Messianic longing ignited European Jewish thought in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this time of historical rupture, European Jews from the more traditional East to the acculturated and affluent West were recycling older notions of the Messiah and his advent in a bid to shape the discourse on possible Jewish futures. Zionism’s call for a return to the Land of Israel made the political arena the most readily apparent cultural sphere steeped in messianic discourse, though messianic themes were woven throughout the era’s politics, literature, and the arts. Yiddish literature offered a wellspring of Jewish tales about the Messiah and his messenger Elijah the Prophet. This article demonstrates that at the nexus of literature and politics in the early 1900s, the political activist...

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