Saturday, November 19, 2016

New Simi Lerner Talk: Hirsch on the Community as a Means

I was in a community recently where I felt an enormous conformity and sense of people trying to simultaneously fit in and out do each other religiously. It was disturbing. And then via Divine providence came this recording of Simi Lerner in his wonderful series of lectures on the Hirsch Chumash. In parshas Noach on the events of the Tower of Babel, Rav Hirsch points out how the community is supposed to be a means for the individual to connect to God. But when the community becomes the end, the goal, the thing to serve, then you have real problems. See the talk and Hirsch on Genesis 11:4.


  1. Comment sent to me via email by a blog reader who asked me to post on his behalf:

    "Excellent point. The very strange social normatives of some of the Ost Juden in their expressions of "frumkyte" are quite troublesome. These sub standard forms of communication & behavior have hindered the "spiritual" development of both the יחיד as well as the קהילה. Those of us "Yekkes" who have been subjected to these types of unhealthy social patterns in the Yeshiva system know all too well how infuriating this can be. I personally believe that this is a result of a corrupted Mesora that manifests this type of sheker on both an institutional as well as cultural level. Maybe it's time we בני אשכנז seriously consider how to effectively & efficiently regroup & fortify ourselves. Rebuilding our institutions in order להחזיר עטרה ליושנה. How can we perpetuate the ancient מסורת אשכנז and the מהלך of תעד"א, if we don't have the mechanisms to do so? If the Ost Juden have their KJ or Lakewood, maybe we should create the space to safeguard our authentic מסורה? I know of individuals in Monsey and elsewhere who are concerned with the current state of affairs.

    1. In the 1950s, being small, The Breuer's community believed they had to side with either the yeshiva world or modern orthodoxy and chose the former. At that time, neither group was so far from Torah Im Derech Eretz. But both have moved quite far from it since then. I believe Hirschians and even just German Jews who are not Hirschian need to be strong and maintain their own derech as Chabad has done. That's one of the goals of this site.