You may have noticed a certain hostility to gentiles in the Orthodox Jewish world. It isn't subtle. Anybody raised with the idea that racism (hatred of groups other than one's own) is wrong can be just appalled by the sentiments that are expressed every day in the OJ world. The hostility can create a barrier to being Orthodox because in this way the thing feels immoral.

One can't explain it all away by chocking it up to a response to how we have been treated. It seems to go much further than that. Did the Americans mistreat us? What about the Amish? And we can't say either that all gentiles are immoral because in many cases they are more moral.

So whatever the dynamics, reasons, explanations, excuses, or lack of excuses, the problem is largely averted with Hirschianism for in Hirschian thought gentiles are not despised, not in a general sense. The bottom line would be, I would say, that they are human beings created in God's image. They have a purpose in this world, each one of them, and our purpose is tied into theirs.

R' Hirsch isn't the only one to express such thoughts. I bring elsewhere in this website quotes from R' Avigdor Miller, R' Joseph Soloveitchik, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe that speak favorably of gentiles as creations of Hashem. For example, R' Soloveitchik said the following:
There are religiously committed Jews who are indifferent to the concerns of the larger non-Jewish society. They are content to reside in isolated communities with unconcern, if not actual disdain, for the Gentile world and for the problems which afflict humanity. This introversion can be explained as a reaction to the centuries-old derision and persecution which have been the Jewish historical experience and to which they were subjected with particular ferocity in modern times. Nowadays, there are particular aspects of moral perversion afflicting the general society which are repellent to Jewish sensibilities. Nevertheless, this insularity cannot be vindicated as authentic Judaism even if it can be understood and justified in particular historical periods and situations. (Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Man of Faith in the Modern World, p. 73)
That pretty much covers it. Leave it to R' Soloveitchik to solve the problem in 115 words. R' Miller may have solved it in a different way in under a dozen when he said that we don't despise gentiles, we just don't mingle with them. I'm paraphrasing only a bit.

What makes Hirsch different is that he offers such thoughts often. Some examples:
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)
God has dispersed Yisrael among the nations as עבד and שפחה, as "servant" and "handmaiden," to labor on behalf of God's great work on behalf of mankind. Yisrael is called "a servant" to indicate the arduous labor inherent in its outward position vis-à-vis the nations, and "a handmaiden" to denote the joyous fulfillment of its life's task within the sphere of its own homes, families and communities. For the proper discharge of both these tasks Yisrael needs extraordinary spiritual and moral talents and energy; and it is for these faculties that Yisrael looks up to God its God even as a "servant" and a "handmaiden" would look up to their Master. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch on Tehillim 123, 2)
When Abraham, the first Jew, was sent out into the world, he was commanded: 'Heyai bracha.' 'Be a blessing.' Unlike those self-centered others who seek blessings only for themselves, you are to devote yourself completely to your calling, namely, to become a blessing, to help increase the happiness and prosperity of those among whom you dwell, and to advance the work of God in your environment with every breath of your life and every ounce of your strength.  (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, "The Educational Value of Judaism")
These quotes speak for themselves. There are many more.

Yet while Hirsch certainly refutes a generalized hostility to the rest of the human race he doesn't advocate social mixing with the gentiles. Hirsch had an amazing knack for drawing the line in the right place. He'll talk about benefiting from the positive contributions of secular thought but in his thousands of pages of writings hardly ever references any of it. I vaguely recall one reference to Shakespeare. And there's the speech given in honor of the poet Schiller on a day organized by the city of Frankfurt for their native son where likely Hirsch was being polite for this most kosher of gentile poets. Other than that, I can't at the moment recall anything. So too with the gentiles in general. Hirsch speaks philosophically. They have a purpose in this world. A spiritual purpose. We are to interact positively and respectfully with them. We even assist them with their purpose. But that doesn't mean we dine together if there are other options. I'm not saying that he even says this and likely people in his kehilla did dine with their gentile neighbors at times. Hirsch, like the Lubavitcher Rebbe, mostly sticks to the positive. Gentiles are created in God's image, our lives overlap theirs, and this is a good thing. It's part of our purpose.

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