Sabbatai Zevi’s Feigned Apostasy

Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676) was the almost universally recognized Mashiach (messiah) of the Jewish people when the Grand Vizier in the name of the Ottoman Sultan confronted him and threatened him with death unless he agreed to convert to Islam. As a token acceptance of Islam did Zevi take a turban on his head. It is clear that this was not a conversion out of conviction but rather one out of coercion. Long before that however, the leading poskim (rabbinic decisors) of the generation had no doubt initiated Zevi into the secrets of Esoteric Judaism, including the existence of core Median Judaism such as the Bektashi order, one of the seven denominations of core Median Judaism. After the forced conversion was a fait accompli did Zevi have two options. 1) The first option was to flee to Christian Europe and return to rabbinical Judaism. 2) The second option was to reconvert to Judaism by making the transition to the Northern Jurisdiction of Israel by means of choosing initiation into the Bektashi order which warmly welcomes new converts. For some reason did he sacrifice his universal recognition as the Mashiach and chose the mystical path of becoming a Bektashi. We will well never know why he chose this path but we know that 300 families of his rabbinically Jewish followers in the Ottoman Empire followed him into the Bektashi order and it was claimed at the time that they had “converted to Islam”. So as not to reveal the Jewishness of the Bektashi order and core Median Judaism generally were Zevi and his rabbinically Jewish followers all excommunicated by the poskim and declared non-Jewish. However, the truth is that they and their descendants remained Jewish and that in any case any conversion to Islam would have been annulled by the initation into the Bektashi order, which counts as conversion to core Median Judaism which is recognized by the poskim.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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