Page 150 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
superior personality. Especially characteristic and outstand­
ing was his integrity, which knew no compromise in either
personal life or his scholarship.5
In evaluating Rawidowicz’s legacy as a seminal thinker, consid­
eration should be given to his challenging views on what may be
termed the historicity o f Diaspora Jewry. This aspect o f
Rawidowicz’s outlook is distinctive not only for its comprehen­
siveness and intellectual verve but also, and perhaps mainly so,
for the passionate involvement of its promulgator. Here the voice
of Rawidowicz the ideologist is predominant. And it is his concern
for the totality of Jewish existence which is at the heart of his
monumental work, already alluded to above
— Babylon andJerusa­
lem.
The complex theory that is lavishly expounded in this work
became over the years the cornerstone of Rawidowicz’s fervent
ideological opposition to the axiomatic tenets of Zionist theorists
headed by such personalities as Ahad Ha’am, Klatzkin, Klausner
and many others. Because of this opposition, Rawidowicz suf­
fered a number of frustrations and did not receive the acceptance
he so highly merited as a writer and scholar.
What was it that in Rawidowicz’s dissident approach that so
vehemently antagonized the conventional school of thought that
had already been defined prior to the establishment of the Jewish
State and that became even more firmly entrenched after 1948?
After all, here was a leading Hebrew writer and thinker, who was
committed to Zionism with heart and soul, who cherished in
theory and practice all Jewish values — and particulary those
interwoven with our ancestral land and tongue — aJew who stood
in awe before tradition and the heritage of the past, a visionary
who saw in the rise of the State of Israel the realization of our
fondest national hopes and of his own personal dreams. What
then was lacking in the seemingly ideal Jewish makeup of this
creative interpreter of Jewish history and thought?
The answer is: nothing was missing; something was added,
something that seemed to his opponents to be very disturbing
5 From the introduction to the above English volume, p. 36. Ravid also edited a
very impressive collection of his father’s Hebrew writings entitled,
Studies in
Jewish Thought,
Jerusalem, 1969, 2 vols., 900 pages.