I have prayed long and hard about whether to write this.
For well over a month, I have been consumed with research about what really happened to all the many ‘false messiah’ / Shabbatean prophets that popped up in the Jewish community, post-Shabtai Tzvi.
Conventional Jewish history pretty much airbrushed all of these people out of the picture, and made it seem as though only a few people really believed in Shabtai Tzvi; and that only a few more people really followed after Jacob Frank.
That’s not true.
Most of the Jewish world believed in Shabtai Tzvi, and even after he converted to Islam and then died, the movement continued. How? Because people like Nathan of Gaza were on hand to keep the wheel spinning, by explaining that the soul of Shabtai Tzvi would ‘reincarnate’ in each generation.
There was a grand battle between Shabtai Tzvi’s successors.
Every few years, there would be another ‘grand battle’ between all the false Shabbatean prophets / false messiahs, over who had really gotten the ‘soul’ of Shabtai Tzvi, or his latest acknowledged successor, after that guy passed away.
If you look carefully through the Jewish history books, you will understand that these battles have continued throughout the last 300 years – even into our days.
But let’s get back to the main meat of this post, which is going to be plenty long enough without any diversions.
Many of the secret followers of Shabtai Tzvi were rabbis, with the highest pedigree, Torah and yichus.
Many of these rabbis were kabbalists, and it seems to me that their foray into the kabbalah is what made them so susceptible to Shabbatean ‘Torah’.
This isn’t a new phenomena.
When Rabbi Akiva and his three colleagues visited the Pardes (an allusion to the deepest wellsprings of kabbalistic learning), only Rabbi Akiva emerged unscathed.
Ben Azzai died. Ben Zoma lost his mind. And Elisha ben Abuya (‘Acher’) became a heretic.
As it was then, so it was 250 years ago. So many of our leading Torah sages delved too deep in the kabbalah, with the result that many of them literally went crazy, or turned into heretics and atheists, or ‘died’ to the Jewish people by converting out of the faith.
Here’s what one contemporary wrote about the numbers of rabbis who ‘came out’ as Shabbateans, when Jacob Frank showed up:
[Click the link to see the full passage from the Derashot Beis Peretz, in the original Hebrew.]
“And [the followers of Shabtai Tzvi] had a big debate in the city of Lvov (Lemberg) with all the rabbis of Poland, with more than 200 apikorsim of Shabtai Tzvi….”
Most of these ‘apikorsim of Shabtai Tzvi’ were the leading rabbis of their day.
This is a fact that has been deliberately hidden and obscured from us, for reasons that will become obvious as we continue with this post.
As I started to really research what was going on, I came to understand that most of what we’ve been taught about what really happened in the Jewish community from around 1666 on is a deliberate lie.
Most of the Jewish leaders were actually believers in Shabtai Tzvi, and most of the ‘arguments’ between them were NOT based on people who were ‘pro’ Shabtai Tzvi of ‘anti’ Shabtai Tzvi.
Most of the arguments were around which version of Shabtai Tzvi’s path was the correct one to follow, and who was really the ‘true prophet’ carrying forward Shabtai Tzvi’s teachings.
There is something else to underline, before we continue, and that is that when Moshiach comes, he is going to rectify all of the issues of yichus that have piled up over the last few centuries. All the problems with forbidden relationships, all the mamzerut – Moshiach is going to fix it all.
Last year, I wrote a post which brought most of the sources from the Gemara which cover this subject, and you can read that here:
This is a crucial things to internalise as we go forward, because many people will be truly shocked to understand that the yichus they may have been boasting about for the last 200 years is actually the very opposite of a good pedigree, Jewishly.
BUT IT CAN AND WILL ALL BE FIXED BY MOSHIACH, SO DON’T DESPAIR!!!
I am well aware that I am casting a very big stone in the pond with this information.
Two weeks ago, I decided to pull the plug on my research, and to let sleeping dogs lie. But since then, I’ve had no peace, internally, and Hashem seems to be pushing me all the time in my hitbodedut to actually get this information out there, as gently as I can.
I guess it boils down to the fact that the world of truth can’t materialise until the world of lies really falls. And until we start to grasp just how many lies the modern Jewish community has been built on, that’s just not going to happen.
