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Heliocentrism, Sadducees and Sabbatians

Solar eclipse

This is probably going to be one of those wild posts.

So buckle in, grab a cup of tea, and let’s begin.


The story begins when one of my readers sent me an email exchange he’d had with a friend who is both a historian and a mathematician (amongst many other things.)

This is the part that particularly caught my eye:

Not only did Bnei Zadokim (the priestly line known as the sons of Zadok) know that [the earth] was a sphere, but they actually knew very specific things about its orbit around the sun, and they also knew details about its axial rotation.



If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that the working theory that is developing about real Jewish history is that the ‘Zadokim’, aka the heretical ‘Sadducees’ never really went away.

They most probably gave us Yoshki, and ‘Jewish-xtianity’, in whatever way that occurred; they for sure gave us Greek assimilation and heretical ideas, and they almost certainly continued to ‘subvert the Jewish community’ from within, not least as Karaites, and more modern ‘Jews for Jesus’.

The working theory is that these families of ‘Sadducees’ (who were mostly corrupt Kohanim) also gave us Shabtai Tzvi (aka Shabtai HaKohen, the SHACH), and that of course devolved, at least partly, into the Freemason-Frankist-Reformers,  while the ‘old school Sabbateans’ remained outwardly ‘ultra-orthodox’.

This is the working theory for the mess our Jewish community is currently in.


So, it hit me like a thunderbolt that these same Zadukim / Sadducees were also big into heliocentric heresy, and ‘sun worship’.

When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. They were hellenising heretics, who wanted a more ‘moderate and modern’ Judaism that would enable them to stay ethnically Jewish, while tossing most of the mitzvot and Torah away.

Does this sound familiar?


So the first thing I did was to try to pin down a bit more about who these ‘Bnei Tzadukim’ actually were.

And this is where the story gets really interesting – and also really confusing.

Let’s have the basic intro, from Wikipedia, because it’s only going to get more wild from here:

The Sons of Zadok are a family of priests, kohens, descended from Zadok, the first high priest in Solomon’s Temple.

The sons of Zadok are mentioned three times in the Hebrew Bible, as part of the Third Temple prophecy in the final chapters of the Book of Ezekiel, and are a theme in Jewish and Christian interpretation of these chapters.


These Zadokite priests descend from Pinchas the Zealot, who killed Cozbi and Zimri in flagrante delicto, and was then ‘rewarded’ with the High Priesthood.

Pinchas was the grandson of both Aaron HaKohen, via his son Eleazar, and also of Yitro, via his mother, ‘the daughter of Putiel’. (Putiel was another name for Yitro – see Rashi’s commentary to Parshat Vayeira, 6:25).

After the whole thing with Jephta’s vow to sacrifice the first thing he saw when he came home after doing battle at Gibeah – which happened to be his daughter – Pinchas-who-is-Eliyahu drops out of view, and the High Priesthood is now given to the sons of Itamar, Aaron HaKohen’s other surviving son.

Eli HaKohen who we know from the story of Hannah, descends from Itamar HaKohen.

And of course, his sons Hophni and Pinchas are the corrupt Kohanim who have put the whole of Am Yisrael off from ascending to Shilo, to the Tabernacle, for the three festivals.

(There is nothing new under the sun).


So, under King David, Zadok is appointed High Priest, and he comes from the lineage of Aaron’s son, Eleazar.

This Zadok is very holy, he arranges the Kohanim into 24 ‘watches’, and according to Sotah 48b, David appoints him as Kohen HaGadol because the Urim v’Tumim actually work for him:

Rav Nachman said: When the Urim v’Tumim were consulted in the days of King David, sometimes it worked out for them and sometimes it did not work for them. For we find that Tzadok consulted the Urim v’Tumim at David’s behest and it worked out for him, while Aviatar consulted the Urim v’Tumim and it did not work out for him.

The Artscoll notes that this is based on the account in Samuel II, 15:24.

Having read it through, quickly, I can’t see anything about the Urim v’Temum specifically, but it does say that Zadok and Aviatar are David’s Kohanim, and describes how they bring the Ark of the Covenant out to travel with him, when he’s fleeing from his son Absalom, but David tells them to return to Jerusalem and act as his spies and informers.

Which they do. Zadok’s son Ahimaaz is the one who informs David that the rebellion has been crushed.

And later on, Solomon appoints Zadok as the first High Priest in the Temple.


So, the Zadok family are holy, important and strongly connected to royalty.

The next time the ‘sons of Zadok’ show up is in the prophesy of Yehezkel – also a Kohen, but from the line of Ithamar – in his vision about the Third Temple.

