Rabbi Nosson Notta Shapira III [Krakow], Megale Amukos

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Rabbi Nosson Nota Spira

Hebrew: הרה"ג נתן נטע שפירא
Also Known As: "Natan Neta (Nata)", "Megaleh Amukot Nathan Nata Spira", "Author Megale Amukot", "מחבר מגלה עמוקות", "Baal Megale Amukot בעל מגלה עמוקות", "Natan Note ben Shelomoh", "Natan Note Spira", "Natan Nata Shapira", "Nuson", "Nuta lll Shapiro", "Natan Shapiro", "Natan N", "Megaleh Amukos"
Birthdate: (48)
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Death: July 20, 1633 (44-52)
Kraków, Kraków County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland (Niftar 13 Iyyar 5393 at 48 years)
Place of Burial: Cracow, Poland
Immediate Family:

Son of Rabbi Solomon Shapira and Mrs. Shlomo Shapira
Husband of Roza Avaries Shapira
Father of Rabbi Shlomo Shapira HaDarshan; Chava Ashkenazi (Shapira); Bat Natan Spira; bat Nathan Neta Shapira (Shapiro); R' Yehuda Leib M'Puntshev and 8 others

Occupation: Rabbi, Baal Megalah Amukois, Rabbi in Krakow - "מגלה עמוקות", Megale Amukot "מגלה עמוקות", Rabbi Head of Yeshiva בעל מגלה עמוקות, Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Author of "Megaleh Amukot", Head of Yeshiva
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Nosson Notta Shapira III [Krakow], Megale Amukos

Spira, Natan Note ben Shelomoh , (1585–1633), rabbi, preacher, and kabbalist. Natan Note Spira (also Natan Nata Shapira) was born to a rabbinical family and was named after his grandfather, a rabbi in Grodno who was the author of Mavo she‘arim (1575) and Imre shefer (1597).

Natan Note, a rabbi and head of the yeshiva in Kraków, became a famous kabbalist after composing Megaleh ‘amukot (published posthumously in 1637), in which he interpreted the prayer of Moses in the weekly Torah portion “Va-Etḥanan” (Deut. 3:23–25) in 252 different ways, some based on numerology (gimatriyah) or complex mathematical calculations and others on kabbalistic interpretations from various traditions.

Megaleh ‘amukot continues to be a widely circulated and influential work. Spira also wrote Megaleh ‘amukot ‘al ha-Torah (1795), previously unpublished portions of which were printed from a manuscript in Bene Berak in 1982–1985. His Ḥidushe anshe shem, on the halakhic code of Rabbi Yitsḥak Alfasi (Rif), has been appended to all editions of Alfasi since the Amsterdam printing of 1740.

In his writings, Spira expanded on the meaning of the equal numerical value of various expressions in, respectively, the world of sanctity and the world of the kelipah (“shells,” a kabbalistic term for representations of evil, or for what is not holy).

He also clarified the mission of Judaism, in light of kabbalistic historiography, as one that aims to gather up the holy sparks scattered among gentiles in order to bring redemption nearer. Spira made a critical contribution to the dissemination of a synthetic kabbalistic tradition incorporating medieval sources, the Kabbalah of names and numerology, and the sixteenth- to seventeenth-century Lurianic Kabbalah of the school of Yisra’el Sarug. In Spira’s kabbalistic circles in Poland during the second half of the sixteenth century and the first third of the seventeenth, his associates explicated medieval kabbalistic works, drew connections between the various schools of Kabbalah, and printed books on such topics.

During the eighteenth century, Spira’s name was linked to a putative Sabbatian sect, involving Jews and Lutherans, that was connected to Yonatan Eybeschütz. Although the sect was established in the 1720s, its writings claimed Spira to be its founder, and maintained that he had received a divine revelation calling upon him to adopt the Christian faith. Eybeschütz was, in fact, descended from Spira, and indeed was proud of this lineage. But the historical anachronism that ties the lives of the two men has not been sufficiently clarified. Indeed, Spira died 32 years before the birth of the Sabbatian movement. The problematic connection is not entirely baseless, however, as scholars have claimed that Spira drew a great deal from Christianity and even revived various elements of the Jewish–Christian tradition that are found in midrashic literature. These common elements, however, were not regarded by Spira as a basis for affinity and identification. In his opinion, the Christian messiah was the opposite of the true messiah, and the Christian religion was a satanic version of the true faith; similarities between the religions actually make possible the battle against Christianity and its “nullification.”

