A reader sent in this comment:
On Friday night, ABC presented an hour long “special” based on claims by two Jews regarding hidden insults, references to the Kabbalah, and pro-Judaic sentiments coded into the Sistine Chapel. Throughout the special, Roy Doliner, a Vatican tour guide, and Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Associate Professor of Talmud, Yeshiva University, explained how Michelangelo’s hatred for Pope Julius II led him to encode insults towards him in the frescos. The insult? The use of the “fig” – what amounts to giving someone the finger, is supposedly given by various angels towards a figure that is supposed to be Julius II. Next, Rabbi Blech claimed God’s appearing in a right-brain shaped cloud is a reference to Kabbalah. Here, Michelangelo was supposedly acknowledging Kabbalah and it’s “developed” doctrines regarding God. Doliner and Blech then claim the figures on the ceiling and in other places have Judiacs in them because Michelangelo was secretly communicating the idea that Christianity is rooted in Judaism !!! Here’s a link that summarizes the hour long television show —
Notice that, once again, Judaics are given a national media forum from which to promote their deceptions while subtly insulting and denigrating Christianity as an “inferior” spin off of their “exalted” traditions.
It is interesting to see the rabbis now coming out into the light with this “Da Vinci Code” styled nonsense.
The reader’s assertions are reinforced by the fact that Pope Julius II, like many of the Renaissance popes, was hardly an enemy of Judaism. Julius II was a nephew of Sixtus IV whose papacy is described in the Encyclopeadia Judaica as a “high point of tolerance” for “Jews.” The Sistine Chapel itself was named after Sixtus IV. Sixtus IV and Julius II, whose papacies were separated by the notoriously degenerate papacy of Alexander VI, both employed Judaic doctors. The doctor in Julius II’s employ, Samuel Sarfati (nicknamed “The Spanish rabbi, physician of the pope”), was descended from a family of Kabbalist rabbis who trace their lineage back to the rabbinic “sage,” Rashi. This French-Judaic name, “Sarfati” (also, Zarfati, Sarfatti, Sarfaty) pops up in the strangest places around Rome, such as Margherita Sarfatti, the Judaic lover of Benito Mussolini, who is said to have had tremendous influence over him.
Also of interest is Joseph Sarfati, a rabbi “convert” to Christianity who preached violence against Judaic people. Pope Julius III was his godfather.
The thesis of this book, “Sistine Secrets” is absurd to anyone familiar with the Vatican of the Renaissance which, regarding Judaism, was quite similar to the Vatican of our present time. This is the time when Johannes Reuchlin was studying under Rabbi Obadiah of Sforno in Rome at the behest of Cardinal Domenico Grimani and infiltrating his learnings into Christendom as “Christian Cabala.” Many of the seeds that were planted at that time are now coming into full, rotten bloom.
ẒARFATI: Oriental Jewish family, traced by the bibliographer Azulai to a line of French rabbis descended from Rashi through his grandson Rabbenu Tam.
TAM, JACOB BEN MEIR (Rabbenu; c. 1100–1171), tosafist and leading French scholar of the 12th century. Rabbenu Tam was the grandson of Rashi and the son of Meir b. Samuel, Rashi’s son-in-law.
SARFATY, family of rabbinic scholars in Fez, Morocco. According to a family tradition, the Sarfatys are descendants of Rabbenu Tam. R. Solomon, rabbi in Majorca, is mentioned in the responsa of R. Isaac bar Sheshet. A branch of the family settled in Fez. ISAAC (d. c. 1600) was dayyan in Fez. Some of his commentaries on biblical verses are quoted by his son Vidal in his works. VIDAL HA-SARFATY (c. 1550–1620) was referred to as “senior” and described as hasid (“pious”). He was a disciple of R. Abraham Uzziel.
His commentaries are outstanding for their originality; he quotes the Zohar and appears to have been a kabbalist. Many of the works of Spanish rabbis are cited in his works. Sarfaty’s writings included: Derekh ha-Kodesh, a commentary to the Sifra (1908); Megillat Sefarim, on Esther, Ruth, and Lamentations; and Ozar Nehmad, on Psalms (both works were published in Amsterdam in 1718 under the title Zuf Devash); Imrei Yosher (1874), a commentary on Midrash Rabbah; and notes on R. Elijah Mizrahi which were included in Samuel Sarfaty’s Nimmukei Shemu’el (Amsterdam, 1718) …
SAMUEL ẒARFATI: Court physician to the popes Alexander VI. and Julius II.; died about 1519. The name “Ẓarfati” indicates that Samuel was a native of France, and as he was probably from southern France he is called by Burchard “the Spanish rabbi, physician of the pope” (“Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits,” i. 124). At the coronation of Pope Julius II., Samuel presented the petition of the Jews for the continuance of their privileges, making a solemn speech. By a bull of May 14, 1504, Samuel himself was confirmed in the rights previously bestowed upon him by Alexander VI. He was thus appointed court physician of Julius II., granted the privilege of attending Christian patients, freed from the obligation of wearing the Jews’ badge, and taken with his entire family under the immediate protection of the pope. On account of his property in France he also obtained letters of protection and safe-conduct from Louis XII. Samuel was an unusually skilful physician, and the pope relied more upon him than upon his Christian physicians. On Aug. 17, 1511, the pope fell seriously ill, and his physicians, with the exception of Samuel, pronounced him dead. Samuel’s opinion proved correct, and the pope lived two years longer. There exist certain calendar-tables in Hebrew the author of which is a Samuel Ẓarfati (Neubauer, “Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS.” No. 2255, 2), but they may belong to the printer Samuel Ẓarfati of Rome, who lived about the middle of the sixteenth century.
From the Encyclopaedia Judaica:
SAMUEL SARFATI, called Gallo (d. c. 1519), a physician originating from Provence, settled in Rome in 1498. He represented the Jewish community at the coronation of Pope Julius II (1503) and a year later became the personal physician to the pope, who confirmed the privileges granted him by Pope Alexander VI, including permission to attend Christian patients, exemption from wearing the Jewish badge, and papal protection for him and his family. In 1515 he became physician of Giuliano de’ Medici.
Of Julius II’s uncle, Sixtus IV the Encyclopaedia Judaica states:
SIXTUS IV (b. Francesco della Rovere; 1414–1484), pope from 1471 to 1484. In Italy the reign of Sixtus IV marks a high point of tolerance [for Judaic persons]. The pope used Jewish physicians, and perhaps employed Jews for the collection, copying, and translation of Hebrew works. He refused to canonize Simon of Trent, allegedly a victim of Jewish ritual murder.
JOSEPH SARFATI (16th century), a rabbi of Fez, converted to Christianity. Adopting the name of his godfather Pope Julius III (1550–55), Andrea del Monte, he became a violent anti-Jewish preacher. One of his sermons was heard by Michel de Montaigne. Sarfati was one of the instigators of the condemnation of the Talmud and its burning in Rome in 1553. JACOB BEN SOLOMON SARFATI (14th century), a physician, was born in northern France. On the expulsion of the Jews he moved to Avignon in the second half of the 14th century.
From The Jewish Encyclopedia:
Rabbi Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno: Italian exegete, philosopher, and physician; born at Cesena about 1475; died at Bologna in 1550. After acquiring in his native town a thorough knowledge of Hebrew, rabbinical literature, mathematics, and philosophy, he went to Rome to study medicine. There his great learning won for him a prominent place among scholars; and when [Johannes] Reuchlin was at Rome (1498-1500) and desired to perfect his knowledge of Hebrew literature, Cardinal Domenico Grimani advised him to apply to Obadiah.