Much has been written about Jacob the renegade heretic Jewish “messiah”, the monster, the opportunist, and one of histories ultimate predators.

Although it is necessary to revisit some of the history to gain perspective, it is important to understand how a “monster” whose doctrines in themselves were vile had free access to European Royal Courts, the very wealthy and elite, could stick his hand into history and actually mold and effect it from his day to ours.

Why would anyone follow such an obscene religious leader? In the history of Sabbetai Zvi it is noted that he made some of his followers “kings”. He gave them and others “Patents of Nobility”. Because of the penchant to view a religious leader as someone who gains a following because of what he speaks or writes and his followers choose to follow or not we lose sight of the earlier practice and regal law. The Christian view of choosing a denomination i.e., “well if you don’t like this one there is always that one” is not applicable.
If this person who lived his life as an obscenity before God were hated, excommunicated, or cursed, he, other than comment, or argument was outside the control of the Rabbis, beyond the consideration of genealogy.

“The Mishnah states, “Who is meant by ruler?” A king, for it is stated in Scriptures, any of all the things which the Lord his God hath commanded (Lev 4.22), “a ruler above whom there is none but the Lord his God.”426
The censure of the Rabbis in reality reads like the censure of the Senate against a sitting President. It also has the same effect, next to nothing.
Jacob Frank was a legitimate Davidic king. Part of his powers and duties is “shepherd of God”. He may decide the direction of the overall faith. Once his authority is established it becomes a simple clerical matter: And all the people maintain silence when he speaks. He used to address them: “My brethren and my people,” …“while they address him: “Our lord and our master”… Who is a King?”But our Lord David the King hath made Solomon King”.
A king is not an elected person. They are not chosen by the people. They must find their own way and establish their priority. This is what Jacob Frank did…and then more so.
Shown earlier in the developing theology of “the True Religion of Israel”, Sabbetai Tzevi had developed the Cabbalistic doctrine of the “Godhead”, which is his crowning glory, and it became important as the Shabbeteans started joining him in apostasy as a Religious sacrament. This was immensely furthered by Frank.
I have alluded to the fierce discussions that broke out among the Sabbatians over the issue of how “the mystery of the Godhead” was to be interpreted. Several of the elucidations of the doctrine that are known to us differ substantially from the version given by Cardozo, who devoted his very best speculative powers to the question. All of these treatises employ the terminology of the Zohar and the Lurianic Kabbalah, but proceed to attribute to it meanings that are entirely their own. Among the speculations on the subject that have come down to us in detail are those of Nehemiah Hayon, Samuel Primo, and Jonathan Eibeschtz. Despite their division of the Godhead into three hypostases (partzufim), the First Cause or “Holy Ancient One” (atika kadisha), the God of Israel or “Holy King” (malka kadisha), and the Shekhinah, all of these writers sought to uphold the essential dynamic unity of the divinity. The central problems as they saw them problems, be it said, which did not exist for non-Sabbatian Kabbalah at all-were first of all to determine the nature of the relationship, the “three knots of faith” as they called it, between the First Cause, the God of Israel; and the Shekhinah, and secondly to establish the exact content of the new revelation concerning the essence of the God of Israel.”427

426 David Flatto Its Good to be the King the Monarchs role in the Mishnah’s Political and Legal System pg 15 Hauser Global Law School Working Paper 01/07

It was no longer just “God had moved up, Tzevi had taken his place, and was now “lord god of Israel”. Tzevi became one of three “a manifestation of the “godhead” and Frank to become the second. Franks formulation came after his “conversion” and his terminology “Christianized”.

With regard to the Frankist mass conversion in 1759 to Catholicism, it s importance to the Church and Christendom has been underemphasized through the course of history. Fifty years after Shabbetai Tsevi Jacob Frank’s ascension as an heir king took place. Initially it is both his status as a “royal” as well as his “antiTalmud” stance that made him interesting. His willing ruthlessness in establishing charges of blood libel against his opponents, which were Rabbis and communities whose Judaism was traditional, saw to it his enemies were killed.