A historical error may be the source of the mystery: it seems that Natan ben Shelomoh Spira of Kraków was confused with Natan ben Re’uven Shapira ha-Yerushalmi (d. 1667), who left Kraków for Jerusalem and was a kabbalist. The latter raised money in Amsterdam for the Jews of Jerusalem and made contact there with Dutch and English Christians with millenarian views, who regarded him as the rabbi who would bring Jews to acknowledge the truth of Christianity.

Although Spira died before the rise of the Sabbatian movement and its subsequent Jewish and Christian incarnations, the fact that Jewish, Jewish-Sabbatian, and Jewish-Christian sources all link him to messianism and to Christianity arouses interest, and points to the complexity of the connection between the Jewish and Christian worlds in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Suggested Reading

  • Shifra Asulin, “Hamarat dat ve-hebraizm ba-me’ah ha-sheva‘ ‘esreh be-Eropah,” in Ha-Ḥalom ve-shivro: *Ha-Tenu‘ah ha-shabta’it u-sheluḥoteha; Meshiḥiyut shabta’ut u-frankizm, ed. Rachel Elior, vol. 1, pp. 423–470 (Jerusalem, 2001), see esp. pp. 463–465;
  • Gustav B. Dalman, “Documente eines christlichen Geheimbundes unter den Juden im achtzehnten Jahrhundert,” Saat auf Hoffnung: Zeitschrift für die Mission der Kirche an Israel 27 (1890): 18–37;
  • Yosef Dan and Ester Libes, eds., Sifriyat Gershom Shalom: Katalog, vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 1999), p. 378; *Bernhard (Ḥayim Dov) Friedberg, Marganita Shapira: Korot u-fo‘olot rabenu Natan Shapira (Drohobycz [Drogobych, Ukr.], 1899), some of this work is duplicated with no indication of its source in “Toldot rabenu ha-meḥaber” by Shalom ha-Kohen Vais in Sefer Megaleh ‘Amukot, vol. 1 Be-Reshit, shemot, pp. 11–22 (Bene Berak, Isr., 1981/82);
  • Jekuthiel Ginsburg, “R. Natan Shapira,” Ha-Tekufah 25 (1928/29): 488–497;
  • Yehuda Liebes, “‘Al kat yehudit notsrit she-mekorah ba-shabta’ut,” in Sod ha-emunah ha-shabta’it: Kovets ma’amarim, pp. 212–237 (Jerusalem, 1995);
  • Richard H. Popkin, “Rabbi Nathan Shapira’s Visit to Amsterdam in 1657,” in Dutch Jewish History, vol. 1, ed. Jozeph Michman and Tirtsah Levie, pp. 185–205 (Jerusalem, 1984);
  • Yitsḥak Yesha‘yah Vais, “Hashlamot le-toldot rabenu Megaleh ‘Amukot,” in Sefer Megaleh
‘Amukot, vol. 1 Be-Reshit, shemot, pp. 293–294 (Bene Berak, Isr., 1981/82).

Rachel Elior, Translation - Translated from Hebrew by Jeffrey Green

Natan Nosson Natte Spira (Megalei Amukos) (son of Solomon Shlomo Spira) was born 1585 in Krakow Poland, and died 10 07 1633 in Krakow Poland. He married Rosa Eberles Jakubowitz on 1605, daughter of Moshe Eberles Jakubowitz (Yekeles).

More About Natan Nosson Natte Spira (Megalei Amukos) and Rosa Eberles Jakubowitz: Marriage: 1605

Children of Natan Nosson Natte Spira (Megalei Amukos) and Rosa Eberles Jakubowitz are: +Lifsha Spira, d. 1731. +Yitzchak Spira. +Chavah Dobrosh Freide Spira, b. 1615, Krakov Poland, d. 1642, Krakov Poland. +Shlomo Spira, b. 1616, Krakov Poland, d. 1648. http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/r/u/b/Leon-Rubinstein/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-1775.html


Nathan Nata Spira( נתן נטע שפירא‎; 1585 – July 20, 1633) was a Polish rabbi and kabbalist. He had an important role in spreading Isaac Luria's teachings throughout Poland. Spira was the author of the Megaleh Amukot. Spira was a student of Meir Lublin.

