Welcome to the beis midrash where Torah Im Derech Eretz is alive and well! I recommend you start with the blog's Inaugural Post by scrolling to the bottom.

“There is a popular notion that, unlike Hasidism and Musar, which attempted to deepen the religious experience of the Jew, the Hirschian system aimed at merely preserving Judaism against the onslaught of Western culture. It is our conviction that this notion is erroneous. Study of R. Hirsch's writings and commentaries has been for many a most effective source of Musar, deepening our spiritual grasp of Judaism.”---Rabbi Shelomoh Danziger, last paragraph of http://www.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/Clarification%20of%20RSRH_danziger.pdf

Sunday, September 1, 2019

New in our shiur rooms! Rabbi Moshe Hauer on "The Legacy of Ashkenaz - Rav Yosef Breuer, Rav Shimon Schwab"

See the link to these talks in our "shiur rooms", to the right, scroll down a bit. I was there in person, and it inspired me to rededicate myself to Rav Hirsch's vision. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

New! Daniel Adler on The 19 Letters....

I can't wait to listen to this series. See link under "Shiur Rooms", to the right, below.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Torah Im Derekh Eretz of Samson Raphael Hirsch

He's had it up for a while now, but I thought I would point out to those who don't know yet that Dr. Levine has included "The Torah Im Derekh Eretz of Samson Raphael Hirsch", by Dr. Mordechai Breuer, in his collection.

It is the English version of "Shitas Torah Im Derech Eretz BiMishnaso Shel R' S. R. Hirsch", which I began to review in earlier posts.

This 60 page essay is so important, it gets its own link (second one on our list, to the right.)

Many thanks to Dr. Levine for obtaining permission to post it, and for posting it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New On Our Shelves

Rabbi Zev Elef, "American Orthodoxy's Lukewarm Embrace of the Hirschian Legacy, 1850-1939".

I didn't have a chance to read all of it yet. But at least two of those he named as having consulted for this series of articles are people I know to be top experts on Rav Hirsch and Torah Im Derech Eretz!


Hat Tip: Daniel A.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catholic Website Reviews The 19 Letters

Should Catholics draw inspiration from R' Hirsch's "19 Letters"?


Would Rav Hirsch approve?

Hat Tip: Daniel A.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Addition on the Shelves of the Beis Medrash

Thanks to Neil of the Modern Uberdox blog (Uberdox.blogspot.com) for adding "R' Mayer Schiller's Review of the Hirschian Derech Today" to our list of links to your right.

You don't have to agree with all of R'Schiller's positions to appreciate this brilliant, incisive, sometimes painful essay, showing us TIDEians what we're up against, with no punches pulled.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Challenge of Being A TIDEian; E-Mail Address

That's the challenge of being a TIDEian. We're so busy trying to use our "uncompromising Torah outlook" to keep our "modern-oriented lives" in order that we don't have enough time for efforts like this blog, that are meant to spread the word about TIDE!

My inconsistency in posting notwithstanding, please enjoy the TIDE links to your right. You can e-mail me about any TIDE links that I have not yet included there, or to drop me a comment/ question, at AviFromBMofTIDE@Juno.com. I'll try to check it around once a week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

To the three commenters:

Rabbi Seif:

Thanks for the correction, I updated the "RSRH4ALL" link on the list of links.

I only wish I had more time to develop this site, so that I would get more traffic that could be sent your way.

I wish you much success in spreading Rav Hirsch's ideas!

Avi from BM of TIDE

Neil HarrisJune 12, 2012 10:29 PM
Just found your blog and I am really impressed with your links. I was the one who gave Dr. Levine the R Schiller article "The forgotten Humanism of RSRH".

My TIDE chevra of friends and I always believe that Moriah was meant to be more worldview/mussar based, in keeping with the idea of Torah [Choreiv] im Derech Eretz [Moriah].

Hope you don't mind I'll be linking your blog.


I loved that article! Thanks for supplying it to Dr. Levine.

I wish I had a TIDE chevra of friends; how do I join? :-)

Great idea re: Moriah and Choreiv.

Thanks for the link.

