Fulfillment of Prophecy by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda


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"The life story of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda 1858-1922" Excerpt from the book Was born in January 1858 in Luzhky, Lithuania, to Feyga and Yehuda Lieb Perelman, a Hasid who died when Eliezer was only five years old. He attended a Yeshivah (religious seminary) in Polotsk, and was introduced there to the changing ideas in Judaism, "Haskalah" -- enlightenment, and secular Hebrew literature. In an unfinished autobiography which he wrote while in the U.S. in 1917-18, he revealed that “In those days it was as if the heavens had suddenly opened, and a clear, incandescent light flashed before my eyes and a mighty inner voice sounded in my ears ‘the resurrection of Israel on its ancestral soil.’ Because of that voice, which has not ceased from that moment on to ring in my ears day and night, all my thoughts and plans which I had for my future life were shaken up. As night visions pale in the face of the light of day, so were my dreams of dedicating my life to the cause of freedom in the Russian nation replaced with a single ideal, manifest in two Hebrew words, ‘Yisrael b’artzo’ -- Israel in its own land!' I was challenged by many, and one argument said that the Jews are not now and could not be in the future a nation -- because they did not possess a common tongue. I tried to argue, as others did, that there are nations such as the Swiss and the Belgians, who speak more than one language -- but the more I thought of the national revival the more I realized what a tongue can do to unite a people. I realized that just as the Jews could not become a living nation except by returning to their ancient homeland -- so also they could not become a living nation except by returning to the language of their ancestors, speaking it not only in prayer and study but also in all matters of life, young and old alike, at all hours of the day and night -- just like every other nation, each with its tongue. That was the decisive moment in my life, when I came to realize that "the two things without which the Jews could not become a nation are the land and the language! ”