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Moses Pinheiro

PINHEIRO, MOSES (17th century), Shabbatean, born in *Izmir. A contemporary of *Shabbetai Ẓevi, Pinheiro studied talmudic and kabbalistic literature with him in their youth (1640–50). There is no indication that he supported Shabbetai Ẓevi's messianic claims in 1648. About 1650 he left Izmir and settled in *Leghorn, where he became a highly respected scholar. When the news of the Shabbatean awakening reached Italy, he became at once one of its most ardent spokesmen, continuing to believe that Shabbetai Ẓevi was Messiah long after his *apostasy. As delegate of the Leghorn community, he went to see Shabbetai Ẓevi in the summer of 1666, at the height of the excitement, but arrived in Izmir after the apostasy. There he received communications from both Shabbetai Ẓevi and *Nathan of Gaza which strengthened his faith. In March 1667 he returned to Italy with a delegation from three other communities. Nathan stayed at his house on his visit to Italy in 1668. Pinheiro, who was the center of the Shabbatean group in Leghorn, maintained a correspondence with Shabbetai Ẓevi over the years and also took an interest in Abraham *Cardozo. As shown by Abraham *Rovigo's notebook on Shabbatean matters (Ben-Zvi Institute, Ms. 2265), he was still considered a "believer" about 1690. When and whether he finally gave up his belief is unknown.

His daughter was the mother of the well-known kabbalist and Rabbi Joseph *Ergas, who kept silent about his grandfather's Shabbatean connections. Rabbi *Malachi ha-Kohen of Leghorn, Ergas' pupil, though an outspoken foe of the Shabbatean movement, praised Pinheiro highly for his piety and ascetic life in his foreword to Ergas' responsa, Divrei Yosef (1742). Several of Pinheiro's recollections on Shabbetai Ẓevi have been preserved.


Scholem, Shabbetai Ẓevi, index; J. Sasportas, Ẓiẓat Novel Ẓevi (1954), index; I. Tishby, in: Zion, 22 (1957), 31–33; idem, in: Sefunot, 3–4 (1960), 93, 107; Freimann, Inyenei Shabbetai Ẓevi (1912), 45, 95.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.