Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Judaism never remained aloof from true civilisation

"We declare before heaven and earth that if our religion demanded that we should renounce what is called civilisation and progress we would obey unquestioningly, because our religion is for us truly religion, the word of God before which every other consideration has to give way. We declare, equally, that we would prefer to be branded as fools and do without all the honour and glory that civilisation and progress might confer on us rather than be guilty of the conceited mock-wisdom which the spokesman of a religion allied to progress here displays....

"There is, however, no such dilemma. Judaism never remained aloof from true civilisation and progress; in almost every era its adherents were fully abreast of contemporary learning and very often excelled their contemporaries. If in recent centuries German Jews remained more or less aloof from European civilisation the fault lay not in their religion but in the tyranny which confined them by force within the walls of their ghettoes and denied them intercourse with the outside world. And, thank goodness, even now our sons and daughters can compare favourably in cultural and moral worth with the children of those families who have forsaken the religion of their forefathers for the sake of imagined progress. They need not shun the light of publicity or the critical eye of their contemporaries. They have lost nothing in culture or refinement, even though they do not smoke their cigars on the Sabbath, even though they do not seek the pleasures of the table in foods forbidden by God, even though they do not desecrate the Sabbath for the sake of profit and enjoyment."

S. R. Hirsch: "Religion Allied to Progress

Monday, October 26, 2015

Linked Post: Succos in WH

"Sukkos is the one Yom Tov when things can get messy at shul. Leaves strewn on the floor, Arba’ah Minim left all over the place, hazards of running into others with the point of one’s lulav… At KAJ, this does not happen. The atmosphere of elevated dignity is retained for Sukkos, as is proper at all times for a shul, as a beis Hashem (house of God). This atmosphere of sanctified decorum also prevents the distraction during tefillah that untidy and disorderly surroundings can create."

A Very Urban Sukkos – A Very Special Sukkos

"Sukkos – for many, it’s summer’s last hurrah. Being outdoors, hopefully in green, lush and warm (or not too cold) surroundings. A pleasant return to nature before autumn really kicks in. A great time to spend away from home, perhaps in a rural environment. (Imagine spending Sukkos at a sleepaway camp or a bungalow colony…) Sukkos is the singular Yom Tov when getting out of the city is truly appealing and really seems like a must."


link from Andrew Schwartz

Thursday, October 22, 2015

YT and YH

Some thoughts from me:

The man without legs is a cripple and the one without a heart and mind is a bigger cripple.

Generally, the yetzer tov whispers and the yetzer hara shouts. If you are given to shouting, you likely are serving as a mouthpiece for the yetzer hara.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

300th post: Anthology of Hirsch's Writings

R' Hirsch published 1000s of pages of writings. If you don't have time to read them all but would like to spend some time on samples of the various types you might want to try the book Timeless Torah. This is an anthology that Jacob Breuer, Rav Joseph Breuer's son, put together in the 1950s. It contains choice excerpts in English of R' Hirsch's commentary on Chumash, Nach, and Tehillim and several essays from the Collected Writings, ie essays that originally appeared in the journal Jeshurun.

The hardcover edition is out of print, but you can buy some old copies on Amazon. However, paperback reprints (that I believe are new) are also available. I'm not sure who has been publishing these reprints - you'll find them also on the German Collected Writings and Pentateuch, but we are most happy to have them.

As a side note, I'd like to mention that this post is the blog's 300th. Now, I know that many of the posts here (mine in particular) are not nearly as substantive as those of many other blogs (On the Main Line, for example) but my goal is to collect all sorts of information about TIDE, Hirsch, and Germany Orthodoxy and to enjoy it and share it. In other words, R' Hirsch and other great German Jewish rabbanim already did all the hard work and great writing and I'm just putting it out there. I thank HaKodesh Baruch Hu for this opportunity.

Friday, October 16, 2015

let us consider how we shall read it

"Therefore, to the Torah! But, before we open it, let us consider how we shall read it. Not for the purpose of making philological or antiquarian investigations, nor to find support and corroboration for antediluvian or geological hypotheses, nor either in the expectation of unveiling supramundane mysteries, but we must read it as Jews - that is to say, looking upon it as a book given to us by God that we may learn from it to know ourselves - what we are, and what we should be in this earthly existence."

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch 19 Letters.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Video of Rav Schwab

Excerpt from "A Very Special Yeshiva," produced by Molly Resnick for the 1988 YRSRH dinner

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Photo Outside Frankfurt Yeshiva in 1936 - from US Holocaust Museum

from US Holocaust Museum

Two rabbis hold a conversation outside the Breuer Yeshiva in Frankfurt.

Dr. Posen, a dayan or religious judge and a teacher at the yeshiva is on the left.  Dr. Moses Breuer, brother of the head of the yeshiva, is on the right.
"Two rabbis hold a conversation outside the Breuer Yeshiva in Frankfurt.

Dr. Posen, a dayan or religious judge and a teacher at the yeshiva is on the left. Dr. Moses Breuer, brother of the head of the yeshiva, is on the right."

Sunday, October 4, 2015

R Miller on Secular Education


It’s a question of limudei chol (secular education).

In Frankurt-am-Main they taught limudei chol in the school of the frum Jews. A man who went there told me once that he learned more Yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven) from his science teacher there than he learned from his rebbe, because...the science teacher utilized all the lessons to talk about Yiras Shamayim. It’s possible for a teacher to inject now and then certain thoughts in the minds of students that will give them more benefit than what they heard in the mesivta where the rebbe was teaching Gemara and Halacha (Jewish law).

If you’re learned already—you know Mussar, you learn Halacha —and you want an encyclopedia in order to use it to help other people become frum using the information that you might pick up, go ahead and do it. Otherwise forget about it, because you’re not capable of dealing with the Apikorsus (heresy) in these books.

I personally think limudei chol are a good thing if they’re done in a kosher way, because limudei chol leads you to Yiras Hashem if it’s done right. If you’re capable of distinguishing, then it’s alright, but most people shouldn’t bother bringing any other books in their houses, because they’re not capable. Children will read them and they’ll make a wrong impression.

A man once brought me some books. I put them in my bathroom and I keep them there. I get benefit out of them, but he wouldn’t get any benefit from them. (#E-083, Learning to Live Successfully)"