Page 125 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

Basic HTML Version

a b in o w ic z
— H
e r zl
t h e
l a y w r ig h t
1 1 3
big mountain of money.”41 His quarrel with these rich Jews
constituted an integral part of his program. But he also visual-
ized this struggle as of historical importance. “Perhaps,” he
wrote to Zadock Kahn in 1898, “it is the more grandiose destiny
of the new Jew to surprise the world by a fight against the money
people. Perhaps this will bring about the rehabilitation of our
despised name.”42
Herzl did not, of course, deny the importance of money in the
life of mankind and of his own people. “Material safety is the
basis of moral health,”43 and Zionism strove for the creation of a
morally healthy nation. But he regarded money as a means, not
as an end; not as ruler but as servant of the idea. “Money does
not constitute the beginning” (as the rich believe), he told the
Fifth Zionist Congress. “In the beginning is the idea. One gets
hirelings for money, but a people cannot rise to a new life in
this way; only an idea can achieve this.”44 The people would
provide the money if the idea be properly presented. He noted in
77): “The movement needs a finance instru-
ment; we create it by arousing the oppressed masses to self-help.”
He was certain he could rely on the masses: “A moral issue is
possibly a bad recommendation for people who do not know
it; but if the upper class will not give the money, the poor
definitely will.”45 It was Herzl’s conviction that these poor, who
constituted the majority of the Jewish people, would understand
him better than the rich. “The over-saturated, with their
phantasy weakened through lascivious living, do not wish to
understand us yet. The poor and the toilsome understand us
better; they have the phantasy of misery.”46
It is not surprising that Herzl knew precisely what to avoid
and what to accept in his vision of the future Jewish State. The
first principle was echoed in the mason’s cry in
Unser Kaethchen:
“We are not beggars; we are workers!” In his notes for his speech
to the Rothschilds he wrote: “You give the poor 100 francs, I
give him work.”47 The solution was not more alms and more fi-
nancial help, but the “army of workers” which became Herzl’s
theme. Joe Levy told his listeners in
A ltn eu land
: “Each man
knew he was working for all his comrades and that all were
working for him.” The worker also knew that no pleasure was
out of his reach; “he could attain it through honest labor.”48
Herzl was convinced that poverty would be abolished, not through
an increase in substantial largesses, but through the worker’s
41 “Die Millionen der ICA,” in
Zionistische Schriften, op. cit. ,
p. 235.
II, p. 69.
43 “Feuer in Galizien,” in
Zionistische Schrif ten, op. cit. ,
p. 215.
Protocol ,
p. 5.
45 “Rede im Makkabaerklub,”
op. cit. ,
p. 308.
Protocol of the Thi rd Zionist Congress,
p. 8.
I, p. 51.
I b i d .,
p. 79.