the Long Parliament on 6 December 1648 of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason....

, appealed to it as a reason to readmit Jews into England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, saying, "[T]he opinions of many Christians and mine do concur herein, that we both believe that the restoring time of our Nation into their native country is very near at hand."
Sabbatai's father was also, among other commercial activities, the agent of an English house in Smyrna and must have had some business contact with English people. Sabbatai could have learned something about these Western millenarian expectations at his father's house. - [note: this theory was originally suggested by Graetz; Gershom Scholem argued forcefully against it in his major work on Sabbatai quoted throughout this entry.]

Claims of messiahship


Apart from this general Messianic theory, there was another computation, based on an interpreted passage in the Zohar
Zohar
The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology...

(a famous Jewish mystical text), and particularly popular among the Jews, according to which the year 1648 was to be the year of Israel's
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 redemption by their long-awaited Jewish Messiah
Jewish Messiah
Messiah, ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25...

.

At age 22 in 1648, Sabbatai started declaring to his followers in Smyrna that he was the true Messianic redeemer. In order to prove this claim he started to pronounce the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

 in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, an act which Judaism emphatically prohibited to all but the Jewish high priest
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 in the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 on the Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

. For scholars acquainted with rabbinical
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

, and kabbalistic literature, the act was highly symbolic. He revealed his Messiahship early on to Isaac Silveyra and Moses Pinheiro
Moses Pinheiro
Moses Pinheiro, an Italian Jew who lived at Livorno in the seventeenth century, was one of the most influential pupils and followers of Shabbethai Ẓebi....

, the latter a brother-in-law of the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 rabbi and kabbalist
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 Joseph Ergas.

However, at this point he was still relatively young in terms of accepted and established rabbinic authority, and his influence in the local community was not widespread. Even though Sabbatai had led the pious life of a mystic in Smyrna for several years, the older and more established rabbinic leadership was still suspicious of his activities. The local college of rabbis, headed by his teacher, Joseph Escapa
Joseph Escapa
Joseph Escapa served in the rabbinate of İzmir. He was probably born at Skopje, European Turkey, after which place he is named....

, kept a watchful eye on him. When his Messianic pretensions became too bold, they put him and his followers under a ban of cherem
Cherem
Cherem , is the highest ecclesiastical censure in the Jewish community. It is the total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community. It is a form of shunning, and is similar to excommunication in the Catholic Church...

, a type of excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

.

About the year 1651 (according to others, 1654), the rabbis banished Sabbatai and his disciples from Smyrna. It is not certain where he went from there. By 1658, he was in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, where he met a preacher, Abraham ha-Yakini
Abraham ha-Yakini
Abraham ha-Yakini was one of the chief agitators in the Sabbatean movement, the son of Pethahiah of Constantinople. He was born—according to a not entirely reliable source, מאורעות צבי —on September 8, 1611. He studied under Joseph Trani of Constantinople , and under Mordecai, a German kabbalist...

 (a disciple of Joseph di Trani), who confirmed Sabbatai's messianic mission. Ha-Yakini
Abraham ha-Yakini
Abraham ha-Yakini was one of the chief agitators in the Sabbatean movement, the son of Pethahiah of Constantinople. He was born—according to a not entirely reliable source, מאורעות צבי —on September 8, 1611. He studied under Joseph Trani of Constantinople , and under Mordecai, a German kabbalist...

 is said to have forged a manuscript in archaic characters which, he alleged, bore testimony to Sabbatai's Messiahship. It was entitled "The Great Wisdom of Solomon", and began:

"I, Abraham, was confined in a cave for forty years, and I wondered greatly that the time of miracles did not arrive. Then was heard a voice proclaiming, 'A son will be born in the Hebrew year 5386 [English calendar year 1626] to Mordecai Zevi; and he will be called Shabbethai. He will humble the great dragon; ... he, the true Messiah, will sit upon My throne."