Avi from BM of TIDE

To the Anonymous commenter on the "First Steps" post: no doubt that there are explainers of the term "Derech Eretz" that see it as earning a living. Rav Hirsch's explanation includes this, but he sees it as being much more broad, and including more concepts. You might want to download Prof. Breuer's essays on The TIDE of R' Hirsch--see links on the list to the right.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Three Generations

I was happy to see one of my favorite books, Dayan Grunfeld's “Three Generations”, featured on the “The Book of Doctrines and Opinions” blog, www.kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/dayan-isidor-gruenfeld-three-generations/

He makes a great point about the different types of TIDE, depending on which epoch in R' Hirsch's life, or which generation of his students we are referring to.

Another important point was made about R' Isaac Breuer's outlook on the Zionism, which is probably as close as we'll get to knowing what R' Hirsch's own outlook would have been.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who Do We Look To?

This is my reply to a commenter on Rationalist Judaism who challenged "Post-Chareidim" with naming three people who can be looked to as ideals and leaders, matching three Gedolim that he named:


I've given the issues you bring up much thought. I prefer "Hirschian", or "TIDEian" to "Post Chareidi"; but I face the same questions.

Granted a private audience, with unlimited time to explain our situation, and with no chance of the advice given ever being broadcast to the public, the Gedolim you named would probably provide excellent guidance. But what we hear and read from the Chareidi media in their names appears to be either distortions, or meant for the insulated Chareidi community, not for those of us who choose to/ have to lead Torah-directed modern-oriented lives.

We therefore rely on very learned local Talmidei Chachamim with excellent character who intimately understand our situation. Are they as famous or as learned or as chashuv as these Gedolim? No. Maybe not even close. But that misses the point. They are OUR lifeline.

Could I give you three names of such wonderful Talmidei Chachamim? I could give you hundreds. But they wouldn't mean anything to you. Rest assured, though, that they mean EVERYTHING to us.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rav Hirsch: Rationalist? Chareidi?

See http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2011/11/rav-s-r-hirsch-his-contemporary.html (My comments start around half-way down the web page.) Dayan Grunfeld shows, in his introduction to Rav Hirsch's "Choreiv" (Horeb), page lxxxiv, "Intellect and Feeling", that Rav Hirsch included both the rational and the mystical in his thought. Therefore, it would appear that Rav Hirsch was neither rationalist, nor a "Chareidi" of his time, but is in his own category.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The First Known Teacher of TIDE: Rabbon Shel Yisroel, NASI HADOR! (It's not what you think, read on.)

Professor Mordechai Breuer, “Shitas Torah Im Derech Eretz BiMishnaso Shel R' S. R. Hirsch 1”; HaMaayan, Volume 9, Number 1, 1969, end of article page 1, and on to page 2.

If you have the background and the time, please check for this on the list of free downloads to your right, grab a copy, and follow in the original.

In my own words:

Prof. Breuer points out that Rav Hirsch's primary source for the idea of TIDE comes from Maseches Avos, 2, 2, which quotes the nasi (president), Rabbon Gamliel son of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi: “Beautiful is the study of Torah with 'derech eretz', because the effort of both causes one to forget about thoughts of evil activity....”.

Rav Hirsch was well aware that there has been no uniformity among major commentaries regarding what the term "derech eretz" means.

Even in Rav Hirsch's writings, it appears that there is not absolute uniformity in what this term means:

Various short comments on Maseches Avos---“actions based on the fact that one lives in society, in earning a living and in associating with others”, “societal life”, “life of partnering with others in society”, “aspects regarding society”;

Commentary on Rabbon Gamliels's statement, Maseches Avos 2, 2, summarized: “derech eretz” is all that arises from the fact that a person lives among others, and must use his resources to accomplish his purpose, in this world: earning a living, ordered society, courtesy, politeness, training in observance of proprieties, and general education;

Commentary on Chumash Breishis, 3, 24: “derech eretz is culture, the way of wisdom in dealing with society, that educates a person to discipline himself, and to order his life that is among others on earth.”

Collected Writings: “Fundamental principle of education and general knowledge”; “General knowledge pertaining to Judaism and to general society.”

