Thursday, June 23, 2005

TIDE (from an Avodah post)

At 05:03 AM 6/23/2005, Eliyahu Gerstl wrote:

Rabbi Schwab was not an advocate of TIDE nor was he atypical. In twenties and thirties many young men from the German Jewish community decided to study in the east because that was where they could learn gemorah on what was generally a higher level than in Germany. At the same time the Orthodox Rabbiner Seminar in Berlin brought in a young Eastern European iluy, R. Elya Kaplan as its head and after his death R. Y.Y. Weinberg who was also from the east followed as the last head of the seminary.

The interesting thing about RAEK and RYYW is that both developed a quasi-TIDE philosophy during their respective tenures at the *Rabbiner Seminar*. This is, of course, in contradistinction to RYBS and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose sojourns at Western European *Universities* did not have that impact on them.

I recall reading R. Schwab's Elu ve-Elu when I was about to go to university when seeking some personal guidance. I was confused by it as it did not advocate general studies as having intrinsic worth and therefore as a lechatchila and it therefore contradicted what I had believed was the Hirschian position. Of course I did not know that R. Schwab as a young man was the person who had elicited the famous opinions of eastern European rashei yeshiva as whether general studies were muttar. A true Hirschian, IMO, and would not have therefore have doubted that general studies were not only muttar but rather le-chatchila and moreover he would not have needed the approval of rashei yeshiva of a different hashkafic orientation. He would have approached the rabbanim in his own community.

There is no doubt in my mind that R' Schwab was not a true advocate of TIDE and R' Gelley is certainly not. I once asked one of my cousins who is a grandson to R' Breuer how many true TIDEeans in the truest philosophical meaning of the word exist today and he answered (and named) four (I disagree about one of them).

As to TuM and TIDE, IMO the latter accords with much of TuM, BUT not an Orthodox form of Wissenschaft des Judentum as advocated at the Rabbiner Seminar begun by R. Hildesheimer. RSRH was generally against the employment of modern critical scholarship in Torah study and believed that Torah was an independent system and that there therefore was no need to employ outside methodologies. Thus RSRH did not support the Rabbiner Seminar of R. Hildesheimer.

As we have iterated many times here, there are vast differences between TIDE and TuM - at least as the latter was formulated by RYBS. TIDE sees life as a seamless whole, and seeks harmony and true synthesis of T and DE. TuM sees life as consisting of two paradoxical poles and bridging between the two, with no need nor quest to resolve the discrepancies.

As far as R. Elias' commentary to his new edition of RSRH's Nineteen Letters: it is correct that he views TIDE as a horaat shaah. But see a point-counterpoint series of two articles in 1996 in Jewish Action. In that series,R. Joseph Elias and R. Shelomo Danziger debated this issue. R. Danziger (who had previously taught at Breuers for over twenty years ) argued strongly that TIDE was not a horaat shaah but le-chatchila. R. Elias (who had been the principal at Breuer's) disagreed.

I do not know how anyone familiar with the writings of RD Joseph Breuer and RD Isaac Breuer can contend that they would acquiesce to the position that TIDE was an Horaas Shaah.

A detailed study of RSRH, his life and his ideas is that of Samuel Rosenbloom, Tradition in an age of reform, JPS, 1976. IMO the author of the latter book would strongly support Rabbi Danziger's opinion.

As a side comment, it is of interest that the Breuer's community has not associated itself with YU and in fact I was told by someone who grew up there that he when he was considering going to YU in the early sixties (?) that he was advised by the late long-time president of the community, that it was far better that he go to some other university. But of course that's not a proof as to RSRH's hashkafot but only the views of the leadership of the Breuer's community, and a proof that the community had obviously undergone many changes since the time of RSRH.

See above. Precisely because there are similarities between YU and KAJ it was important to negate the comparison. Hence the perennially (tragically) mostly abortive attempt to sustain a separate KAJ Beis HaMedrash.

A person named George D. Frankel has written a pamphlet decrying the changes in his community (mentioned in Avodah, 50:47,48)."Dan Shall Judge His People: 5 Essays on Torah im Derech Eretz and the Breuer Community Today."

My own opinion based admittedly on only a few observations and without an intimate knowledge of that community is that Breuer's is now a yeshivish community (with German minhagin) but one that is more open to Torah im Parnasah than some other yeshivish communities.

Accurate enough. It is a pity that it did not go the other way - better, IMHO, to have sustained TIDE and jettisoned the minhagim than to have sustained the minhagim and jettisoned TIDE.

YGB

34 comments:

  1. The proponents who claim that RTIDE was hooras shah of RSRH, what was the necessity for it? Also, do we distniguish today between the reasons/motivation for attending university then, to why we do it today. From my experience, (I only have a MBA from a college, having received an undergraduate bachelors in talmudiic law from yeshiva) people go to college to get a degree to get a good job. No one really seems interested in secular knowledge per say, from an intellectual point of view. Doesnt this make it comparing apples and oranges?

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  2. I'm in a very similar situation to you, having a BTL and then getting an MS in Education from JHU.

    Those who assume TIDE was a Horaas Shaah assert that it was only to fight the Reform that RSRH advocated secular accomplishment - roughly analogous to a Kiruv Worker presenting himself as erudite and articulate so as to have a greater impact on his target audience.

    Your point about why people go to College is well taken. I think this is a point that many do not understand about TIDE - it requires no formal schooling, nor even does it require one to actually works (Heaven forfend!). Rather, it requires an awareness of and involvement with those areas of secular knowledge and life that will facilitate greater shleymus.

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  3. As someone who went to YU and now lives near the KAJ Beis Medrash - it puzzles me that it exists only by importing yungerleit from other places, thus losing any essential Breuers character.

    In addition, it is unfortunately like too many of the small kollels you walk into anywhere around new york. Too many bored looking guys in their mid 20's to early 30's shmoozing.

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  4. I think the kushiah is itself the teirutz: Since KAJ is not, at present, a truly TIDE institution, it might as well have any sort of Kollel.

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  5. "IMHO, to have sustained TIDE and jettisoned the minhagim than to have sustained the minhagim and jettisoned TIDE."

    the commitment to TIDE is very much secondary to the minhagim; it only dates from RSRH after all. (Actually, the veneration of TIDE is a result of veneration of minhag, our leader said, etc. ) These are not the words of a real yekke, that's for sure!

    As for the distinction between TIDE and TUM, you lost me on that one. Are you saying that RYBS' philosophy was unique to him and everything else is TIDE?:)

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  6. I guess we must disagree then about what is ikkar and what is tafel: To me, the contribution that German Jewry made to the world of Judaism was not some quaint minhagim, but a weltanschauung.

    Like most great philosophies of Judaism of the 19th century, RSRH did not innovate TIDE anymore than R' Yisroel Salanter innovated Mussar or R' Chaim Brisker innovated Lomdus. They each noted a specific strain of Avodas Hashem that was hoary and ancient, and brought it to bear on the current realities. For example, the GRA was certainly a believer in TIDE.

