November 23, 2010 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm #593167
Chasam Sofer – Jews were protected from assimilation by being despised and uncivilizedNovember 23, 2010 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #712277SJSinNYCMember
I assume this is a translation?
I didn’t realize the Chasam Sofer held that the only way to be frum is through ignorance.November 23, 2010 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #712278
Rav Hirsch’s take on separation is much more sensible. He held that Jews did not suffer from being ghettoized because during that time there was little that the non-Jewish European world had to offer in terms of culture or intellectual advances. The Torah provides us the roadmap for negotiating the world, allowing us to make distinctions between the inspirational and the degrading.November 23, 2010 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #712279
Very, very strange.
THe yozei Miztrayim were uncivilized? How does an uncivilized people organize itself by family clan and tribe, appoint tribal leaders to govern internal tribal affairs, recognize a national authority figure to decide and direct issues that affect more than one tribe, organize a military, judicial system, compose songs of praise to God and play those songs on musical instruments?
How does an uncivilized people produce artisans and craftsmen capable of designing and constructing the mishkan?
Interesting how ignorance and barbarity prevents assimilation. History has proven time and time again how less developed cultures assimilate when confronted with more developed civilizations that present a more refined, comfortable, stable, and productive state of existence.
To add to what Charliehall alluded to, R. Hirsch (a major opponent of the Chasam Sofer’s approach) held strongly that ignorance and barbarity are antithetical to Torah-life. We are tasked by God to become knowledgeable, creative, and civilized; we have a duty, like all other peoples, the further human civilization and further refine our existence; we are directed not to remain in a state of stagnant ignorance; we are told to confront the world and all it has to offer us, and to judge and develop human civilization and knowledge in accordance with the laws of the Torah!November 23, 2010 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #712280not IMember
There is an expression that ‘if we don’t make Kiddush the goyim will make havdala!’ we must separate ourselves otherwise the goyim will hate us for trying to be like them and the Yidden will be separated due to the torments of the Goyim C’V.
It is alesson for us not to come cloese to the Goyim. We have to proud of our yiddish identity!November 23, 2010 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm #712281gavra_at_workParticipant
Barefoot and in the Kitchen
Not discriminating between men and women
The only knowledge is with the Rabbi at the helm,
In the Shtetel village (known as Chelm)
😉November 23, 2010 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #712282
Myfriend, that’s you again.
1) Nobody says that people should learn secular subjects to be civilized. The Jews need them to be able to have normal parnosa, and not to have to be mechallel Shem Shamaim like in E.Yisroel.
2) If uncivilized and primitive is so good, why then Moshe Rabbeynu tried to change that by teaching them about having two meals a day?
3)This whole “let’s be backward” approach was tried in Europe. It did not succeed.November 23, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #712283
mdd et al,
Why are you addressing me? I have not said a thing on this thread.
All I did, was quote the Chasam Sofer verbatim, without any commentary by myself. Take up all your baale batisha issues with the heilige Chasam Sofer.November 23, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #712284
“Nobody says that people should learn secular subjects to be civilized. “
Actually the members of the Sanhedrin were required to have a lot of secular knowledge.
“Take up all your baale batisha issues with the heilige Chasam Sofer. “
No need for us to do so — Rav Hirsch z’tz’l already did.November 23, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm #712285
Actually the members of the Sanhedrin were required to have a lot of secular knowledge.
ONLY the Sanhedrin (etc.) learnt that as they required that knowledge. The hamon hoam did NOT study these secular subjects.
The Chasam Sofer in Parsha Beshalach states clearly that certain secular knowledge is useful for learning certain Torah topics, such as cow anatomy being useful for shechitah, and arithmetic for Eruvin and Sukkah. But that before we embark on obtaining secular knowledge – and of course that means only to the extent that it is useful for our Torah studies – we must first fill ourselves with Torah-only knowledge. After we are strong in Torah, only then can we move to acquire the useful secular knowledge that we need for our Torah studies.
