Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Where Hirsch and the Baal HaTanya Meet


[In the end of days] "Through the superabundance of light which will shine upon the Jewish people, the darkness of the nations will also be lit up, as it is written: “And nations will walk by your (the Jewish people’s) light”


 "It is evident from the concluding verse of this Psalm that Asaph does not think here only of the Jewish people, but also pleads the cause of the salvation of all mankind on earth, all of whose existence and welfare is dependent, first of all, upon the proper enforcement of justice and right." (Hirsch Siddur, p. 214, Psalm for Tuesday)

Some people try to claim that Hirsch's 'universalism' was some kind of concession to German sensibilities or his community's attachment to German society. But here we see that the Tanya, who starts off his book by telling us of the problematic nature of the gentile soul, also talks of a day when all of humanity is uplifted. (Note, we don't say that animals will be lifted out of their darkness. People of all kinds will be. So obviously the Tanya's comments about the gentile soul need to be understood carefully as well. He doesn't mean what one may think he means. But that's another discussion.) What we see is that having some concern for the gentiles and their spiritual salvation is a Torah idea, rooted in the prophets.

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