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Rav Yaakov Sasportes: Tzitzit Novail Tzvi Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

Shabbtsai Tzvi

The 4th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yaakov Sasportes, Rav of Amsterdam and antagonist of Shabtai Tzvi (1695). He served as envoy to the Spanish court in Morocco and later became head of the yeshiva in Amsterdam.

In his battle against Shabsaism, he produced Tzitzis Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, and refuted Shabsi Tzvi's messianism in detail.



When I first received letters informing me about Shabbtsai Zvi I was shocked, and I said in my heart, perhaps this evil person wants to come and introduce a new Torah. When it was clearly established that all these words were coming from Nathan, who was functioning in his naïveté, who was misguided by his use of Holy Names, and the spirit of impurity, and I immediately sent out letters to the leaders of Germany, Poland, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Syria to warn them to strengthen their hearts and to strengthen the people to protect themselves for the sake of the Torah of our Lord.

It was clear that this would cause far more damage than did the Sadducees. There were some leaders who stood with strength against this nonsense and revealed that it was sinful and leading many to sin and they did their best to rebuke the nation of the Lord of Abraham. There were a few people in every city and every village who called out help us to protect the people and bring them back to the true faith.

Eventually we know that this false Messiah arrived in Turkey and gathered to himself many empty minded people and revealed himself as the Messiah even as he did terrible and sinful and ugly acts. He began to negate the fast days. He turned them into days of party and happiness until he went to Constantinople. When he revealed himself to the government as the Messiah of Israel and insisted that he was the true king of Israel they threatened him and he immediately converted to Islam.

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