He quotes the Rambam, who he describes as “the father of philosophy” in our religion, in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, stating that a person may not learn philosophy until after he has “filled his stomach” with Shas and Poskim, which are the things, and only the things, that bring us Olam Habah. Then he quotes the Rashba, saying that there is a cherem against learning any secular studies if you are under age 25! The he quotes the Gemora in Brachos “Keep your children away from science” (higayon, as some meforshim translate it), noting that the Gemora is directing its prohibition at “your children”, but not at the adults, for adults, who are already advanced in Torah knowledge, need some secular knowledge, such as cow biology (I keep emphasizing that so that we do not make the error of thinking that the secular knowledge that we need is a college education). But it is dangerous for us to pursue it until we are armed and ready with a Torah foundation. This is because someone with a Torah perspective looks at the value and culture of of secular studies differently than does someone ignorant of Torah. And we do want to get the proper perspective.
It’s kind of like firemen putting out a fire. They have to (a) dress in their heat-resistant protective outfits, and (b) run into the fire and put it out. But of course, they have to do it in the right order.
And that is indeed what it boils down to – do we value the Torah’s standards of education more than that of the secular world or vice versa? The choice is simple: All the secular “education” that you get will be useless to you in the next world. There, they will not ask you if you know how many US presidents were re-elected in history, or whether you are familiar with the policies of Chairman Mao, or if you know how to program a computer. They will bring a Sefer Torah scroll to you and ask “do you know what it says in here?” The more you know of that, the more you will be considered “educated”. The less you know, the more you will be considered ignorant. So the question is – do I want to be educated on this world or on the next?
And please note, there is no minimum threshold for the amount of Torah you are obligated to know. The rule is: more is better; less is worse. And the difference between just a little more and a little less is staggering. As the Vilna Gaon points out, one word of Torah knowledge gives you more holiness than an entire lifetime’s worth of doing other Mitzvos.
And here we thought that a secular education is expensive! Its much more expensive than you think – you can acquire it only at the expense of your time and effort that you could have been putting toward becoming educated in Olam Habah.November 24, 2010 12:50 am at 12:50 am #712286
Myfriend, Chasam Sofer said his opinion in a certain place, during a certain period. Applying it under different circumstances may backfire. Rav Hirsh ztz”l used a different approach in Germany, and saved tens of thousands of Yidden from going off the derech. Had the Chasam Sofer’s opinion been used there, almost all of them would have ended up off the derech. Guaranteed.November 24, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am #712287
Scores and scores of Gedolei Yisroel were produced from the Greater Hungarian lands since the Chasam Sofer’s time there. Only a few handful were produced in Germany since Rav Hirsch zt”l’s time. This is a historical fact, not a debating point. Research how many Rabbonim each produced.
The thing about Rav Hirsch is, that it is no coincidence that his Torah Im Derech Eretz shitah appeared in the exact time and place that was the hotbed of haskalah. That having been said, everyone in the world agrees he was a great tzadik and meant whatever he said leshem shamayim and to be mekarev the people of Germany in his time, and he did an amazing job saving German Jewry from Haskalah.November 24, 2010 1:34 am at 1:34 am #712288
Rav Hirsch only allowed the amount of secular studies necessary for Jews to be able to understand and influence their neighbors. Plus, he did not allow any secular studies that taught anything against the Torah or that disagreed with the Torah’s values. He also insisted that his students who learn secular studies be very careful and learned in recognizing and rejecting anti-Torah values they may encounter (austritt). This was a condition for secular learning. He also did not allow any integration (assimilation) into the non-Jewish culture. He only wanted his students to be knowledgeable.
There are those who also maintain that Rav Hirsch’s policies were “horaas shaah”, meaning that they were an emergency measure needed for the Jews at that place in that time only, kind of like Pikuach Nefesh, and his intent was not to imply any value at all to secular studies in and of themselves. Others, such as Reb Elchonon Wasserman ZTL say that Rav Hirsch’s original intent was due to the desire to reduce or end anti-Semitism in his country, but the idea later got out of control and people came to value secular knowledge.