    As for TuM, to the extent that it has any legitimacy as a derech, as opposed to a concession to the American milieu of the time, it is only in RYBS's statements on the topic that we can find its validation.

    ReplyDelete
  7. From Avodah:

    From: Micha Berger micha@aishdas.org
    To: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group avodah@aishdas.org
    Subject: Re: TIDE vs TuM


    On Thu, Jun 23, 2005 at 09:04:05AM -0400, RYGB wrote:
    : As we have iterated many times here, there are vast differences between
    : TIDE and TuM - at least as the latter was formulated by RYBS. TIDE sees
    : life as a seamless whole, and seeks harmony and true synthesis of T and DE.
    : TuM sees life as consisting of two paradoxical poles and bridging between
    : the two, with no need nor quest to resolve the discrepancies.


    I think each reflect their zeitgeist.


    In Hirsch's era, and to the people RSRH addressed, Hegel shaped the
    thought and culture of the era. Dialectics were seen as things to be
    resolved.


    RYBS was a neo-Kantian. In his thought, and in the culture that defined
    which approach would work for his community, dialectical tension is
    seen in itself as a good thing. Humans live and grow through dealing
    with these conflicting views, not through resolving them.


    On Thu, Jun 23, 2005 at 04:27:31PM +0300, Eli Turkel wrote:
    :> We also seem to have concluded amongst ourselves that TIDE differs from
    :> TuM in that TIDE values applied knowledge and TuM more academic knowledge.
    :> But not that TIDE was identical to "Torah vaAvodah" ala the CI.


    : I thought that RSRH was more interested in the humanity's than science.
    : Today's TuM crowd generally goes into the sciences (RAL in English
    : Literature is the exception not the rule). So it sounds almost the opposite
    : of what Micha writes.


    Applied vs academic isn't the same thing as science vs liberal arts.
    For that matter, much of science is unapplied -- it's not the same thing
    as technology.


    RSRH's interest in German culture was in producing well-rounded and
    refined Jews.
    RYBS's interest in academic knowledge was just that -- in academia. Not as
    "culture" but the greatness of knowledge in and of itself.


    This might flow from the above. RSRH's focus would be on that secular
    knowledge that more readliy blends.


    In any case, RYBS studied philosophy when that was more "in", just like
    this generation of MO tends to study the sciences because that's what's
    "in" now.

    -mi

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  8. More from Avodah:

    From: T613K@aol.com
    Subject: Re: Torah Im Derech Eretz
    To: avodah@aishdas.org, ygb@aishdas.org


    In Avodah V15 #37 dated 6/23/2005 RYGB writes:


    >>I once asked one of my cousins who is a
    grandson to R' Breuer how many true TIDEeans in the truest philosophical
    meaning of the word exist today and he answered (and named) four (I
    disagree about one of them).<<
    => I'd be curious to know who the four (or three) are. As long as my father zt'l was alive I knew one genuine exemplar of Torah Im Derech Eretz. Since his petira, I don't know any. But I have clung to the faith that there must be some in the world. There are so many people in the world whom I do not know, after all!



    >>As we have iterated many times here, there are vast differences between
    TIDE and TuM - at least as the latter was formulated by RYBS. TIDE sees
    life as a seamless whole, and seeks harmony and true synthesis of T and DE.
    TuM sees life as consisting of two paradoxical poles and bridging between
    the two, with no need nor quest to resolve the discrepancies.<<

    =>Very, very well said.

    One can see this difference (to some extent) by reading RSRH on the first two perakim of Bereishis vs reading RYBS's *The Lonely Man of Faith.*




    >As a side comment, it is of interest that the Breuer's community has not
    >associated itself with YU and in fact I was told by someone who grew up
    >there that he when he was considering going to YU in the early sixties (?)
    >that he was advised by the late long-time president of the community, that
    >it was far better that he go to some other university. --R' Eliyahu Gerstl (?)

    =>My father believed in going to college but davka not to YU. He also believed in learning in yeshiva, and davka not in YU. As a musmach of YU who also had a BA in English and philosophy from YU, he was in a position to know whereof he spoke.


    >> It is a pity that it did not go the other way - better,
    IMHO, to have sustained TIDE and jettisoned the minhagim than to have
    sustained the minhagim and jettisoned TIDE.<<

    YGB

    => Don't know if it would have been better or not. My father had tremendous respect and admiration for Yekkes (a term some consider derogatory, but he used with affection), although--or because?--he was a Polish chossid. He tremendously admired their yashrus, their unswerving adherence to minhag and halacha, their yiras Shamayim and the dedication with which they built a Community with a capital C--a true Kehilla--and not just a shul here and a school there and some kashrus organization over there.

    When I speak of their yashrus, I speak of a certain simplicity of faith and action, simple as in "Yakov ish tam" or "Tamim tihayu im Hashem Elokeichem." RSRH, who set the tone for the community, was not a simpleton, but neither was he a conflicted and schizophrenic man. His hashkafa was, as R' Bechhoffer put it so well, a seamless whole.

    My father did consider it a pity that the German community swerved away from Torah im Derech Eretz. OTOH, he pointed out that if a community was going to be swayed by the zeitgeist and influenced to depart from its original derech, and if it could go to the left or to the right--the fact that the community headed to the right testified to the essential yiras Shamayim of its original vision.

    I have much more to say about this but am pressed for time.


    --Toby Katz
    =============

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  9. RSRH rewrote many of Frankfurt's minhagim too. I don't know if I agree with the anonymous poster who feels TIDE's youth makes it secondary.

    However, I certainly agree with RYGB that at this point in kelal Yisrael's history, combatting rote observance is a bigger issue than which minhagim you follow. We have people (probably the vast majority majority r"l) who can be fully observant and yet rarely find connection to the Creator or progress in self-perfecion in that observance. When the forest is lost, who can worry about the trees?

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  10. " YGB said...
    I guess we must disagree then about what is ikkar and what is tafel: To me, the contribution that German Jewry made to the world of Judaism was not some quaint minhagim, but a weltanschauung."

    I beg to differ. The contribution of German Jewry in the area of minhogim is not just some 'quaint minhogim'. Rather it is, the original minhogim of Ashkenazic Jewry, of which 'Yekkes' are only a small portion today. In many cases, Yekkes have maintained the original form of these minhogim, while other Ashkenazim have changed them in various degrees. The series of seforim called 'Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz' by Rav Hamburger expounds on this in great detail.

    All Ashkenazim need the Yekkes to know our roots and to know the minhogim of our ancestors and how they should rightfully be practiced.

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  11. More from Avodah

    -1-

    At 11:15 AM 6/26/2005, you wrote:

    >For example, the GRA was certainly a >believer in TIDE.

