Friday, April 28, 2017

Torah in motion lectures on R' Hirsch

Torah in motion lectures on R' Hirsch

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  1. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch: Ancestor of Modern Orthodoxy?

    The Thought and Worldview of Influential Jewish Thinkers Dr. Zev Eleff Tweet ...
    Leah Levy - 2016-08-30 17:52
  2. Class 2. Great Rabbinic Thinkers: Samson Raphael Hirsch

    Dr. Marc Shapiro Premium Tweet ...
    skatz - 2017-01-31 06:11
  3. Separatism vs. Unity: Rav Hirsch (and his Successors) on Relations with the non-Orthodox

    Dr. Marc Shapiro Tweet ...
    tim - 2015-11-18 23:43
  4. Hirsch and the Frankfurt Jewish Community

    Dr. Rachel Heuberger Tweet ...
    tim - 2015-11-18 23:43
  5. Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch's Attitude Towards Zionism

    Rabbi Dr. Adam S Ferziger Tweet ...
    tim - 2015-11-18 23:43
  6. The Challenge Unanswered: Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, Academic-Critical Scholarship and Biblical Commentary

    Dr. Edward Breuer Tweet ...
    tim - 2015-11-18 23:43
  7. Has Hirsch been Rejected?: The Contested Legacy of Torah and Derekh Eretz

    Dr. Marc Shapiro Tweet ...
    tim - 2015-11-18 23:43
  8. Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch and Contemporary Orthodoxy- A Panel Discussion with all the Speakers

    Dr. Edward Breuer Dr. Marc Shapiro Dr. Rachel Heuberger Tweet ...
    tim - 2015-11-18 23:43
  9. Great Rabbinic Thinkers: Online Spring 2017

    rabbinic greats we have discussed include Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, The  Chatam Sofer, Rav Tzvi Pesach ...
    Leah Levy - 2017-02-28 23:27


Simmy Lerner Rav Hirsch broadcast

In this discussion, we discover some illuminating and truly groundbreaking concepts about how the Torah views some, nowadays, quite controversial issues. We see the truly amazing approach it has on Women, Brit Milah and our outlook on the physical world. E...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

new on-line class on Tefila from Abe Katz

New on-line class on Tefila that will begin Tuesday evening May 2, 2017 at 9:00 PM, NYC time.

The topic: Tefila 101-Fundamentals of Tefila-Improving Our Involvement In Tefila. 

Focusing on three areas:

1. The Rules That Govern The Choice Of The Words And Structure Of The Tefilos;

2. Specific Words Within The Tefilos;

The Role Of The שליח ציבור.

If you interested in joining the class, please send an e-mail expressing your interest.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A man who is little known to them

"Jewish Philosophy of Religion and Samson Raphael Hirsch" is an article from The Jewish Quarterly Review, Volume 2 . Published 1890, 2 years after R' Hirsch's patirah. Contains the fascinating line, "All I propose to do is to try to turn the attention of the English Jewish public to a man who is little known to them, whose influence is nevertheless not without effect upon some of them, though they maybe unconscious of it."

The R' Samson Raphael Hirsch and R' Joseph Breuer publication societies put an end to the anonymity as which English speaking frum Jew doesn't know about R' Hirsch?


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

1940 Census of Rav Joseph Breuer and family

See lines 34-40. This is a pretty good find if I say so myself. This is an American census taken shortly after the family's arrival, about a year. Rav Breuer's children are young. Jacob Breuer is 21. I can't even say if they had a shul at 220 Bennett at this point. Certainly, the kehilla was in its infancy. Who knew what accomplishments lay ahead?

Click to enlarge

They arrived in 1939 on this ship: Normandie

Video of ship (Source: reader Appropriate vessel)

Built by Chantiers & Ateliers de Penhoet, St. Nazaire, France, 1935. 79,280 gross tons; 981 (bp) feet long; 118 feet wide. Steam Turbine engines, quadruple screw. Service speed 30 knots. 10,902 passengers Passenger ship. Enlarged in 1935. Large three funnels.

