Barouch, Lina. “The Erasure and Endurance of Lament: Gershom Scholem’s Early Critique of Zionism and Its Language.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 21.1 (2014): 13-26.
Gershom Scholem’s 1917 essay “On Lament and Lamentation” portrays the Hebrew lament as the “language of the border,” which suffers an infinite cycle of exile and return. Scholem employs a paradoxical discourse in order to develop these cyclical borderline dynamics on the discursive and performative levels of the text. The idea of lament recurs in Scholems polemic writings between 1917 and 1931, a period marked by his emigration from Berlin to Jerusalem in 1923 and by his constant struggling with questions of Jewish exile and Zionist return. In other words, Scholem transfers his theoretical ideas on lament to the empirical realm of German-Jewish and Zionist history. More specifically, he deems the absence of lament in the language of his contemporaries as symptomatic of a Jewish generation whose wish to “enter history” has dangerously superseded the question of its metaphysical standing. Couched in a combination of modernist Krausian and Jewish apocalyptic vocabulary, Scholems writings caution of a “Wailing Wall of the new Zion” in the form of journalistic prattle and of the revengeful return of sacred Hebrew.
See Table of Contents for further discussion of Scholem’s “On Lament and Lamentation,” including full text.