“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubabel:
Neither by force of arms nor by brute strength,
but by my spirit!”
Zachariah IV, 6.
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Asher Hirsch Ginzberg, better known by his pseudonym Ahad Ha'am, was born in the Ukraine in 1856, into a rich family of Hassidic merchants. He was introduced to both Jewish and secular subjects by private tutors; he then embarked on the study of philosophy, the sciences and languages. His studies gradually led him to modify his religious stance and to join the circles of the intelligentsia – known as the Maskilim – the advocates of openness to general culture, and of active entry into civil society.