So with all those explanations out the way, let’s now get down to business.
Let’s start the process of uncovering the lies with the story of Abraham Broda, aka Avraham Rovigo, a leading secret Shabbatean of the more ‘moderate’ section of the cult.
(If you want to refresh your memory about what we’ve already covered here on the blog about the false prophets of Shabtai Tzvi, go back and re-read the blog posts I’m placing at the end of this post.)
Here is the starting point: all of the Shabbatean rabbis and prophets had at least one, if not more, ‘alter egos’.
So it was that they could be pious ‘Avraham Broda’ in one place, one country, and also be a Shabbatian prophet called ‘Avraham Rovigo’ in another context and country.
I have found this occurring again and again, that well known Jewish rabbis and ‘tzaddikim’ are called by one name in the Jewish history books, but went by many other names in the non-Jewish world, and also in different countries.
Some more points to note, before we really dive in, is that surnames only became mandatory within the Jewish community of Eastern Europe / Russia 200 years ago. So it was really easy to chop and change identities at will.
Also, the place names also changed, depending on which country was conquering the population at any given time. So, you can have ‘Lvov’ and ‘Lemberg’ referring to the same city, for example.
And lastly, be aware that many of these people moved around a LOT – and could often be away for years ‘on business’ in other countries, while apparently continuing as the official ‘rav’ of their communities back home.
OK, enough setting the scene. Let’s turn to some details now, about Avraham Broda / Avraham Rovigo.
In the official history of R’ Abraham Broda (that you can read for yourself HERE, in Hebrew), he’s described as the main rabbinic leader of the diaspora.
Here’s some of the details laid out in that ‘official history’:
- Abraham Broda is related to the Maharal of Prague. He lives between 1650-1717, and is the son of ‘Shaul’ of Bumsla. His father is concerned about his son being pulled towards the teachings of Shabtai Tzvi, so he sends him to learn in Cracow, with Rabbi Yitzhak Harif.
- He first becomes the Rav of Lichtenstadt; then he moves to Rodnitz (where he gives his haskamah to Meir Eisenstadt’s book ‘Panim Meirot’. Recall that Meir Eisenstadt is a) the brother of another Shabbatian false messiah called ‘Mordechai Mokiah’, and b) the supporter of another false messiah called Yehudah Leib ben Ya‘akov Holleschau of Prossnitz.)
- From Rodnitz, Avraham Broda becomes a rabbi in Prague. In each place he goes, he opens up big yeshivas that attract thousands of students.
Avraham Broda’s students include:
- Jonathan Eybshutz
- Yosef Steinhardt
- Yona Lansdorfer
- Netanel Weil / Wehle
Let’s take a look at what happened to some of these students of Abraham Broda, as Rebbe Nachman teaches that like a seal imprinting in wax, you can tell if a leader is really ‘good’ or ‘bad’ by looking at his students.
Jonathan Eybshutz we already know is (rightly…) suspected of being a Shabbatean.
His son, Wolf, comes out publically as another Shabbatean ‘false messiah’ even in his father’s lifetime.
I’m also currently chasing down another line of research that suggests the Moses Dobrushka, Jacob Frank’s first cousin once removed and a notorious ‘antinomian Shabbatean’ was a grandson of Jonatan Eybshutz.
Then there’s the fact that Jonatan Eybshutz brazenly spelled out the name ‘Shabtai Tsvi’ on his wife Elka’s gravestone.
And if you read Heinrich Graetz ‘History of the Jews‘, you’ll learn a lot more details besides, that suggest R Yonatan was indeed a Sabbatian, and also a ‘false prophet’ himself.
Next up, we have R’ Yosef Steinhardt.
‘Steinhardt’ is a made-up name, and with a little bit of digging, we discover that ‘Yosef Steinhardt’, author of Koach Shor, appears to be Isaac Shor.
The Shor family was one of the most well-known in Galicia, and intermarried with many of the biggest rabbinical dynasties.
Sadly, they were also hardcore secret Shabbatians, and when Jacob Frank came along, the family ‘came out’ publically.