(To be continued.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why No Extensive Explanation of TIDE By R' Hirsch?

Professor Mordechai Breuer, first page of “Shitas Torah Im Derech Eretz BiMishnaso Shel Rabbi Shamshon Rephael Hirsch 1” in HaMaayan, Volume 9, Number 1, 1969, article page 1.

If you have the background and the time, please check for this on the list of free downloads to your right, grab a copy, and follow in the original.

Summary (italics are my own comments):

Professor Breuer shows that it is difficult to define precisely what Rav Hirsch meant by the term “Torah Im Derech Eretz”. Rav Hirsch left behind many ideas throughout his vast writings, but never summed up TIDE in an opinion essay which would define his outlook.

This is probably because Rav Hirsch never saw himself as an innovator of a new ideology. He drew on the ancient and enduring sources: TaNaCH and ChaZaL (the Bible and the Sages of the Talmud), and these are what he taught. The extent of his "ideological position" was that he was a teacher who is faithful to TaNach and ChaZaL, no different in essence than the thousands of other such teachers. His only use of modernity was in his style of expression, which was necessary given his audience.

He also did not see himself as a debater with opposing theologians (Jewish and non-Jewish), or as a philosopher of comparative religion. He saw no need to write an essay that would sharply differentiate his own worldview from these others (though he did write essays sharply differentiating the Torah itself from pagan, Christian, and Reform worldviews).

A footnote references "Moriah", the planned prequel to Rav Hirsch's second book, "Choreiv (Horeb)". Moriah was meant to explain the worldview of the Torah. I don't know if this is what Prof. Breuer had in mind, but Dayan Grunfeld, in his introduction to Choreiv (page xl; second on the list of free downloads), suggests that Rav Hirsch never wrote Moriah because he was afraid that the reformers would use it to show that one could get at "the essence" of the Jewish worldview without having to bother with mitsvos. Maybe this as well is why he never wrote an extensive essay explaining the worldview of TIDE.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Should TIDEians Listen To Gedolim?

During the same talk mentioned in the previous post, Rabbi Dr. Sid Z. Leiman said to the mostly non-Chareidi crowd that when Gedolim speak, we need to listen. I was surprised by this, but, in retrospect, I'm not sure why. I agree with him.

Of course, this begs the question of how a non-Chareidi can listen to Chareidi Gedolim and remain non-Chareidi!

I would like to make this the subject of a future post. Briefly, I think a TIDEian might differ from many Chareidim in this area, as follows:

If there is evidence that:

1) the source that broadcasted the Gadol's words is unreliable; or

2) the Gadol spoke regarding circumstances that are unique to Chareidim; or

3) the Gadol spoke for the general public, but an individual's circumstances warrant a different course; or

3) our own TIDEian Gedolim clearly disagreed with the position that this Gadol took; or

4) the Gadol was misled by extremists (since we can assume that a Gadol is normally able to filter out misinformation from extremists, this one would need a high degree of verification);

then a TIDEian, in consultatation with his rav, would include these factors when deciding to what extent he will act on the Gadol's words.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Modernity Within Tradition" Has Arrived!

A while back, Rabbi Dr. Shnayer (Sid Z.) Leiman told the Shabbos crowd at our shul that Professor Mordechai Breuer's "Modernity Within Tradition" is a must-read for everyone present. I don't remember his exact words, but my impression was that he considers it to be a mussar book of sorts, to be studied by observant Jews who have regular jobs and interact with the modern world. The idea is to learn from the TIDE experience of Germany: what went well, as well as what did not.

I have too much to read already, and a very small budget for books, so I held off buying it. But when I saw that there were very few left on Amazon books---only two or three with reasonable prices---I decided to buy it.

This book could make a great sequel to the planned posts on Professor Breuer's article "TIDE BiMishnaso Shel Rabbi Shamshon Rephael Hirsch". It would make sense to start with the article in order to understand the theory of TIDE; then go to the book in order to emulate what went well in practice, and avoid what did not.

