Let’s continue the precis of R’ Marvin Antelmann’s book, Bekhor Satan.
You can read Part I HERE.
Let’s continue with chapter 6:
6. WOULD EIBESCHUTZ BE GUILTY WITHOUT YAVETZ?
In this chapter, R Antelmann deals with the question of whether the whole accusation against Eybshutz was really just because of ‘petty quarrel’ with R’ Yakov Emden, as the usual sources tell us was the case.
R’ Antelmann shows this is decisively not the case – because Eybshutz was very nearly excommunicated back in 1725 for being a Sabbatian, after his book Ve’Yavo HaYom Al HaAyin, first appeared.
R’ Antelmann states that many rabbis came out against Eybshutz back in 1725, including:
R’ David Oppenheimer (1664-1736) – Chief Rabbi of Prague
R’ Moshe Hagiz (1671-1751), a leading rabbi in Amsterdam, both raised the alarm about Eybshutz’s Sabbatean leanings while he was still a relatively young man.
R Antelmann brings a reference to Professor Elisheva Carlebach’s book The Pursuit of Heresy, (Columbia, 1990) which includes letters from some of the other leading rabbis who were writing against Eybeshutz for being a Sabbatian in 1725 – a full 25 years before his first Sabbatean amulet was sent to the Yavetz.
Translated snippet of a letter written by R’Hagiz in 1725, about Sabbatean activities involving Jonathan Eybshutz:
“Everything according to the letter that I sent his lordship, about the abominations of Leib from Prossnitz [another famous Sabbatean ‘prophet’, and teacher of Eybshutz] to R’ Jonathan from Prague….and that which was not done at that time [i.e. the last time the problem of the secret Sabbateans arose] now needs to be done enthusiastically….and a strict herem should be pronounced, that no Polish bachor should go and study with R’ Jonathan of Prague….
….[C]lear announcements should be made in Mannheim and in Lita (Lithuania), that he should be known, in addition to this, as one of those apikoruses and cofrim (heretics) who pakru b’ikker (figuratively, denies the very fundamental thing of Jewish faith).
And I will send to him [i.e. R Hagiz’s correspondence] this book that begins VeYavo HaYom Al HaAyin, which is full of words of lust and associated prayers, that have never been before….”
The other rabbis who also publically warned against Eybshutz long before R Emden himself became involved include:
- R’ Nechamia Risher (grandson of the ‘Ba’al Shvut Yaakov, R Yaakov Risher)
- R’ Shmuel Hellman of Metz – the rabbi of Metz before Eybshutz took up the position
- R’ Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, the Pnei Yehoshua
- Leib Pesseles
- R’ Yosef Prager – a close relative of Eybshutz, author of ‘Gahalei Esh’, who publically turned against him for his Sabbatianism
- R’ Aryeh Leib Lowenstam (R’ Yakov Emden’s brother-in-law.)
And other Batei Din in addition to the Council of the Four Lands also came out ‘against’ Eybshutz, including the Beit Din of Venice.
7. CONCERNING THE ULTERIOR-MOTIVATED HISTORIANS
In this chapter, R Antelmann addresses some of the better-known treatises that were put out by ‘historians’, that still managed to whitewash Eybshutz’s Sabbatean links, despite the enormous amount of clear evidence pointing in the opposite direction.
R Antelmann splits them up into two main camps:
- Writers with clear links to the Reform and other ‘anti-orthodox’ movements, including people like Mortimer Cohen.
Cohen wrote a book called “Jacob Emden, Man of Controversy’, in 1937, where he basically put all the blame for the dispute firmly on the shoulders of that grumpy, petty-minded guy, Yaakov Emden, and suggested it was a personal grudge match, nothing more.
Cohen was a Reform rabbi, which prompted R Antelmann to start digging into why a ‘reform rabbi’ in America would be so concerned with proving Jonathan Eybshutz ‘innocent’ of being a Sabbatian, in the 1930s.
What he discovered was correspondence that showed that Cohen was the ‘rabbi’ of a secret group of Communist-Sabbatians located in Philadelphia.
Translated snippet (from page 44 of Bekhor Satan):
Tzuntz, the Sabbatean, from the Eybshutz family, and David, the son of Moshe Hess were [Mortimer Cohen’s] friends. It’s well known that Moshe Hess [WHAT] Karl Marx as the first leader of the Communist movement….And so it happened that an ‘apikorus rabbi’ defended the honor of an ‘Jewish gaon’.
