after they find out Reuven has a brother
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Shabbtai Zvi was a false messiah who presented himself after the
Chmielniki uprising in Poland in 1648. Bogdan Chmielniki was a Cossask leader who led a revolution that lasted for 10 years. Jews were persecuted and Reuven's father tells him that the Jewish community of Polan was almost "completely destroyed" Shabbtai Zvi then revealed himself as the Messiah. It was not until years later that people realized he was a fraud. Reuven's father tells Reuven that just as the Chmielniki uprising was a physical disaster, the false messiah was a spiritual disaster.