Ship History

Built for French Line, French flag, in 1935 and named Normandie. Havre-Southampton-New York service.

Seized by U.S. authorities, in 1941 and renamed Lafayette. Laid up in New York when caught fire. 
Caught fire, sank, refloated and scrapped in 1947.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:24

Behold it is known that all the people of Poland, Hungary, and Russia...are children of Ashkenaz even Chasidim. And until Chasidus spread they all prayed with nusach Ashkenaz. However, the Chasidic leaders lead them to pray in a different nusach with various changes...They changed the customs of their ancestors and our great rabbis of Germany and France. The reason for the change is not clear nor how they permitted a change from the established nusach....If one desires to change back and pray in nusach Ashkenaz, since it is the nusach of our ancestors and rabbis, he is permitted as he is returning to what once was.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crusade Mourned in Cologne

"The Jewish community of Cologne, Germany, designated the 23rd of Nissan as a day of fasting and mourning to commemorate the Jews of Cologne massacred in 1147 during the Second Crusade."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Jewish Press - The Influence of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in America (Part II) by Dr. Y. Levine

The Influence of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in America (Part II)

By Dr. Yitzchok Levine

"Editor’s Note: This column contains excerpts from Dr. Levine’s “Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch and America – an Historical View,” which appeared in The World of Hirschian Teachings, An Anthology on the Hirsch Chumash and the Hashkafa of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer Foundation, Feldheim, 2008, 199- 210).

"Last month we outlined how Rabbi Dr. Bernard Drachman (1861-1945), who was one of foremost spokesmen for Orthodoxy in America during his lifetime, was influenced by the writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. This month we discuss two other rabbinical personalities who were influenced by Rav Hirsch."

read more

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tefillin on Chol Moed

As you may know, it is the practice in Ashkenaz to wear tefillin on chol moed per the Rama, R' Akiva Eiger, the Mishneh Berurah and many others. R' Hamburger spoke about this at the recent Kenes in Bene Brok and noted that by far most Rishonim call for the wearing of tefillin. I'm checking if there's a recording available. I believe someone is putting a package together and is looking for sponsors for the graphics. Let me know if you can help:

Here is a writeup on Tefillin on Chol Moed and an audio shiur from Daniel Adler with a German Jewish perspective.  Includes a recording of a Q&A with R' Hamburger.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Rav Shmuel Bondi

In my recent Hakirah article "Austritt: A Tale of Two Cities" I refer to "the wine merchant Samuel Bondi" who was a supporter of Austritt in Mainz.

So who was this Samuel Bondi? It turns out there was much more to his life than the wine business. The “wine merchant Samuel Bondi” of Mainz was Rav Shmuel Bondi, Rav of the separatist Orthodox (Austritt) Kehilla and the author of “Torei Zahav”. This work included commentary on Shir Hashirim from his grandfather and rebbe, R Herz Scheuer, the 10th generation rav of Mainz, and his own commentary on Megillas Esther, followed by his own “Sha’los U’teshuvos”. He was considered among the leading Poskim in Germany in his time.

He was the father in law of R Marcus Lehmann. the famous rabbinical leader and author. When Bondi became elderly he retired from the rabbinate and turned his position over to R Lehmann. He had no pension and supported himself in the family wine business established by his father and run by his sons. As Rav of Mainz he created the Austritt community in the town.

It was his custom to have a “haus bochur” from the Pressburg Yeshiva at home to learn with his sons and to have a chavruso for himself. He would write to the Ksav Sofer to send him a bochur. The Ksav Sofer sent R Shlomo Breuer to be the haus bochur in 1873 and he learned with R Shmuel, as well as with his sons and grandsons, for 2 years. He arranged for R Shlomo Breuer to study at the nearby University of Heidelberg; Mainz was 40 miles from Frankfurt and both he and Marcus Lehmann were close to Rav Hirsch—Lehman proposed Shlomo Breuer as a shidduch for Hirsch’s daughter. R Shmuel Bondi’s son Markus was a metal merchant and moved to Vienna; he  married Bella Hirsch from Halberstadt whose sister married R Ezriel Hildesheimer (thus Hildesheimer was brother in law to Markus Bondi).