    What was that? I seem to recall reading that the GRA learned mathematics
    and science before he was bar mitzvah and would be mechuyav in vehagisa bo
    yomom volailah, but was only mechuyev in Yedias haTorah. According to my
    son, before bar mitzvah he knew the entire shas, meforshim etc. and he had
    no further chiyuv in limud hatorah, so he learned chochmos chitzonios, until
    he was bar mitzvah. Elsewhere I read that he learned science in places
    where one could not learn Torah.

    That is rather different, in my understanding, of TIDE.

    Rivka S
    (- who graduated a TuM high school and spent almost two years at Breuer's
    Seminary)


    I regret that you were misinformed.

    The Gra's famous siyum on all Chochmos was made well after his Bar Mitzva, at a time when he had talmidim who were already talmidei chachomim muflagim in their own right - such as the Pe'as HaShulchan who was present.

    I too *heard* that the Gra studied chochmos chitzoniyos in oso makom. I now no longer believe the authenticity of that assertion and have yet to see it reliably verified.

    The truth is, however, it is immaterial when the Gra mastered CC's. Zohl dohs zayn afilu fahr his BM. The attitude he had - that to the extent that a person lacked knowledge of CC's he would lack correspondingly (or, according to the other version, much more) in Chochmas HaTorah, is a truly TIDE perspective.

    YGB
    ________________________________

    -2-

    From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
    To: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group avodah@aishdas.org


    RYGB, responding [in his blog and] in Avodah V15 #38 to someone who
    disagreed with his "IMHO, to have sustained TIDE and jettisoned the
    minhagim than to have sustained the minhagim and jettisoned TIDE":
    > To me, the contribution that German
    > Jewry made to the world of Judaism
    > was not some quaint minhagim, but a
    > weltanschauung.


    I 'hear' RYGB more than his interlocutor. The minhagim we're talking
    about, even when ancient and traceable to pre-Galus ("quaint" seems a bit
    harsh), essentially fall under (reference is to the Mishna in Avos) the
    Avodah rubric, while TiDE is a methodology that extends across Torah,
    Avodah, and GmaCh. Someone (IIRC, RnTK) referred to Rav LYBreuer's
    concept of "glatt yashrus" -- even that one practical aspect already
    falls outside Avodah, and there is so much more to TiDE than merely the
    practical and/or externally-visible aspects like minhagim and yashrus.


    All the best from
    -Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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  12. " I guess we must disagree then about what is ikkar and what is tafel: To me, the contribution that German Jewry made to the world of Judaism was not some quaint minhagim, but a weltanschauung."

    This is not the point - (the anonymous of 8:21 pm who responded to write about the importance of german minhagim is not me) - I was trying to describe the primary strength of the German community and their self-identity. It's (almost) inconceivable that the Yekkishe community would adhere to TIDEism and not their minhagim; that's not the way things work. As already stated, the adherence to TIDE is a subset of their adherence to their traditions, with TIDE a late tradition. No Yekke would write as you do. I don't disagree that the philosophy of TIDE is more significant than any given minhag, but I am not a Yekke.

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  13. "As for TuM, to the extent that it has any legitimacy as a derech, as opposed to a concession to the American milieu of the time, it is only in RYBS's statements on the topic that we can find its validation."

    Is the objection to an ineffective form of TIDE in practice or to a formal philosophy? I don't get the impression that TIDE crowd objected to TUM formally; I think they felt that YU as an institution had failed in practice to live up to the ideal. I think this is why there is so much difficulty defining the difference between TIDE and TUM without recourse to the personality of RYBS. There probably isn't so much difference in theory. In practice, TUM was taken up by a different crowd, for different purposes, and in a yeshiva-type setting rather than in a communal one.

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  14. Many thanks -- this is the clearest distinction between TuM and TiDE that I have found yet.

    ReplyDelete
  15. For Sara, an old Avodah post (the essay quoted by Reb Micha below tends to be overly warm, fuzzy and biased towards TuM, but the points are made).

    Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 10:53:42 -0500
    From: Micha Berger micha@aishdas.org
    Subject: TIDE and TuM

    I am not sure I agree with R Steinberg's take on RYBS's shitah on the
    subject. However, the topic of variants of TIDE and TuM has been raised
    here often enough for me to know the chevrah would be interested.

    -mi

    Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 10:00:28 +0200 (IST)
    From: Nehemiah Klein ndk@hakotel.edu
    To: rambam list hk-rambam@lists.hakotel.edu
    Subject: HaRav Steinberger's Shiur #5762-2 [and #5762-3 -mi]

    "Torah UMaddah" in the Thought of Rav Soloveitchik zt"l
    (Excerpts from an article that appeared in "HaTzofeh" last Sukkot)

    One of the great, actually the greatest thinker to whom people attribute
    some of the most liberal ideas in Orthodox Jewry is the late Rabbi
    Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who headed Yeshiva University for almost
    half a century. In the following article we will try to reexamine the
    "Weltanschauung" of the Rav in "Torah UMaddah" issues. Naturally,
    the conclusions have clear ramifications for our "Derech" as modern
    Bnei Torah.

    Contrary to the prevalent opinion among many of the flag bearers of
    the concept "Torah UMaddah", the Rav's focus was to maximize the status
    of Torah through Maddah and not the other way around. He was opposed,
    as is evident through his writings, to the academization of Torah.
    He clearly held that Torah is the "Gvirah" (lady) and "Maddah" is the
    "shifcha" (maid). Torah and science are not equal and certainly one
    should not use Torah just as another feature of one's education, an
    ornament rather than a major feature.

    The Rav taught the Sugya in the authentic language of Brisk. He radiated
    the aroma of the old Beit Midrash. His shiurim were usually peppered
    with stories and anecdotes containing the humor of previous generations.
    Even, when addressing a secular audience in his essays or public lectures,
    he always functioned as a true ambassador of the Torah culture in the
    grand tradition demonstrating an unequivocal admiration for the wisdom
    and the conduct of earlier Gedolim.

    He never felt the need to be apologetic vis-a-vis secular wisdom.
    The Rav did hold that the words "Chillul Hashem" was the dearth of the
    Jewish sages and wise men who were revered even by discerning gentiles.
    The prestigious status of the great Torah scholars even in the outside
    world, added to the pride of the students within. This fact helped
    influence the brainiest youngsters to strive for excellence in learning.
    Even on the social scene, the Talmid Chacham used to be at the top.

    This situation changed. Even if Klal Yisrael has continued to
    produce Gedolim, they have failed to occupy a place among the towering
    intellectuals and cultural leaders, as they had in the past. There were
    times when kings and leaders used to consult the Jewish sages, recognizing
    their unique general wisdom, Vespasyanus was impressed immensely with Rav
    Yochanan ben Zakkai; the royal princess with R' Yehoshua ben Chananyah;
    Antoninus, the Roman Emperor, learned "Chavrutah" with R' Yehudah HaNassi,
    R' Shmuel HaNaggid and later R' Yitzchak Abarbanel served as ministers
    of the Royal Court in Spain; the Maharal and later R' Yonatan Eibshitz
    were advisors to the king in Prague -- to mention just a few examples.
    This has come to a screeching halt, because the recent Gedolim failed
    to master the language and the terminology of a developing world in the
    past century.

