I have heard at least a dozen different explanations for why (and even how) God allowed the Holocaust to happen, all predicated on the notion that God is entirely in control and that even the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people all have a purpose that can (in theory) be dealt with theologically. I have seen similar explanations, though not as many, for events like those of the Crusades, the expulsion from Spain, the pogroms at the turn of the 20th century and (of course) the destruction of the temples. I have never seen an explanation given for the false messianism and apostasy of Shabbetai Tzvi.

To my mind, the tragedy of Shabbetai Tzvi is different from the others in that it didn't involve a large loss of life, and while it did involve a great loss of property it overwhelmingly heralded a spiritual malaise in which many people converted in Islam and many others lost their faith altogether. I would like to know if there are any theological explanations that have been given for this tragedy in particular?

To be clear, I am not asking for a general theological justification for suffering, for apostasy or even for false messiahs. I am asking whether or not there are published theological justifications for the false messianism and apostasy of Shabbetai Tzvi in particular. Did scholars at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century find ways of explaining the theological necessity of what had transpired? Did scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries look back on Shabbetai Tzvi and see how he fit into some kind of 'plan'? Are there scholars today who claim to understand his role in the evolution of Judaism?

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