Tuesday, April 12, 2016

From the writings of R' Hirsch

From the writings of R' Hirsch: כֹּל אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵלֶיךָ שָׂרָה שְׁמַע בְּקֹלָהּ

"The term Derekh Eretz includes all the situations arising from and dependent upon the circumstance that the earth is the place where the individual must live, fulfil his destiny and dwell together with others and that he must utilize resources and conditions provided on earth in order to live and to accomplish his purpose. Accordingly, the term Derekh Eretz is used primarily to refer to ways of earning a living, to the social order that prevails on earth, as well as to the mores and considerations of courtesy and propriety arising from social living and also to things pertinent to good breeding and general education." Pirkei Avos, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two

"'Torah im Derech Eretz' is the one true principle conducive to truth and peace, to healing and recovery from all ills and all religious confusion. The principle of "Torah im Derech Eretz" can fulfill this function because it is not part of troubled, time-bound notions; it represents the ancient, traditional wisdom of our Sages that has stood the test everywhere and at all times." Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 221

"The more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will his views and aspirations be, the less aloof will he be from anything that is noble and good, true and upright, in art or science, in culture or education; the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man prevail and become dominant in human society." "Religion Allied to Progress", Collected Writings

"In the Jewish land, where the Divine law has full scope, nothing was supposed to germinate or blossom or ripen without bringing the Jew obligations as well as enjoyment. A duty is attached to every enjoyment, and it alone gives the enjoyment its true taste by turning what otherwise would be selfish and animal into a human acknowledgment of Divine love." Judaism Eternal, Volume 1, Chapter V, Shebat, p. 33.

"As His creating word calls forth the sun, and summons the light of the world, so has God's love appointed Israel as the bearer of the light of spirit and life, and as the bearer of Torah. O that you would be mindful of such a high task! O that you would allow heart and spirit to be infused by the spirit of the Torah and allow your life, in word and deed, to be but a copy of the contents of this Torah! You would thus surrender yourself to God in love just as He summons you in love." Horeb 628

…Other disciplines are to be regarded as auxiliary; they are to be studied only if they are capable of aiding Torah study and are subordinated to it as the tafel to the ikkur. The Torah’s truths must remain for us what is absolute and unconditional, the standard by which to measure all the results obtained in other branches of knowledge. Only that which accords with the truths of the Torah can be accepted by us as true. The Torah should be our sole focus: All that we absorb and create intellectually should be considered from the perspective of the Torah and should proceed along its paths. (19 Letters)

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