Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any real substantial evidence that Rav Yonasan Eibshitz was a Sabbatean? On what basis did Rav Yaakov Emden hound him?

share|improve this question
2  
yes. read here for one example of such evidence. an amulet written by Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz: leimanlibrary.com/texts_of_publications/… –  josh waxman May 18 at 13:13
    
@joshwaxman i don't see it, could you point out what jumps out as sabbatean? –  Baby Seal May 18 at 13:34
4  
Why the downvotes? Do they for some reason think Rav Emden's opinions are not worth analyzing? –  Double AA May 18 at 14:13
    
@DoubleAA, I didn't downvote, myself, but might have done so because the question is worded badly. Its wording assumes everyone is familiar with the names (it doesn't even link to, let alone summarize, a biography), and the fact that R' Yaavetz hounded him for sabbateanism. Actually, come to think of it, -1. –  msh210 May 18 at 15:46
    
@msh210 See my edits. That should suffice, I think. –  Double AA May 18 at 16:23

1 Answer 1

There were many proofs put forth that Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz zt"l was a Sabbatean, published in sefarim such as Sefat Emet (anonymous, often attributed to Rav Yaakov Emden, but recently published materials suggest Nechemiah Reischer, a disenchanted R' Eibeshitz enthusiast who became an admirer of R' Emden). One such proof, as described in this article by Rabbi Dr. Leimann, is as follows:

Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz engaged in practical kabbalah, writing amulets, with the instruction that people should not open them. He wrote such an amulet to a woman, but it did not work; she died. The husband gave the amulet over to Rav Yaakov Emden who was also a master of kabbalah. He read it and saw Sabbatean messages in it, such as "Yeled Yulad Lanu, Ben Nitan Lanu" combined with Shabtai. Rav Emden published this in the sefer Sefat Emet.

Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz's response to this was that they were misreading the amulet. E.g., what Rav Emden said was a tav was really a chet, and so on.

What the article then documents is that Rav Yaakov Emden went to a French court together with two of Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz's talmidim. The French court copied over the amulet and the two talmidim signed an admission that this was the accurate text of the amulet.

Since Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz's response was shown to be false, and without that explanation, the amulets are properly understood as Sabbatean, this is evidence that he was a closet Sabbatean.

share|improve this answer
    
If all this is true how do you explain that I think they are buried almost next to each other and R Emden was later. That the world does not consider R Yonasan to be that. This evidence came out in his lifetime so how was it concealed. –  preferred May 18 at 16:10
    
The evidence regarding the French court was not promulgated in his lifetime. That many rabbis in his time did not accept various pieces of evidence is not absolute proof. For instance, the Pnei Yehoshua made R' Eibeshitz swear on a Torah that he was not a Sabbatean, and took this oath as proof of innocence. But many Sabbateans held that it was a mitzvah to sin, such as by taking a false oath! –  josh waxman May 18 at 16:18
    
@josh waxman so is he or is he not, in your eyes? –  Efraim May 18 at 16:35
1  
it doesn't really matter, because I am nobody. but likely yes, though that does not make him any less of a righteous person, or make his halachic writings any less valuable. –  josh waxman May 18 at 16:37
1  
From the article you cited (fn. 17): "Often ascribed to Emden, the name of the author/editor of שפת אמת is unknown. Recently published materials suggest the author was Nehemiah Reischer, a disenchanted Eibeschuetz enthusiast who became an admirer of Emden." –  Fred May 18 at 17:09

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.