You can read more about them HERE. Here’s a taster:
“ELISHA SCHOR, the first known of the ramified Wolowski family, was a descendant of Zalman Naphtali Schor, rabbi of *Lublin. For many years Elisha Schor held the position of Maggid in the community of *Rogatin….
The children of Elisha Schor, Solomon, Nathan, Lipman, Hayyah, and their families adhered to the Frankist sect, until their conversion to Christianity in 1759, when they changed their name to Wolowski (Pol. wol = Heb. shor). They held various positions in the court of Jacob Frank in Poland and in Offenbach.”
The Shor family got ‘airbrushed’ out of Jewish history now, so it’s hard tracking them all down. Suffice to say, that while some Schors openly became Frankists and then converted to Catholicism, other members of the family continued to stay within the Jewish community – and many of them continued to be ‘secret Shabbateans’.
So, Joseph Steinhardt / Isaac Shor marries a woman called Kreindall.
Kreindall is the daughter of Yehuda Leib Berlin, who happens to be the son of Mordechai Mokiah, brother of R’ Meir of Eisenstadt and another false Shabbatean ‘messiah’.
I can’t stress how important it is to understand that these ‘secret’ followers of Shabtai Tzvi tried very hard to just marry each other, across many generations.
Once you get that, it gets way easier to start tracking them all down. Let’s continue.
R’ Yona Lansdorfer – author of the ‘Me’il Tzedaka’ – dies young, and is officially described as someone who ‘fought against Sabbatians’.
Again, this is misleading. He fought against a different branch of Sabbatian thinking, but if you take a look at what happened to his descendants, you can see that his own Shabbatean streak came out very clearly later on.
Here is Yona Lansdorfer’s page on geni.com – backed up with supporting documents (very important, because there are so many ‘faked’ geni pages around Sabbatians and their descendants.)
Yona’s son is Mendel Lansdorfer.
Mendel’s daughter, Slava Malka, marries one Hersch Aaron Beer Wehle.
Their son is Jonas (Yonah) Beer Wehle.
Here’s what YIVO has to say about him, and his descendants:
“According to the testimony of Moses Porges, Yonah Beer Wehle was a leader of the Sabbatians in Prague.
On several occasions, he visited the Frankist court in Offenbach and was the main financial supporter of Ewa Frank. His sons Avraham and Akiva spent a period of time at the Offenbach court and reportedly recorded Ewa’s visions, which were later included in the unpublished manuscript “The Prophecies of Isaiah.”
During their stay in Offenbach, Akiva and Avraham were baptized and assumed the names of Joseph and Max Klarenberg. Yonah’s daughter Deborah married Löw Enoch Edler von Hönigsberg, another important Sabbatian leader and author of numerous kabbalistic manuscripts.
In 1849, Gottlieb Wehle (1802–1881), the great-uncle of Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis and a first cousin of Zacharias Frankel, settled in New York. In his last will, Gottlieb Wehle presented the Sabbatianism of his ancestor as an emancipatory movement of social and moral advance, leading revolution against petrified orthodoxy.”
How did the Lansdorfers link up with the Wehles?
Here’s one suggestion: The last student of Abraham Broda, named above, is
R’ Netanel Weil / Wehle, author of the ‘Korban Netanel’.
On Wikipedia, you can read an official history of Netanel HERE.
And you can read the will of unrepentantant Frankist Gottlieb Wehle (who is very likely Netanel’s descendant) HERE.
LET’S GET BACK TO R’ ABRAHAM BRODA / ROVIGO.
How do we know that ‘Abraham Broda’ is one and the same as ‘Avraham Rovigo’?
Simple. Both of them lived at exactly the same time, and both of them wrote a book called ‘Eshel Avraham’. Here’s a link to an early edition of that book, and here’s a write up about it:
“[Zohar] Mordechai ben Yehudah Leib Ashkenazi and Abraham ben Michael Rovigo. [Hebrew Text:]. Sefer Eshel Avraham … be-ve’ur shiv’ah yeme Be-reshit ve-sod ta’ame Torah. Furth: Model of Ansbach in the House of Tsevi Hirsh ben Yosef Segal, 1701.
