Wednesday, August 20, 2014

the Seforim blog-An Incident of "Pilegesh B'Givah" in 19th Century Germany

Linked Post:

by Eli Genauer
I recently purchased an antique Hebrew book for less than the price of a dinner at a moderately priced restaurant. This particular edition is what some would call a “common” — meaning it is the 36th edition (the fourth edition of a revised version) of this book and it was printed in the mid-19th century. Generally, the market does not assign a high price for books like these, but they can be a treasure trove of knowledge and information.
The work is Tikkun Shlomo and is primarily focused on the Shabbos liturgy.  I reproduced the title page:
Many will no doubt recognize the name of the compiler, Shlomo Zalman London (1661-1748) who wrote the book “קהלת שלמה”and that it was reprinted thirty times in the next 200 years.  "
An Incident of "Pilegesh B'Givah" in 19th Century Germany

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jewish Observer Article on R' Breuer

"He was his era's leading exponent of the Hirschian concept of Torah Im Derech Eretz. Exemplifying and expounding the teachings of Rabbi Hirsch, he gave the broadest possible definition to the term derech eretz. It embraced every facet of a Jew's human existence on earth: his means of livelihood, general decorum, civility, propriety of dress, interaction with his fellow, level of integrity in business and personal relationships, fulfillment of the law of the land, relationship to non-observant Jews, attitude toward purveyors of non-halachic "streams" of Judaism. The definition of derech eretz is as broad and varied as human experience, and wherever it applies, derech eretz must be subservient to Torah."

by Dr. Ernst J. Bodenheimer with Rabbi Nosson Scherman

Read more

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Collage of German Orthodox Rabbanim

I put together a collage of German Orthodox rabbanim. If anyone would like a laminated copy for a Succah decoration or a framed copy for their home, they should please write to

Laminated: $15

Outside US
Framed: $30

All fees cover costs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Do not put a stumbling-block

"Parents, teachers, brothers and sisters, friends and all of you who exert influence by deed and by the written or spoken word, on young souls – they are blind of mind and their minds are illumined by the light of your mind; what you, by your word and example, tell them to be true and good will be regarded by them as true and good for a long time, and they will base their life on it until they are able to judge for themselves. Do not put a stumbling-block into their path. Woe to them if you are not honest with them, if you present to them false doctrine as the truth, evil as good, falsehood as truth, if you turn night into day and the daylight of truth into darkness. One day they will awake and curse you, and God will hear that curse! Fear Him, if you do not fear human beings – He sees into your hearts....Woe to you, woe if even one single human soul accuses you before the Supreme Judge’s Throne of having stolen, not his honour, peace, or pleasure, but God and morality and thus crushed the life out of his life!" R' Hirsch, Horeb.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Rav Hirsch Challenges the Rambam

"This great man [viz. Rambam], to whom and to whom alone we owe the preservation of  practical Judaism to our time, is responsible-because he sought to reconcile Judaism with the difficulties which confronted it from without, instead of developing it creatively from within -for all the good and the evil which bless and afflict the heritage of the fathers. His peculiar mental tendency was Arabic-Greek, and his conception of the purpose of life the same. He entered into Judaism from without, bringing with him opinions of whose truth he had convinced himself from extraneous sources and - he reconciled. For him, too, self-perfection through the knowledge of truth was the highest aim; the practical he deemed subordinate. For him knowledge of God was the end, not the means; hence he devoted his intellectual powers to speculations upon the essence of Deity, and sought to bind Judaism to the results of his speculative investigations as to postulates of science or faith. The mitzvot became for him merely ladders, necessary only to conduct to knowledge or to protect against error, the latter often only the temporary and limited error of polytheism. Mishpatim became only rules of  prudence, mitzvot as well; Chukkim rules of health, teaching right feeling, defending against the transitory errors of the time;  Edot ordinances, designed to promote philosophical or other concepts; all this having no foundation in the eternal essence of things, not resulting from their eternal demand on me, or from my eternal purpose and task, no eternal symbolizing of an unchangeable idea, and not inclusive enough to form a basis for the totality of the commandments."

19 Letters, letter 18

Friday, August 1, 2014

The only weapon against these pitfalls is knowledge

“…it is equally true that the requirements of the child’s future occupation, and the specialized and general skills that will prepare him for it, must not in any manner be neglected. We say this not merely out of deference to his future secular career, but because our calling as Jews, the preservation of Torah-true Judaism in our era, urgently demands that its adherents must not in any way lag behind when it comes to modern, secular education. Again, this is necessary not merely so that they may be able to represent their sacred heritage in a manner that will command respect from wider social circles but, above all, in order that they may be able to view the intellectual, ethical and social developments of their time in true perspective, neither overrating not underrating their significance but seeing them from the vantage point of Judaism in their rightful place within the Kingdom of God. Knowledge will protect our children from preconceived notions and from the errors in either direction to which the ignorant inevitably fall prey. Only the ignorant can be dazzled by spurious glitter or intimidated by empty pretense. Conversely, only the ignorant can be moved to throw away what is good and true in modern developments along with what is empty and evil. The only weapon against these pitfalls is knowledge.”

Written in 1860 by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch
(Collected Writings, Volume vii, Page 168-169)