Jäcklin Wiell senior (], Jew in Stühlingen, is presenting an account for capital and interest with Christian Fässler of Schwaningen. It shows that said Fässler still owes 8 fl. 56 kr. to the Jew after his present payment. [The debt is part of an estate from the debtor’s deceased father Balthasar.] Judgment: Should the creditor hopefully be called to the Holy Land, or go there on his own volition between now and the upcoming St. Martin’s day, the debtor will have to pay the full amount of capital plus interest accrued since 1664 immediately and without appeal. Otherwise the regular payment on St. Martin’s day applies.
Jäcklin Wiell senior (), Jew in Stühlingen, sells to miller Michael Schüedell in Weizen a horse for the price of 100 fl. under the following conditions: the buyer keeps the horse only if the seller, or in case of his passing his heirs or heirs’ heirs, must travel to the Holy Land. The buyer and his heirs are bound by this contract. Within fourteen days of receiving true and credible proof of this emigration they have to pay the full 100 fl.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Marum, the son of Jekhuff Gugenheim () too entered in two similar contracts . Why would simple rural Jews from the backwoods of southern Germany seriously consider emigration to Palestine all of a sudden in the seventeenth century? The mysterious call came from Sabbatai Zevi,59 a previously obscure Sephardi rabbi born in Smyrna in 1626, who gradually promoted himself as the new Messiah of the Jews. Sabbatai travelled from Smyrna, over Salonika, to Cairo and Jerusalem, where he spent time studying, teaching, and persuading. He found fervent followers, such as Nathan of Gaza who whipped up the masses. His messianic movement had mystical roots in the Kabbalah and was furthered by the bloody pogroms of the Khmelnytsky Uprising in the Ukraine (1648–57).60 This movement spread rapidly among the Jews from the Middle East to eastern and western Europe61 and reached its apex in the spring and summer of 1666. News about the new Messiah kept coming to Europe through the Italian ports, Hamburg, and Amsterdam from October 1665 on by letters and messengers.62 Copies of Nathan of Gaza’s “Manuals of Devotion” were reprinted in Mantua by April 1666 for distribution in synagogues.63 In Italy preparations for Purim plays were called off because it was thought to be inappropriate to celebrate Purim when the Messiah had appeared. It took a bit longer for the news to penetrate to Germany. But in March 1666 a broadsheet on Sabbatai Zevi was published in Augsburg.64 Ultimately the Sabbatean movement collapsed like a pricked balloon after Sabbatai Zevi converted to Islam in September 1666. While some authors claimed that the Sabbatean movement seemed to have persisted for a few years in some regions of Germany,65 this appeared not to be the case in Stühlingen.
59Scholem, “Sabbatai Sevi.”
60Weinryb, “The Hebrew Chronicles.”
61Maier and Waugh, “The Blowing of Messiah’s Trumpet.”
62Scholem, “Sabbatai Sevi.”
65Weinberg, “Geschichte der Juden,” 31.