The problem with learning secular subjects is that it is prohibited in the Rama 246:4, source in Yerushalmi – reiterated by the Poskim afterwards [Birkas Shmuel Kiddushin #27 p.42 and Kovetz Shiurim II:47 — both in response to a letter Rav Shimon Schwab ZT’L wrote asking for this psak], to learn secular studies as a curriculum. This is either because of Bittul Torah or a denigration of Torah. Rav SR Hirsch was also bound to the Torah and its sages and so he did not argue with this. Whether Rav Hirsch’s opinion is a Horaas Shah is not the issue. The issue is, how much secular studies is sufficient to accomplish what Rav Hirsch said you need secular studies for? In his days, the non-secular studies Jews did not even learn the German language. Today, all Yeshiva students speak English, go to HS (99%), and can function in the world perfectly. There is no need for BA’s or PHD’s to accomplish what was necessary to accomplish in Germany in the days of RSRH. (Even much of the information we learn today in HS is useless both in the real world, (even for Parnassa) as well as the spiritual accomplishments Rav Hirsch was talking about.) This does not make it a Horaas Shah but rather a goal-oriented pursuit, the amount of time, effort, and knowledge needed to fulfill it depending on the time, place, and person in question. Horaas Shah or not, it is not coincidence that Rav SRH’s shitah emerged specifically in the exact time and place where Haskalah was ravaging our community and that secular studies was the weapon of the Apikorsim to seduce the majority of young Jews away from their religion.November 24, 2010 2:15 am at 2:15 am #712289Josh31Participant
So right, based upon how you interpret and combine sources: Eruvin, Sukkah and Chulin can not be studied by anyone under age 25.
They will bring a Sefer Torah scroll to you and ask “do you know what it says in here?”
Identify the 24 species of prohibited birds.November 24, 2010 2:32 am at 2:32 am #712290
I am voicing a public machaah against myfriend’s distortions of R. Hirsch’s view on this issue. Just about everything he wrote is incorrect. Unfortunately, I am a bit swamped with my pursuit of secular knowledge and cannot respond it full at the moment. I hope charliehall will post an adequate response.
To begin, the very characterization of learning that doesn’t come from a Torah sefer as “secular” is antithetical to R. Hirsch’s approach. All knowledge, whatever its source, that is consistent with Torah law is Torah; it is an awareness of the very essence of this world and God’s will. Based on that, secular knowledge is not instrumental; R. Hirsch writes repeatedly that one of the notion that learning “secular” knowledge is a means to end end is blatantly false and destructive. We do not study secular knowledge to earn money, or to influence the nations of the world. We study all knowledge that is consistent with God’s will because it is consistent with God’s will and therefore informs our earthly conduct and the fulfillment of our task as Jews and Human Beings!
Indeed, R. Hirsch emphasized the need to be extremely careful when learning “secular” subjects so as to be able to tell the difference between those ideas that are consistent with Torah and those that are not. To do so, however, does not require us to limit the amount of secular knowledge we ingest – that just throws out the bad with the good. Rather, the way to ensure that we can distinguish between what knowledge is consistent with Torah and what is not is to learn the laws of the Torah. Its a difficult task: We must learn much Torah in order to know how to evaluate the secular knowledge we face, but we must also learn Torah-consistent secular knowledge in order to fully comprehend the ratzon Hashem.
Its a bit like we are all caught in an inescapable circle; we must keep running around the circle; pursuing Torah knowledge to understand how we must act and how we must evaluate secular knowledge, and also pursuing secular knowledge in order to fully appreciate God’s will and how humanity can morally perfect itself on earth. We run and we run, and we never seem to get ahead of the curve because there is always more to learn, both secular and Torah. Our task is simply to do what we can, to learn what we can, to not put aside one obligation in order to more fully fulfill the other, because perfect and complete knowledge is unobtainable anyway.
Echad Hamarbeh V’echad Hamaamit, Bilvad Sheyichavein Libo L’shamayim!November 24, 2010 3:18 am at 3:18 am #712291
RS: I’m afraid you need to voice a public machaah against your own distortions on this issue. The fact that you find charliehall, an admitted extreme (well, he wont admit to the extreme but will everything else) left-wing modern orthodox pseudo-academic, as your backup speaks volumes.
Rav Hirsch did not encourage non-Jewish culture, in fact his policy of austritt was designed specifically to separate culture from education. He also did not send his students to outside colleges, he made his own. And why in the world would anyone consider it a positive thing to spend years learning secular law – and if so for law, why not for MTV trivia? If all knowledge comes from G-d (quote from Norman Lamm) and therefore is worth pursuing then all knowledge that comes from G-d is worth pursuing – why limit your knowledge to what the colleges teach?
