Page 116 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
the Jews as a people which forms a nation. Conversely, his interest
in them as a people form ing a nation fu rthe rs his interest in the ir
religious and cultural values. This trad ition was still capable o f
spiritually feeding a Kafka; surely it bears within it the potential
o f stimulating and inspiring modern youth. Brod was distressed
tha t Eu rope’s young Jews found Juda ism unattractive and the
dogmatic garden o f Juda ism unweeded, overgrown and rela­
tively inaccessible.
For a long time B rod’s Zionism was o f an “ethical na tu re .” He
hoped for a peaceful co-existence o f both Arabs and Jews and
u rged that Jews become the first to begin self-purification at
home and cleanse the national idea o f the filth tha t had blemished
it in so many nations. By establishing a ju s t o rd e r at home, each
nation — with the Jews pointing the way — can achieve its
national and universal mission. This is B rod ’s own partial concept
o f the “chosen people,” with each people becoming such a chosen
one — and with none forcing its own solutions on others. Th irty
years later, in his novel
Unambo
(1949) the re were indications that
he had lost some o f his erstwhile idealism and optimism and
denounced Arab along with British misdeeds in Palestine. He
believed more fervently than ever in a Jewish homeland; without
it Diaspora Jewries could not long maintain the ir individuality
against competing influences and temptations.
HIS THOUGHT SYSTEM
In such works as
Heidentum, Christentum, Judentum
(Paganism,
Christianity, Judaism ) (1921),
Diesseitswunder
(1939) and
Diesseits
und Jenseits
(1947) (This World and the Beyond) he provided , in
the words o f Harry Zohn, “a critical and philosophical foundation
for his vibrant Juda ism and Zionism.” Unjustly neglected in
courses on Jewish though t, B rod’s theories distinguish between
edles Ungliick
(noble misfortune) and
unedles Ungliick
(ignoble mis­
fortune). T he fo rm er reflects man’s inability to go beyond his na t­
ural limitations; the latter, o f the species o f war, social injustice,
and hunger due to inequities, is avoidable and must be fought.
T he fo rm er touches on the spiritual, while the la tter is in the
realm o f the human . Juda ism , which in con trast to paganism and
Christianity, is concerned neither wholly with ignoble (pagan)
no r noble m isfortune (Christianity), seeks to bridge the two.
Juda ism has worked on the assumption tha t both “m isfortunes”