Here’s a little of what it says (Yehezkel 40:46):

“[T]he chamber that faces North is for the Kohanim, the guardians of the charge of the Altar. They, who are the descendants of Zadok, are the ones from among the sons of Levi who approach Hashem, to serve Him.”


The next notable mention of the ‘Sons of Zadok’ comes from fragments found amongst the Dead Sea scrolls.

Snippet from Wikipedia:

Various documents of the texts found at Qumran mention the teachers of the community as “kohanim Sons of Zadok“, leading some scholars to assume that the community at Qumran included kohanim (Jewish priests) who refused to participate in the Hellenization of the priesthood then taking place in Jerusalem.

Already by this point, I started to get the feeling that a big piece of the ‘real Jewish history’ puzzle was starting to swim into view.

Let’s continue.


So now, there are a lot of later commentaries on the status and function  of these ‘Sons of Zadok’ in the Third Temple.

These include:,

  • Jonathan Eybeschutz,
  • Isaac Abrabanel, and
  • Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michal (the Malbim)

In fact, Eybshutz wrote a whole big pamphlet on the role of these ‘Bnei Zadukim’, called ‘Ahavath Yonatan’.

I haven’t read these commentaries myself, but according to Wikipedia, they state that the:

Status of the sons of Zadok after the coming of the Messiah will be that of “semi” high priests….there is Rabbinic documentary that describe the future high priest from the sons of Zadok as having certain priorities, or at least being equal to the future Jewish Messiah King. 


Now, go back and re-read the post I wrote a while back, called The Rod and The Sceptre.


As always, I’m getting sidetracked from what I actually wanted to write about, but take a look at this, from HERE:

Rabbi Chaim Vital… introduces an idea that in the Age to Come (Hebrew LeAtid Lavoh “the Messianic era”) the souls belonging to the spiritual rootsource of Kayin, which are essentially the souls of the firstborn and Levites, will become clear and purified and will thus merit to serve in the Third Temple.

This idea is exegesized from the verse “אם תטיב שאת” (if you will better yourself you will be uplifted) explained as when you will better yourself you will merit to the priesthood which is titled “שאת” (uplifted).

This idea is echoed by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi in his book The Tanya, as by his son and successor The Mitteler Rebbe.

Surprise, surprise, the Chabad Rebbes are right in the middle of all this.

While we are on this subject, let me just note that from what I can tell, at least the last five rebbes of Chabad actually descend paternally from Kohanim.

What that means is that none of them could ever have been ‘Moshiach ben David’ – unless there was some strange idea that “the sons of Zadok =  at least being equal to the future Jewish Messiah King. “

Let that sink in, while we move on with the main story.


So now, we have a conundrum to try to resolve.

Here, we have a description of ‘Zadokim’ that seems to suggest they are holy and pure, and will be back serving Hashem in the Third Temple.

Meanwhile, we also have all these Sadducee-Jewish-Xtian-Karaite-Sabbatean-Frankists, who are also named for ‘Zadok’.

So, what’s going on here?


Notorious Frankist-Reformer Abraham Geiger is the one who first says that ‘Sadducees’ descend, specifically, from Zadok the first Kohen HaGadol.

That doesn’t mean he’s wrong, necessarily, because as we’ve seen all along, the most evil people keep coming out of the families of true Tzaddikim – and vice-versa.

Our authentic Jewish tradition (via the ‘Avot de Rabbi Natan) teaches that ‘Zadok and Boethus’ were two students of Antigonos of Sokho, who went off the derech when they misunderstood his statement in Pirkei Avot Ch.1, Mishnah 3 that there is no reward or punishment.

Here’s that mishnah:

Antigonos of Sokho recieved the tradition from Shimon HaTzaddik. He used to say: “Do not be like servants who serve their master for the sake of recieving a reward; rather, be like the servants who serve their master without a reward in mind, and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.”


And here’s a translation of the Avot de Rabbi Natan:

[H]is two pupils, Zadok and Boethus, repeated this maxim to their pupils. In the course of time, either the two teachers or their pupils understood this to express the belief that there was neither an afterlife nor a resurrection of the dead and founded the sects of the Sadducees and the Boethusians.

They lived in luxurious splendor; using silver and golden vessels all their lives, not because they were haughty, but because (as they claimed) the Pharisees led a hard life on earth and yet would have nothing to show for it in the world to come.


Priestly families usually only used stone vessels, because of issues with tumah (spiritual impurity).

So we see that these ‘Sadducees and Boethesians’ were clearly storming off the derech.

