After the Sabbatai Sevi debacle, the Jews of the Ottoman Empire were reduced economically and politically. They were described as having been subjected to constant degradation by the Muslim population, and to anti-Jewish actions by the Christians of the Empire. To outside observers, the Sephardim appeared to be impoverished, powerless, impassive, and abjectly humiliated. Yet the self-perception of the Jews of the Ottoman Empire was radically different. They viewed themselves as descendants of Spanish Jewish nobility and maintained a rich inner life with absolute faith in God and their redemption by the Messiah. How did this oppressed and despised community maintain such a powerful sense of dignity and self-respect?
In this fascinating work, Rabbi Marc Angel explores the teachings, values, attitudes, and cultural patterns that characterized Judeo-Spanish life over the generations and how the Sephardim maintained a strong sense of pride and dignity, even when they lived in difficult political, economic, and social conditions. Along with presenting the historical framework and folklore of Jewish life in the Ottoman Empire, Rabbi Angel focuses on what you can learn from the Sephardic sages and from their folk wisdom that can help you live a stronger, deeper spiritual life.