Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dilution of TIDE?

Professor Max Landau of the Berlin Seminary on the dilution of TIDE:

"What is the reason for this change of opinion on the part of German Orthodoxy with regard to Samson Raphael Hirsch? To begin with, this new attitude did not come about suddenly; much rather, it is the result of a long process of spiritual development. It received its final impetus from a deep-seated sense of insecurity which beset German Orthodoxy ever since the end of the last war. The encounter with the world of “Eastern European” Judaism and an intensive preoccupation with Jewish spiritual problems have severely shaken the former self-confidence of German Orthodoxy and its firm conviction that it had the right approach to the problem of realizing the ideal Jewish way of life in our times. As a result, German Orthodoxy is beginning to see how far removed it still is from such ideal “Jewishness”. A feeling of discontent and a yearning for self-fulfillment have taken hold of its members. Suddenly, many of the fundamental precepts which had heretofore been considered valid and unquestionable by German Orthodoxy were subjected to close analysis and found wanting in many respects. The German-Jewish concept of Jewishness was found inadequate compared to the completeness and intensity of “Eastern Judaism”."  Full article (thanks efrex for the text version)

from Pelta, R. S. R. Hirsch’s View of Secular Studies in the Thought of R. Joseph Elias


  1. You can find a translation of Landau's original article, which originally appeared in German in Nachalat Zvi, over here (Thanks, G6).

    When Mr. Pelta first published that article, I had an extended back-and-forth email discussion with him on it. Really should dig that up, and see how much my opinions have changed, if it all.

  2. "Perhaps it is not sufficiently understood that 'Eastern' [Chasidic and Litvish] Judaism today is only living off the memory of its former glory...At one time it dominated a large world of its own, but this world has disappeared beyond recall...An unqualified restoration of the 'Eastern' world is neither feasible nor desirable under the present circumstances. 'Eastern' Judaism is still groping for a formula by which it could incorporate its own immortal values into a new way of life. Once it will succeed in rejuvenating itself by a process of organic regeneration it will surely maintain itself successfully not only in our own day but also in the future." Even when these words were written in 1936, the realities of the world were such that German Jews were hopeful and expectant that Chasidic Judaism would find a way to incorporate itself into the modern world appropriately, as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch had done with German Judaism. Unfortunately, the Second World War succeeded in rolling back the clock on this potential for Eastern European Judaism, and the aftermath led people to respond with "the fruitless task of shoring up the crumbling walls of the ghetto." Today my community is dealing with the results of this response. There is a growing pull from those who realize that we are living in a new world, yet those who control institutions desperately want to cling to the safety of the ghetto. A big change is on its way, and I only hope that people have not been too filled with lies about the outside world and perverted understandings of the Torah to remain dedicated Jews in the aftermath of this change.

  3. If only it were like the ghetto. What we are dealing with really is corporatism.

  4. That is certain. My Master's thesis looked at the corporatist reinterpretation of the traditional Chasidic infrastructure by askanim and powerholding elites, and how that structure is used to procure government favoritism for the development initiatives of the Borough Park elite.

  5. I believe that corporatism is not merely an economic model for today but a social one. Kindergarten's are corporate.

    I'd like to see your thesis. Would you like me to link to it here?