In Salonica, Cairo, and Jerusalem



With this document, Sabbatai chose Salonica, at that time a center of kabbalists, for his base. He proclaimed himself the Messiah or leader, gaining many adherents. He put on all sorts of mystical events — e.g., the celebration of his marriage as the “One Without End” (the Ein Sof
Ein Sof
Ein Sof , in Kabbalah, is understood as God prior to His self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual Realm, probably derived from Ibn Gabirol's term, "the Endless One"...

) with the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, preparing a solemn festival to which he invited his friends. The rabbis of Salonica, headed by Rabbi Hiyya Abraham Di Boton, banished him from the city. The sources differ widely as to the route he took after this expulsion, with Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Constantinople
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Jerusalem, and Smyrna mentioned as temporary centers. After wandering, he settled in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, where he resided for about two years (1660–1662).

Raphael Joseph Halabi ("of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

") was a wealthy and influential Jew who held the high position of mint-master and tax-farmer
Tax farming
Farming is a technique of financial management, namely the process of commuting , by its assignment by legal contract to a third party, a future uncertain revenue stream into fixed and certain periodic rents, in consideration for which commutation a discount in value received is suffered...

 in Cairo under the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 government. He privately led an ascetic life, which included practices of fasting, bathing in cold water, and scourging his body at night. He used his great wealth for charity, supplying the needs of poor Talmudists and Kabbalists, fifty of whom reportedly dined at his table regularly. Sabbatai befriended Raphael Joseph, who became a supporter and promoter of his Messianic claims.

About 1663 Sabbatai moved on to Jerusalem. Here he resumed his former ascetic practice of frequent fasting and other penances. Many saw this as proof of his extraordinary piety
Piety
In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.- Etymology :...

. He was said to have a good voice, and sang psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 all night long, or at times Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 love-songs, to which he gave mystical interpretations. He attracted crowds of listeners. At other times he prayed and cried at the graves of pious men and women. He distributed sweetmeats to children on the streets. He gradually gathered a circle of adherents.

The important community of Jerusalem at the time was also in need of money to keep up with the heavy taxes imposed on it by the Turkish government officials. The community was coming short on these dues and these arrears could have dire consequences. Sabbatai, known as the favorite of the rich and powerful Raphael Joseph Halabi in the Turkish government center in Cairo, was chosen as the community envoy to appeal to Halabi for money and support. His success in getting the funds to pay off the Turks raised his prestige. His worshipers dated his public career from this journey to Cairo.

Marriage to Sarah


Another event helped spread Sabbatai's fame in the Jewish world of the time in the course of his second stay in Cairo. During the Chmielnicki massacres
Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine between the years 1648–1657 which turned into a Ukrainian war of liberation from Poland...

 in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, a Jewish orphan girl named Sarah, about six years old, was found by Christians and sent to a convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

 for care. After ten years', she escaped (reportedly through a miracle), and made her way to Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

. Some years later she went to Livorno
Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

 where, according to some reports, she led a life of prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

. She also conceived the notion that she was to become the bride of the Messiah, who was soon to appear.

When the report of Sarah's adventures reached Cairo, Sabbatai claimed that such a consort had been promised to him in a dream because he, as the Messiah, was bound to fall in love with an unchaste woman. He reportedly sent messengers to Livorno to bring Sarah to him, and they were married at Halabi's house. Her beauty and eccentricity reportedly helped him gain new followers. Through her a new romantic and licentious element entered Sabbatai's career. Even the overturning of her past scandalous life was seen by Sabbatai's followers as additional confirmation of his messiahship, following the biblical story of the prophet Hosea
Hosea
Hosea was the son of Beeri and a prophet in Israel in the 8th century BC. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise...

, who had also been commanded to take a "wife of whoredom" as the first symbolic act of his calling.