Here’s a few more examples of their heretical ideas in action, from HERE:

 The Mishnah, as well as the Baraita, mentions the Boethusians as opposing the Pharisees in saying that the sheaf due at the Passover (compare Omer) must be offered not on the second feast-day, but on the day after the actual Shabbat of the festival week, and, accordingly, that Shavuot, which comes seven weeks and one day later, should always be celebrated on Sunday.

In another passage it is narrated that the Boethusians hired false witnesses in order to lead the Pharisees astray in their calculations of the new moon.

Another point of dispute between the Boethusians and the Pharisees was whether the high priest should prepare the incense inside or outside the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.


This was the real start of all the nitpicking and ‘disagreements’ between the Sages, that has put so very many people off yiddishkeit down the ages, including in our days.

And remember, there is nothing new under the sun.


Boethus and Zadok were both from priestly families.

Apparently, the Talmud was using the words ‘Boethusians’ and ‘Tzaddukim’ interchangeably, to denote a bunch of wicked, hellenising heretics who were trying to subvert Judaism from within.

For example, there is an argument in Shabbat 108a between ‘a Boethusian’ and R’ Yehoshua HaGarsi, where the Boethusian heretic is asking him:

From where is it derived that one may not write tefillin on the hide of an animal that is not kosher?

All these Boethusian, Sadducees and proto-xtians heretics sound the same in the Gemara.

That’s probably not a coincidence.

But according to my historian, above, there were two groups of ‘Zadukim’, one holy, and one really not, that Chazal could no longer distinguish between.

Let’s explore a little further.


This snippet comes from the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, HERE:

Because of evident similarities, some scholars tend to view the Boethusians as merely a branch of the Sadducees.

Both parties, they point out, associated with the aristocracy and denied the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, because neither of these doctrines was contained in the written Torah, or first five books of the Bible.

The Boethusians testified to their disbelief in the “world to come” by living lives of luxury and by ridiculing the piety and asceticism of the Pharisees….

Still other scholars have argued that the Boethusians should be identified with the Essenes and Dead Sea Sect and that the word Boethusian may not derive from the name Boethus but from Beth Essaya, or Essenes.


There’s a link to Qumran again.

Let’s continue.


While I was pondering all this, the Rav, Rav Eliezer Berland, started making a bunch of references to ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’, and the strange account of what happened with the High Priesthood, when two of his sons started fighting with each other.

You can find that account in Tractate Menachot, 109b (this is the Artscroll translation):

“At the moment of his passing, [Shimon HaTzaddik] said to them, ‘My son Chonyo should serve as Kohen HaGadol in my place.’

Shimi, his brother, became jealous of him, because [Shimi] was two and a half years older than [Chonyo]. Shimi then schemed to have Chonyo killed, so he could assume the post of Kohen Gadol.

[Shimi] said to [Chonyo], ‘Come, and I will teach you the order of the Temple Service.’ He dressed him in a leather blouse and belted him with an attractive sash. Both of these were feminine articles of clothing. [Shimi] stood him next to the Altar. Shimi then left him there and went to speak to a group of Kohanim who were in the Temple at that time.

[Shimi] said to his brothers the Kohanim, ‘Look at what this [brother of mine] vowed and carried out for his beloved wife! He swore to her, ‘On the day I first serve as Kohen Gadol, I will wear your blouse and belt myself with your sash, to demonstrate my love for you.’

His brothers the Kohanim believed this story and wished to kill [Chonyo]. [Chonyo] ran away from them but they ran after him. He went to Alexandria in Egypt, built an altar there and brought sacrifices upon it for the sake of idolatry.”


Remember, both these Kohanim are meant to be the sons of Shimon HaTzaddik.

But wait, there’s more. The Gemara account continues  like this:

“This version of the story reflects the words of R’ Meir. R’ Yehudah said to him: ‘That’s not how the story went’.

Rather, after Shimon HaTzaddik named Chonyo as his successor, Chonyo did not accept this upon himself because his brother Shimi was two and a half years older than him. Nevertheless, Chonyo regretted his decision and plotted to have Shimi killed, so he could become the Kohen Gadol.

[Chonyo] said to [Shimi], ‘Come, and I will teach you the Temple Service.’ He dressed him in a woman’s leather blouse and belted him with a woman’s attractive sash. [Chonyo] stood [Shimi] next to the altar and left him there.

[Chonyo] said to his brothers the Kohanim, ‘Look at what this [brother of mine] vowed and carried out for his beloved wife! He swore to her, ‘On the day that I first serve as Kohen Gadol, I will wear your blouse and belt myself with your sash, to show you the depth of my love.’


His brothers the Kohanim believed this story and wished to kill him.

