The actual, living Herzl said and did much that was open to question; and those who did not wilfully blind themselves were bound sometimes to oppose him most strenuously; and even to complain of some of the methods which he adopted. But the ideal figure of Herzl, which is being created before our eyes in the popular mind - what a splendid vision it will be, and how potent its influence to cleanse that very mind of the taint of galuth, to awaken it to a sense of national self-respect, and to whet its desire for a real national life! The first fruits of that influence are already visible, before the month of mourning os over. And, of course, imagination has not yet finished its work. The creation is not yet perfected. As time goes on, and the ideal picture of the national hero attains its perfect form, he will perhaps become for our day what the old national heroes were for our ancestors in days gone by; the people will make him the embodiment of its own national ideal, in all its radiance and purity, and will derive from him strength and courage to struggle onward indefatigably along the hard road of history.
Herzl gave us the Congress, the Organization, the Bank, the National Fund. Whether these are to be reckoned great achievements we cannot yet know. All depends on whether they endure and in what form they continue to exist. But one thing Herzl gave us involuntarily which is perhaps greater than all that he did of set purpose. He gave us himself, to be the theme of our Hymn of Revival, a theme which imagination can take and adorn with all the attributes needed to make of him a Hebrew national hero, embodying our national aspirations in their true form.




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05 Nov 2007 / 24 Heshvan 5768 0