Gordon, Jekuthiel ben Leib

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GORDON, JEKUTHIEL BEN LEIB

GORDON, JEKUTHIEL BEN LEIB (18th century), kabbalist. Gordon went from Vilna to study medicine at the University of Padua. He became acquainted with Moses Ḥayyim*Luzzatto in Padua. At that time, Luzzatto was organizing his group for study and messianic activity. Gordon, who became his foremost disciple, was one of the first seven who signed the "regulations" of Luzzatto's circle around 1728. In 1729 Gordon wrote a letter in which he related in detail the activities of Luzzatto, especially the revelation of the maggid, the divine revelatory agent which disclosed to Luzzatto the Zohar Tinyana ("second Zohar"). Gordon described Luzzatto's many mystical powers and told of how various ẓaddikim were revealed to him. This letter fell into the hands of Moses *Ḥagiz, who saw that the activities recounted in the letter were close to Shabbatean practices, and asked the rabbis of Venice to intervene and stop them. Gordon supported Luzzatto in the ensuing controversy. He probably discontinued his medical studies to devote his energy to the activities of the group. A poem written by Luzzatto seems to indicate, with other sources, that Gordon was believed by Luzzatto and his circle to be a reincarnation (*gilgul) of the soul of the hero Samson, who would be revealed in messianic times as Serayah from the tribe of Dan, and would be one of the leaders of the Israelite army in the apocalyptic wars. Gordon returned to Eastern Europe after Luzzatto had to cease his activities in Padua, but he probably continued to preach Luzzatto's teachings.

bibliography:

S. Ginzburg, Ramḥal u-Venei Doro (1937), 18–20 and passim; I. Tishby, Netivei Emunah u-Minut (1964), 169–72, 192–6; Y. David, in: Tarbiz, 31 (1961/62), 102–4; J. Dan, ibid., 412–3.

[Joseph Dan]