2. The second group of ‘ulterior-motivated historian’s identified by R Antelmann are people who belong in the ‘frum’ camp, who he suggests were trying to protect the good name of orthodox rabbis, l’shem shemayim.
He includes in this list frum author Yekutiel Yehuda Greenwald, who wrote the book הרב ר’ יהונתן אייבשיץ in 1908.
You can see that book for yourself HERE.
Ed. note: After a commentator put a link to this book, I went to find out a bit more about R Yekutiel Yehuda Greenwald. On geni, he has no ancestors at all – which is interesting, given that he lived in relatively recent times and was a well-known personality.
So, I took a look at his wife’s family instead. She is a Rubin, who descends directly from the SHACH via his son Moshe of Podhajce – via all the usual interesting intersections in the communal family tree.
(The SHACH is my leading candidate for the ‘holy alter ego’ of the false messiah Shabtai Tzvi, which is another massive cover-up story that we didn’t even start to unpick here, yet.)
So, just like Neturai Karta, it seems highly unlikely that any of the ‘frum’ apologists for Eybshutz were really acting l’shem shemayim, but rather because they had close family associations with the secret Sabbatian-Frankist movement, that they were trying to keep covered up.
The last paragraph in this chapter takes us back to the bombshell charge about Eybshutz having a mamzer son with his own daughter, by the name of ‘Moses Berachyia’.
In Part I, we brought the source for that from R Yaakov Emden.
Here, R Antelmann shares a second source for that accusation, written by a xtian kabbalist who was a contemporary of the early Frankists, called Franz Yosef Molitor.
This is Molitor’s original words, in German:
Translated snippet (page 45, Behkor Satan):
“It was accepted amongst the xtian nobles that Eybshutz was a Sabbatian. [Molitor] wrote that Moshe Schonfeld was the grandson of Jonathan Eybshutz.
According to the source that we brought from the Yavetz’s seforim, Eybshutz fathered an illegitimate child with his daughter, who was known by the name Moshe Berachyia. Is it possible that the identity of ‘Moses Dobrushka’ is really the same as the mamzer ‘Moshe’, and the is both the son and the grandson of Eybshutz?
And that the Sabbatians managed to forge his papers by way of paying bribes to the government clerks, to hide his identity?
Ed. note: You’ll remember that Moses Dobrushka was a key player in many of the Frankist-Freemason schemes that later played out on the wider world stage, including the French Revolution.
He was also one of the founders of the Asian Brethren secret society, that had close links with Chaim Samuel Falk’s ‘Order of the Golden Dawn’; and that the Asian Brethren used Eybshutz’s writings as the basis of many of its ‘black kabbalah’ rituals and rites.
And as I’ve written about on many previous occasions, ‘Moses Dobrushka’s’ family tree is totally obscured.
8. FOUR REQUIRE PUBLIC EXPOSURE
In this chapter, R Antelmann brings the passage in Tractate Sanhedrin 89a, which states:
“The Rabbis taught in a Baraisa: There are four categories of people who require proclamation after their sentences are carried out. These are:
HaMasit – the Instigator
Ben Sorer Umoreh
Zaken Mamreh – a Rebellious Sage
Zomeimim – false witnesses.”
Ed. note: The Artscroll footnote 9 for this passage explains that:
“The requirement for such a proclamation is derived from the fact that in each of the Biblical passages that speaks of these four criminals, the verse states that all Israel shall ‘hear’ of their punishment, and shall be fearful of committing similar acts themselves.”
He reminds us again of the main text of the herem that was placed upon Jonathan Eybshutz by the Council of the Four Lands Beit Din in 1756, that stated that Eybshutz:
“Like a Satan hamastin (instigates) Israel (to commit sins)” – that he is the author of the ‘pornography’ that deceives people to transgress eishet eish (adultery) and sins of arayot (immorality and incest), such as a father cohabiting with his daughter, etc.”
Antelmann notes the use of the identical language – hamastin = haMasit – used by the Beit Din against Eybshutz, and used in the above Gemara.
Then he makes a plea that all Jews, and particular religious Jews, and even more particularly, talmidei chachamim, should uphold the words of the Gemara, and ‘proclaim the sins’ of Jonathan Eybshutz publically, instead of continuing to cover them up.
9. WERE THE CHASIDIM ENAMOURED WITH EIBESHUTZ?
“Thanks to the disinformation campaign around Eybshutz, there are those who want to say that the Council of the Four Lands was ‘anti’ chassidut, and that’s why they excommunicated Eybshutz, and also outlawed the study of the Zohar before the ages of 30 -40.”
