During the times of false messiah Shabbetai Tzvi, and for several decades afterwards, many well established rabbanim [1] believed him to be Moshiach. Some even maintained this belief after his conversion to Islam. May one learn from the seforim of those who maintained such belief?

[1] see Bezalel Naor's Post Sabbatian Sabbatianism for a recent survey of the academic literature on this topic

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    I'm not sure I understand your comment. I have heard of Yonasan Eibshitz and his affiliation with the Sabbatean movement (as per R' Yakov Emden) but am not familiar with that work. What does 'everyone holds of...' actually mean? From my understanding 'everyone holds of' Rav Yakov Emden as well. Why wouldn't currently scholarly work have any relevance on halacha?
    – none
    Feb 21, 2012 at 1:53
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    Moshe, if you don't tag @simchashatorah he won't see it. But to answer your question, Kreisi UPleisi is a major Halachic work. I don't think it's possible to get Semichah without encountering it.
    – Seth J
    Feb 21, 2012 at 2:21
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    (In my mind) It's like the early, disillusioned followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who came up with excuses after he died that he could die and still have been the Mashiach Ben Yosef, not Ben David (distinct from those who still believe he was and is Mashiach and that he'll return - that's much closer to heresy). In other words, people were devastated by his betrayal, not to mention his death, and they weren't sure what to make of it. They desperately clung to the hope that the end of the bitter exile was near, because they couldn't face the fact that it was nowhere near over.
    – Seth J
    Feb 21, 2012 at 3:08
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    @SethJ It sounds like you just wrote an answer!
    – Double AA
    Feb 21, 2012 at 3:45
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    @jake 1) Bar Kosba did not convert to another religion. 2)Rebbi Akiva did not maintain his belief that Bar Kosba was Moshiach after he died. But many of Shabbetai Tzvi's followers continued to believe he was Moshiach well after both of those events. Even formulating a religion to maintain their beliefs.
    – none
    Feb 21, 2012 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


It would appear based on the article Reb Shlomo and Tu Beshevat (scroll to the bottom) that the sefer Hemdat HaYamim, which clearly contains sabbatean material has been accepted.

for those following Lithuanian tradition, both the Gra and Haayim of Volozhin accepted Hemdat Yamim.

So I would surmise that as long as no sabbatean theology is espoused works of this nature should be permissible to study (obviously this is not a psak, just speculation).

  • reason for the downvote?
    – none
    Mar 1, 2012 at 21:50
  • The Sefer En Yitzchak (R' Yitzhak Yosef) accepts it I believe. Mar 2, 2012 at 3:02
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    The people that accept it deny that it contains Sabbatean material. The people that accept that it contains Sabbatean material reject the work.
    – Fred
    Jan 3, 2013 at 19:00
  • I've seen recent printings of material based on the opinions of R' Yonatan Eybeschütz, although that was always a great machloket. Jan 14, 2016 at 16:29

Pinchas Giller (in Shalom Shar'abi and the Kabbalists of Beit El) quotes Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hillel as expressing permission to learn a Sabbatean book, Sha'ar Gan Eden. There is some controversy as to the Sabbatean nature of the work but this article argues that it is clearly a Sabbatean work. Giller states that R' Hillel allowed one to learn

the Sabbatean work Sha'arei Gan Eden by Jacob Koppel Lifscheutz...For Hillel, the odd inclusion of occasional Sabbatean materials...is less of a problem than the appearance of Sarugian materials." p.103

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  • Did Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hillel agree the work was Sabbatean?
    – Double AA
    Mar 8, 2023 at 18:20
  • According to Giller, yes. Page number added for reference. Mar 8, 2023 at 18:46

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