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

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.

1 comment:

  1. 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.