    There is no way to dismiss the terrible crisis in the world of Torah
    caused by the emergence of a sophisticated very impressive secular
    culture and science. The Jewish mother, who used to shed tears while
    lighting Shabbat candles, praying for children Talmidei Chachamim has
    redirected her prayers. Now she prays for a son with a Ph.D. or MD.
    The Yeshiva student, who was once perceived as a witty sharp minded
    intellectual became the object of scorn in the literature of the Jewish
    Enlightenment. Because of this devaluation in the status of the Yeshiva,
    only the "chareidi" (ultra-Orthodox) world continued to idolize the
    Talmid Chacham. Even the modern Orthodox public abandoned Torah learning.
    Till quite recently it had to rely on Rabbinical and Educational Torah
    leadership -- mostly imported from the Chareidi Yeshivot. Similar to
    the non-observant, these modern Orthodox Jews began to appreciate only
    academic and economic success. Much of the Jewish society of Eastern
    Europe, the cradle of intensive Torah atmosphere, internalized this new
    approach -- when masses of Jews emigrated to the New World at the turn of
    the twentieth century and abandoned completely any connection with Torah.
    At that time it seemed that Torah values were a relic of a bygone era
    and no longer relevant, especially in the United States.

    Rav Soloveitchik observed all these phenomena. He wanted to revitalize
    Torah learning and restore its diminished glory. He held, rightly so,
    that preaching against materialism and assimilationist values will not
    achieve anything. (Mussar, as a method has never been accepted by Brisk.
    See "Man of Halacha" -- in Hebrew -- page 67). The Rav understood
    that in success oriented America only if Torah learning can again be
    made a prestigious occupation, there is a chance to attract the youth,
    especially the talented ones.

    Like Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, in his times, the Rav saw the biggest
    damage having been done by the Enlightenment and Emancipation movements
    in the fact that they managed to attach the stigma of primitivity and
    anachronism to the religious way of life. [See Y.Y. Weinberg's essay
    about Rav Hirsch "Seridei Esh" Volume IV. According to him, Hirsch
    tried to emphasize that Judaism and culture not only are compatible
    but they fit harmoniously. The detachment from the practical world
    caused the misconception that Judaism is synonymous with intellectual
    deprivation.] The Rav wanted very much to change this, not totally
    baseless, image. Like Hirsch, he also advised Bnei Torah to acquire
    higher education.

    Nevertheless, there are some clear differences between the two. Hirsch
    appealed more to the average Jew. He was a pragmatist and functioned as a
    pastor. The Rav, on the other hand, was a prince of Torah, a scion of the
    Torah aristocracy of Brisk and an elitist. The Rav himself distinguished
    his outlook from that of Rav Hirsch. He used, in one of his drashot, the
    name "Ramatayim Tzofim" (See Shmuel I 1:1) symbolizing the dichotomy of
    Torah UMaddah. There are twin peaks -- one of Torah, the other of Maddah,
    which remain forever asunder. No synthesis exists. As a proud father,
    he described the schedule of his son Chaim [the prodigy son of the Rav,
    who studied by his father and also on Yeshivat Ponovizh in Bnei Brak. He
    is today a Torah scholar and a leading professor of history). One day
    Chaim deciphered a complex Talmudic passage -- on the other he reads
    Max Weber. Two peaks, two days. Rather than "Torah im Derech Eretz" of
    Rav Hirsch, towering Torah which is apart from towering Maddah. Only
    the separation and the intensive care of each achieves excellence in
    both. (About Rav Hirsch, see also introduction to "Shemesh UMarpeh"
    Messorah, NY 1992, and my book "Ishei Yovel" page 387 and on)].

    [Part II, sent in a 2nd email numbered #5762-3 -mi]

    There is a lot of evidence, both from the writings and the lectures
    (based on testimony of his students in RIETS), that the Rav viewed Torah
    learning and the furtherance of the Holy Tradition as the ultimate goal.
    Thus, "Maddah" inevitably functioned only as a vehicle to aggrandize
    Torah, or at the best, as a separate entity. This is contrary to some
    opinions which identified the Rav as a reformer and religious liberal,
    who supposedly gave a "Hechsher" (endorsement) to the new way of life
    called "Modern Orthodoxy" in the United States and beyond. It might be
    true that there was a kind of dichotomy in the way the Rav appeared as
    a Rabbinical leader in his Boston congregation or as a spiritual leader
    of the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America -- the forum that unites the
    Modern Orthodox Rabbinate) vis a vis his appearance as a Rosh Yeshiva
    and true Torah leader in the learned circles of RIETS.

    Nevertheless, no person claiming intellectual honesty can dismiss the
    fact that the most authentic representative of a spiritual leader is his
    legacy to future generations, as formulated in his writings and teachings
    to the highest caliber students, or the most intimate memories of his
    closest circle and family.

    All the above does not leave much doubt about the Rav's real legacy to
    us. Needless to say that his Halachic "Lomdische" writings were in no
    way academically phrased or oriented. On the contrary, the reader can
    hardly distinguish between them and the classic Brisker Torah of his
    illustrious family members: R' Chaim -- the grandfather, R' Moshe --
    the father, HaGriz -- the great uncle, etc. (A list of his Halachic
    writings -- which substantiate our claim: Kovetz Chidushei Torah,
    Shiurim LeZecher Aba Mari, Kuntres Avodat Yom HaKippurim, Chiddushei
    HaGram veHaGrid -- Kodshim, Inyanei Taaniyot, Reshimot Shiurim: Sukkah,
    Nedarim, Shevuot, Baba Kama, Shiurei Gittin, Igrot HaGrid, Hararey Kedem,
    Haggadah -- Siach HaGrid. Besides, there are many Halachic articles in
    "HaDarom", "HaPardes", "Messorah", "Ohr HaMizrach", "Beit Yitzchak"
    and many pieces quoted in "Nefesh HaRav". There are also many Halachic
    points in the Rav's philosophical -- homiletical writings, especially
    in the footnotes. Part of the above was written by the Rav, the rest
    by editors from his family and/or students). But even his non-Halachic
    writings leave no doubt: The Rav was a firm believer in the absolute
    hegemony of the Torah including the style and methods sanctioned by the
    classic Tradition of Torah learning.

