A Freilichen Christmas?

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69 Responses

  1. Bonita says:

    Wonderful and thoughtful. I read it out loud to My husband and will share it with others.

  2. Reader says:

    “….baalei teshuvah and gerim about contact with their families. Many are told that they should essentially break off all contact, and especially be sure that their impressionable children should not be exposed to people of different beliefs and faiths…”

    In the current issue of the USA Yated Ne’eman (P. 38, columns one and two) it is related by Zvi Yaakovson, based on the publication Divrei Siach of Rav Yitzchok Goldstoff, how Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a handled one such case. He advised that when they were young, the grandchildren (children of the “ba’alei teshuvah”) should only have contact with their grandparents via post and phone. When they got older and their grandparents pressured them to visit, leading to the children begging to be allowed to do so, Rav Chaim said that the grandparents could visit them, but that the children should not do the reverse.

    (It should be noted that there is a disclaimer attached that the psak should not be assumed to be applicable to other individual circumstances, so rabbinic guidance is still in order. Nevertheless, it is interesting food for thought.)

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Many BTs work out a modus viviendi with parents and grandparents on such issues which varies from family to family

    • M.K says:

      I don’t think that ruling by Rav Chaim provides food for thought, given the disclaimer. All it says is that there may be extreme circumstances that make contact with grandparents of children of ba’alei teshuva inappropriate. Every one would agree with that possibility. However, as a general rule , I don’t think any mainstream posek, familiar with the world of ba’alei teshuva , would advocate that approach.
      If contact with anyone should be limited?
      It should be with a mentor / mekarev who does not enable his students to navigate such sensitive issues with understanding, love and common sense!

    • nt says:

      A few quick variables: Are the parents nonreligious or antireligious? Do they support or oppose their children’s choices? What is their home like? Will they feed the kids treif? Etc. etc. etc.

  3. Schmerel says:

    RSRH is not endorsing anything Christian in any way.

    He seems to be clearly saying that certain (but by no means all) values that they have are useful and good. However, the children should be taught that despite the good in their way of life our way of life is even better and even the values that they do have were predated in Judaism.

    We(he) live(d) in a world where their views were dominant. There is (was) little question the children will come across them anyway. Therefore let us present their perspective to the children ourselves, in a manner that our perspective is presented as the correct one along with the reasons why. The good will be shown as coming from Torah sources, the not good will be discarded.

    Plenty of people who don’t agree with TIDE share the sentiment above.

  4. Weaver says:

    The timeless wisdom of R’ Hirsch continues to dazzle. To many, the more outside threats you can identify, the more things wrong with the world you can bellyache about, the “frummer” you are.

    “History has not been kind to Rav Hirsch’s optimism.”
    True as far as it goes, though he was speaking about the conditions of his time, which I might add, were markedly more antisemitic than in the U.S. 2020. I also wish that criticism would more often be leveled at those who are unduly negative, paranoid and hateful (like this little gem: https://matzav.com/hatred-revealed/). I just feel bad for him.

  5. joel rich says:

    Kach mkublani mbeit Avi Abba – if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there. IMHO we first must recognize that any approach will have a measurable impact on the community as a whole and on each individual. The less nuanced the approach imho the easier it is to articulate and enforce, but the less likely it is to fit all.
    Let’s look at one possible goal – minimize the number of members leaving the community. If mine control drugs become available, would leadership be encouraged to use them on the community ? If not, why?
    If producing intellectual capital is the goal, would a rigorous up and out system be appropriate at any cost to the outs?
    Bottom line- my guess is that those who r ya is trying to convince will simply respond that r Hirsch ( if they think there’s value to keeping him in the fold) was a holy man who realized that an emergency measure was required but didn’t really think it was best. Now that we can be pure, we must be.

    Chag urim sameach

  6. mb says:

    Fake news. Rav Hirsch never said such a thing. Nor would he!
    Happy Purim!