Rav Antelmann explains this wasn’t the case, and then brings a lengthy quote from a Hebrew book called Sippurim Chassidim by Professor Gedalya Nigal from Bar Ilan University, to prove the point.
Ed. note: In the 30+ years since this book was written, and particularly in the last year on this blog, we’ve been fleshing out a lot more of the true story about who these ‘chassidim’ really were, i.e., groups of secret Sabbateans who later were partially ‘sweetened’ by the Baal Shem Tov’s movement.
So many of the Baal Shem Tov’s students came straight from the ranks of these ‘secret Sabbateans’ who then made teshuva, and came close to the BESHT’s holy way of doing things.
(It should also be underlined that at the time of the BESHT, and before Eybshutz’s book came out in 1725 that encouraged incest and adultery as ‘mitzvot’, God forbid, the Sabbateans in Podolia believed in Shabtai Tzvi as the ‘messiah’, and other very problematic ideas.
BUT, for the most part, they weren’t engaged in the sort of wholesale immorality that came to characterise the Sabbatian-Frankist movement in Podolia from 1725 on, and which also characterised Baruchia Russo’s Donmeh, in Turkey.)
This whole subject is totally fraught and very complicated, because after the BESHT’s passing, many branches of ‘good’ chassidut were once again hijacked by the Sabbatian-Frankists, making it very hard to know who was really a true Tzaddik who’d made sincere teshuva – and who was an unrepentant, two-faced, devil-worshipping Sabbatean-Frankist.
More on this another time.
10. LEGENDS INTENDED TO FRIGHTEN THE PUBLIC
R’ Antelmann explains that the Sabbatian-Frankists put around many ‘scary legends’ and stories about the horrible things that would happen to anyone who tried to question Eybshutz’s innocence, and who would try to reprint or publish any of the Yavetz’s writings on the subject.
Ed. note: I experienced this myself, two years ago, when I was also put off from researching this by a ‘scary story’ of someone who died in their sleep, just for committing the avera of considering republishing R’ Emden’s books….
R Antelmann brings a famous example of one of these scary ‘stories’ – which is then thoroughly debunked as being totally fabricated, by historian Sid Leiman.
You can read the story in full – and discover which famous rabbi was the person who was spreading that story around – HERE.
Here’s another snippet of the sorts of false ‘doom and destruction’ legends the Sabbatians circulated, about the people who were calling them out, like the Pnei Yehoshua, (from Sid Leiman’s website, HERE):
Nathan Nota Eibeschuetz adds in the postscript that “starting at [his wife’s] funeral, Falk proclaimed that his punishment was due to his opposition to my [i.e., Nathan Nota Eibeschuetz’] Master, Teacher, and Rabbi, my father the Gaon [Jonathan Eibeschuetz].
The Pnei Yehoshua never said any such thing.
But it sure is an effective way of scaring people away from closer examination of what was really going on with the Frankist-Sabbatean movement headed up by Eybshutz at that time.
11. CONCERNING THE MOETZET GDOLAI HATORAH AND THE VAAD ARBA ARATZOT.
This is a very brief chapter, where R Antelmann talks about the decree of herem that was decreed by the moetzet gedolei haTorah in the USA, against the reform and conservative movements, in 1956.
Both the reform and conservative moments were began by known Frankist-Sabbteans.
He brings that psak din, and also more context about who these Sabbatean-Frankist-Reform-Conservative people really were, like this:
The Frankists, chassidim of Jacob Frank, used to transgress the very worst sins described in the Torah, as though doing this was a ‘mitzvah’, according to their own religion.
They prayed to their leaders as though they were a god, and believed that Shabtai Tzvi was the revelation of the Moshiach.
He also describes how R’ Chaim Rappoport led the excommunication of these Frankists in Brody in 5516 (1756), together with a loud blowing of shofars.
According to that writ of herem, it was forbidden to marry a Sabbatean, or to let them teach students, or to use them as sofer stams, amongst many other prohibitions established then.
At this point, a large section of the Sabbatean ‘cult’ transformed into the Frankists, with Jacob Frank at the head of the movement.
But another group of Sabbateans simply went ‘under cover’ in the orthodox Jewish community.
And in the last few chapters, that I will do in a separate post, R Antelmann traces some of their deleterious impact on the frum community – continuing into our days.
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