Gershom Scholem, On Jews and Judaism in Crisis: Selected Essays
Recently I’ve read works that deal with Jews and Judaism in crisis—those in the Yiddish-speaking world in the first half of the twentieth century. Scholem’s journey was from Germany to Palestine some time before the khurbn. I find the interview and essays in this volume thoroughly stimulating, provocative, and moving. To wit—-
What interested me then was to find a way to the Jewish primary sources. I was not content with reading about things. This has characterized my whole life.
There was not a single observant Jew in my family circle.
Judaism interested me very much, but not the practice of observances.
After four or five years of intensive study I found that it was possible to master Hebrew.
As you know, it isn’t popular to say that Zionism has fascists, too. But I think it does, even in Israel.
A direct nondialectical return to traditional Judaism, is impossible, historically speaking, and even I myself have not accomplished it.
It is noteworthy that the only great Hebrew writer with whom Agnon felt perfectly at ease was the poet Haim Nahman Bialik, who in this respect had the same inclination for creative anthologizing. Read the rest of this entry »