Another one of the many heroes of German Orthodoxy. As Rabbi Soloveitchik has pointed out, we Jews don't build moments for ourselves and there are many unsung heroes who quietly went about their work. We don't know their names in most cases. Here we have a least some of the story.

Source: “The History of Family Bondi” by George Aumann, 1966  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Kenes Kehilos Ashkenaz in Bene Brak - April 13

On Thursday, April 13, the second day of Chol Hamoed, BEIS HAKNESES OF GERMAN MINHAG in Bene Brak will hold a gathering that features a shiur by Rav Binyamin Hamburger and Ashkenaz chazanut. I went to the one last Succos and it was really enjoyable.

For those who don't know Rav Hamburger is a leading expert on German Jewish/Ashkneaz minhag. The shiur will be in Hebrew but Rav Hamburger, who will be available afterward, is fluent in English.


Mincho at 6:45 Maariv at 7:45 Shiur by Harav Hamburger between. Following Maariv the Kenes Kehilos Ashkenaz. 8:00-10:00


27 Ben Yacov St. Bnei Brak (This is a few hundred meters from the Coca Cola factory)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

What Was Matzah Like in Old Ashkenaz?

According to this post Eating Sefardi Matza  it was like Sefardi Matza today. Click for more details.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Series of Articles from on Authenticity of the Zohar

Authenticity of the Zohar

While Kabbalah seems a shunned topic in contemporary German Orthodoxy, we know of course that R' Yaakov Emden and R' Yonason Eibetshitz were kabbalists (as well as Talmudists) and of course the Chisdei Ashkenaz knew kabbalah. But how much of the Zohar is authentic kabbalah. This is a long standing debate. Both Yaakov Emden and the Chasom Sofer believed that only part of the Zohar was authentic. The articles linked above takes us through arguments for and against.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

R' Hirsch first to do Kiruv.


Was R' Hirsch the first in modern times, or ever, to do organized kiruv? You can argue in the affirmative. Listen to the first few minutes of the Marc Shapiro lecture here.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Germany 2017 -Jewish Heritage Trip

July 19, 2017 to July 27, 2017

Join Torah in Motion for a unique and intellectually inspiring trip to Germany with Dr. Marc Shapiro.  We will see firsthand not only the great history and tragedy of Jewish life here, but the incredible rebirth of Judaism in recent years.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Influence In America (Part I) - Linked Post, Jewish Press

by Dr. Yitzchok Levine

"Much has been written about Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s influence on German Jewry, and he is justifiably credited with having saved Orthodox Judaism in Germany. However, Rav Hirsch’s influence was not confined to Germany and did not end with his passing in 1888. His legacy continues to this day and is felt all over the world.

"It is my intent to sketch how Hirschian ideology has fostered the flourishing Torah life we see today in America by indicating how a number of rabbis utilized this ideology. Such a sketch cannot, of course, be comprehensive. Nonetheless, it does provide perspective on how far-reaching the influence of RSRH has been on the American scene."

read more of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Influence In America (Part I)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hirsch Haggadah in German

Hirsch Haggadah in German

I'm not sure exactly what this is as my German is basically non-existent or close to it. Maybe somebody out there can tell us what's going on in this book.

(Tip: Daniel Adler)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Hirsch Anthology

New book that collects Hirsch quotes by topic. And that's a beautiful thing because Hirsch's writings are so voluminous that it can be challenging to research ideas by topic. Volume 9 of the Collected Writings gives an index and so does the index to the new translation of the Chumash. But this volume gives not just the index but the actual quotes and it includes Tehillim. Siddur and the CW and Chumash.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Rebbe on Parnassah

Greeting and Blessing:

On the first day of Shevat, as the Torah relates (Deut. 1:3), Moshe Rabbeinu [Moses] began the recitation of the Book of Devorim [Deut.] - Mishne Torah [Repetition of the Torah].