Nathan of Gaza


With Halabi's financial and political backing, a charming wife, and many additional followers, Sabbatai then triumphantly returned to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. Passing through the city of Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, which at the time had also an important Jewish community, he met Nathan Benjamin Levi, known since under the name of Nathan of Gaza
Nathan of Gaza
Nathan Benjamin ben Elisha ha-Levi Ghazzati or Nathan of Gaza was a theologian and author of Hemdat Yamim, born in Jerusalem, then in the Ottoman Empire, who became famous as a prophet for the alleged messiah, Sabbatai Zevi.-Biography:...

 (נתן עזתי Nathan 'Azzati). Nathan was to become very active in Sabbatai's subsequent Messianic career. He became Sabbatai's right-hand man and professed to be the risen Elijah, the precursor of the Messiah. In 1665, Nathan announced that the Messianic age was to begin in the following year. Sabbatai spread this announcement widely, together with many additional details to the effect that the world would be conquered by him and Elijah, without bloodshed; that the Messiah would then lead back the Ten Lost Tribes
Ten Lost Tribes
The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel refers to those tribes of ancient Israel that formed the Kingdom of Israel and which disappeared from Biblical and all other historical accounts after the kingdom was destroyed in about 720 BC by ancient Assyria...

 to the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

, "riding on a lion with a seven-headed dragon in its jaws". These types of messianic claims were then widely circulated and believed.

The rabbis of Jerusalem regarded the movement with great suspicion, and threatened its followers with excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

. Sabbatai, realizing that Jerusalem was not a congenial place in which to carry out his plans, left for his native city, Smyrna, while his prophet, Nathan, proclaimed that henceforth Gaza, and not Jerusalem, would be the sacred city. On his way from Jerusalem to Smyrna, Sabbatai was enthusiastically greeted in the large Asiatic community of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

, and at Smyrna, which he reached in the autumn of 1665, the greatest homage was paid to him. Finally, after some hesitation, he publicly declared himself as the expected Messiah (Jewish New Year, 1665); the declaration was made in the synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

, with the blowing of horns
Shofar
A shofar is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.Shofar come in a variety of sizes.- Bible and rabbinic literature :...

, and the multitude greeted him with: "Long live our King, our Messiah!"

At this point also his followers appeared to start using for him the title of AMIRAH, which is a Hebrew acronym for the phrase "Our Lord and King, his Majesty be exalted" (Adoneinu Malkeinu Yarum Hodo).

Proclaimed messiah



Assisted by his wife, Sabbatai became the leader of the community. He used his power to crush the opposition. He deposed the old rabbi of Smyrna, Aaron Lapapa
Aaron Lapapa
Aaron ben Isaac Lapapa was an Oriental rabbi and Talmudist. He was at first rabbi at Manissa, Turkey, and at an advanced age was called to Smyrna as judge in civil affairs. In 1665, when the Sabbatai Zevi movement was at its height there, he was one of the few rabbis who had the courage to oppose...

, and appointed Hayyim Benveniste in his place. His popularity grew, as people of all faiths repeated his story. His fame extended to all countries. Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 had centers where the Messianic movement was followed, and the Jews of Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 and Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 heard about the events in Smyrna from trustworthy Christians. A distinguished German savant, Heinrich Oldenburg, wrote to Baruch Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death...

 (Spinozae Epistolae No 33): "All the world here is talking of a rumour of the return of the Israelites ... to their own country. ... Should the news be confirmed, it may bring about a revolution in all things."

Sabbatai had many prominent rabbis as followers, including Isaac Aboab da Fonseca
Isaac Aboab da Fonseca
Isaac Aboab da Fonseca was a rabbi, scholar, kabbalist and writer. In 1656, he was one of several elders within the Portuguese-Israelite community in the Netherlands who excommunicated Baruch Spinoza for the statements this philosopher made concerning the nature of God.Isaac Aboab da Fonseca was...

, Moses Raphael de Aguilar, Moses Galante
Moses Galante (the Younger)
Moses ben Jonathan Galante , grandson of Moses Galante, was a 17th-century rabbi at Jerusalem. He served as the first Rishon Le'Zion and was called Magen with reference to the initials of his name...