    [In this context it is advisable to read especially the Rav's early essay
    "Man of Halacha". Also "Mah Dodech Midod" -- a eulogy for his uncle,
    the Rav of Brisk. A complete list of the Rav's writings appears in "the
    Rav: The World of Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchick" by Aaron Rakefet). Nowhere
    in the Rav's written legacy can one find emphasized liberalism in Psak
    (Halachic rulings), nor an endorsement of scientific research-oriented
    Talmudic scholarship. The only leniency is, the somewhat more colorful
    and articulate language, than the typical terse language used in
    Halachic literature. This is done in order to explain more precisely his
    sophisticated Lomdus. And still, even in these instances, the language is
    a classical mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic, "Yeshivish", par excellence.
    (A slight deviation from this style can be found in "Shiurim LeZecher
    Abah Mari", where the Rav seems to mix Halacha with Machshava and Bible
    commentary. But even there, there is no trace of academic language
    and secular terminology. This book is rather "Rabbinical" in style than
    classic "Yeshivish" bearing the insignia of the Rav as a pulpit Rabbi and
    a teacher to the laymen, albeit learned, rather than as a Rosh Yeshiva.
    The same can be said about "Al HaTeshuva" a compilation of the Rav's
    Tshuva Drashot. Dr. Peli, the editor, a liberal professor of Jewish
    philosophy, would have probably been happy to quote the Rav's wider and
    more secular sayings, had there been any of the sort in those lectures].

    Furthermore, there is no need to revert just to the evidence offered
    indirectly by the writings and their style -- there is clear outstanding
    evidence about the Rav's emphasis on adhering to the spirit of old
    traditions in Torah. The Rav cherished very much the stories of his
    illustrious ancestors. He repeatedly described the event when his namesake
    and great grandfather, the author of "Beit HaLevi", was asked to express
    his Halachic opinion about the "Techelet" which had been discovered by
    the Rebbe of Rodzin. "Beit HaLevi" refused even to start a Halachic
    discussion. We have no "Mesorah" -- practical Halachic tradition --
    concerning the identification of the "Tchelet", he said. Therefore,
    he terminated and declared futile any proofs concerning the findings
    of the Rodzhiner. (See "Shiurim LeZecher Aba Mari" volume II, page 228,
    "Ish HaHalacha" p. 99, Rabbi Shachter, probably the Rav's closest student,
    devoted in "Nefesh HaRav" a whole chapter to matters of Tradition --
    "Mesorah", see there volume I, page 34. Actually the whole book is about
    the customs and Halachic behavior of the Rav).

    Therefore, those who supposedly see themselves as the guardians of the
    Rav's legacy, by teaching Talmud and Halacha in quasi academic method
    and style, lacking the vitality and old charm of Gemara learning, are
    performing disservice to the great master's true spirit. The Rav was a
    great teacher and pedagogue. He was a tremendously gifted commentator,
    using his panoramic knowledge of: ruling precedents, history, folklore
    -- all done with much wisdom and a brilliant sense of humor (often
    sardonic, characteristic of the Litvishe Lamdan he was). He used all
    these to stimulate the minds of his students and to instill in them a
    true love for Torah learning. He did not hesitate to frown, sometimes,
    on his students who failed to grasp the serious responsibility in saying
    a "svarah" or understanding the shiur. He did not believe in the style
    of constantly patting the shoulders of the students (so prevalent
    in some of the Israeli Bnei Akiva style Yeshivot, see my article in
    "Hatzofeh" -- 24 Tevet 5757: "Excellence in the Zionistic Yeshivot
    -- Dream and Disappointment", see also Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein's:
    "Talmud Instruction in the Yeshiva High School", there, Iyar 18 5761). He
    objected to flattering the student, lest it might devaluate the prestige
    of Torah learning, he was also against academization of Torah learning
    which might falsify the belief in the Divine origin of Torah.

    The Rav will be, no doubt, remembered as one of the greatest Lamdanim
    of the Beit Hamidrash, whose "sevarot" and Halachic definitions, will
    be quoted forever. (Even the Chareidi Torah world, which opposed him
    philosophically, like Brisk, Mir, and Lakewood, just to mention a few
    outstanding Yeshivot, admired his Torah scholarship. R' Michel Shurkin,
    a Chareidi Rosh Yeshiva, participated in the Rav's shiurim for many
    years, unwilling to have anything to do with YU. Even in his book,
    "Hararei Kedem" where he presents the Rav's shiurim, he introduces him
    with the title "Gavb"d Boston" and nothing else). Rav Aharon Kotler, who
    was perceived as Gedol HaDor in the American Chareidi world, naturally
    opposed the Weltanschauung of the Rav, yet he loved to hear the Rav's
    "Chiddushei Torah". Eventually, because of this "semi-secret" friendship,
    the Rav accepted the honorary chairmanshp of the Chareidi "Chinuch Atzmai"
    -- education network, which was the "baby" of Rav Kotler. Rav Y. Hutner,
    Rosh Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, another Chareidi luminary, corresponded
    with the Rav in Halacha. See "Sefer HaZikaron Pachad Yitzchak, page 221.
    When Rav Shmuel Rozovsky went to Boston for medical treatment, he made an
    effort to meet the Rav. Rav Rozovsky, the head of the extremist Ponovizh
    Yeshiva, who personally held relatively moderate views, apologized about
    the meeting, saying that he had just wanted to see the man who had been
    revered as having "the head of R' Chaim" -- his legendary grandfather).

    The New York Times eulogized the Rav as the greatest Jewish theologian
    of the century, whose teachings will be remembered in a thousand years.
    Similar views were expressed in Time magazine. These publications
    substantiate the prestige the Rav enjoyed on the general cultural
    scene. Since the Rambam there has perhaps not been a figure who combined,
    on such levels of excellence, both Torah and Maddah and achieved such
    a recognition in both worlds. [Another, example was Rav Dr. Yaakov
    Yechiel Weinberg the great posek of Europe after the war, the last dean
    of the Hildisheimer Rabbinical Seminar in prewar Berlin. Still there were
    differences: Rav Weinberg stood out more as an expert posek and less as a
    Lamdan. Also his philosophical achievements were less intellectual than
    those of the Rav. And, curiously, while he was considered more Chareidi
    than the Rav, his Talmudic approach seemed to be more academic oriented
    -- see "Seridei Esh" volume IV, his textual treatment of the "Sugya
    of Meitav". In short, even he was no match for the Rav as the towering
    intellectual of his generation in both Torah and secular studies.]