The timing of the Repetition of the Torah was significant for the Jews in that it served to prepare them for their entry into the Promised Land. On the verge of leaving a place where for years they had no material care, since all their needs in the way of food, clothing and shelter had been miraculously provided (by means of the Manna, the Well, the Clouds of Glory, etc), and before settling down in a land, and way of life, which necessitate tilling, sowing, reaping, and all other mundane preoccupations - the Jews had to receive a special measure of spiritual invigoration and admonition, so that they should not become materialistic and debased in the material world that lay ahead, but - on the contrary - would instill holiness into, and spiritualize and elevate, the material aspects of daily life, transforming the material into the spiritual, by means of the Torah and Mitzvoth [commandments], Tzedoko [charity] and acts of lovingkindness.

Such is also the function of yeshivoth, especially in recent generations.

Some people think that the main purpose of a Yeshiva is to train Rabbis, Shochetim [ritual slaughterers], and other Jewish clergymen. This is not so, for the essential and main purpose is to create Jewish laymen, who, before going out into the world of business, trade, or profession, would be imbued and permeated with Torah and Yiras Shomayim [fear of heaven], and later, living within this world, would be capable of elevating their entire environment by inspiring every Jew they come in contact with, with love of G-d, love of the Torah, and love of fellow-Jew - in actual daily practice.

Letters By the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Vol. I, Tishrei-Adar, p. 260 and LChaimWeekly

Is this not the most encouraging message about earning a living that you have ever heard? One usually hears that either one may forced to earn a living but while you are there you can practice your honesty in the filthy environment -- not the most encouraging send off message. With Hirsch, you are contributing to your host society, which is more encouraging. Here you are sanctifying the physical and sharing love. Wow. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

TUM and TIDE - Rav Schwab

"Torah Im Derech Eretz is the opposite of Torah U'Maddah" R' Shimon Schwab. He says it here.

Is he speaking in words more acceptable to the Agudah audience or did he always completely see it that way? Is that the same as saying TUM is traife or just that it's different like the Litvish and the Chassidic derechem are in some ways opposites? I think he's probably saying that it's traife. No wonder Breuer's had nothing to do with YU. What do you think about the topic?

Note, he also has high praise here for Baalei Teshuvah and encourages the kiruv movement.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Minhag Ashkenaz Minyan This Friday in Beit Shemesh Ramat Aleph

Beit Shemesh Ashkenaz

Next minyan: We will hold a Minhag Ashkenaz (Yekke) Minyan this Friday Night, Parshas Tetzaveh, 12 Adar 5777, March 10, 2017, 5:27 PM

Location: Beit Shemesh Ramat Aleph (RBSA), Israel in the Dolev area about 5 minutes walk from Ma’asas Mordechai and 1 minute from Aish Kodesh.

There will be a mechitza and ladies are welcome.

Write for exact address:

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Anglish - What if English Were 100% Germanic? by Langfocus 

More on English as a Germanic language. He says here that there is a movement to strip English of Romance words and have it become the language it would have become. This is not on my list of life goals but it is interesting.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wedding in Meah Sharim

Some time ago I posted about the book Coming Up to Yerushalyaim with Chana Pappenheim which tells the story of a family of German Jews who settled in Meah Sharim, Jerusalem. I was at a wedding this week that I am told was held in a hall built by that family. It was an old Yishuv style wedding and very impressive for being so low key. The chuppah was held outside and it was very humble. The civudim were simple. No big announcements followed by the long march up to the chupah. All the men who had anything to do with the kiddushin were already standing there. The women were so modest and maybe 30 meters away, davening. There was no photographer that I saw and certainly no photography umbrellas or flashing lights. Interestingly, the smashing of the cup came before the sheva brachos. The kallah was completely covered. I couldn't see her face. When it was all done, a man said, mazel tov, mazel tov. And the chason and kallah walked off, not to raucous singing and jumping. We then went to the hall and the first thing I saw was a table for the poor. Then a room of only men. I believe the women were in another room entirely. The music consisted only of drums and singers. It was not loud. You could hear yourself think. They started serving some food. The whole experience was very positive and absent of so much of what at least I find distasteful in weddings today - the noise, the flashing cameras, the over-the-top wild dancing, immodesty, and materialism.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Judaism is not an appurtenance to life

"Judaism is not an appurtenance to life, and to be a Jew is not part of the mission of life. Judaism encompasses life in its entirety. To be a Jew is a sum of our life's mission-in synagogue and in kitchen; in field and in counting-house; in the office and on the speaker's platform; like father, like mother, like son, like daughter; like servant, like master; as man, as citizen, in thought and in feeling, in word and in deed, in times of pleasure, in hours of abstinence; with needle as with chisel or with pen. To be a Jew--in a life which in its totality is borne on the word of the Lord and is perfected in harmony with the will of God-this is the scope and goal of Judaism. Since Judaism encompasses the whole of man and in keeping with its explicit mission, proclaims the happiness of the whole of mankind, it is improper to confine its teachings within the "four ells" of the house of study or of the home of the Jew. Insofar as the Jew is a Jew, his views and objectives become universal. He will not be a stranger to anything which is good, true and beautiful in art and in science, in civilization and in learning. He will greet with blessing and joy everything of truth, justice, peace, and the ennobling of man, wherever it be revealed He will hold firmly to this breadth of view in order to fulfill his mission as a Jew and to live up to the function of his Judaism in areas never imagined by his father. He shall dedicate himself with joy to every true advance in civilization and enlightenment. But all this on condition that he be never obliged to sacrifice his Judaism at any new level but rather fulfill it with even greater perfection."

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, 1854
Quoted in Guardians of Our Heritage, p. 290

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wisdom from the Gentiles: Mark Twain

Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't.  You cannot shirk this and be a man.

- Mark Twain

So for Torah Jews this means within Torah bounds each man must apply his mind to the course he will take.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Defense of Rav Hirsch - New Hakirah Article

Austritt - A Tale of Two Cities

Only the first two pages are available online now. You can buy Volume 22 in the book stores or on Amazon.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Secular Studies - The Tanya

Following what seem like disparaging remarks on secular studies, we see this:

"Unless he employs [these sciences] as a useful instrument, viz., as a means of a more affluent livelihood to be able to serve G‑d, or knows how to apply them in the service of G‑d and His Torah. This is the reason why Maimonides and Nachmanides, of blessed memory, and their adherents, engaged in them."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

German Orthodox Style Chazzanut in Beit Shemesh

This Shabbos, beshalach in Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph at the ULAM sport center, sorek 12, 5 pm friday, 7:45 saturday, the Halelu Choir will conduct services. This is very much in the German Orthodox style and is quite moving. For men and women.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ad for These and These

"On p.31 of the January 1967 issue of 'The Jewish Observer' of Agudath Israel of America."

These and Those advertisement2.PNG

Thanks to anonymous reader

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Linked Article from 5 Towns Jewish News - 5,000 Girls Rally Against Today’s Fashion (1969)

Read Full Article

5,000 Girls Rally Against Today’s Fashion

By Nison Gordon, z’l

Translated by P. Samuels

Translator’s Note: The following is a translation of an article written by Nison Gordon, z’l, probably in Der Morgen Journal. The clipping came to us without a date. While trying to get information as to when this took place, I contacted the venue, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. They had a flood in 1977, so all rental records prior to that date were lost. I finally tracked down someone who was an 11th-grader in 1969 when this rally took place. She told me that it was quite impressive, as there hadn’t been too many mass meetings of religious Jews at that time. She also remembered that Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan, a’h, the legendary founder of the first Bais Yaakov high school and seminary, was another featured speaker. If any reader has any more information, please contact the editor.

Tzniyus is usually translated as “modesty.” It also encompasses  distancing oneself from anything that can be construed as immoral or provocative. • • •

A study in contrasts took place in New York last Monday. Two diverse groups, more different and distant in philosophy and outlook than east and west, both took action against the newest styles. In New York, the Screen Actors Guild held a press conference to protest against some immoral ways they were forced to act as part of their jobs. They must be depraved if it invoked the ire of the actors who in effect are complaining of heat after they are to blame for igniting the fire. Read Full Article

Hat tip to anonymous reader

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rabbi Shmuel Kunda

A Legend In His Time: Rabbi Shmuel Kunda z”l

Maybe this is a stretch to claim this post is about Torah Im Derech Eretz but then again, maybe not. I have only recently discovered the incredible music and stories of Shmuel Kunda. You have to hear it to believe it -- When Zeide Was Young in particular. So I just wanted to post a link to an obituary about him and to tell anyone looking for stories and music for children to consider the work of Shmuel Kunda. He took the theatrical medium and technology and made it Torah. So I guess that is Torah Im Derech Eretz, maybe one of the best examples of it.

Here's a sample. And here. And here. And most of all here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

G-d and G-d alone

“When, during the reign of Hadrian, the uprising led by Bar Kochba proved a disastrous error, it became essential that the Jewish people be reminded for all times of another important fact; namely, that Israel must never again attempt to restore its national independence by its own power; it was to entrust its future as a nation solely to Divine Providence. Therefore when the nation, crushed by this new blow, had recovered its breath and hailed even the permission to give a decent burial to the hundreds of thousands who had fallen about Betar as the dawn of a better day, the sages who met at Yavneh added yet another blessing to the prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem. This fourth blessing is an acknowledgement that it has always been G-d and G-d alone Who has given us, and still gives us to this very day, that good in which we have had cause to rejoice; and that for future good, too, we may look to none other but G-d, and none besides Him." (RSRH, Commentary to the Prayer Book, p. 703)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

600th post: All the realities of human affairs on earth

"The prerequisite for the true fulfillment of God's laws is knowledge, as thorough as possible, of all the realities of human affairs on earth. For example, the writings of our Sages have preserved for us an immense treasury of such a variety of skills and arts as agriculture, cattle-breeding industry, commerce, pharmacology, dietetics etc. Therefore the true תלמיד חכם the true disciple of the Law's wisdom, can learn from every man: from the farmer and the shepherd, from the merchant and the artisan, from the physician and the housewife, and so forth, and it is said, מכל מלמדי השכלתי "From all those who have taught me, I have learned and acquired understanding. Everyone with whom I converse could become my teacher by reason of the skills of his calling and his experiences. And they became my teachers because Your testimony which ennoble all our lives were the theme of my speech and thought. Viewed in the light of Your testimonies, nothing human is base or vulgar. Every aspect of human life is lofty and ennobled."  Hirsch on Tehillim 119:99

With gratitude to Hashem, this is our 600th post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Torah Im Derech Eretz for Kiruv

We have all heard of Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE) but may have not all considered what an excellent tool for kiruv it can be. R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch crafted TIDE for a generation much like ours. As R’ Shimon Schwab wrote:

The approach of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch enables us to educate and produce God-fearing and Torah loyal young men, and righteous and valiant young women. Indeed, this is the “Frankfurt” approach, also known as the “Torah and Derekh Eretz approach.” It is a tried and tested method. It is especially appropriate in this country, at this time, which has much in common with the Haskalah period in Germany during the previous century. (“A Letter Regarding the ‘Frankfurt Approach’”)
R’ Schwab explained that it is irrelevant whether TIDE was an emergency measure or not (according to R’ Hirsch and R’ Joseph Breuer it was meant for all time) as we are still in that emergency. When it comes to kiruv we are arguably in a much more intense state of emergency as 19th century assimilated German Jews were incomparably more traditional in values and lifestyle than assimilated Jews today.

So what is TIDE and how can it help? In the words of R’ Hirsch:
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, Hirsch Siddur)
In this one paragraph R’ Hirsch addresses many of the major frustrations assimilated Jews experience with Torah life as it is typically presented to them. Let us briefly address them:

Parnassah - In addition to Torah life being expensive (tuition bills in America for 5 children typically exceed total median income), baalei teshuvah often receive no financial support from family. Besides that, the idea of not earning a living sounds completely alien to people who have been raised to build their entire lives around careers. TIDE addresses this concern by presenting parnassah as an appropriate part of Torah living whereas some of the derachim in our community seem almost hostile to it, a posture which can scare people away from Torah observance.

Social Order and Courtesy - Most Western countries are Germanic societies (English is a Germanic language) where order and courtesy are highly valued. While the musar movement also stresses good middos, TIDE stresses as well a sense of contributing to one’s society in a civilized manner. Many in the frum world advocate a general hostility not just to popular culture but anything whatsoever connected to gentiles. This attitude, which is arguably a byproduct of persecution experienced in Eastern Europe, can be a turnoff to Jews who feel they were well treated by their gentile communities in America, Europe, and South America or to Jews - and there are many - with a gentile parent. R’ Hirsch wrote numerous beautiful passages that offer a non-antagonistic outlook on the role of gentiles in the scheme of human history while still maintaining a Jewish identity and strict loyalty to commandments.

General education - College for most assimilated Jews is central to their life plan. They work for it from grade school and stay connected to their colleges throughout their lives. A total discounting of the value of all secular studies is just too much to take. TIDE allows for careful acceptance of the best of secular thought while keeping Torah central.

In addition to these topics, R’ Hirsch also offered a beautiful philosophy of commandments and presented many engaging benefits of commandments. His thousands of pages of writings are a library of kiruv material.

At the Torah Im Derech Eretz Society ( we can help you to find materials to aide your kiruv efforts. R’ Hirsch’s writings have haskamas from the greatest of our gadolim including R’ Yitzchak Elchanon Spektor and R’ Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. R’ Yisroel Salanter was an ardent admirer of R’ Hirsch and believed that his writings would be of enormous use to stem assimilation and attract Jews to Torah.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Minimize the Anxiety

"If you don't have the right mindset though it's difficult to perform. One thing we don't want is a lot of anxiety. That's not something that's going to help you to perform well is to have a lot of anxiety."

Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama, one of the most successful coaches in college football history

A lesson for Jewish life too. It's an even bigger matter for Jewish life because it runs all day long not just for a few hours during game time.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

10th of Teives davening at KAJ Jerusalem

Shacharis is at 7:00, (Mincho is at 4:15 and Ma'ariv is at 5:17).

The location is 73 Nof Ramot (Wallenstein). Please call 052-761-1890 for directions.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Beit Shemesh Ashkenaz Friday Night minhag Ashkenaz minyan

With gratitude to Hashem, I am happy to announce our first Beit Shemesh Ashkenaz Friday Night minhag Ashkenaz minyan for Friday night, March 3 (5 Adar).

Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: Mincha: 5:25 PM
           Kabbalas Shabbos: 6:17 PM
Location:  Near Ayalon Park. Beit Shemesh Ramat Aleph, Israel. Contact me for details:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Trip to Germany with Dr. Marc Shapiro

"Join Torah in Motion for a unique and intellectually inspiring trip to Germany with Dr. Marc Shapiro.  We will see firsthand not only the great history and tragedy of Jewish life here, but the incredible rebirth of Judaism in recent years."

Germany 2017 -Jewish Heritage Trip

Travel Dates: 
July 19, 2017 to July 27, 2017
Germany -Jewish Heritage Trip

Leaders & Speakers: 
Dr. Marc Shapiro

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A gentile face is also the image of Hashem

"To love your fellow means your fellow Jew. A fellow Jew is a Jew who shares your commitment to the Torah. Now, it doesn't mean you have to hate him, or hate gentiles; you also have to treat gentiles with respect -- they're Tzelem Elokim. It's important to realize; a gentile face is also the image of Hashem. You have to respect human beings. Even when the Egyptians were being drowned in the sea because they pursued the B'nei Yisroel, and wanted to take vengeance on them and the Egyptians were drowned, Hashem told the angels, "Don't sing a song of victory because my handiwork is drowning in the sea. I don't want to hear my song.' So Hashem considers every person precious." R' Avigdor Miller, E-235, Q&A: Thursday Nights with Rabbi Avidgor Miller 2, p. 240

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Learning from Sports

Despite those who wholesale disregard sports, I have learned many life lessons from sports and sports figures. I picked this up from somewhere, can't remember where:

The life lessons taught by John Wooden have become legend. Here's a collection of some of the greatest "Woodenisms."

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
"Never mistake activity for achievement."
"Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
"Be prepared and be honest."
"Be quick, but don't hurry."
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."
"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
"What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player."
"Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character."
"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."
"I'd rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent."
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"
"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."
"It isn't what you do, but how you do it."
"Ability is a poor man's wealth."
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
"Consider the rights of others before your own feelings and the feelings of others before your own rights."
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."
"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
"Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."
"The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."
"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
"Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."

Monday, January 2, 2017

Linked Article - Chanuka and the Light of Torah & Chochma by Rabbi Shimshon HaKohen Nadel

Chanuka and the Light of Torah & Chochma by Rabbi Shimshon HaKohen Nadel from Torah Tidbits

"Aharon is instructed, "When you kindle the lamps, towards the center of the Menora shall the seven lamps cast light" (Bamidbar 8:2). According to the Gaon, the branches of the Menora represent the pillars of secular wisdom and knowledge. The center lamp, to which all of the other branches face, represents the light of Torah. Torah is at the center, but its study requires illumination that can only be gleaned from the light of secular knowledge (See the Netziv's HaEmek Davar to Sh'mot 27:20, 37:19, Bamidbar 8:2).

"For many, Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman of Vilna (1720-1797), the Vilna Gaon, personifies the perfected Torah personality, with his complete, unflinching dedication to Torah study. Yet the Gaon also possessed a profound knowledge and deep understanding of secular studies, even encouraging the study of secular subjects.

"In their introduction to Aderet Eliyahu, the Gaon's own children attest to the fact that, "by the time he was twelve years old, he had mastered the seven branches of secular wisdom..." One of the Vilna Gaon's closest disciples, Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, writes:
"He [The Gaon of Vilna] explained that all secular wisdom is essential for our Holy Torah and is included in it. He indicated that he had mastered all the branches of secular wisdom, including algebra, trigonometry, geometry and music..." (Pe'at haShulchan, p. 5a)"

Read More You must search on the title to locate the right part of the page.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Linked Article - Between Frankfurt and Tzfas by Boruch Clinton

"Specifically, I'd like to explore embracing Rabbi S.R. Hirsch's views on the goals and impact of mitzva observance as opposed to those of the "Tzfas" interpretation of the Zohar and other related works. The differences between these two world-views are far more than purely theoretical and stand close to the very core of how we see our relationship with G-d and the way we approach mitzvos and tefila. Let's begin by mapping out the key differences."

Between Frankfurt and Tzfas by Boruch Clinton

It's a great article and an important one. If I have one criticism of the article it's that the concern over whether we are allowed to dismiss  tzfat and go with Hirsch reflects the tzfat perspective (or just the contemporary one) that there's only one face to Torah when in fact there are 70. It doesn't even matter if the tzfat approach came from heaven. One still can follow his  gadol and Hirsch certainly qualifies as an authoritative and reliable voice of a Torah perspective. In other words, both views can be right. There doesn't have to be a contest with a winner.