, Moses Zacuto, and the above-mentioned Hayyim Benveniste. Dionysius Mussafia Musaphia
Benjamin Musaphia
Benjamin ben Immanuel Musaphia , also called Benjamin Musaphia or Mussafia and Dionysius, was a Jewish doctor, scholar and kabbalist....

, an adherent of Spinoza, likewise became one of Sabbatai's followers. In this time, people spread fantastic reports, which were widely believed. For example, it was said: "in the north of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 a ship had appeared with silken sails and ropes, manned by sailors who spoke Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. The flag bore the inscription 'The Twelve Tribes of Israel'." The Jewish community of Avignon
Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 prepared to emigrate to the new kingdom in the spring of 1666.

The readiness of the Jews of the time to believe the messianic claims of Sabbatai Zevi may be largely explained by the desperate state of European Jewry in the mid-17th century. The bloody pogroms of Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Zynoviy Mykhailovych Khmelnytsky was a hetman of the Zaporozhian Cossack Hetmanate of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . He led an uprising against the Commonwealth and its magnates which resulted in the creation of a Cossack state...

 had wiped out one third of the Jewish population and destroyed many centers of Jewish learning and communal life . There is no doubt that for most of the Jews of Europe there could never have seemed a more propitious moment for the messiah to deliver salvation than the moment at which Sabbetai Zevi made his appearance.

Spread of his influence



Probably with his consent, Sabbatai's adherents planned to abolish many of the ritualistic observances
613 mitzvot
The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses...

 because, according to a minority opinion in the Talmud, in the Messianic time they would no longer be holy obligations. He changed the fast of the Tenth of Tevet
Tenth of Tevet
Tenth of Tevet , the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, is a minor fast day in Judaism. It is a "low fast" observed from sunrise to sunset. The day has no relationship to Hanukkah, but it happens to follow that festival by a week...

 to a day of feasting and rejoicing. Samuel Primo, a man who entered Sabbatai's service as secretary when the latter went to Smyrna, directed in the name of the Messiah the following circular to all of the Jews:

"The first-begotten Son of God, Shabbethai Tebi, 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 fulfilment 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 the day formerly spent in sadness and sorrow into a day of jubilee, because I have appeared."


This message was considered blasphemous, as Sabbatai wanted to celebrate his birthday rather than the holy day. There was outrage and dissension in the communities; many of the leaders, who had regarded the movement sympathetically, were shocked at such radical innovations. Solomon Algazi, a prominent Talmudist of Smyrna, and other members of the rabbinate who opposed the abolition of the fast, narrowly escaped with their lives because of the enthusiasm of followers.

In Istanbul


At the beginning of the year 1666, Sabbatai left Smyrna for Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 (the Ottoman Empire's capital, then known in the Christian West as Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

.) He may have been forced to do so by city officials or hoped for a miracle in the Turkish capital. Nathan Ghazzati had prophesied that Sabbatai would place the sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

's crown on his own head. However, the grand vizier
Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier, in Turkish Vezir-i Azam or Sadr-ı Azam , deriving from the Arabic word vizier , was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, dismissable only by the Sultan himself...

, Ahmed Köprülü, ordered Sabbatai's immediate arrest upon arrival and had him imprisoned, maybe to avoid any doubts among local and foreign observers of the imperial court as to the mettle of state power still wielded by the Turkish Sultanate and by the Sultan himself.

Sabbatai's imprisonment had no discouraging effect either on him or on his followers at this initial stage. The lenient treatment to which he was subjected in prison, which may have been secured by means of bribes, seems to have rather strengthened his immediate circle of followers in their messianic beliefs. In the meantime also, all sorts of fabulous reports concerning the miraculous deeds which "the Messiah" was performing in the Turkish capital were spread by Ghazzati and Primo among the Jews of Smyrna and in many other communities, and the messianic expectations in the Jewish diasporas seem to have raised initially to a still higher pitch with the move to the capital of the Empire.

