Jonathan Eybeschutz

Noted Prague rabbi was accused of being a follower of false messiah Shabbetai Zevi.

Jonathan Eybeschutz (1690-1764) was a German rabbi and Talmud scholar. He is best known for accusations that he sympathized with false messiah Shabbetai Zevi and for writing Urim Vethummim, which Louis Jacobs’ The Jewish Religion describes as “a work of keen analysis of legal concepts in the form of a commentary to the Shulchan Aruch, Hoshen Mishpat.

While serving as a rabbi in Prague, Eybeschutz was accused of being a follower of Shabbetai Zevi, the 17th-century false messiah, a charge he vehemently denied. He, in fact, joined other members of the Prague rabbinate in excommunicating other followers of Zevi.

In 1750, after he became chief rabbi of Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbeck, accusations of his support for Zevi resurfaced, based largely on amulets he distributed to protect women during childbirth, amulets alleged to contain coded pro-Shabbatean language.

Adapted from the Jewish Encyclopedia.

 

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