    ReplyDelete
  16. More re Yekke minhogim - As I posted previously, I think the Yekkes (esp. those that follow the ancient minhag Reinus) are the custodians of an ancient legacy - (with some exceptions) of the ancient/original forms of minhag Ashkenaz - for all Ashkenazim and all of klal Yisroel. Unfortunately, it seems that some of them, as well as some others, don't fully understand and appreciate this important function and want to 'assimilate' and be like the non-Yekkes, who comprise most of Ashkenazic Jewry today, jettisoning their minhogim, and adopting younger and less venerable ones. Hopefully this is gradually changing due to seforim like 'Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz', but alot of work still remains to be done in this area. I know that it can be hard to bear another ancient legacy - in addition to the ancient legacy of our faith in general - but there should at least be an effort and pride in attempting to do so, IMHO - as well as support from non-Yekkes, rather than (chas vesholom) ridicule. Of course, if it is done in the way of 'mitzvas anoshim milumodoh' that could be a big turnoff. However, when it is done in an educated way, as with the seforim mentioned above, it can be a thing of beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "In short, even he was no match for the Rav as the towering
    intellectual of his generation in both Torah and secular studies"

    This is only true if one weighs secular studies more heavily than torah studies. I don't think one can claim with a straight face that the s'ridei eysh was not a bigger talmid chochom than the Rav (with no disrespect to the rav intended).
    Similarly the "no one like him since the Rambam" places a very high premium on secular studies, and ignores the contributions of eg R Kook, the Chazon Ish, R Chaim Volozhiner to Jewish philosophy. The rav most surely didn't make the same level of contributions to either Jewish studies or Jewish machshava and he had no discernable impact on secular philosophy in the way the Rambam did.
    It is over the top praises of the Rav that make charedim so suspicious; these evaluations show an acceptance of the very overvaluing of mada at the expense of torah that the Rav decried and hoped to counter. As long as people walk around saying there was no one like him since the Rambam, thereby insulting the many g'dolei torah who were greater in their contributions, he will have failed, as the main measure here seems to be that the rav was greater than all these others because he spoke in polysyllables.

    the nonyekkish anon

    ReplyDelete
  18. More from Avodah:

    From: Micha Berger micha@aishdas.org
    To: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group avodah@aishdas.org
    Subject: TIDE


    More on the idea of TIDE's synthesis vs TuM's dialectic...


    RYBS definitely formulated TuM in neo-Kanetian terms that life is about
    navigating dialectics, that the conflicting values and struths in our lives
    acan not be synthsized. Nor should they be -- it's by grappling through these
    dilemmas that one excercises free will and personal growth.


    R Lamm tried recasting RYBS's dialectic back into a synthesis. But it
    really doesn't work (IMHO, of course). Once one makes "mada" an opposite
    pole and then synthesizes Torah with it, definitionally one is left with
    something that is not quite Torah.


    Contrast that to RYYW's tzurah-vechomer metaphor for TIDE, that I've posted
    here in the past. Here's another quote from RYYW (SE vol 4, translation by R'
    Elyakim Krumbein):


    The Israelite religion does not wish to uproot the Jew from the soil
    of his growth, and transplant him elsewhere. Rather, it wishes to
    influence the whole man, to prepare his whole heart, his thoughts
    and deeds, for his exalted tasks. All that is human is near to it,
    for Judaism is - as Rav Hirsch himself put it - flawless, perfected
    humanity, a Jewish humanity. So it was in ancient Israel, and in the
    time of the Tannaim and Amoraim and Geonim, and partially so in the
    Golden Age experienced by the Jewish people in Spain. Judaism was
    never a source of suffering for Israel. Judaism for Israel was life
    in its fullness. No one dreamed of a possible separation between
    religion and life, as though they were separate or opposing forces.


    But the Jewish people underwent a mighty change during the time of
    the terrible Crusades. The terrible persecutions, the banishment from
    the different areas of life, the deprivation of breathing space and
    limitation of movement, also damaged the religious strength of the
    Jew seriously and weakened it.


    Together with the impoverishment of our life, the scope of our
    religion became increasingly narrower. Broad, important areas
    of life were cruelly wrested from our people and its religion.
    The Hebrew soul was torn to shreds. That joy which results from
    the total correspondence of spirit and life, ceased in Israel.
    Religion no longer had anything to do with life, and consequently,
    life ceased to be a matter of religion. Concrete living lost its
    religious form, and became a secular affair.


    The concept 'secular life,' which is foreign to the spirit of Israel,
    came into being during those dark times. The religious sense no
    longer drew sustenance directly from life... and was sustained only
    by the fear of death, and terror of the severe penalties of the
    World-to-Come. It is true, of course, that belief in divine reward
    and punishment is a basic Jewish principle... but extensive use of
    it, placing it at the center of religious feeling, turning it into
    the solitary propelling force for fulfilling mitzvot - can plunge
    a man into depression and induce spiritual malaise...


    This 'separation from life' resulted in the adoption of a negative
    stance towards life's achievements. The spirit of Israel wore black,
    donning a cloak of asceticism foreign to the spirit of Judaism.
    The ghetto stood for hundreds of years, and brought forth great,
    pious, holy men... who benefited from the splendor of the Torah, and
    whose thoughts, speech and deeds were inspired by its holy Presence.
    But within the ghetto walls lived multitudes who couldn't taste Torah
    or be inspired by it. They thirsted for life, and their spirit was
    crushed by their inability to reach it...


    But one day new winds began to blow in the world. The ghetto walls
    fell. Swirling currents of hope for light and freedom, for the
    prospect of life and productive activity, acquisition of wealth and
    social standing, flooded the furthest corners of the ghetto and its
    disenfranchised residents. The thirst for healthy life, so natural to
    the Jews... awoke once more with storm and fury. These revolutionary
    developments brought a crisis upon the congregation of Israel.
    The one-sided, life-negating religiosity collapsed ...On the one hand
    stood the elders... who defended with all their might the accepted
    form of religion which was based on the negation of life and its
    achievements, and on the other hand raged the newly-liberated from
    the ghetto-prison, intoxicated and giddy with freedom, who destroyed
    without scruple all that was precious and sacred in traditional life.


    At this time of peril appeared Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch of blessed
    memory and stood in the breach. He stood and proclaimed the ancient
    truth of Judaism: Religion and life are one and the same...

    -mi

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yet more from Avodah:

    At 12:02 PM 6/27/2005, Harry Maryles wrote:
    In the same way that you illustrate that the GRA was the true
    progentior of TIDE, I can argue that he was the true progentior of
    TuM. (In the case of the GRA, however, I would agree that the
    definition of TuM would not include the cultural aspects).

    IIRC, TIDE is more utilitarian and values that part of CC that would
    make one a better Jew (Derech Eretz)... and would therefore not
    include all Chachmas Chitzinius. But if the GRA did make a Siyum on
    CC, that implies that he valued ALL of CC, a concept more in line
    with TuM than TIDE. By way of example I would point to the famous
    essay by R Aharon Lichtenstein where he points to his study of
    English literature in order for him to appreciate certain portions of
    Tanach better. According to the Shittas HaGRA as you outlined: If a
    person lacked knowledge of CC's he would lack correspondingly (or,
    according to the other version, much more) in Chochmas HaTorah. This
    is TuM much more so than TIDE, is it not?

    HM


    I highly doubt that the Gra included English literature in his definition of CC!

    In any event, he was not a precursor of TuM, because he explained that CC's are valuable in order to understand Torah. This is in contradistinction to TuM, which holds that CC's are inherently valuable, independent of any additional understanding of Torah they may cause.