    • Ben Bradley says:

      Your contemptible comment hasn’t yet had a response. Maybe that’s for the best.
      Or maybe it should be pointed out that such an attitude contains the worst aspects of contemporary Jewish dialogue. It assumes, patently falsely, full competence in R Hirsch’s thought with the arrogance that implies. It accuses a contemporary thinker, highly regarded for his integrity if not universally for his hashkafic leanings, of malicious manipulation. It contains scorn which should never, ever be directed at Torah teachers such as the author of this article. It assumes you can pasul a Torah authority’s teachings by arbitrarily and without basis claiming falsification.
      Olam hafoch ra’iti. Happy Purim, indeed, mb.

    • Ben Bradley says:

      Oh. I think I failed the irony test.

  7. Steve Brizel says:

    Ask BTs whether their parents siblings and grandparents attend participate in and are honored at their Simchas. I suspect that among American BTs you more than a few and indeed many Grandparents and siblings walk down the aisle dance with Baalei Simcha and have the Zecus to merit Yiddishe Nachas

    • Mycroft says:

      Agree that they are honored by Simchas, another dynamic I have seen parents and grandparents drive on Shabbos to visit their BT families.
      Suspect non positive impact on children of BT

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Each family works out these issues Families utilize legal holidays and days like Mothers Day etc to get together also

  8. Bob Miller says:

    We can thank HaShem when their values and actions rise above the pagan level, since this shows we had some positive influence on them. Nowadays, though, many of them are sinking back.

  9. M.K says:

    Christmas aside, the message of Rav Hirsch is so relevant and, I think uplifting , to all of us.
    It is very sad , as well as a distortion of the truth, when we think that to produce proud Jews we need to tell them that only Jews do acts of kindness etc. It’s sad when a picture of a religious Jew changing someone’s tire comes with the heading, “Me k’amcha Yisroel”, as if only a Jew would do what, in truth, many decent people would do!
    When we go shopping this time of the year and see the religious Christian volunteers braving the elements to raise money for the needy, should we hope our kids don’t notice?
    Rav Hirsch says, no!
    It’s such an opportunity to tell our kids how proud they should be to be part of the Jewish People.
    And how powerful our Torah is that a few “sparks” from that Torah had the power to change the world!

    • Steve Brizel says:

      REW ZLHashem Yinkam Damo writes that Chesed which is identified as the Midah of Avraham and Tefilah which is the Midah associated with Yitzchak are not uniquely Jewish values but Talmud Torah which is associated with Yaakov Avinu is unique to Am Yisrael and that caused the Sar Shel Esav to attack only Yaakov

      • Mycroft says:

        One has the obligation to follow all proper behavior and values even if non Jews observe them. In fact the approach advocated is very dangerous, not that Steve would act that way. But there are some who say why be honest goyim are also honest it is not a unique value for Am Israel.
        Agreed that we have other values like Talmud Torah

  10. G. S. says:

    M. K. speaks truth!

  11. That mistake, however, need not cast a shadow on Rav Hirsch’s general ideas about chinuch.

    Maybe it should?
    Maybe the Holocaust– perpetrated by the most civilized and culturally advanced nation in the West– squarely tells us Rav Hirsch made a fundamental mistake regarding the redeeming qualities of non-Jewish literature and culture? Maybe we should learn from his mistake instead of repeat it?

    (And I think you can easily make a case for being civil and friendly to non-frum relatives and non-Jewish neighbors without arguing that exposure to their values and culture holds any value for frum Jews.)

    • Maybe it should. Maybe it shouldn’t.

      I suspect that people will be machria that question according to whatever attitude they had to RSRH before reading the piece

      • Don’t assume I have a negative view of Rav Hirsch’s hashkafa generally, and my critique is coming from that place. Because it’s a mistake.
        When a valid criticism is leveled against a beloved rabbinic figure in good faith, resist the temptation to circle the wagons.

      • Fair enough. It is your prerogative to consider your point valid, and mine to consider it contemptible. Readers can decide for themselves whether you (or history) has provided any evidence to sustain a reconsideration of RSRH’s belief in the יש חכמה בגוים in Western civilization.

