Monday, May 26, 2014

The Blank Stare

Has anyone else ever experienced a blank stare from other Orthodox Jews when you try to explain that your hashkafah is neither Chareidi nor Modern, but something called Torah Im Derech Eretz?  Everyone has heard of Rav Hirsch and is familiar with the term Torah Im Derech Eretz but many seem not to comprehend what these terms mean as far as hashkafah is concerned.

As a mother of young children, I often find myself having this conversation with other women regarding educational methods and my desire to incorporate a Hirschian approach into secular education.  They generally nod their heads when I say I would like to see G-d brought into limudei chol but they do not seem to understand the bigger picture of what I am trying to explain.  For example, those who live a Chareidi lifestyle seem unnerved by the mention of secular studies.  And those with a Modern Orthodox viewpoint appear to pay only lip service to the idea of filtering out non-kosher ideas.

And on the rare occasion that I meet people who do feel comfortable with secular studies so long as they are presented in a kosher manner, they are usually not aware that a TIDE hashkafa even exists.  In that case, I direct them to this website : ) and to the writings of Rabbiner Samson Raphael Hirsch.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar conversations about TIDE vis-a-vis schooling or other topics and if so, how did you explain TIDE?


  1. I have even seen that blank stare from German Jews. And from others I have heard what seems an obligatory 60 seconds of trying to show that he was a gaon in Gemara based on his commentary in Vayikra. (I'm not saying that he wasn't, only that it needn't be the first thing we say about him.) I think the myth that TIDE is a horaas shah deed indeed take hold in many people's minds.

  2. I had one person walk to the shelf, pull down R' Boruch Ber Liebowitz's sefer, and show me his teshuvah that states that R' Hirsch's TIDE was a horoas shaah. I replied that R' Boruch Ber was probably unaware of the writings of R' Hirsch that show that he (R' Hirsch)certainly did not intend TIDE as a horoas shaah.

    But next time, depending on my mood, I think I'll ask anyone who brings up this teshuvah whether or not they themselves keep to EVERY ONE of R' Boruch Ber's opinions? Or, do they just use him to hit TIDEians with, and then put him back on the shelf when it comes to all other issues? :-)

    1. You don't have to worry about what R' Baruch Ber zt'l said about this. You have your own rav and mesorah. RBB lived in a different part of the world in a different era. You don't know who he was speaking to. The halachic process doesn't work that you go around the world and find the most painful opinion on every subject and go by it.

      Second point, I don't know why so many charedim have this compulsion to portray tide as emergency measure. Is that going to help you when the derech resonates so well with you. what are they trying to accomplish?