At Abydos (Migdal Oz)


After two months' imprisonment in Constantinople, Sabbatai was taken to the state prison at Abydos
Abydos, Hellespont
For other uses, see Abydos Abydos , an ancient city of Mysia, in Asia Minor, situated at Nara Burnu or Nagara Point on the best harbor on the Asiatic shore of the Hellespont. Across Abydos lies Sestus on the European side marking the shortest point in the Dardanelles, scarcely a mile broad...

. Some of his friends were allowed to accompany him. As a result, the Sabbataians called the fortress Migdal Oz (Tower [of] Strength). As Sabbatai had arrived at the day preceding Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, he slew a paschal lamb
Paschal Lamb
Paschal Lamb can refer to:* Korban Pesach, in Judaism* Lamb of God, in Christianity* Sacrificial lamb...

 for him and his followers. He ate it with its fat, a violation of Jewish Law. It is said that he pronounced over it the benediction: "Blessed be God who hath restored again that which was forbidden."

The immense sums sent to him by his rich adherents, the charms of the queenly Sarah and the admiration shown by the Turkish officials and inhabitants of the place enabled Sabbatai to display royal splendor in the castle of Abydos. Accounts of his life there were exaggerated and spread among Jews in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. In some parts of Europe, Jews began to unroof their houses and prepare for a new "exodus". In almost every synagogue, Sabbatai's initials were posted, and prayers for him were inserted in the following form: "Bless our Lord and King, the holy and righteous Sabbatai Zevi, the Messiah of the God of Jacob." In Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, the council introduced the custom of praying for Sabbatai not only on Saturday
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 (the Jewish Sabbath), but also on Monday and Thursday. Unbelievers were compelled to remain in the synagogue and join in the prayer with a loud Amen
Amen
The word amen is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Its use in Judaism dates back to its earliest texts. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns. In Islam, it is the standard ending to Dua and the...

. Sabbatai's picture was printed together with that of King David in most of the prayer-books, as well as his kabbalistic formulas and penances.

These and similar innovations caused great dissension in various communities. In Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 the excitement reached such a pitch that the government had to interfere, while at Sale
Salé
Salé is a city in north-western Morocco, on the right bank of the Bou Regreg river, opposite the national capital Rabat, for which it serves as a commuter town...

, Morocco, the emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 ordered a persecution
Persecution
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation,...

 of the Jews. It was during this period that Sabbatai transformed the fasts of the Seventeenth of Tammuz
Seventeenth of Tammuz
The Seventeenth of Tammuz is a minor Jewish fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple. It falls on the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz and marks the beginning of the three-week mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av.The day...

 and the Ninth of Av (his birthday) into feast-days. He contemplated converting the Day of Atonement
Day of Atonement
Day of Atonement may refer to:*Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement* Day of Atonement , a national day established in 1995 by the Nation of Islam...

 to one of celebration.

Nehemiah ha-Kohen



At this time an incident occurred which led to the discrediting of Sabbatai's Messiahship. Two prominent Polish Talmudists from Lwów, Galicia, who were among Sabbatai's visitors in Abydos, apprised him that in their native country a prophet, Nehemiah ha-Kohen, had announced the coming of the Messiah. Sabbatai ordered the prophet to appear before him. (See Jew. Encyc. ix. 212a, s.v. Nehemiah ha-Kohen). Nehemiah obeyed, reaching Abydos after a journey of three months at the beginning of September 1666. The conference between the two ended in mutual dissatisfaction. Some Sabbataians are said to have contemplated the secret murder of the rival.

Sabbatai adopts Islam


Nehemiah, however, escaped to Constantinople, where he pretended to embrace Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 to get an audience with the kaymakam
Kaymakam
Qaim Maqam or Qaimaqam or Kaymakam is the title used for the governor of a provincial district in the Republic of Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and in Lebanon; additionally, it was a title used for roughly the same official position in the Ottoman...

