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Tzitzat Novel Zvi, R. Jacob ben Aaron Sasportas, Jerusalem (1954)

ציצת נובל צבי - AntiShabbatean Polemic

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  • Lot Number 54089
  • Title (English) Tzitzat Novel Zvi
  • Title (Hebrew) ציצת נובל צבי
  • Note AntiShabbatean Polemic
  • Author R. Jacob Sasportas; R. Jacob Emden (Ya'vez)
  • City Jerusalem
  • Publisher מוסד ביאליק
  • Publication Date (1954)
  • Estimated Price - Low 200
  • Estimated Price - High 500

  • Item # 2524493
  • End Date
  • Start Date

Physical Description

First edition by Tishby. Portrait 44,[3], 282, [1] pp., quarto 237:150 mm., usual light age toning, nice margins. A very good copy bound in the original boards, dustjacket.


Detail Description

Reissued and edited from manuscripts by Isiah Tishby, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical, Mythical, and Ethical Hebrew at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem until his death in 1992

Polemical correspondence against Shabbethai Zevi and his followers by R. Jacob ben Aaron Sasportas (1610 – April 15, 1698), was a Rabbi, Kabbalist, and anti-Shabbethaian. R.Sasportas was born at Oran. He became rabbi successively of Tlemcen (at the age of twenty-four), Marrakesh, Fes, and Salé. In about 1646 he was imprisoned by the Moorish king, but succeeded in escaping with his family to Amsterdam (ca. 1653). He stayed there till the disorders in Africa ceased, when he was called back by the King of Morocco and sent on a special mission to the Spanish court (ca. 1659) to ask for aid against the rebels. On his return he was invited to the rabbinate of the Portuguese community of London (1664). According to David Franco Mendes (in "Ha-Meassef," 1788, p. 169), Jacob had accompanied Menasseh ben Israel to London in 1655. Owing to the outbreak of the plague in London in 1665, Jacob went to Hamburg, where he officiated as rabbi till 1673. In that year he was called to Amsterdam and appointed head of the yeshivah Keter Torah, founded by the brothers Pinto. Two years later he became dayyan and head of the yeshivah at Leghorn (Livorno), and in 1680 he returned to Amsterdam, where he was appointed head of the yeshivah 'Eitz Hayyim. After the death of R. Isaac Aboab da Fonseca (1693) he was appointed rabbi of the Portuguese community, which office he held till his death at Amsterdam.

Shabbetai Tzevi, also spelled Sabbatai Zebi or Sabbatai Zevi, (born July 23, 1626, Smyrna, Ottoman Empire [now İzmir, Turkey]—died 1676, Ulcinj, Ottoman Empire [now in Montenegro]), a false messiah who developed a mass following and threatened rabbinical authority in Europe and the Middle East. As a young man, Shabbetai steeped himself in the influential body of Jewish mystical writings known as the Kabbala. His extended periods of ecstasy and his strong personality combined to attract many disciples, and at the age of 22 he proclaimed himself the messiah. Driven from Smyrna by the aroused rabbinate, he journeyed to Salonika (now Thessaloníki), an old Kabbalistic centre, and then to Constantinople (now Istanbul). There he encountered an esteemed and forceful Jewish preacher and Kabbalist, Abraham ha-Yakini, who possessed a false prophetic document affirming that Shabbetai was the messiah. Shabbetai then traveled to Palestine and after that to Cairo, where he won over to his cause Raphael Halebi, the wealthy and powerful treasurer of the Turkish governor. With a retinue of believers and assured of financial backing, Shabbetai triumphantly returned to Jerusalem. There, a 20-year-old student known as Nathan of Gaza assumed the role of a modern Elijah, in his traditional role of forerunner of the messiah. Nathan ecstatically prophesied the imminent restoration of Israel and world salvation through the bloodless victory of Shabbetai, riding on a lion with a seven-headed dragon in his jaws. In accordance with millenarian belief, he cited 1666 as the apocalyptic year. Threatened with excommunication by the rabbis of Jerusalem, Shabbetai returned to Smyrna in the autumn of 1665, where he was wildly acclaimed. His movement spread to Venice, Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, and several other European and North African cities.

At the beginning of 1666, Shabbetai went to Constantinople and was imprisoned on his arrival. After a few months, he was transferred to the castle at Abydos, which became known to his followers as Migdal Oz, the Tower of Strength. In September, however, he was brought before the sultan in Adrianople and, having been previously threatened with torture, became converted to Islam. The placated sultan renamed him Mehmed Efendi, appointed him his personal doorkeeper, and provided him with a generous allowance. All but his most faithful or self-seeking disciples were disillusioned by his apostasy. Eventually, Shabbetai fell out of favour and was banished, dying in Albania. The movement that developed around Shabbetai Tzevi became known as Shabbetaianism. It attempted to reconcile Shabbetai’s grandiose claims of spiritual authority with his subsequent seeming betrayal of the Jewish faith. Faithful Shabbetaians interpreted Shabbetai’s apostasy as a step toward ultimate fulfillment of his messiahship and attempted to follow their leader’s example. They argued that such outward acts were irrelevant as long as one remains inwardly a Jew. Those who embraced the theory of “sacred sin” believed that the Torah could be fulfilled only by amoral acts representing its seeming annulment. Others felt they could remain faithful Shabbetaians without having to apostatize. After Shabbetai’s death in 1676, the sect continued to flourish. The nihilistic tendencies of Shabbetaianism reached a peak in the 18th century with Jacob Frank, whose followers reputedly sought redemption through orgies at mystical festivals.


Hebrew Description    

ספר ציצת נובל צבי : לרבי יעקב ששפורטש. יוצא לאור בנוסח שלם על-פי כתבי-יד מעזבונו המדעי של ד"ר זכריה שווארץ ז"ל, בצירוף מבוא, הערות וחילופי נוסחאות, מאת ישעיה תשבי. (חלק א-ד).

סיפור הופעתו של שבתי צבי ומלחמתו של המחבר בשבתי צבי ובמאמיניו.

במבוא כותב תשבי, שהמחבר "אסף וערך את התעודות שבידו וחיבר אותן בספר בלווית תיאורים והסברות קצרות... ציצת נובל צבי הוא אוצר מלא וגדוש לתולדות התנועה השבתאית... הוא הנסיון היחיד של מחבר יהודי מבני הדור לרכז את החומר ולשבץ אותו במסגרת של תיאור רציף ומגובש. מבחינת הזמן מקיף הספר כעשר שנים משנת תכ"ו עד תל"ו... בסדר כרונולוגי וכל חלק מארבעה חלקיו מכיל תקופה מסוימת" (עמ’ לד-לה).



EJ; Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000168553; Samuel Joseph Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 577; Julius Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii.251; Wikipedia