      • Reuveb Gross says:

        “Let us admit it. Our grandparents subscribed to an illusion – an imaginary faith in the civilizing result of a liberal education encompassing art, poetry, music an d theater. It was thought that man’s inhumanity to man was a matter of the deep dark past. Some still did not awaken from this vision until the smoke began to rise from the burning shuls and ספרים , and until the illusory silence was broken by the shattering of windows and the screaming of frightened children in the night…The age of Humanism was a passing episode in the annals of history. The sentiment was only skin deep and short lived.”
        “The Nazis were also students of Schiller and Goethe. They studied ethics and humanism – and then they tortured and burnt one third of our people. These were the תלמידים of this empty humanistic culture. It has lost all meaning for us.”
        From “Selected Writings” by Rav Shimon Schwab.

      • This is a sentiment understandably heard often enough – although rarely as eloquently – in the decades after the Holocaust. It would be a mistake, however, to take this as closing the book on the value of non-Jewish civilizations, particularly Western Civ. (See on that Gur Aryeh to Bereishis 25:23 about the commonality of the civilizations of Yaakov and Esav.) What R. Schwab opines is that European culture cannot be seen as the necessary and sufficient conditions for human advancement. The Holocaust demonstrated all too clearly how anything positive that it might contribute could be subverted and easily negated.

        That is quite different from arguing that it does not contain much good, which in the right hands can be in fact a tool for refinement and advancement.

        Look around you and consider the alternatives…

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Perhaps the issue is RSRHs view of Western civilization which was missing in action in the Holocaust and which has declined perceptively since then which is a fair way of asking about any hashkafic trend as to its contemporary relevance in fighting today’s battles not those of prior eras

      • To Rabbi Adlerstein:
        Invoking יש חכמה בגוים to include values and ethics is quite dubious.
        יש חכמה בגוים can encompass all the empirical sciences, mathematics, logic, medicine, and perhaps the behavioral sciences. But If you cede values and ethics to non-Jewish sources, what’s left for יש תורה בגוים–אל תאמין? That they can’t make a good sevara in learning? Are you confining the exclusivity of Torah to the mere mechanical performance of halacha and Shulchan Aruch? What’s the chiddush?
        Does the Torah not contain it’s own system of values and ethics about which גוים should have nothing to teach us?

        To respond to you challenge to look for alternatives, I should clarify:
        No-one denies that for the non-Jewish world, non-Jewish values and ethics “contain much good, which in the right hands can be in fact a tool for refinement and advancement”. The Rambam wrote that Christianity and Islam were positive forces in civilizing pagan society. No argument there.
        The argument I’m making is that they shouldn’t be admired by Jews once we have seen so clearly how Western civilization’s finest fruits went so terribly rancid. Why discourage from inculcating our children with the notion that their values and ethics are vastly inferior to ours?

      • Well, at least we are closer on this one then most before. There’s still considerable white space between us, though. Comments embedded as YA:

        To Rabbi Adlerstein:
        Invoking יש חכמה בגוים to include values and ethics is quite dubious.
        יש חכמה בגוים can encompass all the empirical sciences, mathematics, logic, medicine, and perhaps the behavioral sciences. But If you cede values and ethics to non-Jewish sources, what’s left for יש תורה בגוים–אל תאמין?

        YA: Assuming that they have something to offer is not the same as “ceding” values and ethics. I think we can agree that Torah is Chochmah Elyonah, and in no need of any supplement from outside. As RSRH himself put it, Toras Hashem Temimah. Temimah means 100%, not 99.44% That said, there can be room for the umos ha-olam in at least two ways. 1) Sometimes, they provide easier access to something that inheres in Torah than trying to get to it directly. On some level, all chochma is in Torah, because it was the blueprint for creation. But if you are trying to unravel the genetic code, you will do so much more efficiently today in a biochem lab than in puzzling over passages in the Idra. The same can apply to ethics and morality. The values are there in Torah. Sometimes, it is easier to gain insight into those values by the understanding of different personalities that comes thought great literature. Sometimes, great truths can be understood only by standing them up against competitors, which is what happens (or used to happen) in the secular academy. 2) At times, Klal Yisrael needs a reintroduction of a Torah value that has been lost to it. See R Eliyahu Kitov’s introduction to Rus in Sefer HaToda’ah, where he argues that the kind of chesed that KY needed to establish the house of Moshiach was unavailable, and had to be introduced from a non-Jewish source, i.e. Rus.