Franks “Judaism” was not original and was based in Sephardic teaching according to Gershom Scholem. He was entirely Shabbatean and Cabbalistic. It must be noted that Tzevi saw Rabbinic Judaism as a temporary affectation to be left in place. He was king and they at best held the stature of Senate. Frank was not as merciful. Because of his antiRabbinic and anti- Talmud bent, and his stature, his was a celebrated conversion to the point that his “godfather” was Emperor Augustus III.

427 Gershom Scholem- Redemption Through Sin

Two years prior to his conversion to Catholicism he had converted to Islam following the example of Tzevi.
One year later he was imprisoned for heresy when it was discovered that his concept of the “Trinity” was the leaders of his group. He was released in 1773. For him it was the fulfilling of another sacrament.

Franks final evolution of the “godhead” will be discussed in more detail in a later chapter.
Amazingly he is downplayed to a large degree because he is embarrassing to religious Jewry.
His religion although generally discussed as “separate” from that of Tzevi is actually the same. It is the next step in the progression for what they termed “the True Religion of Israel.”At its core is taking Neo Platonic Philosophy and mysticism to its logical conclusion.

“All leaders in every generation are a manifestation of Shabbetai Tzevi, and there would be a continual manifestation of the three personages of the godhead until the redemption.”

From Tzevi onward these leaders had the authority to build and change or add on to the “true faith”. Each leader would also have an obligation to send out their “apostles” and forward it. This could manifest itself in an unending variety of ways. The one “law” was that they would proceed “like soldiers” from this point on and a mark of the faith was those that held it would no longer talk about it outside their own circles.

The greatest support Frank had came from to very unlikely places. First fit came from the decadent nobility of Europe. Secondly it came from the intellectual elite of the universities, and third from the great finance houses and businesses of Europe. With their adherence to the Torah of Atzilut, they would break all of the “Law of God”, and as a sacrament so called, especially the sexual ones. Jacob Frank gave both his wife and daughter to his followers and to the noble houses of Europe. The philosophy and religion he had the courage to expound is shown comparatively in a later chapter. I say courage because few until now have had the courage to breathe this level of blasphemy, never mind articulate its end. He was supported.

Jacob “the heretic Jewish messiah” was becoming Jacob “the Christian evangelist, Jacob the “converso messiah” and Jacob “the politico”.

Gershom Scholem tells us that the tradition of Talmudic Judaism broke under the weight of Shabbetai Zvi. Many of the Rabbinic scholars and their students stayed within normative Judaism as conversos forwarding their faith, Shabbeteanism. Under Jacob Frank much of “noble” Jewry converted, and noble Christians428, as well as the general populace. Christianity was so convinced as to the authenticity of Cabbala some of the reformers saw it as a missionary tool.

One very famous Jewish scholar Jacob Emden put much on the line standing against this. It was after he found out his colleague who was equally famous; Jonathan Eibeschutz had stepped up into the “Frankist Trinity”. On the basis of 5 amulets that Eibeschutz possessed he was able to show that Eibeschutz invoked the “power” of Shabbetai Zvi.

The doctrines were at this point so widespread throughout Europe that this act of exposure split European Jewry in two.

428 Kalik, Judith. “Christian Kabbala and the Jews: Attitudes of the Church to Jewish Conversion and the Idea of ‘Jacob’s Return’ in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th Century,” in Kwartalnik Historii Żydów / Jewish History Quarterly 4 (Warsaw: Zydowski Instytut Historyczny, 2004). “The influence of the messianic ideas and especially the idea of ‘return of the Jews’ or ‘Jacob’s return’ found the most profound expression among the German Pietists. This served as a background for their interest in the Kabbala, which was considered to be a link between Judaism and Christianity beginning in the 16th century. The book of the early Silesian Pietist Christian Knorr von Rosenroth Kabbala Denudata published in the last quarter of the 17th century6 served as a scholarly basis for the massive use of the Kabbala in missionary activity among the Jews in Germany and later in Poland.” (—page 493)

The Frankist “movement” as it is called was said to have died out within one hundred years. This is a truly misleading view in many respects.

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