[Avodah] Herzl

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Jul 15 03:32:08 PDT 2015

On Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 06:25:33PM -0400, RnTK wrote on Areivim:
: My comment was facetious -- a little dig at those MO who apparently do  
: believe that Herzl, Golda Meir and Ben Gurion were gedolim.

R' AE Kaplan wrote very highly of Theodore Herzl. RAEK predeceased the
accompilshments of the other two.

To quote RYGB's translation (from BeIqvos haYir'ah pg 85):

    He [Herzl] did not teach us Torah... because he was never taught
    Torah... He taught us, rather, to say two words [four words in
    English] on occasions that until he came we had neither dared nor been
    able to utter: "I am a Jew [Ivri]!" We were always able to recite
    these words in the Beis Medrash next to our shtenders, we were even
    capable of reading and writing them... We could declare ourselves a
    nation in any place we wanted, except in that one place where the
    nations of the world were... to be found - in the international
    political arena. There we were seen as wandering sheep, like one
    Telzer (Yehuda Leib Gordon [22]) once put it: "Not a nation, not a
    congregation, rather a flock." Not like sheep that are petted and
    fed, but like those that are shorn or slaughtered. When a European
    ruler asked a Jew: "Who are you?" Would he respond simply: "I am a
    Jew" - without any qualifications or explanations? He would answer:
    I am a Jew - but also German, also French, also English, etc. Along
    came Herzl, the first from among us to reach that international
    political arena that serves as a world court, and responded, openly,
    freely, effortlessly and guilelessly: "I am a Jew." Moreover: "I was
    stolen from the land of the Jews [Eretz HaIvrim], and here I have
    done nothing, for they placed me in the pit" [Bereishis 40:15]. The
    Jewish nation is a nation unto itself, like all other nations, indeed,
    it is special, and it possesses a unique life force that sustains
    it... Do you not sense the hidden workings of divine providence? I
    know that just as the rejuvenation of Jewish national spirit had to
    come, so will finally come, in the unseen future, the rejuvenation
    of our Torah spirit... We do not see the paths, we do not see the
    footsteps, but I know... that I must strive toward this. And G-d who
    returns to Tziyon [Zion] will return us also to Torah MiTziyon... [23]

    [22] The most prominent Hebrew poet of the nineteenth century and a
    notorious Maskil, Gordon was generally known by his acronym, YaLaG,
    that, in a play on words, would be pronounced by Orthodox Jews as
    "yil'ag," the Hebrew word for "scoffer."

    [23] Besides his essays on Hashkafa, Reb Avraham Elya also left many
    "Reshimos," short notes on topics in Mussar, Machashava, and Avodas
    Hashem, some of which are beautiful vignettes of life lived in a
    Torah true and Mussar suffused way.

Tir'u baTov!

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