    YGB

    ReplyDelete
  20. " I guess we must disagree then about what is ikkar and what is tafel: To me, the contribution that German Jewry made to the world of Judaism was not some quaint minhagim, but a weltanschauung."

    This is not the point - (the anonymous of 8:21 pm who responded to write about the importance of german minhagim is not me) - I was trying to describe the primary strength of the German community and their self-identity. It's (almost) inconceivable that the Yekkishe community would adhere to TIDEism and not their minhagim; that's not the way things work. As already stated, the adherence to TIDE is a subset of their adherence to their traditions, with TIDE a late tradition. No Yekke would write as you do. I don't disagree that the philosophy of TIDE is more significant than any given minhag, but I am not a Yekke.

    --
    Posted by Anonymous to YGB at 6/27/2005 01:09:33 AM


    Ah, but I am a Yekke!

    Rav Dessler in, IIRC, the fourth volume, makes the point that each galus had a unique derech avodah which is their eternal contribution to Am Yisroel. R' Avrohom Elya makes a similar point, somewhat obliquely, in B'Ikvos HaYirah, as does, of course, Reb Tzadok, who (of course!) gives the phenomenon a metaphysical tie-in to the land-climate in which the derech arises (REED's note is evidently based on Reb Tzadok).

    TIDE is merely a philosophical expression of the uniquely German derech in Avodas Hashem. I believe a German Jew davening Nusach Sefarad, Heaven forfend! :-), could be just as much a Yekke in terms of his Derech Avodah as one who davened the High Frankfurt nusach.

    And, a person, conversely, need not be a born Yekke to adopt TIDE - witness Rabbi Shelomoh Danziger, for example. It is a commitment to a derech, not to minhagim, that is of essence. The minhagim are peripheral.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "As for TuM, to the extent that it has any legitimacy as a derech, as opposed to a concession to the American milieu of the time, it is only in RYBS's statements on the topic that we can find its validation."

    Is the objection to an ineffective form of TIDE in practice or to a formal philosophy? I don't get the impression that TIDE crowd objected to TUM formally; I think they felt that YU as an institution had failed in practice to live up to the ideal. I think this is why there is so much difficulty defining the difference between TIDE and TUM without recourse to the personality of RYBS. There probably isn't so much difference in theory. In practice, TUM was taken up by a different crowd, for different purposes, and in a yeshiva-type setting rather than in a communal one.

    --
    Posted by Anonymous to YGB at 6/27/2005 01:09:43 AM


    To extend the metaphor used by RYBS in the Ramasayim Tzofim speech, in TuM there are two mountains to scale, Chorev and Olympus, while in TIDE there is only Chorev to scale, with some elements of Olympus used to assist in the process.

    Thus, true TuM has no problem with - would indeed encourage - the study of areas of wisdom that are incompatible with Torah, while TIDE cannot and would not.

    ReplyDelete
  22. "Thus, true TuM has no problem with - would indeed encourage - the study of areas of wisdom that are incompatible with Torah, while TIDE cannot and would not."

    What do you think are examples of areas of wisdom that TIDE would deem incompatible with Torah? I'm having a hard time thinking of even one, unless you mean the study of heresy.

    ReplyDelete
  23. << I believe a German Jew davening Nusach Sefarad, Heaven forfend! :-), could be just as much a Yekke in terms of his Derech Avodah as one who davened the High Frankfurt nusach. >>

    Substitute Halabi - Syrian Jew for German Jew. Would you say "I believe a Halabi - Syrian Jew davening Nusach Ashkenaz, could be just as much a Halabi in terms of his Derech Avodah as one who davened the Halabi nusach" ?

    For some reason, I think people would have significant reservations about that - as they should - and as they should with your example. You can't just interchange nuschaos and minhogim with no problems - nusach Ashkenaz and Yekkes go together. Yiddishkeit is not a multiple choice thing like 'pick a nusach of your choice/whim and plug it in'. Additionally there are serious halachic problems re changing nusach.

    << minhagim are peripheral >>

    Yekke Minhogim are a reflection of the Yekkishe derech. They are interconnected. You cannot separate them without significant loss. Advocating such a separation is like saying that you can be a good Jew in your heart without keeping mitzvos, as the main thing is beliefs, not actions. Minhogim put the philosophy into action.

    ReplyDelete
  24. << And, a person, conversely, need not be a born Yekke to adopt TIDE - witness Rabbi Shelomoh Danziger, for example. >>

    From where does R. Shelomoh come ?

    ReplyDelete
  25. "Ah, but I am a Yekke!"

    What can I say? Like the Rambam, you appear to be corrupted by philosophy! ;-)
    Yekkes as a group do not appear to think as you do.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm curious about your background, are both your parents yekkish, do you keep yekkish minhagim, what type of early schooling did you have etc if such questions aren't out of line.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What do you think are examples of areas of wisdom that TIDE would deem incompatible with Torah? I'm having a hard time thinking of even one, unless you mean the study of heresy.

    From the very good Wikipedia article on TIDE:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torah_im_Derech_Eretz

    Interpretation

    The philosophy of Torah im Derech Eretz can be interpreted broadly and narrowly. This distinction arises particularly in light of Hirsch’s insistence as to faithfulness to Jewish law and tradition. Under the "narrow interpretation", exposure to gentile philosophy, music, art, literature or ethics must be functional. Under the "broad interpretation", this exposure is permissible, and even productive, for its own sake.

    Thus as regards involvement in the secular world, the “narrow interpretation” essentially limits Derech Eretz to a gainful occupation; permissible knowledge would be limited to functional and occupation related knowledge - and (possibly) secular knowledge which enables one to better interpret and understand the Torah. The "broad interpretation” includes the general acquisition of secular culture.

    Hirsch himself appears to have embraced the "broad interpretation", albeit with the qualifications above: he praised Friedrich Schiller at the dais of school meetings, and on a regular basis quotes secular scientists in his Torah commentary. On the other hand, he cautioned as to the danger of scientific knowledge leading one away from God; further, his schools, unlike others in Germany at the time, taught modern (business) languages as opposed to classical languages.

    ReplyDelete
  28. From where does R. Shelomoh come ?

    From Polish Chassidic stock.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm curious about your background, are both your parents yekkish, do you keep yekkish minhagim, what type of early schooling did you have etc if such questions aren't out of line.

    My father loy"t was born in the town of Bechhofen in Bavaria, where his family lived going back to the 1500's. My mother loy"t was born in Basel and lived there for her formative years, so her upbringing was mostly Yekkish - her father zt"l was the Rav of the Austrittsgemeinde of Basel. Her parents, however, were Litvaks - my grandfather was born and learned in Telshe (although later in life he essentially became a Lubavitcher) and my grandmother a"h in Kelm.

