Monday, April 6, 2015

The successor to the old קדושות קהילות of Western Europe

"As far as our own Kehilla is concerned we may very well consider ourselves as the successor to the old קדושות קהילות of Western Europe, the perpetuators of the thousand year old sacred אשכנז מנהג and the faithful pupils of the saintly אשכנז חכמי in general and of Rabbi S. R. Hirsch זצ"ל in particular. It follows that we keep aloft this banner and that we keep our precious heritage forever close to our hearts. From the days of Rashi and the Tosafists to the time of R. Moshe Sofer and R. Ya’akov “Jokef” Ettlinger there has been an uninterrupted chain of tradition which was transmitted into the post-Ghetto world by the blessed genius of Rabbi S. R. Hirsch, his co-workers and followers. It is for this compelling reason that we treasure our traditional pronunciation of the sacred tongue, our age-old melodies, our פיוטים and סליחות, which have withstood the onslaught of time and turbulence. We embrace these time-honored forms and expressions which were dear to our forebearers and we cling to their inherited Jewish way of life and we to teach it to our children with love… It is the essential function of our Kehilla to gear all its energies ליושנה עטרה להחזיר, to return this “crown to its ancient glory,” to bring forth the most noble and lofty possibilities which lie hidden in our heritage to its utmost potential; in line with the justified observation of the saintly Chatam Sofer: התורה היא ירושה לנו בני אשכנז."

Rav Shimon Schwab, Selected Writings, Lakewood, NJ, 1988, pp. 17, 62-63 in Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz

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