If you can afford it, you might want to get your copy now http://www.amazon.com/Modernity-Within-Tradition-Orthodox-Imperial/dp/0231074700/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289708197&sr=1-1

Monday, July 4, 2011

First Steps: Defining TIDE

As R' Noach Weinberg zt"l used to say, the first step in any inquiry is: "define your terms". If we're going to follow Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE) as our derech avodas Hashem (the way we will use to go about being G-d's agents in this world), we need to know what that means, in as in-depth a way as possible.

We open our 8 volumes of Collected Writings of R'S. R. Hirsch, look for the 20--30page essay explaining R' Hirsch's famous slogan, and we find......it isn't there.

How can it be that R'Hirsch never wrote such an essay, and instead left pieces of explanation here and there in his writings?

My speculation is as good any other novice's: maybe R' Hirsch felt that TIDE cannot be fully captured by the written word; it has to be observed, absorbed, learned from a living guide, more Torah SheBial Peh than Torah SheBiksav.

Even if I'm right about this, those of us who don't live in Washington Heights, or don't live near a Hirschian guide, are still fortunate: R' Hirsch's illustrious great-grandson, Professor Mordechai Breuer z"l, supplied us with the "Mishnah" and "Gemara" on this topic. Please download the issue of HaMaayan which contains Prof. Breuer's "Shitas Torah Im Derech Eretz BiMishnaso Shel R' Shamshon Rephael Hirsch 1" ---see the link under "Seforim on The Shelves", to the right. I've never been through this article before, and I'm not a native Israeli Hebrew speaker. So, Hebrew-English dictionary in hand, hold on, this should be an exciting ride!

I'll bli neder study this article part-by-part and post summaries, along with my own periodic thoughts about how to apply what was learned. You can follow the posts without reading Prof. Breuer's article. But if you had the opportunity to obtain skills in Hebrew language, I would prefer that you read the article: I would like to be corrected on any mistakes I make, and would like to have your thoughts as well.

Just for the time being, though, one noted Hirschian told me that, as a two-sentence definition of TIDE, the following is acceptable: "The application of Torah ideals to all situations and environments that G-d has designated for us. And the use of everything from those situations and environments that will be beneficial for Torah purposes, while rejecting that which is incompatible with Torah."

Left Yeshivah or Kollel?

Or if you will have to leave in the near future: Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky's Shiur #33 "Klal U'phrat" is MUST listening. See http://www.torahlectures.com/c-125.aspx ; download Shiur number 33.

Among the topics covered: How do we reconcile the constant "Torah Only" message of the yeshiva, with currently having to spend most of our day at work? Are we now left with the rock-and-hard-place choice of either viewing this message as naive, or viewing ourselves as failures, "bidieved" Jews?

Also highly recommended for those in this situation: Shiurim numbers 30, 31, 32, 34, and 35.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inaugural Post

Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated! http://torahmusings.com/2008/06/end-of-tradition/ (I admit it: I've always wanted to use this line from Mark Twain.)

No matter that some who were brought up with Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE) found that the great R' Aharon Kotler zt"l's sublime vision was a better fit for their souls.

No matter that others who were brought up with TIDE are apathetic to it.

No matter that there currently is no rav who claims the title as spokesman for Hirschians.

No matter that we don't have nearly the number and size of the institutions that others have.

Rabbeinu Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsch, zt"l, wrote again and again that TIDE is a timeless concept; it knows no boundaries of culture or place. It is the supremacy of Torah over all periods and circumstances, with no exceptions. It is the avoidance of "fighting the last war", i.e., of focusing only on building secluding walls higher and thicker in order to enforce an old derech eretz (cultural circumstance), in an age of increasingly faster, portable, and inconspicuous means of communications with outside ideas and knowledge. It is the confidence that comes with understanding how to use the Torah to navigate the prevailing culture as it is, and only seclude ourselves from that which we must.

To the extent that TIDE is not being practiced today, it is up to us to use all of our abilities and means to create a viable TIDE for the present, basing ourselves, of course, on the counsel of our rabbonim and on the TIDE writings of the past.

Thanks for dropping in on the Beis Midrash! If you and your rav decide that TIDE is for you, I hope you'll find a makom kavua (regular spot) here.