    I grew up mostly in West Hempstead, went to HANC through sixth grade. My parents then tried to make aliyah, and we were in EY for three+ years where I attended Chorev and Netiv Meir. Then back to NY, where I attended Chofetz Chaim in Forest Hills. The rest of my resume is on my website, kachenu me'sham.

    My parents were "Yekkish-lite." We kept three hours, but made Kiddush before HaMotzi Friday night. My brother and I made several abortive attempts to wear taleisim in our youth, but ultimately gave it up. My chasunah was straight up yeshivish, my brother had a choir and did Shir HaMaalos. I daven out of a Roedelheim siddur. Hope that's helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What can I say? Like the Rambam, you appear to be corrupted by philosophy! ;-)
    Yekkes as a group do not appear to think as you do.


    "In reality, all the aforementioned aspects which are chiefly evident in the Synagogue still do not justify the term "German Jewishness." We would prefer finding justificaton in the ideological devise (sic) of 'TIDE.' Our Kehilla strives ceaselessly to live up to this great precept in the life of its members and in the education of its youth. For it is the great heritage of its great Rabbinical leaders in Germany."

    "Our Way" in
    Rav Breuer - His Life and Legacy p. 225

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks to RYGB for the info about his family background (I didn't ask for it - a different anonymous did) and for this blog.

    I hope my comments here don't come across as too harsh and/or out of place. I know that most here are focusing on TIDE and I am talking about minhogim - but I wanted to raise some points and found a mokom to raise them when minhogim were mentioned.

    I am happy to hear that RYGB davens from a Rodelheim siddur. Is that an old one or a newer print (e.g. Basel 2000) ?

    What does he think about many Yekkes having assimilated into other eidos/minhogim ? On the one hand we see certain frum groups sticking very strongly to and aggressively pushing their customs (e.g. some Hassidim). These groups with their minhogim are relatively new on the Jewish scene. On the other hand, some from other frum subgroups, whose minhogim go alot further back in time, seem ready or even eager at times, to change their minhogim or grant wholesale concessions at fire sale prices when it comes to them, when push comes to shove. Sometimes it is a matter of 'kol de'olim govar'. It is imperative for such people to stick to their minhogim if they want them to continue.

    ReplyDelete
  32. From the Hebrew Wikipedia entry on HaGaon MeVilna:

    הגאון מווילנה
    מתוך ויקיפדיה, האנציקלופדיה החופשית.
    (הופנה מ - הגאון מוילנה)

    אליהו בן שלמה זלמן קרמר, (23 באפריל 1720 - 9 באוקטובר 1797) נולד במחוז גרודנו ברוסיה, נפטר בוילנה ליטא, ידוע בעיקר בשמות הגאון רבי אליהו (הגר"א) והגאון מוילנא ואף סתם בשם הגאון.
    תוכן עניינים [הראההסתר]
    1 דרך לימודו
    2 עלייתו לארץ ישראל
    3 כראש ההתנגדות לחסידות
    4 מתלמידיו
    5 מספריו

    5.1 ספר קול התור
    6 ראה עוד
    7 קישורים חיצוניים
    [עריכה]

    דרך לימודו

    אחד מעמודי היהדות התלמודית לדורותיה. גאון במקרא תלמוד וקבלה ובקיא במדעים. אגדות רבות נכרכו בו, והעם התייחס אליו באהבה ובהערצה שאין דומה לה. עסק כל ימיו בלימוד תורה, בהגות קבלית ובמדעים וחי חיים ספרטניים וסגפניים. היה ידוע בצניעותו ובפשטות הליכותיו, וסירב לשמש ברבנות של וילנא, בשל ענוותנותו הרבה ובשל הרצון לא להבטל מלימוד תורה.

    אהב את לימוד המדעים וביקש מתלמידיו, שכל אחד יהיה בקיא לפחות בתחום אחד. אימרה שהובאה בשמו בספר "פאת השלחן" בהקדמה בשם ספר "אקלידוס"- "שכפי שיחסר לאדם בהבנת החכמה, יחסר לו מאה מונים בהבנת התורה". על פי עדות של תלמידיו והספרים שכתבו מפיו, היה בעל ידע במתמטיקה, הנדסה, ביולוגיה, אסטרונומיה, גיאוגרפיה, בלשנות ומוזיקה, רק נמנע מלעסוק ברוקחות לפי הוראת אביו.

    From http://www.benyehuda.org/kotik/ch8.html, note 16:

    שבע החכמות - במחשבת ימי הביניים נחלקו תחומי הידע לשבע חטיבות (מתמטיקה, הנדסה, מוזיקה, אסטרונומיה, טבע, תיאולוגיה, פילוסופיה), ובהשאלה הכוונה למי שבקי בכל תחומי הידע האנושי. וכך כתב ר' ישראל משקלוב בהקדמה לספרו פאת השלחן, ירושלים תשי"ט, ה ע"א: "כה אמר [הגר"א] כל החכמות נצרכים לתורתנו הק'[דושה] וכלולים בה, וידעם כולם לתכליתם. והזכיר חכמת אלגעברע ומשולשים והנדסה וחכמת מוסיקא ושיבחה הרבה... וביאר איכות כל החכמות ואמר שהשיגם לתכליתם. רק חכמת הרפואה ידע חכמת הניתוח והשייך אליה... ועל חכמת פילוסופיה אמר שלמדה לתכליתה." המיתוס על בקיאותו המופלאה של הגר"א, שראשיתו עוד בחייו, טופח והתעצם לאחר מותו בידי אורתודוקסים ומשכילים כאחד, וכל חוג השתמש במיתוס זה לצרכים אחרים, ראו: ע' אטקס, "הגר"א וההשכלה - תדמית ומציאות", פרקים בתולדות החברה היהודית בימי הביניים ובעת החדשה, מוקדשים לפרופסור יעקב כ"ץ, ירושלים תש"ם, עמ' קצב-ריז.

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  33. From Avodah:

    From: "Sara Jones"
    To: Avodah - High Level Torah Discussion Group
    Subject: re: TIDE


    HM writes, "I guess my point was that TuM seems to have a componenet
    that TIDE does not: the idea that the study of Mada is beneficial to
    understanding Torah better. This fits better with the GRA than TIDE, no?"


    But I am puzzled by this-- because Rav Hirsch writes in "The Relevance
    of Secular Studies to a Jewish Education" (p. 90 in the English) that
    one who is
    "acquainted with, say, Rabbinic literature knows about the significance of mathematics and astronomy, botany and zoology, anatomy and medicine, jurisprudence and ethics in the deliberations of our Sages. He will therefore not underestimate the extent to which disciples of Talmudic
    learning can benefit from familiarity with these fields of general knowledge."


    Unless I misunderstand that article, it seems to me to be stating
    explicitly the idea you raise: that the study of the sciences &c. can
    in fact contribute to a more nuanced understanding of Torah.


    Respectfully,
    Sara

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  34. thanks for the bio.

    I don't think the quote from R Breuer is very significant.

    ReplyDelete