The Debacle of the False Messiah, Shabtai Tzvi, Part 1
Readings from Gershom Scholem's “Sabbatai Tzvi, the Mystical Messiah,” and Jerry Rabow's “50 Jewish Messiahs.”
The events in world Jewish history that led up to the times of Shabtai Tzvi. Why the entire Jewish world was inclined and ready to believe in him.
The dangers in superficial kabbalah study and practice, the psychological imbalances created by the embrace of mythological thinking. Dangers of becoming so heavenly minded that one becomes no earthly good. Practical, personal examples from the lives of Kabbalists that I have personally known.
Bi-polarism, psychological numinosity, delusions of grandeur, and supportive public sentiment oblivious to the nature of psychology impairment.
The story of the rise of Shabtai Tzi teaches us history, and at the same times reveals to us that some of the same problems that led to his rise still exist in the religious world to this day.