Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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a r z en
— T
h e
e n t e n a r y
o f
oo k
Land, by quoting from a Hebrew work
Derishat Zion
(The Long­
ing for Zion) by Rabbi Zevi Hirsh Kalischer of Thorn, “an
extremely pious scholar” who “arrives at the same results that the
Christian Frenchman reached and to which I heartily subscribe
in all detail.”9
Since Hess identified himself with Kalischer’s four point plan,
it needs defining: a Society should be established to buy as
much of the Holy Land as possible; it should bring in Jews from
all parts of the world and settle them on the land irrespective of
their financial resources; it should organize a police system to
protect the colonists and to maintain law and order in general;
and an agricultural school should be opened to train the youth
in farming and in cognate fields.10
When this goal is attained there will arise in the Holy Land
“universities whose spirit will not conflict but harmonize with
the ancient Jewish national religion”; the “rigid crust of Ortho­
doxy” will be melted by the spark of “Jewish patriotism . . .” and
“will herald . . . the resurrection of our nation to a new life.”
Reform Judaism, “surrounded almost by an indissoluble crust”
imposed by “rationalistic enlightenment,” will not be swayed
by the fires of the national rebirth. On the contrary, it will be
broken by external pressure, by a “blow from without,” by a
social catastrophe. Afterwards “will our people . . . find its legiti­
mate place in universal history.”11
When the book appeared in 1862, it aroused considerable
excitement for a while. Naturally, Hess was bitterly attacked by
Reform leaders, by various intellectual coteries, by “Kulturists,”
and by German patriots—all anti-nationalists. He became, how­
ever, the central figure in the budding nationalist awakening.
His aid and cooperation were invited by such unheralded heroes
of the
Hibat Zion
idea as Rabbi Joseph Natonek of Hungary
and Rabbi Haim Lorje of Frankfort am Oder. He responded
constructively; he won the sympathy and even the support of
leading figures in the
Alliance Israelite Universelle.
There is
evidence that he, indirectly, influenced the “Alliance” to establish
the Mikveh Israel School in Palestine in 1872.
The excitement, however, quickly evaporated. When Hess died
in 1875 in Paris, his body, at his own request, was readied for
internment in the family plot in Cologne, and he was eulogized by
Socialists. Not a Jewish word was spoken; he was forgotten. Only
years later, when
Hibat Zion
took root in Jewish life, did
and Jerusalem
win its place as a Zionist classic. Moses Hess was
then enshrined in the Hall of Fame of modern Zionism.
0P. 173.
10Pp. 173-175.
11Pp. 176-178.