Rav Schwab was a world class Talmid Chacham, who knew Rav Hirsch’s writing almost by heart and who also spent a large chunk of his life discussing Rav Hirsch’s shitos with Gedolim from all other spectrums, such as Rav Elchonon, Rav Bloch, the Gerrer Rebbe and others (btw Rav Schwab said that the Gerrer Rebbe suggested not printing Rav Elchonon’s teshuva because of Kovod for Rav Hirsch! – even though he agreed with R. Elchonon l’halachah, the way some things were said he thought it better not made public).
Rav Schwab was also a very, very big Ish Emes. Another thing about him. He once told of a story where he once mentioned something anti-Zionist one Chanukah in his congregation. He told of the harassment that he got apparently from among his own congregation because of it – not a lot – but more than a Rav should. Now it is clear that Rav Hirsch was staunchly anti-Zionist, yet today not everyone in Khal Adas Yeshurun is. Who knows how those members of his Kehilla would interpret Rav Hirsch? I see some disloyalty to Rav Hirsch in Washington Heights, but not from Rav Schwab.
If Rav Hirsch ZTL were here today he would be one of the foremost opponents of MO, just as he opposed assimilationist values into Judaism then. His policy of austritt was a prerequisite to his policy of TIDE. You can see this explained bluntly and clearly by Rav Shimon Schwab ZTL, who of course was the heir to Rav Hirsh as Rav of the TIDE Kehilla, in his book, Selected Essays.November 24, 2010 3:46 am at 3:46 am #712292
myfriend: You quote often from R. Schwalb’s Selected Essays. You would do well to read R. Hirsch’s works yourself (The Nineteen Letters, Horeb, Commentary on Chumash, Collected Writings Vols. 1-8, Judaism Eternal, Commentary on the Psalms, Commentary on the Siddur, Commentary on Mishlei, Commentary on Pirkei Avos), then you can discuss R. Hirsch’s ideas with firsthand knowledge.
I actually agree with you about R. Hirsch and Zionism. I too, consistent with my adherence to R. Hirsch’s approach, and strongly anti-zionist (perhaps more than most, actually). But use have misused the principle of austritt (as many are wont to do). Austritt applies to Jewish distortions of Torah eternalized through systemic and institutional norms. It would not apply to non-Jewish ideas and institutions. Indeed, it cannot apply to ideas at all. Austritt is an associational principle; it governs interpersonal associations, not subjective mental thought-processes.November 24, 2010 3:49 am at 3:49 am #712293
HaRav Shimon Schwab zt”l said “Sometimes the Modern Orthodox halachic foolishness which is flirting with the anti-Torah establishment, may border on heresy. This is all part and parcel of the spiritual confusion of the dark ages in which we happen to live”. (Mitteilungen, Bulletin of Khal Adas Yeshurun April/May 1989.)
Part of the problem with MO is that it was not created in the same way Torah movements such as Chasidus or TIDE were. There were no rabbis – great or otherwise – who articulated a philosophy that they referred to as MO. MO began as a behavior of people without any reasoning, and ex post facto became a philosophy. For example, secular studies in RIETS developed when some students went on strike because their friends were expelled from school for attending secular studies. The rabbonim in charge of RIETS at the time were against secular studies, but the board of directors and financial backers made a business decision to incorporate it into the curriculum. Later more influences came upon the scene, none of which were Torah perspectives but rather business or secular ones. Furthermore, even the ex post facto definition of MO is a hodgepodge of opinions of many different people, none of whom have more of a copyright on the term than others. I have no interest, nor is there a need, to deal with every individual opinion on the street in this matter. And almost none of the opinions address the pertinent issue anyway: What’s the point of Modern Orthodoxy? But some do. Those are the opinions that I am using here. Rav Soloveichik articulated a reasoning, namely, survival. Obviously, he was wrong. His reasoning was based on his vision of the future, his own opinion of what will be, and what needs to be done. He stated clearly that only his derech will be successful and the others will fail.November 24, 2010 3:52 am at 3:52 am #712294
I am not a champion of encouraging secular studies. I was just responding to your, myfriend, trying to push the Chasom Sofer’s shita. That shita is also kind of a horoas shaah — I wonder if the CH.Sofer ever would have said such an extreme thing if not for the onslaught of the haskola that he was trying to resist. Others did not hold like that.
The Birkas Shmuel’s p’shat in the Ramo — that secular studies are osur even for parnosa — is a shvere das yehid, opposed by most Gedolim.November 24, 2010 4:01 am at 4:01 am #712295metrodriverMember
Myfriend; You are misinterpreting (as opposed to narrowly transliterating) the thrust of the cited “Drashot Chasam Sofer”. The emphasis in his message is (essentially the same as RSR Hirsch’s, albeit through different methods) that we, the Jews shouldn’t get acculturated with the native population. Meaning, feeling comfortable and one of them, as happened, in Germany, with the tragic results in the end. The Reform movement and intermarriage and general acculturation was not a short term process. It took about 150 Years.November 24, 2010 4:22 am at 4:22 am #712296
Also, stop hocking about Zionism. The Chofets Chaim said that it’s like Parah Aduma — metame es hatehorim vemetaher es hatmeiim. For many frei Yidden that’s their only connection to anything Jewish. And why is a frei Zionist from Tel Aviv much worse than a stam frei Yid from chuts la’Arets?November 24, 2010 4:40 am at 4:40 am #712297
‘There are those who also maintain that Rav Hirsch’s policies were “horaas shaah”, meaning that they were an emergency measure needed for the Jews at that place in that time only,’
You can’t get that from what Rav Hirsch actually published.
“The problem with learning secular subjects is that it is prohibited”
That ‘prohibition’ was NOT accepted as halachah. The number of gedolim with advanced secular education is now rather large. I made an earlier comment that listed a number of them but the moderators deleted it.
“In his days, the non-secular studies Jews did not even learn the German language. “
German Jews had pretty much given up Yiddish by then. Note that all of his Torah writings were in modern German.
“Today, all Yeshiva students speak English, go to HS (99%), and can function in the world perfectly.”
Not true. I personally have met many yeshiva grads who are functionally illiterate in English.
“There is no need for BA’s or PHD’s to accomplish what was necessary to accomplish in Germany in the days of RSRH.”
No, advanced degrees are even more important today than then.
“I’m afraid you need to voice a public machaah against your own distortions on this issue. The fact that you find charliehall, an admitted extreme (well, he wont admit to the extreme but will everything else) left-wing modern orthodox pseudo-academic, as your backup speaks volumes.”
I admit no extremism except in the pursuit of truth. You, however, promote falsehood and distortion. Your claims regarding Rav Hirsch are flatly contradicted by Rav Hirsch’s own writings. You are, to put it simply, a liar.
And I am no pseudo-academic but someone with over six dozen peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. How many do you have?November 24, 2010 4:48 am at 4:48 am #712298
mdd: Reb Elchonon Wasserman ZT”L, a talmid muvek of the Chofetz Chaim, in his sefer Kovetz Mamorim quotes the Chofetz Chaim as saying the Zionists are the offspring of Amalek. You also misunderstood the Birkas Shmuel, who allowed learning a limited amount of secular studies if it were for parnassa purposes only.November 24, 2010 4:54 am at 4:54 am #712299
“There were no rabbis – great or otherwise – who articulated a philosophy that they referred to as MO. “
Try Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines z’tz’l, Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog z’tz’l, Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg z’tz’l, and Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik z’tz’l, four gedolim. They didn’t use the term (I think it came later) but they reflect that hashkafah. And Rav Weinberg much more than Rav Schwab was probably the person whose hashkafah most accurately followed that of Rav Hirsch. Note also that Rav Herzog, Rav Weinberg, and Rav Soloveitchik all earned doctorates.
“The rabbonim in charge of RIETS at the time were against secular studies”
This is an actual lie. Rabbi Bernard Revel z’tz’l not only approved of secular studies, he himself had a PhD. (It was actually a major contribution to Torah knowledge as he found that the Karaites were not really liked to earlier movements that denied the validity of the oral law.)November 24, 2010 4:54 am at 4:54 am #712300
Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L also denounced college in a Teshuva, and in a famous speech delivered to his students, published under the title “The Counsel of the Wicked” (Vaad LeHaromas Keren HaTorah, New York, 1978). There he reiterates that everyone has an obligation to become great in Torah, we should not care so much about Cadillac’s (yes, this was said in the “olden days”), and that learning Torah is what we should be pursuing, not secular stuff. He says in America you do not need college to make a Parnassa, and we should be willing to live on little, not a lot, for the sake of Torah, and that R. Nehuray’s statement of abandoning all skills in favor of Torah applies all that more today that we live in a country where you can make a parnassa without college, with no miracles needed.
There is a tape available in many Seforim stores called “The prohibition to learn in Colleges” (Yiddish), which contains addresses by Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L and Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L condemning college.November 24, 2010 4:56 am at 4:56 am #712301
“Zionists are the offspring of Amalek”
We don’t hold by that opinion. And Zionists have plenty of gedolim on which to rely.November 24, 2010 4:58 am at 4:58 am #712302
“Rav Soloveichik articulated a reasoning, namely, survival. Obviously, he was wrong. His reasoning was based on his vision of the future, his own opinion of what will be, and what needs to be done. He stated clearly that only his derech will be successful and the others will fail. “
Not so obvious. I haven’t noticed many modern orthodox schools closing recently.November 24, 2010 5:00 am at 5:00 am #712303
“we live in a country where you can make a parnassa without
college, with no miracles needed”
That may have been true a generation ago. I’m not sure it is today. And in any case if there is no university education for Jews, there are no Jewish doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses….November 24, 2010 5:00 am at 5:00 am #712304FerdParticipant
Whose the “we” exactly?
If I had a choice between some YU / MO rabbonim, or the Chazon Ish, Brisker Rov, Rav Shach, Rav Elchonon hyd, Chofetz Chaim, Satmar Rov, and countless others….
I’d stick with my group.November 24, 2010 5:03 am at 5:03 am #712305frumladygitMember
My friend that was very nice of you to post this. Just this morning I was saying to my daughter that we jews almost had it “spiritually better off” when we were hated despised and known as the dirty jews in European Shtetls.
My daughter responded that they learnt that we have to beware of Esav as in last weeks parsha. It refers to him as Esav, Esav my brother. He may come to us and be scary as Esav, but he is even more threatening to our identity when we receive him as Esav the brother.November 24, 2010 5:05 am at 5:05 am #712306
“I too, consistent with my adherence to R. Hirsch’s approach, and strongly anti-zionist”
It is a bit of an overgeneralization to say this, but I think the main difference between R’Hirsch the other “modern orthodox” rabbis I mentioned (and they would simply call themselves orthodox) is that three of the four I mentioned were outspoken Zionist leaders. (R’Weinberg was the exception.)
It should be noted that the Zionism of R’Reines and R’Soloveitchik was quite different from the Zionism of Rav Kook.November 24, 2010 5:09 am at 5:09 am #712307
“I’d stick with my group. “
And I’ll stick with R’Hirsch, R’Hildesheimer, R’Reines, R’Herzog, R’Revel, R’Weinberg, R’Soloveitchik, R’Lichtenstein, R’Sacks….November 24, 2010 5:09 am at 5:09 am #712308November 24, 2010 5:12 am at 5:12 am #712309
That year, the school joined the Mizrachi Teachers Institute. Revel had hoped to attract more orthodox people with this move, since at this point many Orthodox shied away from RIETS, unable to recognize much difference between it and JTS. In 1923, Revel unveiled a plan to create a four-year yeshiva college (sic). The board approved, and Harry Fischel donated the first $10,000 of the five million dollars needed for the project. Plans were made for a building. It would be modeled after the architecture during the time of King Solomon. There would be 8 buildings, with twelve pillars representing the 12 tribes. However, other than a small Shul on campus, there was nothing there to make it look distinctly Jewish. Revel died of a burst blood vessel in 1940, partly attributed to the strain of supporting his institution during the impossibly difficult financial period of the Depression and post-Depression eras.November 24, 2010 5:15 am at 5:15 am #712310
‘Indeed, R. Hirsch emphasized the need to be extremely careful when learning “secular” subjects so as to be able to tell the difference between those ideas that are consistent with Torah and those that are not. ‘
It should be noted that every pre-modern and early modern Jew whom I have found who pursued university education — and the number is in the hundreds and included Rambam and Sforno — had extensive torah education prior to commencing university studies. The idea that the torah forbids university education is simply untenable: You just can’t say that Sforno was not an observant Jew! Yet the extremism coming from the anti-modern polemicists here causes us to avoid a serious issue: Universities can be dangerous places for Jews who come unprepared. I want to cry every time I hear a supposedly frum Jew spouting philosophy from Ayn Rand.November 24, 2010 5:15 am at 5:15 am #712311frumladygitMember
My friend I also like the point you made about the necessity to go to the extreme opposite as a nation in our need to identify ourselves as opposed to assimilating with the ideas and knowledge around us. (you did point to that didn’t you?)
Well having said that, I therefore must say, that is what is RIGHT ABOUT SATMAR. Very “Backwards” as in shtark and unwielding to the “Times”, yet pure in keeping our mesorah.November 24, 2010 5:23 am at 5:23 am #712312
“Universities can be dangerous places for Jews who come unprepared. I want to cry every time I hear a supposedly frum Jew spouting philosophy from Ayn Rand. “
And that is on top of the social situation, full of licentiousness and temptation.November 24, 2010 5:30 am at 5:30 am #712313
“In 1921, because of the WWI immigration, the school had over 200 students.”
And that was a miracle given the circumstances. I’m only aware of one orthodox high school that is older — the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School.
It is not clear that Rabbi Belkin’s vision was anything like that of Rabbi Revel. The former started many graduate and professional schools; it is pretty clear that Rabbi Revel’s focus was always on the rabbinical school (even though he was a strong supporter of secular education). Also, Rav Soloveitchik publicly opposed Rabbi Belkin’s separation of the rabbinical school from the rest of YU.November 24, 2010 5:32 am at 5:32 am #712314
“Today, Rabbi Dr. Walter Wertzberger”
Unfortunately Rabbi Wurzberger was niftar over eight years ago.November 24, 2010 5:35 am at 5:35 am #712315
YU is a business, not a Yeshiva, and it is run by the Board of Directors, not the Roshei Yeshiva (except to the extent that leaders – the board – can be pressured by its constituency – the Roshei Yeshiva and students). That’s fine, except when business decisions are understood to be philosophical positions you have big problems. And although many Boards of many institutions wield influence, please note that YU has and never had any Rosh Yeshiva who was the official leader and policy maker for the institution. The Board has always been the official “Rosh”. Even Rav Soloveichik was merely an employee, and, although he was called Rosh Yeshiva (and even went raising money like a Rosh Yeshiva), his power was still that of an employee, much less than a real Rosh Yeshiva should have.
Nowhere else will you find the “President” of a Bais HaMedrash constantly representing (and creating) the Torah positions of the institution without reviewing every single word of his speeches with the official Rosh Yeshiva. In YU, Dr. Lamm, though he was merely President, and not Rosh Yeshiva, had full right to get up and speak to the world about the official policies and positions of YU, even though the Roshei Yeshiva may not have agreed with him. Nowhere should a lay leader become a setter of policy for a Yeshiva.November 24, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am #712316Josh31Participant
The amount of outside knowledge needed to fully understand Torah and make Torah that which can fully guide our lives is enormous. If we so completely block out outside knowledge from the new generation in the name of purity as the right wingers on this blog want to do, much of the Torah will become meaningless to them when they learn it. Studying which animals are permitted and which are prohibited will be like chanting magical incantations.November 24, 2010 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm #712317
So right, you are wrong. Rav Elchonon quotes his Rebbe’s statement about the members of the “Evsektsia” (the Jewish section of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union — not Zionistic in any way);
Look yourself in the R’ Boruch Ber’s t’shuva at the end of the “Birkas Shmuel”. I saw in one ultra-Yeshivishe book (written by someone of your and myfriend’s ilk) that R’ Boruch Ber was upset about R’ Elchonon’s heter in the inyan.November 24, 2010 2:27 pm at 2:27 pm #712318tzippiMember
My eyes are glazing over big time.
Last week’s Yated had a must-read letter from Rabbi Shmuel Bloom. If I was more techno-savvy I’d post it here but I’m not about to type it all over. What I’ll glean from it re this discussion is: if someone has a rav, even if he is kind of a daas yachid, but who is widely respected [he didn’t say this but I might suggest the Rav] kol hakavod.
BUT to claim such a rav as your rav, he’d better be alive, or have respectable talmidim who are carrying on and espousing his legacy and who can be consulted.
Leaving aside the secular learning (and one might argue that this came from a noted apologist, but in Breuer’s we were taught that secular knowledge was a “handmaiden”, auxiliary to Torah, which is supreme) we are all living under the profound influence of Rav Hirsch. Look at his Torah and other hashkafa, as taught in BY’s all over; that’s where Sora Schneirer drew her inspiration and it has since pervaded BY curricula.November 24, 2010 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm #712319metrodriverMember
Shikur; You state in your post “I will stick with my group”. (On the subject of picking between diverse opinions of Gedolei Yisroel who were for, or against secular studies and Zionism.) But you do not elaborate who YOUR group is!November 24, 2010 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm #712320
mdd, you are wrong. Rav Elchonon in his sefer quotes the Chofetz Chaim in a letter saying that that the Zionists are “real Amalekim”. Of course, he didn’t necessarily mean the Kerem B’Yavneh students, who are religious, but Rav Elchonon Wasserman, the Chofetz Chaim’s talmid, writes in Kovetz Maamarim that Zionism (nationalism he calls it) is Avodah Zorah, and so religious Zionism is nothing but Avodah Zorah mixed with religion (shituf).November 25, 2010 1:16 am at 1:16 am #712321
“Dr. Lamm, though he was merely President, and not Rosh Yeshiva”
He is Rabbi Dr. Lamm. And he was the only person to earn both semichah and a doctorate from Rav Soloveitchik.
“Zionism (nationalism he calls it) is Avodah Zorah, and so religious Zionism is nothing but Avodah Zorah mixed with religion “
Plenty of gedolim have been Zionists and we can rely on them when they argue successfully against Rav Wasserman z’tz’l.
What is your purpose in bashing gedolim? Have you ever read *Kol Dodi Dofeik*? Or anything by Rav Kook z’tz’l? Or anything by Rav Herzog z’tz’l or Rav Amital z’tz’l or Rav Lichtenstein? You never bring any arguments against anything that any actual religious Zionist has said or written, you just bring *ad hominem* attacks from a very small number of rabbis. Not once have you ever pointed out even a single problem with *Kol Dodi Dofeik*. If you think that there is one, speak up and say what it is, or shut up.November 25, 2010 1:18 am at 1:18 am #712322
“have respectable talmidim who are carrying on and espousing his legacy and who can be consulted.”
Rav Soloveitchik z’tz’l has thousands of talmidim teaching today in America and in Israel. His talmidim probably have thousands of talmidim.November 25, 2010 4:01 am at 4:01 am #712323
So right,as far as I remember, it says “yevsekim” inside, not Zionists. It also makes sense. The “yevsekim” were actively and agressively out to destroy Yiddishkeit. It was an important part of their ideology. The goal of Zionism is to recreate a Jewish state, where Jews could be free from persecution. You have been so indoctinated against it, that you are not even capable of rationaly considering the issue.
And, yes, yes, I know, Rav Chaim and the Rov held that the chief reason of the founders of Zionism was to destroy Yiddishkeit. But other Gedolim did not hold like that, and it is simlply not true to metsios. And do not get hysterical — I believe that Rav Chaim and the Rov could make a mistake. Plus, you think you could say about Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Kook that they were wrong, even though they were baki be’Shas, so I could say what I said.November 25, 2010 4:59 am at 4:59 am #712324
mdd, Kovetz Mamorim quotes the Chofetz Chaim as saying the Zionists are the offspring of Amalek, not the Communists or yevsekim. Look at it inside instead of speculating. Additionally, Mishkenos Harayim (3:1-108) relates that when Rav Kook said about the opening of the Hebrew University, that it is a fulfillment of kimitzion etc. – immediately the gedolim in Poland and Russia organized a protest against this chilul Hashem – and the Chofetz Chaim came in and said with disgust, “Kook Shmook!” and then he left.November 25, 2010 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #712326
So right, I do not have the “Kovetz” nearby to double-check. Plus, what do you mean to say by the story, you posted? Additionally, please, explain coherently why a frei Zionist is worse than a stam frei Yid(who denies HaShem, the Torah, mechalel Shabbos etc.).
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