. He told him of Sabbatai's ambitions. The kaymakam informed the sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

, Mehmed IV
Mehmed IV
Mehmed IV Modern Turkish Mehmet was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1648 to 1687...

. Sabbatai was taken from Abydos to Adrianople, where the sultan's physician, a former Jew, advised him to convert to Islam. On the following day (September 16, 1666), brought before the sultan, he cast off his Jewish garb and put a Turkish turban
Turban
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East, North Africa, Punjab, Jamaica and Southwest Asia. A commonly used synonym is Pagri, the Indian word for turban.-Styles:...

 on his head. Thus his conversion to Islam was accomplished. The sultan was much pleased, and rewarded Sabbatai by conferring the title (Mahmed) Effendi
Effendi
Effendi, Effendy or Efendi is a title of nobility meaning a lord or master.It is a title of respect or courtesy, equivalent to the English Sir, which was used in Ottoman Empire...

, and appointing him as his doorkeeper with a high salary. Sarah and a number of Sabbatai's followers also went over to Islam. About 300 families converted and were known as dönmeh
Dönmeh
Dönmeh refers to a group of crypto-Jews in the Ottoman Empire and present-day Turkey who openly affiliated with Islam and secretly practiced a form of Judaism called Sabbateanism...

 (converts). The sultan's officials ordered Sabbatai to take an additional wife to demonstrate his conversion. Some days after his conversion he wrote to Smyrna: "God has made me an Ishmaelite; He commanded, and it was done. The ninth day of my regeneration."

Disillusion


Sabbatai's conversion was devastating for his followers. Muslims and Christians criticized his followers after the event. In spite of Sabbatai's apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

, many of his adherents still tenaciously clung to him, claiming that his conversion was a part of the Messianic scheme. False prophets such as Ghazzati and Primo, who were interested in maintaining the movement, encouraged such belief. In many communities, the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av were still observed as feast-days in spite of bans and excommunications by the rabbis.

At times Sabbatai assumed the role of a pious Muslim and reviled Judaism; at others he associated with Jews as one of their own faith. In March 1668 he announced that he had been filled with the "Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

" at Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, and had received a "revelation." He, or one of his followers, published a mystical work claiming Sabbatai was the true Messiah in spite of his conversion. His goal was to bring thousands of Muslims to Judaism. After telling the sultan he was trying to convert Jews to Islam, Sabbatai was permitted to associate with them and preach in their synagogues. He succeeded in bringing over a number of Muslims to his kabbalistic views. Whether through his efforts or their willingness to follow in his latest steps, about 300 families of Sephardic Jews converted to Islam, becoming known as the Dönmeh
Dönmeh
Dönmeh refers to a group of crypto-Jews in the Ottoman Empire and present-day Turkey who openly affiliated with Islam and secretly practiced a form of Judaism called Sabbateanism...

(also spelled Dönme), convert.
Some of the followers adhered to a combination of their former Jewish practices as well as Islam.

Gradually the Turks tired of Sabbatai's schemes. They ended his salary and banished him to Constantinople. When he was discovered singing psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 with Jews, the grand vizier ordered his banishment to Dulcigno (today called Ulcinj
Ulcinj
Ulcinj is a coastal resort town and municipality in Montenegro. The town of Ulcinj has a population of 10,828 of which the majority are Albanians...

), a small place in Montenegro. There he died in isolation, according to some accounts, on September 17, 1676, the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

.

"By the 1680s, the Dönme had congregated in Salonika, the cosmopolitan and majority-Jewish city in Ottoman Greece. For the next 250 years, they would lead an independent communal life — intermarrying, doing business together, maintaining their own shrines, and handing down their secret traditions." By the 19th century, the Dönmeh had become prominent in the tobacco and textile trades. They established progressive schools and some members became politically active. Some joined the Committee on Union and Progress
Committee of Union and Progress
The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

 (CUP), the revolutionary party known as the Young Turks
Young Turks
The Young Turks , from French: Les Jeunes Turcs) were a coalition of various groups favouring reformation of the administration of the Ottoman Empire. The movement was against the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Sultan and favoured a re-installation of the short-lived Kanûn-ı Esâsî constitution...

