Rick Richman describes the story of Theodor Herzl as a “mystery.” Was it? To some degree we are all mysteries. No human can ever fully understand another—or, for that matter, him or herself. Herzl was a particularly complicated man whose neuroses were commensurate with his talents. But complexity is the opposite of mystery—it is an invitation to empirical investigation and a caution not to take our subject’s self-presentation, or his perception by others, at face value.
What Zionism Did for Herzl
Though he was blessed with extraordinary charisma, Herzl was filled with inner turmoil. In Zionism, he found a calling that stabilized his fragile persona.