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Rav Shlomo Molcho H'yd - A Savior And A Martyr

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Rav Shlomo Molcho H'yd - A Savior And A Martyr
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Born in the year 1500 in Lisbon the capital of Portugal shortly after that country adopted the Inquisition against the Jews, Rav Shlomo Molcho was raised as a marrano named Diego Perez, and even served in the King's court. Under the circumstances he did not know much about Judaism, but became very interested in his Jewish heritage when one of the more enigmatic figures in Jewish history Dovid HaReuveni suddenly appeared in the King's court. Dovid HaReuveni claimed to be the brother of the King of the 10 lost tribes. He swept through Europe offering the Christian powers his warrior peoples full cooperation in fighting the Muslims and retaking control of Yerushalayim. His charisma enabled him to receive audiences with the Pope and the ruling powers in Europe.

Diego Perez wanted to join him but David* rejected his overtures fearing for both their safety. He sent Diego who decided to return to Judaism to Turkey. He ended up learning Kabbalah from one of the Gedolei HaDor Rav Yitzchok Taitatzak in Salonica and became friendly with Rav Yosef Karo the Michaber of the Shulchan Aruch, who referred to him in his sefer Maggid Meisharim as "Shlomo my chosen one" and envied his death as a martyr. Rav Shlomo authored two seforim on Kabbala called Sefer HaMefoar and Chayas Kaneh.

After his time in Salonica and Tzfas, Rav Shlomo returned to Europe with Messianic visions. He exhorted the Jews of Europe to return to Tshuva. Many marranos returned to religion through his impassioned speeches. He commanded great respect all over Europe especially from the Pope after predicting a great flood in Rome and an earthquake in Portugal which proved accurate.

After being reported to the authorities as being a Christian apostate rather than a Jew from the east, Rav Shlomo was imprisoned by the inquisition. Through the intervention of the Pope he was freed and told to escape to safety. However Rav Shlomo continued his mission, appearing before Charles V the Roman Emperor. This time he was imprisoned and told to choose between converting or being burned at the stake. Rav Shlomo Molcho would hear nothing of it and happily died Al Kiddush Hashem at the young age of 32 years old on 5 Teves 5292/1532, while clinging to his religion after a short but accomplished life. Yehi Zichro Boruch (also see the Early Acharonim by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm)

*Dovid HaReuveni was eventually arrested by the Emperor in Germany and is speculated to have died in prison.

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