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Wannsee, Zionism and Haim Hazaz

Ideas are begotten by deeds,
and both when misbegotten
can’t be uprooted like weeds,
and ignored, though forgotten;
for rationalized by deep ideas,
deeds leave traces that dormant like spores
can travel like light through dark-years
by indifference to shallow men’s shores.

Wannsee was refuted by Zi-
onists’ messianic rejection
of a plan that made many Jews die,
but could not prevent Jews’ resurrection.
“The Sermon” Haim Hazaz published
the year that the plan was conceived
was just like the Wannsee plan rubbished
by Zionists who disbelieved
in any messiah, but managed
to help Jews create a great state,
not based on belief they had banished
or messiahs unwilling to wait.

Ruth Wisse in a Tikvah lecture podcast on 5/31/22 pointed out that Haim Hazaz’s  Hebrew story “The Sermon” was written in 1942, the same year as the infamous Wannsee conference. The denunciation by Hazaz’s hero Judke, of Jewish history in general and messianism in particular, ironically parallels the Wannsee program which was to terminate Jewish history and its messianic ideology.

In “Redeeming Haim Hazaz,” Moment, 4/30/14, Darren Pinsker writes:

When the Israeli writer Haim Hazaz died in 1973, his reputation was so lofty in the world of modern Hebrew letters that one observer would write in the Jewish Book Annual, “He was one of Israel’s most honored writers of fiction and one of her most influential thinkers.” Upon the tenth anniversary of his death, the Israeli critic Dan Laor, introducing an anthology of lectures arranged in commemoration of Hazaz’s fiction, would write, “The work of Haim Hazaz is one of the most important phenomena in 20th century Hebrew literature.” And in an essay on Hazaz written in 2001, the literary scholar Arnold Band would opine, “If we ask who were the leading [Hebrew] prose writers of the 1950s, we would probably agree upon three names: Agnon, Hazaz, and Yizhar.” And yet today, who – aside from scholars of Israeli literary history – is familiar with Hazaz and his work?…

David Wolpe, Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, commented on 5/31/22:
Moral of the story and the poem: There is more than one way to bring redemption.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.
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