Mordechai ben Yehudah Leib Ashkenazi of Zolkiev, 1695-1702, Kabbalist and Shabbatean. Ashkenazi wrote the Eshel Avraham “based on a new interpretation of the Zohar he received from heaven.”….
Ashkenazi states that through the principles revealed in this book one can understand more of the Zohar in three months than others have been able to do in many years. This work has the enthusiastic approbations of the great rabbis of the period even though the author was a Shabbatean…..
Rovigo (circa 1650-1713) Italian kabbalist and Shabbatean. “Rovigo studied in Venice, where he became one of the leading pupils of Moses Zacuto in Kabbalah… Since he belonged to a wealthy family, Rovigo was able to devote himself exclusively to his studies; he became widely known as a supporter of pious enterprises and later also of Shabbatean activities…
Becoming one of the main supporters of the moderate wing of Shabbateanism, he gathered around him many secret followers of the movement… In 1700-1 he spent a whole year seeing through the press the Zoharic commentaries of Mordecai Ashkenazi (of Zolkiev, 1695-1702), in Fuerth, a place that seemed more sympathetic to secret Shabbateans than Mantua or Venice.”
In 1702, Avraham Broda / Rovigo set up a Shabbatean kabbalist yeshiva in Jerusalem, in preparation for the ‘second coming’ of Shabtai Tzvi. Who did he ask for advice, on who to include in this Shabbatean beit midrash? Israel Chasid, son in law of Judah Ha-Hasid:
ISAIAH ḤASID FROM ZBARAZH (17th–18th centuries), Shabbatean scholar, the son-in-law of *Judah he-Ḥasid. In 1700 Isaiah Ḥasid immigrated to Jerusalem with his father-in-law and his companions. When the kabbalist Abraham *Rovigo arrived in *Jerusalem in 1702 and founded there a bet midrash for ten select members, he took Isaiah Ḥasid’s advice as to who should be admitted to it.
There are many, many links between the settlement of Eretz Yisrael over the last 200 years and all these Shabbatians.
We will, BH, get to that in another post. For now, let’s carry on trying to pin down Abraham Broda’s descendants.
And here is where things are about to get even more controversial.
The official history lists the following children for Abraham Broda:
- Moshe Broda (1675-1741), Rav of Tiktin / Tykocin, then Bamberg, then Rav of Varmisai.
His daughter Sarah marries R Shmuel Shlesinger. They have a son called Moshe Ginz, and he has a son called Rav Akiva Eiger.
Yes, the famous Rabbi Akiva Eiger is the great-grandson of the Shabbatean prophet Avraham Rovigo.
On geni.com, we learn that the Eshel Avraham has six more children that the official history doesn’t really talk about. These include:
- An unnamed daughter, who is the wife of R Yosef Moshe of Breslau.
- R’ Shlomo Zalman Braude (dies 1742), the ABD of Mergentheim.
- Esther, who marries R’ Isaak Nathan Schwabacher.
I think this ‘Shlomo Zalman Braude’ is the father of the Vilna Gaon (and also possibly connected to Shneur Zalman, Chabad’s Alter Rebbe.)
Let’s try to continue unpicking all this.
The official history ignores all these other children, then suddenly jumps to recounting the history of Aharon Broda, the ABD of Kalwaria, later dayan in Vilna, without explaining how he is connected to Abraham Broda / Rovigo (the Eshel Avraham)
Aharon Broda is listed as having two brothers:
- R’ Itzhak ‘Harif’ Broda, of Meitzad (who is possibly the same ‘Yitzhak Harif’ of Krakow, who learns with the Eshel Avraham, above).
- R’ Avraham Broda, the ABD of Serhei – who we are told is a ‘close friend’ of the Vilna Gaon.
Now, let’s go to the ‘official genealogy’ for the Vilna Gaon HERE, we learn the following:
Yehudah Leib Vilner son of Eliyahu Gaon of Vilna and Khana of Keidan, born 1764, Vilna, Lithuania, married daughter of Avraham of Serhei and Esther Jaffe, born Alinka, Lithuania, . Yehudah died 1816, Neustadt- Sugind, Lithuania.
