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MORDECAI MOKIAḤ (called also Mordecai of Eisenstadt):

Shabbethaian prophet and false Messiah; born in Alsace about 1650; died at Presburg May 18, 1729. The death of Shabbethai Ẓebi (1676) seems to have encouraged his followers, who claimed that he had returned to his heavenly abode and would come back in three years to finish his Messianic task. This doctrine was preached by Mordecai, who, through his ascetic life, his eloquence, and his commanding appearance, won many followers. Italian cabalists, among them Benjamin Cohen, rabbi of Reggio, called him to Italy about 1678, where he for a time was very popular. Some cause—perhaps fear of the Inquisition—forced him to leave Italy, where he had begun to announce himself as the Messiah. He traveled as a preacher through Austria, Germany, and Poland, and finally returned to Hungary, where he seems to have lived a quiet life, as nothing further is known of him. His son, Judah Löb Mokiaḥ, an eminent Talmudist, died in Presburg Dec. 7, 1742; the latter's sons were David Berlin and Isaiah Berlin, known also as "Isaiah Pick."

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 303-304, 456-459;
  • Weiss, Abne Bet ha-Yoẓer, p. 1, Paks, 1900.
D.
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