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

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."

1 comment:

  1. In modern yeshiva language I would define TIDE as a derech in which having a professional career is actually part of ones derech in Avodas HaShem not something outside of it.

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