Yehuda Leib Vilner is listed as a son of the Vilna Gaon, and one of the main people who disseminated his father’s teachings, after his death in 1797.
There are many, many mysteries surrounding the genealogy of the Vilna Gaon, but here we have at least one clear piece of information officially linking his family to that of the Sabbatian prophet, the Eshel Avraham.
(This is a good time to remember that all these Sabbatians liked to keep things in the family, and often just kept marrying each other. That’s also why I think the ‘Shlomo Zalman Broda’ listed above is a likely candidate for the Vilna Gaon’s father.)
If we continue with the official genealogy of the Broda family, we are told that Aaron Broda (ABD of Kalawaria and dayan of Vilna, brother of Abraham Broda of Serhei) has six sons – but it only lists five:
- Binyamin Broda, ABD of Horodna / Grodna
- Aryeh Leib Broda, ABD of Kalawaria
- DovBer Broda, ABD of Zablodova
- Yosef Broda, Rav of Tiktin / Tykocin
- Tzvi Hirsh Broda of Salant – the first rebbe of Yisrael Salanter, the founder of the mussar movement
I think the sixth son is Gershon Broda aka Gershon Vilna aka Gershon RIVLIN.
(RIVLIN is just an anagram of VILNER. This piece of information is crucial to understand where the infamous Rivlin family of Shklov that basically control Eretz Israel spring from.)
Now, we go to the blog of Athol Bloomer, a modern-day Frankist / Zoharist / Hebrew Catholic, who has a habit of mixing up a lot of truth with a lot of lies, about what was going on back in Poland around the time of Frank.
I am still trying to work through all of Bloomer’s claims, to see what is true and what isn’t, and it’s a massive job, not least because of all the lies being told on the Jewish community’s side of the fence.
But according to Bloomer, this Binyamin Broda remained in the Jewish community as the Frankist ‘Tzaddik’, after so many of the other Frankists publically converted out:
“Rebbe Benjamin was the Frankist Tzadik of those who remained in the Jewish community but also was known as Alexander Brody in the Christian community.
His first wife was Chaya Rivkah Margolioth (Margarita). His first father-in-law Zvi Hirsh was the Rabbi of Zbaraz in Galicia [who was the son of Mordechai Margolioth]. He went to live with his father-in-law after his marriage and took the name Alexander Margolioth and succeeded him as Rabbi of Zbaraz in about 1774.
After this he was the Rabbi of Ossatin (or Satanov-Ossatin and Satanov have been confused). After 1802 he moved to Shklov.”
I think this ‘Binyamin Broda’ is the same person as ‘Binyamin Rivlin of Shklov’, who is listed as the ‘cousin of the Vilna Gaon, and one of his greatest students’.
In the ‘official history’, Binyamin Rivlin was the father of Hillel Rivlin of Shklov – who lead the Vilna Gaon’s group of Perushim to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael.
This link (in Hebrew) also shows that Binyamin Rivlin was connected to Joshua Zeitlin, and that both men were connected to the Vilna Gaon:
“Together with Rabbi Yehoshua Zeitlin, [Binyamin Rivlin] founded the “Yeshivat Ha’iluim” in Shklov. The Gaon from Vilnius was present at the founding of the yeshiva.”
Both Binyamin Rivlin and Joshua Zeitlin were leaders of the haskalah, as I covered in THIS post.
They were playing a double game – ‘super pious’ Jews in one arena, and men who were pushing for enlightenment and assimilation in another.
This type of stunning, two-faced hypocrisy is a hallmark of Sabbateans, and was honed to a fine art by Frankists.
I’m going to stop here for now, as I know this is a lot to take in, and I still have a ton more information to present.
Let’s try to recap the main points, before we move forward with more links, in the next post.
- The Eshel Avraham, Avraham Broda / Rovigo was a Sabbatean prophet, and leader of the more moderate branch of Sabbatians.
- He established yeshivas all over the Jewish world, and had literally thousands of students.
- Many of his students, including Yonatan Eybshutz, Yonah Lansdorfer and Netanel Weil / Wehle appear to have been secret Sabbatians. This showed itself in their descendants, many of whom were at the forefront of the Frankist movement.