Spira descended from a rabbinical family, which traced its lineage as far back to Rashi, the noted 11th century French commentator. He was named after his grandfather Nathan Nata Spira, who was rabbi in Hrodna and authored of Mevo Shearim (1575) and Imrei shefer (1597). His father was Solomon Spira.

Spira had seven children, three sons and four daughters. Spira was Chief Rabbi of Kraków, but refused a salary.

Author of [Megale Amukos מגלה עמוקות http://www.hebrewbooks.org/33146]


MISSING GENERATIONS (Missing Links Project)

From "Tiferes Aryeh"

AB"D and R"M Krakow

Author "Megaleh Amukos"

I have been to visit his tombstone in Krakow twice already.

4 additional daughters besides the one recorded here on geni.

From "Tiferes Aryeh"

AB"D and R"M Krakow

Author "Megaleh Amukos"

I have been to visit his tombstone in Krakow twice already.

4 additional daughters besides the one recorded here on geni.

About נתן נטע שפירא בעל מגלה עמוקות (עברית)

מחבר הספר מגלה עמוקות רבי נתן נטע הכהן שפירא מקרקוב (ה'שמ"ה, 1584 (בערך) – י"ג באב ה'שצ"ג, 1633) היה מרבני פולין ומחשובי המקובלים בתקופתו, מכונה על שם ספרו מגלה עמוקות.

נולד שבע שנים לאחר פטירת סבו, רבי נתן נטע שפירא הראשון (בעל ה"אמרי שפר"), שהיה אב"ד בהורדנא (נפטר ב-1577),‏[1] ונקרא על שמו. ייחוסו מגיע עד לרש"י. שפירא עבר מהורדנה לקז'ימייז' שעל יד קראקא, ונישא לרוזה בתו של משה יעקובוביץ' יקלעס שהיה מנכבדי העיר ופרנסיה (נפטרה ב-1642).

בצעירותו התעניין במדעים שונים כגון, פילוסופיה, אסטרונומיה ודקדוק. ניהל את "בית הכנסת שעל הגבעה" שבקז'ימייז'.‏ בשנת שע"ז 1617, בהיותו בן שלושים ואחת, נתקבל לראש ישיבה ודרשן בקהילת קרקוב במקום המקובל רבי משה מרדכי מרגליות וממנו קיבל רבי נתן הדרכה במסתרי הקבלה.

את כל תפקידיו הציבוריים מילא שלא על מנת לקבל פרס, כי חותנו סיפק לו את כל צרכיו, כלשון מליצת בנו: "מיהב יהיב, משקל לא שקיל". יתר על כן הוא החזיק במוסדות הצדקה, והקדיש כלי קודש ואריגים יקרי ערך לבית הכנסת בהם טס של כסף, פרוכת ומעילים ברקמת זהב ומרגליות.

לתלמידיו בישיבה לימד את תורת הנגלה בדרך הפלפול וחלוקי הדעות. כמו שמתבטא בנו: "בקופא דמחטא עייל פילא, אם משתכחת תורה הדרא בפלפולא". התלמוד ומפרשיו היו שגורים בפיו, והיה מרצה לתלמידיו גם את דברי הרי"ף והטור בעל פה. אולם כשהופיע מדי שבת בשבתו לדרוש ברבים בבית מדרשו או בבית הכנסת העתיק של העיר קראקא, הסתמך גם על תורת הנסתר

"נפטר ביום י"ג באב ה'שצ"ג (1633) ונקבר בבית העלמין הישן, שבו קבורות גם אשתו ובתו. על מצבתו נחרת: "פה נטמן איש קדוש מן הקדמונים, גילה עמוקות רזין ומטמונים, שאומרים עליו שדיבר עם אליהו פנים אל פנים, הגאון אב״ד ור״מ מו״ה נתן נטע בן מו״ה שלמה שפירא זצ״ל נפטר ביום ד׳ י״ג אב שצ״ג לפ״ק תנצב״ה״.


בעל מגלה עמוקות

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Rabbi Nosson Notta Shapira III [Krakow], Megale Amukos's Timeline

Age 31
Kraków, Kraków County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Age 35
Age 45
July 20, 1633
Age 48
Kraków, Kraków County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Age 48
Cracow, Poland
Age 48
Kraków, Kraków County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland