Dating a kabbalist man
One of the most ardent detractors of the Sabbateans in general and Chemdat Yamim in particular, was R. He said about it: “Every line is heresy ..makes reference to that abominable dog Shabbetai Tzvi.” The Chida tried to explain why, in his view, R. He claimed that the anonymous author simply quoted from earlier sources and that his ideas were considered part of normative kabbalah. Chaim Falaji loved the book so much that he told of how he remembered his grandfather, the Chikrei Lev, studying from Chemdat Yamim and remarking that he only began to experience spirituality once he opened that book. Chaim Falaji says that even if one believes that the anonymous author was Nathan of Gaza, it makes no difference, because even R. Avraham Ventura also happened to pass the grave and died on the spot. (The Tombs were destroyed during the Second World War.)The Baal Shem Tov predicted that a work would soon to be published, which would be written by a follower of Shabbatai Tzvi and which would contain matters of idolatry.
Emden was so against the Chemdat Yamim and the Zohar. Emden was so angry with the Sabbateans, and the influence they were having on the Jewish community, that he challenged anything that even remotely resembled unbridled mysticism. Some time later he entered the home of one of his students and said that something ‘unclean’ was in the house.
None of these Rebbes said ‘le David’ because they said the custom came from the Chemdat Yamim!
Views range from praising it to the extent that one could never reach any meaningful levels of spirituality without it – to condemning it as falsehood and idolatry.
Chemdat Yamim was published fifty-five years after the death of Shabbetai Tzvi.
For those who have studied Sabbatean history, this omission is very significant, as one of the first things Shabbatai Tzvi did was to abolish Tisha be Av.
This was because he claimed he was the Messiah and there was no longer a need to mourn the destruction of the Temple.