Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gertrude Hirschler

"Gertrude Hirschler was a translator and editor of literary works, and was the leading translator of the works of the nineteenth century German rabbi, Samson Raphael Hirsch. The collection primarily consists of materials relating to Hirschler's publishing career, containing her publishing correspondence, as well as manuscripts, articles and miscellaneous writings by other authors that were sent to Hirschler for editing or translating. There is also a small amount of personal materials and original writings by Hirschler."  Papers at YU


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Linked Post: The Mistake of One-Stop Torah Shopping BY YITZCHOK ADLERSTEIN

"Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski penned an important observation about seeking guidance in meta-halachic and hashkafic areas in particular. They are preserved in a footnote to Shiurei Daas (of Rav Gifter zt”l), pg. 83. R. Chaim Ozer wa asked to comment about his own view on the dispute between R. Samson Raphael Hirsch and R. Selig Ber Bamburger regarding the proper stance to take to Reform Judaism. (R. Hirsch was the architect of austritt, the idea that traditional Jews were required to walk out of the until-then unified Jewish collective, after Reform had made it clear that it was cutting its umbilical chord with halacha. R. Bamburger strongly disagreed, maintaining that it was essential to keep a single strong Jewish front in its dealings with the non-Jewish world.) He first cautions the reader that the question is not a classic halachic one that is answered through the capable analysis of shas and poskim. Rather, the question could only be addressed by a clear perception of the situation and a sense of what methods would be most effective in facing the challenges to tradition. The positions of the the two German luminaries did not owe to their different understandings of established halacha, but to their different essential outlooks and their different personal approaches to avodas Hashem. The following is a free translation of the next lines:

"This outlook is most clear to the chacham who understands the local situation, and who lives in that region and kehilla. He knows the natures of the people of the community in all their details, and is connected to them on multiple levels. He who takes responsibility for supervising their ways has the penetrating eye to properly weigh the spiritual issues that confront them, and to anticipate the impact of developments upon the future. For this reason, it appears to me, they did not take this weighty question to the preeminent Torah luminaries of their day, recognized throughout the reaches of our community, sages like the Malbim, R. Yisrael Salanter, the Maharil Diskin, R. Yitzchak Elchanan, the gaonim of Israel and Galicia. This was not a question that would be best addressed through sources in Shas and poskim, but through proper analysis and an appropriate and clear perspective. Those distant from the location of the question could not involve themselves in the determination; they had to rely on the righteous rabbis at the local level…

"[Rav Gifter continues:] The words of our teacher are fundamental in understanding the difference between matters that require a precise halachic determination, and matters that require the clear perspective of Daas Torah. In our lowly generation we have moved away from this distinction. We suffer from internecine conflict and hatred whose root cause is the blurring of the distinction between these two areas of decision-making."

read full post

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Off Topic? The Economy and the Shrinking Middle Class

This may seem off topic but I think it's such important information that I'm going to post it. If there's a connection it's that Torah Im Derech Eretz is difficult to maintain without a dignified lifestyle. And the shrinking incomes and expanded work pressures make TIDE very difficult.

This is written by  for a really incredible economics blog by the former head of the President's budget office:

"The Pew Research Center’s recent report The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground: No longer the majority and falling behind financially made a media splash, as it reported that less than 50% of adults are members of the Great American Middle Class.
My analysis suggests that by more qualitative measures, no more than a third of U.S. households qualify as middle class: claiming 49% of the nation’s households are still middle class is a gross exaggeration."

Monday, December 28, 2015

Torah Im Derech Eretz Television: Meeting of Minds

Television is something of a bad word in the frum world. However, once upon a time there was some quality and uplifting programming. Evidence the show Meeting of Minds, description from Wikipedia:

"Meeting of Minds is a television series, created by Steve Allen, which aired on PBS from 1977 to 1981.
The show featured guests (played by actors) who played significant roles in world history. Guests would interact with each other and host Steve Allen, discussing philosophy, religion, history, science, and many other topics. It was conceptually quite similar to the Canadian television series Witness to Yesterday, created by Arthur Voronka, which preceded Meeting Of Minds to the air by three years.
The series was filmed at television station KCET in Hollywood, California. As nearly as was possible, the actual words of the historical figures were used. The show was fully scripted, yet the scripts were carefully crafted to give the appearance of spontaneous discussion among historic figures."

Guests included:PlatoSocratesAristotleThomas Aquinas, Marie AntoinetteFlorence NightingaleThomas PaineFrancis BaconThomas JeffersonVoltaireDaniel O'ConnellCatherine II, and Oliver Cromwell.[5]"
If there's such a thing as TIDE television, this is it.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tiferes Tzvi Newsleter

ויחי יעקב בארץ מצרים שבע עשרה שנה ויהי ימי יעקב שני חייו שבע שנים וארבעים ומאת שנה .מז ,כח

"יעקב lived in the land of מצרים for seventeen years, and יעקב’s days, the years of his life, were one hundred and forty seven years. (47, 28) פרשת ויחי directly follows the proceeding, without the usual פרשה break. When we consider that the seventeen years mentioned here were יעקב’s only quiet, tranquil years and so can be regarded as the flowering of his whole life, we certainly would have expected to see the account of these years highlighted by a break, marking the opening of a new .פרשה

The absence of his break teaches us that, though these seventeen years were indeed integral part of יעקב’s life as an individual, nationally they were of lesser significance. Precisely his troubled, sad life – the time of testing when, in the midst of a -יעקב like existence, he had to earn the right to bear the name “ישראל” – those were the years that secured יעקב’s eternal national significance. The final seventeen years were merely the conclusion, years of personal happiness and reward.

This also explains the unique wording ויהי ימי. The picture of יעקב’s whole life was a unified one. שני חייו apparently serves to correct יעקב ’s modest comment regarding the substance of his life. His years were not really מגוריו, containing only a little חיים; rather, all the days of his sojourning on earth were years of true living. "

Tiferes Tzvi
A Student Torah Publication of YRSRH
Founded in 1984

posted with permission

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Are All German Jews Practitioners of Torah Im Derech Eretz

No, they are not. For example, R' Binyamin Hamburger shlita of bnei brak, the renowned expert in German minhagim is not a TIDE person even though he like everybody else has enormous respect for R' Hirsch and respects the TIDE derech.  R' Seligman Baer Bamberger, the great German posek with whom R' Hirsch tangled on the matter of Austritt, or separation of the Orthodox from the non-Orthodox community in Frankfurt, was not a TIDE person. I know of numerous WH people who "went Eastern European." I don't think that R' Naftoli Friedler the one time head of the Breuer's Kollel and Rav of KAJ in Monsey was a TIDE person, nor does it seem that the current Rav of KAJ is a TIDE person, even though I know that he respects it. 

I would guess that there are as many non-yekkes who practice elements of TIDE as there are yekkes because the yekke population hasn't been all that large in centuries and the Holocaust knocked it down even further. Most yeshivish schools have a meaningful secular curriculum even in Israel at the younger grades. But is that Torah Im Derech Eretz? I argue that it is not because even much of Eastern European world engaged in some limudei chol. In my mind TIDE has other components including a sense of involvement with host societies - tikun olam and a pursuit of decorum and order. You will find some of that in the "engaged yeshivish" as Professor Alan Brill  terms it but nowhere on the scale of Frankfurt TIDE.

So are there any German Jewish practitioners of TIDE? Yes. Rabbi Dr. Leo Levi, author of Shaarei Talmud Torah (translated under the title Torah Study and published by Feldheim) is a notable example. I know of several other individuals from the Heights and many others around the world.

The role switch between WH people who went Eastern European and Eastern Europeans like me who went German Orthodox is interesting. Of course, I'm not culturally Eastern European. I'm American and as I argue America is a Germanic country. That's why German Orthodoxy works so well for me and perhaps it's the same for you. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Words of a Faithful Man

"I thank Hashem for what he gave me and for what He didn't give me."

Mr. Jack Benjamin z"l, who passed away this November, was born in Germany, endured the Holocaust, and came to America and worked to build a life there. A resident of Washington Heights and the Breuer's kehilla, he was a fine Jew, a gentleman, and a baal emunah. The words I posted above are his.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Audio of Rav Breuer

Once again, I present to you with much joy material that took me years to find. A gracious TIDE Society reader digitized it from some tapes.

Audio of Rav Breuer from from the very first the concert of the KAJ Choir in 1955

Friday, December 18, 2015

Witness to Lincoln Assasination

from the 1954: I've Got a Secret

Film of Rav Breuer

"This film was produced by Manny Meyer Studios for the 1974 Breuer's dinner. Narration by Mr. Jacob Breuer a'h. Original rare footage of the Shul in Frankfurt ("Friedberger Anlage") from the home movies of Mr. Harry Levi (?). INVALUABLE AND RARE.copyright MSM Studios."

Rav Breuer at 8:36 - This is an incredible find. I looked for years for such footage and here it is.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Film Footage of Rav Breuer

I feel as though I might faint. Film of Rav Breuer. It's right at the start. I have been looking for this for years. Rav Schwab, whose footage baruch Hashem we have had for a while, is here too. With gratitude to the Almighty:

from the Breuers 2gether channel on youtube.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cantor Isachar Helman.

From Basel TV a special on Jewish life in Basel, Switzerland. This clip shows the Chanukah candle lighting with Cantor Isachar Helman.

Monday, December 14, 2015

More from Rabbi Soloveitchik on Strict Adherence to Merorah in Liturgy

"Adherence to the exact Mesorah (Tradition) of the congregation was emphasized by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l, who explained that the traditional musical nusach (rendition) provides the proper interpretation for the words of tefillah. Concerning the Yomim Nora’im, Rav Soloveitchik stated: “The Mesorah of the nefesh (soul), of experiencing God, is expressed in halachic terms by the Remo, who rules (אורח חיים תריט:א) that one may not alter the liturgy and tunes used by one’s congregation on the High Holidays. The liturgy and tunes employed by each community affect one’s emotional response to the High Holidays and constitute the Mesorah of the nefesh.“ (Nohoros HaRav, #13)

R' Avraham Gordimer

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rav Hirsch on Grammar, Gender, and Equality

In the word איש and אשה (man and a female man I.L.) lay the guarantee for the equality in rank and mutually complementing calling of Man and Woman. As long as man and woman were איש and אשה there was no need for man to be emancipated from woman nor woman from man, neither could make the other into a slave nor yet into a god or goddess. The first who altered this designation -­ as indeed our sages remark, in no other language are man and woman designated by words coming from the same root and so regarded from the same trend of thought -­ brought it about that one man would yoke his woman to the plough while the other would throw himself at her feet. (R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch, Genesis 11:58)

Note: I.L. is the editor Isaac Levy

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Shabbos Chanukah And The Birth Of The Bais Yaakov Movement - linked article from

By Moshe Pogrow

"One hundred years ago, on Shabbos Chanukah 1915, a single young woman, Sarah Schneirer, attended a Shabbos afternoon women’s shiur given by Rabbiner Flesch, a dayan of the Schiffshul, the main kehillah of Vienna, and he quoted some of Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch’s ideas. Rav Hirsch’s words so impressed her that she began reading his writings, diligently studying Horeb and The Nineteen Letters. Feeling a need to carry the teachings of Rav Hirsch even further, she opened her school in Krakow in 1917, teaching her pupils Chumash with Rav Hirsch’s commentary and giving courses on The Nineteen Letters. In order for the girls to understand his writings without translation, she required them to learn the German language."

continue reading

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rosh B'nei Hagolah

Reb Yaakov Kamenetzky cited in a blog comment:

"In reality the success of Chinuch in United States is the active realization of TIDE. As I heard from R' Yaakov Kamenetzky ztz"l, who responded to an inquiry as to how R'SRH should be titled ,and R'Yaakov said the R'SRH should be called Rosh B'nei Hagolah, for even though in his life time his influence was limited primarily to Germany , "Adank R'SRH there is Yisddishkeit today " "

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A German-Jewish Chanukah in Upper Manhattan - linked article from

A German-Jewish Chanukah in Upper Manhattan by R' Avraham Gordimer

"One of the highlights of Chanukah in Washington Heights is the candlelighting at K’hal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ/”Breuer’s”) and the singing of Maoz Tzur by the KAJ choir between Mincha and Maariv. (Please click here and here to view more.) This event, aside from being inherently inspiring, undoubtedly arouses various thoughts and feelings on the part of all who attend."


Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Importance of Studying and Keeping Minhagim

Rabbi Yosef Kalinksy
Minhagim on Chanukah: Dreidel and Sufganiyo 
from from Chanuka to Go
"The students of the Maharil (Rabbi Yaakov Moelin, 1365-1427) offer a chilling story about their teacher in his collection of laws pertaining to Yom Kippur.2 The Maharil was once chazzan in the town of Regensburg during the Yomim Noraim, and decided to insert a piyyut into Mussaf composed by Rabbeinu Ephraim, who happened to be buried in Regensburg. Although the leaders of the town informed him that this was not their practice, he did not listen to them based upon his logic, saying that it would be an honor to Rabbeinu Ephraim to recite the piyyut. A few days later, on Yom Kippur, the Maharil’s daughter died. He understood that this was a punishment for changing the minhag hamakom (local tradition).3 This background provides a remarkable insight into why the Maharil emphasized the importance and centrality of minhagim, and how he became the single most influential and accepted codifier of Ashkenazi practices.

"Writing during the time of the sprouting of the Reform movement, the Chasam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer, 1762-1839) was a strong advocate of keeping minhagim. He felt that unorthodox practice began by “simply” changing a few minhagim. As such, he called those that change minhagim “violators of the Torah.”4 This remark is based upon Tosfos, Menachos 20b (s.v. Nifsal) — “minhag avoteinu…Torah” — the tradition of our forefathers is considered Torah.

"Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik explained that this phrase from Tosfos extends beyond the basic obligation to heed to the minhagim of one’s community. It also applies to the requirement to study and understand minhagim and their origins, just as one wrestles to understand each and every word and halacha mandated by the Torah to the best of one’s ability. It is based on this that the Rav dedicated much time from his shiurim teaching minhagim and their sources, with the same depth of methodology and rigor that he would use when teaching halachic concepts to his students."

read more Chanuka to Go

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Frisian words with obvious English equivalents

brea  (bread)
tsiis (cheese)
miel (mile)
see (sea)

Frisian is a Germanic language found in the North Sea islands, north of Hamburg. It is the closest language to English and that of the early Germanic invaders of England in the 5th century.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015