Shabbetai Zevi – Jewish Messiah – II

Lead: One of the most powerful outbreaks of Jewish messianic fervor occurred in the 1660s not too long after one of the most terrible outbreaks of Jewish persecution in history, the Chmielnicki pogrom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The 1500s and 1600s were times of Polish political and military ascendancy in Eastern Europe. Large swaths of Western Russia and the Ukraine came under Polish control, particularly the steppe or grasslands, vast open spaces of rich farmland. Along with the Poles came Jews to settle the lands themselves and also often to administer the estates of absentee Polish nobility. In the mind of many Ukranian peasants, however, Jews became synonymous with foreign Polish oppression. This hatred stoked up already well-established anti-semitism. It did not take much to set this sentiment on fire.

Shabbatai Sevi – III: Lurianic Kabbalah

Lead: In the 1600s an explosive upsurge in messianic Judaism laid the groundwork for the claims of a pseudo-messiah, Shabbatai Sevi. His rise was part of a spiritual revival known as Lurianic Kabbalism.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Traditional Judaism, while anticipating the coming of the Messiah, has not placed great emphasis on messianism as a dominant part of religious life. This began to shift in the 16th century when profound spiritual changes emerged from the region around Safed, the northern-most prominent village in Palestinian Gallilee which is also the home of that part of mystical Judaism commonly referred to as the Kabbalah. By the 1630s a new form of mystical spiritualism, indeed a spiritual revival, known Lurianic Kabbalah, was rising to a powerful position in world-wide Jewish life.