Welcome to the Beis Midrash, where TIDE is alive and well! I recommend you start with the blog's Inaugural Post by scrolling to the bottom.

Please differentiate between the great classic Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE) writings, and the blog's own writings, which are those of a novice student of TIDE.

Please consult your rabbi about anything you read here that you find controversial.

“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, 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.