He asked them to wait until he spoke and then they could do whatever they wished. [Shimi] told them the entire incident. The Kohanim investigated the matter with the greatest scrutiny until they clarified Shimi was innocent and it was Chonyo who had dared to make the Kohen Gadol, the avodah and the Altar into a joke.

[The masses] then wished to kill Chonyo. [Chonyo] ran away from them, but they ran after him. He ran towards the King’s palace, but they ran after him. Whoever saw him as he ran would point at him and tell his pursuers, ‘That is him! That is him!’

When he reached the palace, the king could not protect him because he was sought by the entire Jewish people.

[Chonyo] went to Alexandria in Egypt, built an altar there and brought offerings upon it for the sake of Heaven.

He therefore fulfilled a prophetic promise to Isaiah from years earlier, for it says: ‘On that day, there will be an altar to Hashem in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Hashem near it’s border.'”


If you are feeling confused by all this, don’t worry!

I also am.

But certain threads are starting to tie together here, in a big way, between real Jewish history, the Hashmonaims, the Sadducees, and the first ‘Jewish-xtian’ heretics.

Let’s set out a few more details, and then we’ll pick this up in part 2, because it’s too much info to stuff into one post.

The note on the Artscroll translation says this:

Rambam states that Chonyo built a temple that was structurally similar to the Beit HaMikdash.

Josephus Flavius reports that it was a smaller and poorer version. Josephus writes further that Chonyo [whom he calls ‘Onias’ and describes as a descendant of Shimon HaTzaddik] appealed to Ptolemy Philometer and his queen Cleopatra, who ruled Egypt from Alexandria, to allow him to develop a certain stretch of land for a Jewish Temple.

Josephus states that this land was in an area known as ‘the Nomus of Heliopolis’.


“Helio” = sun.

“Polis” = city.

Back to that footnote:


Rambam writes (following the view of R’ Yehudah) that the Temple of Chonyo was not a pagan temple, but Chonyo did transgress the negative commandment against offering sacrifices outside the Beit HaMikdash.

Rambam adds that the Copts and their associates were attracted to Chonyo.

Chonyo encouraged them to serve Hashem and they listened to him. His statements were much esteemed by them and they made him their priest and honored his temple.

They served Hashem there and brought offerings according to what Chonyo had instructed them. The temple stood for hundreds of years.


I have that strange feeling I sometimes get that we may have just tripped over the historical account of the original ‘Yoshki’.

You know, that guy who went ‘bad’ and mislead a whole bunch of people to start worshipping idols, even though he himself was apparently still a devout Jew… who went down to Egypt and learnt black magic there…. who was very connected to ‘royalty’ back in Jerusalem, and who descends from a family of priests…

Remember, the Coptic Church is probably the oldest ‘official’ xtian church in the world. This comes from Wikipedia:

The Egyptian Church is traditionally believed to be founded by Mark the Evangelist around AD 42, and regards itself as the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament.

Isaiah the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says “In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border”.

The first Christians in Egypt were common people who spoke Egyptian Coptic.

There were also Alexandrian Jewish people such as Theophilus, whom Luke the Evangelist addresses in the introductory chapter of his gospel. When the church was founded by Mark during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, a great multitude of native Egyptians (as opposed to Greeks or Jews) embraced the Christian faith.


This is the exact same verse quoted in our Gemara, Tractate Menachot 109b, in connection with Chonyo’s temple!

If the original ‘Yoshki’ was actually the son of Shimon HaTzaddik… we can already start to understand why all this has been so covered up.

So now, we have to ask the question:

Who was ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’, really, and how did he connect to the Hashmonaim rulers?

For sure, he’s a massive Tzaddik, there’s no question of that.

But, what is the context surrounding him, and his family, and how does all this mesh together with what we know of ‘official Jewish history’?

We’ll try to explore that more, in the next post, BH.


In preparation for the next post, I highly recommend you go back and read this one:

A lot of the pieces are starting to come together.

6 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    ” these same Zadukim / Sadducees were also big into heliocentric heresy”
    How could that be given that Copernicus came 1500 years after them?

    I’m not sure why you take the Essenes’ “Sons of Tzadok” claims as anything more than George Santos style puffery. Plus, that’s the Tzadok from bayit Rishon, not the heretic that lay claim too.

    One commenter (earlier post) noted Rashi’s explanation of the phrase חוג הארץ. See the other commentaries there, and more important see Rashi on Iyov 22:14 where he completes what he wrote is Yeshayahu.

    I’m not aware of any significant rabbi from the past 400 years who believed the earth is flat. Early rabbis who explicily spoke of a globe include Radak and Chaim Vital. I’m not sure about your comments about R’ Nachman’s dreidel- he seems to be writing symbolically/poetically and he expliclity refers to the earth as a ball elsewhere.

