I am grateful to Mosaic for providing this forum on the seminal figure of modern Jewish history, on the 125th anniversary of the publication of The Jewish State. I appreciate as well the three responses to my essay: Derek Penslar’s psychological speculation, Daniel Polisar’s masterful analysis of why Herzl succeeded where Leon Pinsker failed, and Anita Shapira’s elegant summary of Herzl’s Zionist career. I will address each of them in order.
The Mystery of the So-Called “New Moses” Endures
We should appreciate Theodor Herzl’s lightning-storm emergence, even if we’ll never really know what caused it.