Sunday, December 28, 2014

Melave Malka, Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Vayechi, January 3, 2015

This Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Vayechi, January 3, KAJ is hosting a Melave Malka. This notice is a bit late as they had wanted reservations by the 10th, but I thought perhaps the TIDE Society might have a mini get-together within the Melave Malka. I don't know about you, but I feel like a sole practitioner of TIDE much of the time and would benefit from an actual face to face with some other believers in this derech. So if you'd like to attend, let me know and I'll see if they have any more room. They likely do. I can be reached at

Note, KAJ events are done in good German form, with actual place settings and people that don't double dip. They are dignified yet down to earth affairs. I really enjoy them. The older generation of WH comes out and they are a joy to spend time with.

 Melave Malka, Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Vayechi, January 3, 2015  – Guest Speaker, Eytan Kobre, Esq. – 7:30 PM – 90 Bennett Avenue

Friday, December 26, 2014

From the YSRH Yeshiva Newsletter: Rav Hirsch on עולה and שלמים

"Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch זצ"ל says that יעקב was the first of the אבות to bring a שלמים, rather than an עולה. He explains that an עולה is completely burnt to ה'. A שלמים, however, is eaten by the owner and his family. By doing so, the owner makes his house holy and signifies that ה' is amongst his family.

"The concept of an עולה, to totally give oneself to ה', is also found among Non-Jews. This concept of making one’s everyday activities—such as eating—holy is only found by Jews. Therefore, יעקב was able to bring a שלמים, now that he has become שלם with his whole family."

continue reading
(posted with permission)


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Before and After

The Western World before the 1960s:

"That is why the Jew rejoices whenever and wherever culture elevates people to a perception of true values and to nurture goodness."  Hirsch on Genesis 3:24

The Western World after the 1960s:

"But of course where culture and civilisation are used in the service of sensuality the degeneration only gets all the greater."  Hirsch on Genesis 3:24

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Curriculum at Volozhin

"…[T]he students of Volozhin were quite knowledgeable in secular studies: they took an interest in science, history and geography and knew many languages. In fact, those students who desired to pursue these disciplines succeeded in learning twice as much as any student at a state institution. In Volohzin, Torah and derech eretz walked hand in hand, neither one held captive by the other. It was the special achievement of the Volozhin student that when he left the yeshiva, he was able to converse with any man in any social setting on the highest intellectual plane. The Volohzin student was able to conquer both worlds — the world of Torah and the world at large. A well-known adage among parents who were trying to best educate their children was, “Do you want your child to develop into a complete Jew, dedicated to Torah and derech eretz? Do you want him to be able to mingle with people and get along in the world? Send him to Volozhin!"  Torah Temimah, (MUtN, pg 204) in The Curriculum at Volozhin

Monday, December 22, 2014

Widsom from the Gentiles: the founder of Kindergarten

German-born Friedrich Frobel, the founder of the first kindergarten, wrote, “Education consists in leading man, as a thinking intelligent being, growing into self-consciousness, to a pure and unsullied, conscious and free representation of the inner law of Divine unity and in teaching him ways and means thereto.”

(The History of Kindergarten from Germany to the United States,” Christina More Muelle, Florida International University)

You see here the wholesome religious sensibility that was demonstrated by many 19th century German gentiles and can better understand the environment in which Hirsch's Torah Im Derech Eretz was forged.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Misportraying R' Hirsch

I saw this written about R' Hirsch: "As is well known, Rav Hirsch did more for the preservation and revival of Torah learning and Torah living in Germany than one could reasonably have expected of one man in one lifetime. The Frankfurt Kehilla which he established under the principles of austritt and strict adherence to Halacha, became a model Kehilla."

Yes, he did these things but note the emphasis on austritt and strictness. There's a lot of din in this quote. Austritt is singled out as the primary tool, when Austritt was just part of the package along with Torah Im Derech Eretz, which is not mentioned at all, and consists largely of engagement with the world. I think when the writer says Austritt he's thinking not just about distancing from non-religious groups but from everything secular. Austritt here is a code word for ghettoization.

And strangely Torah learning precedes Torah living, which we can presume to mean mitzvos. Yet, the primary task at hand was mitzvos. If a person kept Shabbos but didn't study Torah, you'd still call him observant. Not so the reverse.

This is what we call rewriting history and putting a spin on events.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Flash Mob - Ode an die Freude ( Ode to Joy )

I'm not keen on the term flashmob as it sounds 
a bit wild to this stuffy old mind. However, the
events themselves can be refreshing and mind
opening in our overly controlled and corporate

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Contribute to the stability of civilised society


R. Shesheth said: Such cases do not come under the category of Asmakta;  but the reason is that they [sc. dice players] are not concerned with the general welfare. 

I.e., they do not contribute to the stability of civilised society.

(Source provided by TIDESociety reader Yehuda)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dilution of TIDE?

Professor Max Landau of the Berlin Seminary on the dilution of TIDE:

"What is the reason for this change of opinion on the part of German Orthodoxy with regard to Samson Raphael Hirsch? To begin with, this new attitude did not come about suddenly; much rather, it is the result of a long process of spiritual development. It received its final impetus from a deep-seated sense of insecurity which beset German Orthodoxy ever since the end of the last war. The encounter with the world of “Eastern European” Judaism and an intensive preoccupation with Jewish spiritual problems have severely shaken the former self-confidence of German Orthodoxy and its firm conviction that it had the right approach to the problem of realizing the ideal Jewish way of life in our times. As a result, German Orthodoxy is beginning to see how far removed it still is from such ideal “Jewishness”. A feeling of discontent and a yearning for self-fulfillment have taken hold of its members. Suddenly, many of the fundamental precepts which had heretofore been considered valid and unquestionable by German Orthodoxy were subjected to close analysis and found wanting in many respects. The German-Jewish concept of Jewishness was found inadequate compared to the completeness and intensity of “Eastern Judaism”."  Full article (thanks efrex for the text version)

from Pelta, R. S. R. Hirsch’s View of Secular Studies in the Thought of R. Joseph Elias

Monday, December 8, 2014


The surface of Mars. Credit NASA

Torah applies here too as does Torah Im Derech Eretz.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Unfair criticism

Along with the universal praises of Hirsch and the Frankfurt kehilla, one sometimes hears the criticism that the kehilla produced far less scholars than did Eastern Europe. The charge is a reflection of ignorance. The IRG at the time of Hirsch's passing numbered 400 families or around 2,000 people. That's the size of a single out of town congregation in the USA. And when R' Hirsch arrived there were just a handful. How many people were in Eastern Europe? There were at least 6 million. R' Hirsch's school started in 1853 with 84 students. In 1881 there were 600.  How can one draw any comparisons to or conclusions about Torah Im Derech Eretz with numbers as disparate as that?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Noble Soul

I recently reread R' Schwab's "Letter Regarding the Frankfurt Approach." It is so beautifully written, so wise and humble. Then today I came across this quote from Goethe and it made me think of R' Schwab.

"If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe