Saturday, June 17, 2017

Criticism of German Orthodoxy

I never hold back when I see criticism of German Orthodoxy from any reliable source. From the book the Transformation, criticism of GO for bringing Zionism into the Agudah.

page 34:

page 35


page 36:


page: 38 

So the book goes on to say that with an imitation of style in place the Agudah took on other Mizrachi attitudes such immigration to the Holy Land not out of sheer desire to live in there but as part of an in-gathering of exiles, an idea promoted by Mizrachi in its package of notions that the modern secular state is part of the redemption. I can testify that I have observed this notion in the words and actions of many yeshivish people. However, one can see from Rav Hirsch's many comments on the subject of the Torah and the land, that land without Torah is pointless and dangerous, that there's no nation without Torah and no redemption with Moshiach or teshuvah.


  1. These things are debatable.

    For example -

    If someone reads your book on gender roles, is that not Talmud Torah? Or is it 'book reading in libraries'?
    The book you link to paints with too broad a brush.

    You think that Rav Hirsch would have been part of NK? Did/do his descendants follow that path?

    The excerpt makes it sound as if only German Jewry was struggling with modernity, while Eastern European Jews were not. That is not true. For example, Sarah Schenirer started her Beis Yaakov in Krakow, in the Hasidic heartland, because girls were going to the theater on Shabbos when their brothers were going to the Rebbe's tisch. Not in Germany. In the Hasidic heartland of Galicia. And that is just one example.

    I think you are making a serious error by promoting NK ideology, as if it is identical with the shitah of Rav Hirsch zt"l, here. Is NK material like the book you link to "reliable"? It is dripping with animosity toward German Jews.

    1. I didn't say NK is identical with Rav Hirsch; although there is overlap. Rav Hirsch talked about loyalty to host state and I do wonder what he would have done with Medinat Yisroel. It is hard to imagine that he'd refuse to deal with it at all.

      I don't think that the book is focusing on assimilation but is saying rather that some of the Germans in the agudah had a somewhat assimilated style that harmed the agudah on this topic. You could argue that it helped the agudah in many ways but they don't do that here.

      Yes, it is hostile to German Jewish assimilation. Would have been nice if they had given some credit to Rav Hirsch for all his strong talk about putting land before Torah and reminding us of the 3 oaths and the reasons we lost the land.

      But I put the material here in the pursuit of intellectual honesty. I spend much time here in adoration of the German Orthodox so I feel it's important to learn from critics even if they seem over the top. I consider NK a valid voice and don't buy into the wholesale dismissal of their perspective.

  2. As soon as the intafada started the edah charedis and the satmar community distanced themselves from the NK. I have documentation to that end. Whoever remained is without a "rebbe". Someone who has no "rebbe" should have no "talmidim" - for the public good.

    1. Can you share the documentation? And what do you mean by distance? They are all still involved with each other.