    As far as rabbinical acceptance/rejectopm of Copernicus, see Eliezer Brodt’s comprehensive article in Hakira. He ends the long article with a fascinating survey of more recent authorities who see the Zohar as anticipating Copernicus.

    So much for Torah sources.

    A flat earth model would need to explain the phenomenon we see. But I haven’t seen this. Take the moon for example:
    1) It always appears the same size (with slight variation) no matter where, no matter when.
    2) It always rises and sets in the horizon- it never disappears to a point.
    3) We always see the same face of the moon- the far side in never seen from anywhere on earth. And it always appears round- never oblong.
    No flat earth model can account for the above three facts.

    בשורות טובות

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Why are you assuming that ‘heliocentrism’ started with Copernicus?

      RE: Essenes, I am willing to consider all evidence from all sources, and to weigh it up, as best as I can, against other sources, to try and tease out the truth. Most of the big insights I’ve had about everything on this blog have come from not automatically discarding the ‘other side of the argument’ as a given. There are sparks of truth to be found everywhere, the trick is discernment, and getting those ‘sparks’ to accord with other facts that stand them up.

      Re ‘flat earth’ / ‘globe earth’, you seem to have missed the point that the shape of the earth is not really the issue.

      There are various opinions held, and they are all valid. The far bigger point is geocentric vs heliocentric. There is no authentic Jewish tradition that holds the ‘heliocentric’ view. And if the earth is not orbiting the sun – as NASA is constantly telling us – then none of the other theories and equations based on heliocentism stand up, either.

      Most of our ‘recent rabbinical authorities’ are morally corrupt – we saw that clearly with Covid – and seem to place more faith in Carl Sagan and nazis like Werner Braun than they do in the statements of Chazal. Personally, their opinions don’t hold a lot of weight, because Torah knowledge and authentic ‘Torah wisdom’ are by no means the same thing.

      It’s strange that you dismiss Rabbi Nachman’s discussion of the dreidel as ‘poetry’ (and BTW, please can you send me the specific source for where you say he explicitly refers t othe earth as a ball, as I’ve been trying to track that down, and so far haven’t found it.) BUT when it comes to the Zohar, who we know writes esoterically and at very deep levels, you hold that his words should be taken literally. Why the double-standard?

      Lastly, the main point is that ‘flat earth vs globe earth’ is not the point.

      The point is ‘geocentric’ or ‘heliocentric’. If the universe is not ‘heliocentric’ – and again, there are no authentic Torah sources that hold this – the whole house of cards and equations collapses.

      Can you concede this point?

      There was a third viewpoint put forward by astronomer Tycho Brache that the earth is stationary, and that the planets revolve around the sun, and then the sun AND the planets in its orbit revolve around the earth.

      No-one has taken the time to properly evaluate that model, but it had some strong support amongst the rabbi-astronomers of that time, especially in the Maharal’s Prague, where Brahe’s experiments were going on. (Remember, that strange clock face in Prague that appeared to show a detailed map of ‘flat earth’, which has now been ‘renovated’ out of existence?)

      Bottom line: We don’t know how God created the world. We can know a bit, we can guess at a lot, but there are still so many mysteries – and there really has to be. God is not a human being. Anyone who thinks they can fathom the mind of the Creator, however ‘clever’ they themselves might be, is operating from a very arrogant place, and we know ‘arrogance and God’ just don’t go together.

      Science likes to pretend it knows a lot more than it does. But it’s all just theories and guess work, that change with the wind.

  2. Rivka Levy
    Rivka Levy says:

    For other readers, here is what Rashi says, in his commentary to Iyov 22:14:

    “עבים סתר” – לפניו ולא יוכל לראות

    “וחוג שמים יתהלך” – ולא ידע את אשר בארץ

    “חוג” – עוגל מחוגת שמים כמו ובמחוגה יתארהו (ישעיהו מד) קומפ”ש בלע”ז

    The word ‘chug’ could mean sphere, but is more usually referred to as ‘circle’.

    I’m very happy if someone out there would like to contribute an accurate translation of this, especially the last line.

    From what I can tell myself, it’s referring to the ‘chug’ – the circle – as some sort of ’round sky dial’.

    That calls to mind the ‘dial’ on the old phones that people under 40 may not remember – i.e. the centre is totally stationary, and ’round sky dial’ is the thing that moves around it.

    And the verse referred to in Isaiah, 44:13, is talking about ‘marks it with a compass’ (referring to creating an idol to worship…. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.)

    But very happy to get more input on this, and particularly an accurate translation.


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