Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Right Person, Right Place, Right Time

Libi Astaire

In the historical narrative, the Hand of Hashem is often hidden, although sometimes the perfectly timed “coincidences” are just too blatant to miss. Situations have often looked hopeless — until that one person “just happens” to be on the scene in the nick of time, effecting an amazing turnaround.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Name: Don Yitzchak Abarbanel Place: Spain and Portugal Time: Late 15th century Mission: Champion cause of Spanish Jewry and fundChristopherColumbus’s voyage  The year 1483 was not an auspicious one forDonYitzchakAbarbanel. Political intrigues at the Portuguese court turned the new king against him and he was forced to flee across the border, to Spain. It was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. For almost a century, Spain’s Jews had been financially penalized and socially humiliated in an effort to get them to convert. But even though the Spanish monarchsFerdinand andIsabella had little use for ordinary Jews, they did need Jewish brains to finance their war to wrest Granada from Muslim control. The Abarbanel, who had earned a reputation in Portugal for being an exceptional statesman and financier, was appointed the monarchy’s financial advisor in 1484. The year 1483 was not an auspicious one for Spain’s Anusim community either. Two years earlier, the Spanish Inquisition received its mandate to hunt down heretics. In 1483,Tomasde Torquemada, a Dominican friar whose ancestors were Anusim (Jews who had been forcibly converted to Christianity), was named Grand Inquisitor. It was a job he would zealously perform until his death 15 years later, earning the title “the hammer of the heretics.” But he wasn’t just a threat to the Anusim. He was also an early and influential advocate of expelling all of Spain’s Jews, in the name of “blood purity.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you