. With independence, in the 1910s, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 expelled the Muslims from its territory, including the Dönmeh. Most migrated to Turkey, where by mid-century they were becoming highly assimilated.

Last years, exile and death


The demise of Zevi is clouded in some mystery because of conflicting accounts about exactly how, when and where he died. There are those who maintain he died of natural causes and others that claim he was executed by hanging. Historians seem to agree that in 1673 Zevi was exiled by the Turkish sultan to the Albanian port of Ulcinj
Ulcinj
Ulcinj is a coastal resort town and municipality in Montenegro. The town of Ulcinj has a population of 10,828 of which the majority are Albanians...

 (now in Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

), dying there some years later.

Modern followers



Although rather little is known about them, various groups called Dönmeh
Dönmeh
Dönmeh refers to a group of crypto-Jews in the Ottoman Empire and present-day Turkey who openly affiliated with Islam and secretly practiced a form of Judaism called Sabbateanism...

 (Turkish for "convert
Convert
The convert or try, in American football known as "point after", and Canadian football "Point after touchdown", is a one-scrimmage down played immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score an extra one point by kicking the ball through the uprights , or...

") continue to follow Sabbatai Zevi today, mostly in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Estimates of the numbers vary. Many sources claim that there are fewer than 100,000 and some of them claim there are several hundred thousands in Turkey.

Işık University
Isik University
Işık University is a private university located in Istanbul, Turkey. The university is a part of the Feyziye Schools Foundation which was established in Thessaloniki in 1885.-History:...

 (a private university in Istanbul, Turkey) and the Feyziye Schools Foundation (Feyziye Mektepleri Vakfi - FMV), under whose umbrella the University is operating, claim to have been founded by the Karakash group of Dönmeh.

See also

  • List of messiah claimants
  • Jews in apostasy
    Jews in apostasy
    In Judaism, apostasy refers to the rejection of Judaism and possible defection to another religion by a Jew. The term apostasy is derived from , meaning "rebellious" Equivalent expressions for apostate in Hebrew that are used by rabbinical scholars include mumar , poshea Yisrael , and kofer...

  • Sabbateans
  • Schisms among the Jews
    Schisms among the Jews
    Schisms among the Jews are cultural as well as religious. They have happened as a product of historical accident, geography, and theology.-First Temple era:...

  • Who is a Jew?
    Who is a Jew?
    "Who is a Jew?" is a basic question about Jewish identity and considerations of Jewish self-identification. The question is based in ideas about Jewish personhood which themselves have cultural, religious, genealogical, and personal dimensions...

  • Donmeh West
    Donmeh West
    Dönmeh West is a non-sectarian, international organization which promotes an original reformulation of Sabbatean and Frankist kabbalah by its founder and leader, Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain...

  • Yakov Leib HaKohain
    Yakov Leib HaKohain
    Yakov Leib HaKohain is a kabbalist, religious philosopher, poet and founder of Donmeh West, a "Virtual Community for the Study and Practice of Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah"....

  • Jacob Frank
    Jacob Frank
    Jacob Frank was an 18th century Jewish religious leader who claimed to be the reincarnation of the self-proclaimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi and also of the biblical patriarch Jacob...

  • Frankism
    Frankism
    Frankism was an 18th-century to 19th-century Jewish religious movement centered around the leadership of the Jewish Messiah claimant Jacob Frank, who lived from 1726 to 1791. At its height, it claimed perhaps 50,000 followers, primarily Jews living in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe...

  • Jewish Messiah claimants
    Jewish Messiah claimants
    The Messiah in Judaism has a number of interpretations, including any king chosen by God; a holy king who will lead Israel; and someone who will usher in an idyllic age of peace and justice...


External links