This answer from @Oliver mentions

The controversial book Hemdat Ha-yamim...

What is Chemdat HaYamim, and what is controversial about it? I know this is a very simple question but I wasn't familiar with the sefer, and I couldn't find anything online about it.


2 Answers 2


The work deals with laws and customs, particularly relating to the holidays. It is strongly associated with Sabbatianism and was attributed by R. Yaakov Emden (e.g. in his Torat HaK'naot, Altona, 1752, as noted here) to Nathan of Gaza, Shabbetai Tsvi's prophet. Many other rabbis followed R. Emden's assessment. Although not all of its opponents thought it was necessarily written by Nathan of Gaza, it was thought to be Sabbatian by many rabbis, both Sephardi and Ashkenazi.

Some rabbis, however, endorsed the work. R. Menahem Heilprin, for example, wrote this whole work K'vod Hakhamim to defend the book.

Note also this article which notes that the author of Yesod V'Shoresh HaAvodah in his Last Will and Testament praises the study of Hemdat Yamim. In at least one edition of his will, the reference to the Hemdat Yamim was removed.

Similarly, as noted, the Hayyei Adam (klal 144) quotes the Hemdat Yamim as the source for Tefillat Zakka and others, especially Sephardi writers, quote the work regularly.

For example, as noted here, R. Hayyim Palache in Kol ha-Hayyim (Ma’arekhet he, no. 18, pp. 17 ff.) defends the Hemdat Yamim, claiming that we should not disqualify it, no matter what the author believed about Shabbetai Tsvi.

As noted here, historians have similarly debated the nature of this work. Boaz Huss, following Yeshaya Tishby and Gershom Scholem, believed the work to be Sabbatian, while Avraham Yaari was of the opinion that it was not Sabbatian. As noted here, David Kohn also held the work to be Nathan of Gaza's.

For R. Yehiel Goldhaber's lengthy discussion of the entire debate, see here.

  • Was waiting for you to link that piece in Wiki; that's significant per the debate among recent academics. See also R. Zevihi (Mi-zahav u-mi'paz p.567) in referencing much of the Sephardic bent, and concludes with his rabbi, R. Ovadiah Yosef's feeling of the sefer (subsequently published in his own Chazon Ovadiah, intro. to Arba Taaniot). More contemporary researchers still juggle these authors, Nathan of Gaza or Elgazi, each trying to demonstrate proofs one way or another.
    – Oliver
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 1:41
  • Your memory served correct.
    – Oliver
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 1:47
  • Do you remember what exactly is written in the Intro to Hazon Ovadya? R. Zevihi doesn't seem so noteworthy in terms of R. Yosefs view as he just says that it is permissible to learn, which is far from the endorsement implied by the fact that R. Yosef quotes it tens of times.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 1:50
  • Can check in a few. IIRC something to the effect that he didn't hesitate to cite it because the particular pieces (or the book en toto) aren't sabbateanistic. Interestingly enough, R. Meir Mazuz, in a Saturday night class, justified its use on similar grounds in that much of the content has well-based tradition, acknowledging that it very well may have been from Nathan of Gaza, yet belief in redemption was en vogue then - not that he was a bad dude.
    – Oliver
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 1:57
  • +1 - Goldhaber link. I only know of his article in Ha-pa'amon but didn't know offhand of online resources so didn't bother. (Worthwhile to note his article is from 2013.)
    – Oliver
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 3:07

HaGoan HaRav Yehuda Fataya zt"l, brings down Chemdas Yamim in his sefer, Minchas Yehuda. HaRav Fataya is an expert in "neshomos" and conversed with many. It is from him that dibukkim, "exorcism", gilgulim and the ways of afterlife is a known subject to many.

He says that he used to learn and teach to his children this sefer, Chemdas Yamim, until one night this rasha, Natan Elgazi ymsh'vz, came to him in a dream and said he was pleased that the Gaon was learning his sefer. Story goes on as he explains to the Gaon that he wrote a "gaoniship" sefer to establish himself as a talmid chochom for acceptance in the world of Torah and subtly inserted the derech (or off the derech) ways of Shabtsi Tzvi ymsh'vz. At that point the Gaon denounced the sefer as sabbateanistic and was very critical of its use for any purpose.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya. It is customary to add sources to your answer to make it more useful. Where is this story from?
    – N.T.
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 8:20
  • 1
    I gave the source. The sefer Minchas Yehuda. All of this (as I mentioned in my post) is in that sefer.
    – Avrohom
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 19:18
  • It isn't clear that the whole story comes from there, just that he brings him down.
    – N.T.
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 1:06
  • Just making sure it's clear, the sefer Minchas Yehuda from HaGaon HaRav Yehuda Fataya zt"l has all of this information in it. He was the talmud muvak of the Ben Ish Chai who was familiar with his "work" and being involved with it as well, sometimes telling him not to get involved. Yes, this is also in his sefer. So much to learn from this.
    – Avrohom
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 2:59

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