- There were literally hundreds of leading Rabbis who were secret Sabbatians in the Jewish world, in the century following Shabtai Tzvi’s conversion to Islam and death. Many of these people – like the Shor family – have been airbrushed out of conventional Jewish history.
- The descendants of these Sabbatians continue to play a very big part in the Jewish world today, both in the diaspora and the State of Israel.
- Binyamin Broda – a close family member of the Eshel Avraham – is identified with Binyamin Rivlin of Shklov, one of the leading disciples of the Vilna Gaon, and father of Hillel of Shklov, who lead the Perushim to Eretz Yisrael.
- Binyamin Broda is also identified by Athol Bloomer as being the leader of the ‘secret Frankists’ who remain within the Jewish community.
- The Vilna Gaon is also ‘officially’ related to the Broda family, via Abraham Broda of Serhei, whose daughter marries the Vilna Gaon’s son, Yehuda Leib.
- Binyamin Broda / Rivlin and Yehoshua Zeitlin were leaders of the haskalah, and both are closely connected to the Vilna Gaon.
- Yes, I’m suggesting that the Vilna Gaon and his circle were probably closely connected to secret Sabbatians / Frankists. That’s why there is so much deliberate ‘confusion’ being sown about their genealogies.
And I have a lot more still to share with you, about some other leading Jewish figures who were closely connected to these secret Frankists / Sabbatians.
According to Yivo, Aharon Broda is the son of Moshe Broda.
That makes Benjamin Broda / Rivlin the Eshel Avraham’s great-grandson.
And I tracked down some more members of the infamous Schor family too, here, who changed their name to ‘Brodski’, became fabulously wealthy, and then intermarried with the Gintsburgs of St Petersburg:
The Brodskiis originated in Brody, Galicia, with the family name Schor; the name Brodskii was taken by Me’ir (Mark) Schor when he moved to the small town of Zlatopol’ in Kiev province in the early nineteenth century. The family had a pedigree of some distinction, as Me’ir’s grandfather had been Rabbi Aleksander Schor, author of a work on Jewish law entitled Simlah ḥadashah.
Joseph Steinhardt’s father was called Menachem Mendel Steinhardt.
He was also from the notorious Shor family.
There appears to be some confusion in what I’ve found online as to whether he was one and the same person as Menachem Mendel of Nikolsburg, who wrote a book called She’elot and Teshuvot Tzemech Tzedek, or just his grandson, with the same name.
What’s not in dispute is that ‘Menachem Mendel Steinhardt’ wrote a book called Divrei Iggeret, which maybe you won’t be so surprised to know, was criticised (and also hailed) as the ‘harbinger of the reform movement’.
See here, and below:
The following info about Menachem Mendel Steinhardt (Shor) comes from the ANU musueam database:
Born in Fuerth, Germany, he became rabbi in Minden and then in Hildesheim. He was involved with the forerunners of the Reform movement and was the first German rabbi to preach in German and to omit sections of the traditional liturgy. His lenient ruling permitting legumes to be eaten on Passover provoked the anger of the Orthodox rabbis.
If we go back to geni.com, we can make the link between Menachem Mendel Schor (Steinhardt) and the infamous Elisha Schor, Rav of Rohatyn, whose whole family came out openly as Frankists, and converted en masse to Polish catholicism:
Menachem Mendel’s great-grandfather, Zalman, was Elisha Schor’s brother.
One of the ‘forerunners of the Reform Movement’ was a man named Israel Jacobson. Menachem Mendel Steinhardt and he were in close cahoots together.
I have a hunch that ‘Israel Jacobson’ is probably one of Jacob Frank’s children or grandchildren, who stayed within the Jewish community to disrupt it internally.
As I’ve discovered, many of Frank’s descendants went by some version of ‘the son of Jacob’ as their surname.
As I’m sure you can appreciate, the tracks leading back to Jacob Frank have been obscured, so it’s going to take me a while to unpick it all to find out.
OTHER BLOG POSTS COVERING SHABTAI TZVI AND HIS MANY FALSE PROPHETS: