August 15, 2023 9:15 am at 9:15 am #2216120danielaParticipant
I am getting confused with all these labels. Can you specify the correct label(s) for a ehrliche yid?August 15, 2023 11:01 am at 11:01 am #2216200DaMosheParticipant
Avira, I don’t see any of those quotes saying that.
I was taught that all knowledge is valuable, because the Torah contains everything. When you study, it’s just another way of understanding the world Hashem created, and understanding the Torah, even if you don’t directly see the connection at the time.
As R’ Charlop said, everything should be viewed through the prism of Torah.August 15, 2023 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm #2216424
All forms of Yiddishkight were massively affected by the Holocaust and had to basically restart. Most religious Jews today are a mix of the original modern, the original chasidim, and the original misnagdim. Although some are obviously much closer to one of the originals than others. R’ Moses Mendelssohn was clearly the founder of the original modern. We are all his followers by having secular studies for example. And the yeshivish levush is clearly a chasiddish concept. I actually consider Yeshivish to be a form of chasidus. Just like chasidus has all different forms – Satmar, Belz, Ger…August 15, 2023 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm #2216437
Km, secular studies was advocated way before moses Mendelssohn, who you for some reason call rabbi.
The ramchal says to teach children secular wisdom, and the Gaon says that “to the extent one is missing in secular chochma, that is the extent he will be missing in Torah”
The rishonim advocated it as well, including the rambam who says that studying teva brings to love of Hashem. The chovos halevavos implies that it was common for yidden to have secular books as well.
This is all predicated on the assumption that nothing in the books is apikorsus. Modern orthodoxy allows reading apikorsus to a large degree in the interest of open mindedness, depending on how modern they are and how not Orthodox they are.
Rav hirsch repudiated reform and the likes of mendelssohn.
You’re vastly overstating mendelssohns reach; he had his circle of naskilim, but klal yisroel were not moved by him very much, and in later years his books woild fall into obscurity, preserved mostly by bloggers who are obsessed with deviant jewish figures.
For the record, shadal had a bigger impact on jewry than mendelssohn, and he came earlier. He influenced Italian jewry towards secular things, and had some ideas which were apikorsus, but he was still not as divergent as mendelssohn.August 16, 2023 1:12 am at 1:12 am #2216450
@sensibleyid “theres something to chochmas yevanis other than Covid varient symbols”
Well, you did come out and say it right away. It’s that passion and desire to say it that is dangerous.
@yechiell Wow, you are smarter than chazal? I would love to meet you!
Any attempt to be “smarter” than Chazal or even mesorah is haughty. Can one truly be so foolish? Or perhaps there are ulterior motives…
@yaakov doe “I consider myself MO”
We all agree the lines are blurred. However, what you consider yourself is irrelevant, and is distracting from the conversation. You say you keep many things that most MO don’t. thats wonderful. And that’s also not what the argument is about or why there is pushback in the first place.
@DaMoshe “For me, a bachur [young man] who goes to college – that’s part of his Torah too, if we recognize that he’s going to college to make a living”
There are two (or 3) distinct reasons for a “secular education”
1. To be able to earn a living and function in this world. (one could argue if going to a secular college campus is necessary for this but that’s not this conversation)
2A To become “educated” and be respected as such by the secular world.
2B to learn for the sake of knowledge and seeing the beauty in “chochmas yivanis”
You are talking about 1. The discussion is mostly about 2 and is what many of the leaders of MO are passionate about.
“Secular studies” may have its benefits. However, when made equal to or greater than the Torah in importance that’s a problem. I wrote two examples above of what you might hear people from these groups say. Here is a third: “the Torahs response to…”
1. The Torah does not respond to anyone
2. The very conversation makes it seems like there is a conversation about equating the Torah to secular. Even if that sentence finishes with “but of course the Torah is central”.
And again, where does all this passion for “secular studies” stem from…
Why the consistent equate it to the Torah itself (intentionally or not)?August 16, 2023 7:08 am at 7:08 am #2216460
@AviraDeArah, Just because it was not his idea, that doesn’t change the fact that he founded a movement. He opened the first school that taught secular studies.
And I’m sorry that I’m not brainwashed, but the fact is that he was a Rabbi. This is a historical fact. It says it on his matzeivah. And although many Rabbis were very outspoken against him, there is no one that has no one outspoken against them, although some more than others. One of the main reasons he was spoken against was because he advocated secular studies. Which we all teach.
Does anyone claim the lubavitcher Rebbe was not a Rebbe?
There is a difference between R’ and spelling it out. And if you really want you can read it as standing for rasha. Which according to my limited research is a rediculous claim since he was clearly more frum than almost anyone I ever met.August 16, 2023 11:57 am at 11:57 am #2216529
@KM “ One of the main reasons he was spoken against was because he advocated secular studies. Which we all teach”.
Please read posts #2216450 and #2215761. In the post above yours I clarified there are several reasons for teaching secular studies, and that the pushback is for the second reason. Secular studies in-it-of-itself is not the discussion.
What is a discussion is putting it on a pedestal (such as there is chochmas yevonis you can’t get from the Torah or being highly educated individuals we dream the world will look up to). Talking as though it is equal to or greater than the Torah, (and here specifically- making talmudic studies similar to the other subjects taught throughout the day. Including in the method it is taught and its learning style. In addition, for the first time making college a part of the yeshiva itself- not just something done from the outside.) And groups doing this with a passion that results in a questioning of the motives of some.
We can have debate about this, but we first have to be honest and acknowledge what the debate is even about.August 16, 2023 11:57 am at 11:57 am #2216568
Km – Reading things online doesn’t make you non-brainwashed. If does undo a good chinuch, which it sounds like you received, only to have it damaged by reading blogs from self professed academics without you yourself having the ability to look into the sources themselves.
If you want to use the term “rabbi” for anyone at any time who received smicha, then you should use it for mordechai kaplan too.
Mendelssohn wrote that tehilim is “bad poetry,” as per the actual research of rav shimon schwab, who decided to investigate mendelssohn himself, having heard different versions of his alleged personal piety.
The issue surrounding mendelssohn had little to do with secular studies, as this was common in other countries, like Italy. The issue was reform, change. He wanted to change things. He said that the Torah world needs to accommodate changing times by leaving the way we were taught. He said that mingling with non jews is good for us, against what chazal say.
His desire to abandon yiddishkeit wholesale is evidenced by his talmidim doing so very shortly after his death.
Why do i care what’s written on his matzeiva? The damage he’s done to klal yisroel is still felt today, and people who lead others astray don’t have much to worry about in terms of their matzeiva; they almost certainly won’t be needing it for its given purpose.August 16, 2023 1:01 pm at 1:01 pm #2216606
” it’s the belief that Torah needs something to complement it that is considered apikorsus by gedolei yisroel” (Emphasis is mine. Did you mean those words?)
Only the most yeshivishe Rosh Yeshivos fall into that category of belief. Maybe you have poor reading comprehension on this topic.August 16, 2023 1:02 pm at 1:02 pm #2216607
“the idea of something besides Torah having value”
If it doesn’t have value, than how can it be of any use even with the Torah? The sentence should read the idea of something having value besides it’s relation to Torah.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216635
“You’re vastly overstating mendelssohns reach; he had his circle of naskilim, but klal yisroel were not moved by him very much, and in later years his books woild fall into obscurity, preserved mostly by bloggers who are obsessed with deviant jewish figures.
For the record, shadal had a bigger impact on jewry than mendelssohn, and he came earlier. He influenced Italian jewry towards secular things, and had some ideas which were apikorsus, but he was still not as divergent as mendelssohn.”
You never did cover your history.
Shadal was born well after Mendelssohn’s passing. He was a contemporary of Hirsch. They even had a correspondence.
Mendelssohn had the greatest reach of any askan ever in Europe. He had nobles clamoring to meet him. His word carried great weight at a time that the governments were interested in the education of the Jews.
Mendelssohn’s primary worry was preservation of the Torah and the primacy of it’s study. He would be sorely disappointed by the low standards of our day. Torah learning fell off in his day, and besides for some localized short lived exceptions, has never been returned to it’s glory.
The teachings in his books have been preserved inall the subsequent sefarim. You can find his teachings on your bookshelf in any sefer written in the last 150 years on the chumash. And all the recent seforim that use for haskafa are repackaging his ideas to a small or large extent.
Shadal was an acedemic and Rosh Yeshiva who just learned and taught. Italy ghad already been secularized for centuries.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216634
Rav Hirsch never repudiated Mendelssohn. With apologies to his descendants, the truth is more important.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216633
I have bested you on this topic twice already.
These were our conclusions.
1) There is no dividing line between the YV and MO or between MO and CJ.
2) Observance is not dependent on which community the individual is in. The level of communal observance is what declines from right to left.
3) The laity doesn’t reflect the ideas of the thinkers to a major degree.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216632
“MO largely os guilty of ascribing something value outside of Torah, and this is akin to shituf.”
So the Torah is a god to you, but it is not shituf?
You seem to be having a hard time getting your thoughts out. And I suspect it is because you are unsure how much of MO you disagree with.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216630
“Modern orthodox are simply Orthodox Jews who became less observant and adopted the surrounding culture.”
But we see Jews that are exceptionally observant calling themselves MO.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216631
“Who can forget Harav Gifter Zatzal screaming….”
Which yeshiva wouldn’t he condemn today? We have all fallen the way of YU of thirty years ago.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216628
“Reines was a man full of fantasies if you read his post zionist writings; nor was he considered a gadol batorah by any stretch where his ideas can be reckoned with baaeli mesorah. Not only that, but where does reines say anything about there being other important things besides Torah or that secular studies are chas veshalom equal to it?”
Are you insane? Rav Reines was considered an equal gaon to anybody in Lita! Rav Chaim, the Rogotchover, Rav Meir Simcha, you name it. There were strong disagreements on a number of topics. He was so big that he single handily legitimized the entire Mizrachi Movement. What you read as fantasy, intelligent people read as hope. Rav Reines was as in tune to jewish suffering more than anybody. More than Rav Kook, more than the Bais Halevi.
This baalei mesorah idea hadn’t been invented yet. The yidden of Lita were still in Lita and were aware of all the battles with the non traditionalists and knew where why they disagreed with them. The same for every country besides for the melting pot of the New World. And the New Yishuv in the Old Yishuv. Those that knew the issues knew the nuance and were keenly aware how little difference there was between the two sides of most of the raging debates of the 19th century. There was a lot of mutual respect across the aisles up until our day.
Most of the chareidi world today, traces it’s roots back to the sides that lost on all the issues that were debated. Many debates, both sides lost. So, instead of giving lengthy history + hashkafa classes, they just say we followed our gadol and this is what happened and we must have won because we are still here. There isn’t any authenticity to this whole thing and you would be aware of that if your goal is the truth.August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216626August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216625
Dear Nisht, Torah Umaada definitely does not equate the two. [Torah and general studies.]August 16, 2023 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #2216619
Nom, you are correct in that i should have said “independent value,” outside of what it can do to help you understand Torah or make a living.
Torah in itself doesn’t need anything to improve it, and people don’t need anything else besides Torah, which has everything. Our limited ability to derive everything from it makes us need to use chochmos to that end, but the Torah itself is perfect and needs nothing exterior to itself to complement it or complete it.
Why is that only something that “yeshivish” people think? It’s pesukim!August 16, 2023 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #2216664
Nom, do you get your history from followers of rabbi kook who aggrandize every mizrachi rabbi and idolize Ben Gurion as a Jewish hero? Because most of my rebbeim were litvishe and learned from litvishe gedolim, and none of them thought highly of reines. Some shied away from talking about rabbi kook, but didn’t think he was the sort of gadol hador you make him out to be.
If reines was so big, why is he not mentioned by the chofetz chaim, rav chaim ozer, or other litvishe gedolim at all?August 16, 2023 4:53 pm at 4:53 pm #2216667
Add to that list, the aruch hashulchan, the marcheshes, rav Moshe years later, the chazon ish, the brisker rov – why is it that no one cares about this man who is supposedly equal to them all?
Also where do you come off judging who’s more in touch with the needs of the klal? Because he had an ideology you happen to think is better for them? It’s chutzpah. I’ve seen reines writings; I’m not impressed.August 16, 2023 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #2216669
“His desire to abandon yiddishkeit wholesale is evidenced by his talmidim doing so very shortly after his death.”
With that logic, Rav Aharon supported secular studies and the Brisker Rav supported joining the army. Why don’t you actually read what the people themselves wrote? Are you not happy with what they told you in yeshiva that you have to make sure everyone agrees with it?August 16, 2023 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #2216672
Dear K M,
Mendelssohn was no longer living when Freyschule für Knaben opened.August 16, 2023 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #2216674
The psalms and poetry letter was known before Rav Schwab. There is nothing wrong with the sentiments in the letter. Mendelssohn was writing that he could not get to the deeper, more cohesive understanding of Tehillim. Rav Hirsch would fill that vacuum a century later.August 16, 2023 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #2216675
This is the problem with educated people who think they are the first ones to be educated.
Pharmaceuticals is still the melacha of tochen. Just because it’s a global industry, it doesn’t affect the reality. It’s like cooking with an electric appliance because the the power source is removed from the individual.August 16, 2023 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #2216676
In the world of Hirsch, secular education to make a living is not justified. Only because the Torah enjoins us to live on our own toil etc. In this way, Hirsch is more Nur Torah than Rav Boruch Ber’s letter to Rav Schwab Sr.August 16, 2023 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #2216677
Mr. Moses Mendelssohn’s children converted to Christianity.August 16, 2023 6:47 pm at 6:47 pm #2216682nishtdayngesheftParticipant
I cannot take too seriously anything about Mesorah from someone who by definition denies the whole concept of Mesorah.August 16, 2023 6:47 pm at 6:47 pm #2216693
I’ve read enough about mendelssohn, but I am an Orthodox jew who keeps halacha to the best of my ability, and the poskim forbade reading his books unequivocally. So I’m going based on that I’ve read “about” him and what all of his students espoused. All of them. Not a few stragglers like the handful of talmidim of other gedolim who deviate from their rebbeim.
All of his students stopped keeping halacha and every one of his children intermarried. That means nothing to you?August 16, 2023 6:47 pm at 6:47 pm #2216694
Re, rav hirsch and Mendelssohn – ever read rav hirschs famous “lrogress allied to religion?” He quotes mendelssohn’s “Jerusalem ” filth and says that the latter never seriously studied Torah and thinks that one can be sufficiently jewish by faith alone.August 16, 2023 6:48 pm at 6:48 pm #2216695
My mistake, it’s not in the first “religion allied to progress” essay, rather here:
“Religion Allies to Progress” in Judaism Eternal, pp.230-1)August 16, 2023 6:48 pm at 6:48 pm #2216696
“I acknowledge no immutable truths, but such as not only may be made conceivable to the human understanding, but as also admit of being demonstrated and warranted by human faculties.” – Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem, trans. M Samuels vol. 1 pg.89
Here we have mendelssohn denying anything he can’t understand; effectively denying chukim.August 16, 2023 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #2216728
“Which yeshiva wouldn’t he condemn today? We have all fallen the way of YU of thirty years ago”
Rav Gifter (and the other yeshiva Gedolim) had very unique and specific problems with YU/Norman Lamm
Please see my posts #2216450, #2215761, and #2216529 where SOME are articulated.
@KM @AviraDeArah is correct when he writes “The issue surrounding mendelssohn had little to do with secular studies, as this was common in other countries, like Italy. The issue was reform, change. He wanted to change things. He said that the Torah world needs to accommodate changing times by leaving the way we were taught. He said that mingling with non jews is good for us, against what chazal say.”
I wrote this so as to clarify that there are two issues to contend with:
1. Being enlightened and educated to be closer to the way of the non Jews.
2a. the belief in chochmas yivonis as being separate from the Torah
2B. and something worthy of being glorified (equal to or above the Torah itself).
@all I know I am repeating myself, but it’s important to make this distinction as different groups have had different motives. Not knowing what they are and were makes it impossible to even start understanding why there is so much pushback.August 16, 2023 9:01 pm at 9:01 pm #2216740
@n0mesorah that is a valid point that he was no longer living when the school opened. But It doesn’t change the fact that he is believed to be behind the opening by his close student.
I think most readers of YWN are not interested in learning Mendelssohn’s teachings. So you probably should not bring up more questions about his teachings. At least definitely not in this conversation which has gotten very off topic.
I think he denied hashkafah that doesn’t make sense. But not halachah.August 16, 2023 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #2216788
Km, so you think a person can be called a rabbi if he denies a hashkafa topic that he decided doesn’t make sense? The Torah is not hefker for us to decide which parts we keep and which parts we don’t.
Maybe he wouldn’t believe in schar veonesh or hashgocha protis because of tzadik vera lo.August 16, 2023 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm #2216800
The mesorah of Modern Orthodoxy goes back to Mount Sinai.August 16, 2023 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm #2216801
“Mr. Moses Mendelssohn’s children converted to
Only after his untimely early death. 🙁August 16, 2023 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm #2216803
“effectively denying chukim.”
So did Rambam when he argued that there is a reason for every mitzvah.August 17, 2023 8:47 am at 8:47 am #2216834
Modern, in moreh nevuchim, the rambam is trying to convince people to keep mitzvos which they don’t understand, because they have a yatzer hora not to.
This yatzer hora needed to be dealt with, and the rambam tackled this task.
In mishnah Torah the rambam clearly understands chukim as laws without a revealed reason, as he writes in the beginning of rosh hashana “af al pi she tekias shofar gezeras hakasuv…”
Moreh nevuchim wasn’t written to be abused. Actually, it was written specifically for heretics like mendelssohn.
Chazal say that goyim harangue us for keeping mitzvos without revealed reasons (see rashi in beginning of behar). Mendelssohn is in that category.August 17, 2023 8:49 am at 8:49 am #2216835
So….by har sinai there was a mesorah that Hashem is only giving us religious things but we need perfection from elsewhere?
Hashem said at har sinai “today you are a people to me,” because of this Torah you are a nation – founded in the desert, not in eretz yisroel; Modern Orthodoxy believes in nationalism, that we’re a nation because of the Torah “and” language, fraternity, land, etc…see the theme? Torah isn’t enough for them.
And why isn’t Torah enough? Because “if it is empty, it is from you,” chazal say if one finds torah deficient, it is because he is the empty one. He isn’t giving Torah enough dedication and effort, so he turns to things which are easier, like science and literature, and then fools himself into thinking he’s bigger than talmidei chachamim.August 17, 2023 8:55 am at 8:55 am #2216844
It probably does mean something that many of his followers ended up off. But the question is WHAT it means. To say that he wanted that to happen is rediculous. But it is possible that it was somehow his fault. Maybe they were heading in that direction without him and he accomplished that at least during his life that didn’t happen. Maybe because that’s where the people in that time and place were headed. Even the people that were not his followers. I’m not denying that many of his followers went off. But the question is if it was better by people in his time and place that were not his followers. Maybe only people that were heading in that direction were interested in becoming his followers. And maybe he was only interested in followers that were heading in that direction. Maybe to try to save them. Maybe it was the fault of those that did not accept them as legitimately religious.August 17, 2023 9:24 am at 9:24 am #2216921
What I’ve found quite “enlightening” in this discussion is that several proponents of Modern Orthodoxy claim Moses Mendelssohn as their founding father. I haven’t heard this association previously. Especially considering that Mr. Mendelssohn is the father of the Haskala movement it seems rather shocking that at least some MO would still like to claim him as one of their own, as well.August 17, 2023 10:19 am at 10:19 am #2216949Menachem ShmeiParticipant
In mishnah Torah the rambam clearly understands chukim as laws without a revealed reason
Something similar that I wrote recently in another thread:
“Interesting example of the different styles: In the Moreh the Rambam explains that shiluach hakan is because of tzar baalei chayim.
In Mishneh Torah (Tefilla) he writes that this reasoning is ridiculous, as it is obviously a gzeiras hakosuv that can’t be understood.”
Another example from Mishneh Torah (end of Sefer Tahara):
דבר ברור וגלוי שהטמאות והטהרות גזרות הכתוב הן. ואינן מדברים שדעתו של אדם מכרעתו. והרי הן מכלל החקים. וכן הטבילה מן הטמאות מכלל החקים הוא שאין הטמאה טיט או צואה שתעבר במים אלא גזרת הכתוב היא והדבר תלוי בכונת הלב. ולפיכך אמרו חכמים טבל ולא החזק כאלו לא טבל. ואף על פי כן רמז יש בדברAugust 17, 2023 10:25 am at 10:25 am #2216939
“And why isn’t Torah enough? Because “if it is empty, it is from you,” chazal say if one finds torah deficient, it is because he is the empty one. He isn’t giving Torah enough dedication and effort, so he turns to things which are easier, like science and literature, and then fools himself into thinking he’s bigger than talmidei chachamim.”
Explained well. He also feels the sciences, literature and mythology bring something to the table the Torah does not. Soon after, “the Torahs response” to his fundamental questions are secondary and debatable- because now he is “enlightened”
He is now smarter than all of chazalAugust 17, 2023 11:13 am at 11:13 am #2216976
Km, no, it was the logical trajectory of his teachings that led them astray. If you don’t need to accept X in yiddishkeit, then why not this part, or that part, or…the whole thing? This is why the rambam says that one is who is kofer in one letter of the Torah is the same as being kofer in all of it.
Mitzvos aren’t all or nothing, but emunah is. Emunah is having complete subjugation to the words of torah shebichsav abd and chazal, and mendelssohn was faulty in both. Maybe not to the extent where he himself broke halacha in practice, but it was enough to lay the groundwork for a wholesale abandonment of Torah.
For the record, rav yaakov emden had a correspondence with mendelssohn, and said at the end that the whole time he was trying to be mekarev him, but is giving up because now he has strayed so far that he owns a dog – this was his sign that he was off the derech.
What always puzzled me is that among the gedolei yisroel, there was one who i read supported the german translation/interpretation of chumash that he wrote, and even wrote a haskama to it, and that’s rav akiva aiger, despite his son ij law being the chasam sofer, who was very outspoken against mendelssohn.
But in light of everything above, rav Akiva eiger is the kasha, not the terutz. Maybe he saw nothing wrong in the biur and wanted to be mekarev him…who knows.August 21, 2023 7:03 am at 7:03 am #2218029August 21, 2023 7:04 am at 7:04 am #2218013
@ujm, Just like the maskilim made mistakes [and especially the ones that went totally off the derech], so too is your enlightenment not empty of mistakes. I never said he is the founder of the current modern orthodox. And I never said that I am modern orthodox.
@AviraDeAra, the frum became against learning a lot of Navi (unfortunately) since the maskilim were into it. So even if his teachings caused them to get messed up, that doesn’t necessarily mean that his teachings are messed up. Just like Navi is not messed up.
And I sincerely appreciate you bringing up the haskamah of Hagoan R’ Akiva Eiger, who was considered THE greatest of his generation. [Besides for maybe Mendelssohn lol.]August 21, 2023 10:34 am at 10:34 am #2218070
Avira, Rav Akiva Eiger didn’t write a Haskala to it. I know what you’re referencing.August 21, 2023 10:34 am at 10:34 am #2218071
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