Thursday, June 2, 2016


Approbation by R' Yitzchok Elchanan Spektor, (1817-96) to the Hebrew Translation of the Hirsch Commentary on Chumash that was started by
R' Moshe Aronshon of Kovno in the 19th century

It is known among the tribes of Israel what has been achieved by that righteous man, the pious gaon Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, of blessed memory, late head of the beth din of the holy congregation of Frankfurt am Main, who dedicated his strength and energy to Israel and its Torah, in order to restore the crown of the Law to its ancient glory and to lead the hearts of tens of thousands of [the people of] Israel back to our Father in Heaven. This is the man who, until his extreme old age, devoted his whole life to [the task of] winning souls for the Torah and the Testimony, to support and uphold it, with his activities--"the labors of the righteous are life-giving" [Proverbs 10:16]--as well as with his wonderful, renowned books that are irradiated by the light of the Torah and the lamp of the commandments .... 

However, the light stored up in his books was hidden from those tens of thousands in Israel who do not know the German language .... 

Now ... I will offer my approbation and my blessing to my friend, the worthy R. Moses Zalman Aronsohn ... for the great and splendid work which he has now undertaken, namely, to translate from the German language into our sacred tongue . . . the great and wonderful Commentary on the Torah by the gaon Rabbi Samson [Raphael] Hirsch, of blessed memory. 

This is the precious and much praised commentary which is indeed a crown of glory, "the beauty of Israel" [II Samuel 1:19]. It is a most honored work, done for the sake of heaven, a lovely, choice treasure to exalt the Holy Torah, to give strength and honor to the religious heritage of the community of Jacob. The many original interpretations introduced by this gaon and sage, who was great in knowledge and who conveyed understanding in a manner that is lucid and in conformity with reason, are invaluable. Of equally matchless value is his demonstration of the complete unity of the Written Torah and the Oral Law, which he accomplished in a truly magnificent manner. ... 

How deep are his thoughts, which reveal the wonders and the wisdom concealed in the Torah of the Lord! He removes all the alien and doubtful ideas raised by would-be scholars from generation to generation, and demonstrates that the Torah of the Lord is perfect, the word of God stands forever, and that the light of the Written Torah and the Oral Law will live for all time. 

Kovno, Monday, the third day of 
the month of Marheshvan, 5656 (1895) 

(signed) ISAAC ELCHANAN, residing in this holy community 

From The Pentateuch, Terumath Tzvi, Judaica Press

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