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Sabbatean documents from the Saul Amarillo Collection / תעודות שבתאיות מגנזי רבי שאול אמארילייו

אברהם אמארילייו and Abraham Amarillo
Sefunot: Studies and Sources on the History of the Jewish Communities in the East / ספונות: מחקרים ומקורות לתולדות קהילות ישראל במזרח
כרך ה‎, Isaiah Sonne Memorial Volume / מוקדש לישעיהו זנה זכרונו לברכה‎ (תשכ"א), pp. רלה-רעד
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23415125
Page Count: 39
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Sabbatean documents from the Saul Amarillo Collection / תעודות שבתאיות מגנזי רבי שאול אמארילייו
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Abstract

The poems and documents published here for the first time throw an unexpected and surprising light on some obscure chapters in the history of the Sabbatean-movement. The group of poems contains three hymns. The first, by R. Abraham ha-Yakhini, the well-known Constantinople scholar and supporter of Sabbatai Zevi, deals with the exaltation of Sabbatai and is written in the erotic style of the known Sabbatean hymns. It was to be sung to the tune of Meliselda, a romanza of which Sabbatai was particularly fond and which he used to sing frequently and with great fervour. The second hymn, by an unknown author, expresses hope in the speedy advent of the redeemer. The third poem is a hymn for the "Festival of Rejoicing". The first in the series of documents is an order or edict of Sabbatai Zevi to his believers, written and signed by the messiah himself in the spring of 1676 in Alkum (Dulcigno). Sabbatai also requests that a prayerbook for New Year and the Day of Atonement be sent to him. Documents 2—4 deal with the "Festival of Consolation" : instead of observing the 9th of Ab as a oneday fast "exactly as the Day of Atonement", it should henceforth be celebrated, by messianic command, as a seven-day festival like Passover (document no. 4 of 1671). Document no. 5, also of 1671, is a chronicle describing in great detail Sabbatai's apostasy in the presence of the Sultan, and giving the names of the rabbis whom Sabbatai wished to apostatize with him. It reflects the state of confusion in the minds of Sabbatai's followers, throws light on Sabbatai's "illuminations" and gives a good account of events (including the date of Sabbatai's last marriage, to the daughter of Aaron Magar of Sofia : 25 Sivan 431 = 1671 C.E.). During his sojourn in Adrianople Sabbatai continued his "strange actions" without interference from the Muslims : he abolished the twelve tribes, visited synagogues in order to conduct namas—prayers together with the Jewish liturgy, read the Koran together with the Zohar, waved his fan over his disciples whilst reciting the words (Is. 11 :2) "and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him", and more of this kind. The other letters in the collection are from the leader of the movement, the prophet Nathan of Gaza, who wrote them during the tragic period between the messiah's apostasy and his exile to Dulcigno and death. Document no. 7 tells of Sabbatai's wish to inspect the MS. of the "Apocalypse of Abraham" which Nathan had allegedly discovered. This request caused the prophet much grief and led to the first estrangement between him and the messiah. The letters reflect the mood of the leading faithful, including Nathan; they also show that Nathan was in financial difficulties and that he tried to obtain money from whatever source he could.

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