        That they can’t make a good sevara in learning? Are you confining the exclusivity of Torah to the mere mechanical performance of halacha and Shulchan Aruch? What’s the chiddush?
        Does the Torah not contain it’s own system of values and ethics about which גוים should have nothing to teach us?

        YA: As I said above, theoretically, they have nothing to teach us if and when we are in full and easy possession of the Torah that we need. When we are not, it is quite conceivable that yes, they do have what to teach us. Assume, for example, that politeness and civility are laudatory. Now contrast communities that both of us know within the Orthodox orbit in terms of isolation from anything non-Jewish. Tell me with a straight face that you see no difference in general performance in those areas. (And yes, I will concede that when you look for specific examples of the most angelic behavior of all, you will indeed find more of those rare individuals in the isolationist camp. Why this is so is a different – albeit important – discussion.)

        To respond to you challenge to look for alternatives, I should clarify:
        No-one denies that for the non-Jewish world, non-Jewish values and ethics “contain much good, which in the right hands can be in fact a tool for refinement and advancement”. The Rambam wrote that Christianity and Islam were positive forces in civilizing pagan society. No argument there.
        The argument I’m making is that they shouldn’t be admired by Jews once we have seen so clearly how Western civilization’s finest fruits went so terribly rancid.

        YA: As I and others have pointed out, that does not follow. Because fruit can go rancid is no reflection on its sweetness and utility when they are well-preserved and utilized.

        Why discourage from inculcating our children with the notion that their values and ethics are vastly inferior to ours?

        YA: That’s easy. 1) Because it is not true! Klal Yisrael was given a different set of goals and expectations. To achieve them, HKBH gave us more mitzvos, and a Torah through which those goals could be achieved. The umos ha-olam have the tools necessary for them to achieve their goals. 2) R Schwab’s famous argument in the old Jewish Observer. Teaching your kids about the inferiority of anyone else is counterproductive. If a child is taught that everyone else out there is a nothing, than what does he have when he makes the bracha “shelo asani goy?” All he can feel is that he, the Jew, is better than a nothing. If, however, you praise the image of Elokus in every human being; if you place that image on a pedestal like a classic Slabodka mashgiach; if you understand the full majesty of what it means to be human – then and only then does shelo asani goy have significance. It means that Hashem gave me some potential to come even closer to His presence. That is a gift!

      • Before responding I want to thank you for going the extra round in the comments instead of taking the easier route of dismiss and move on.
        I won’t quibble with every point– in fact, your first category of where non-Jewish sources can aid us by amplifying a value we already have in the Torah is well taken. Once at my Shabbos table I was quite stumped when my children asked me why Chazal highlight Domoh ben Nesinoh’s extreme display of kibud Eim. Isn’t he a goy? Chazal imply that we should learn from his example regardless.
        Touche.
        But in regard to your second category, where you said:
        ” At times, Klal Yisrael needs a reintroduction of a Torah value that has been lost to it… Assume, for example, that politeness and civility are laudatory. Now contrast communities that both of us know within the Orthodox orbit in terms of isolation from anything non-Jewish. Tell me with a straight face that you see no difference in general performance in those areas.”

        I hate to play the role of Chareidi apologist, but I think you would agree that a cost-benefit calculation always needs to be made when you decide to open yourself up to learning positive behaviors from non-Jewish cultures. Whose to judge if we are making the right choices? Who says we are permitted to trust ourselves to properly screen out the bad priorities and only let the good ones in?
        It’s nice in theory, but in practice, most people’s screens have holes that are way too big.
        To address your example, not picking up the sense of priority that politeness and civility occupies in non-Jewish society also means they won’t pick up a host of other priorities from that world that are the exact opposite of Torah values.
        I would further submit that the method by which the “good” non-Jewish priorities influence us is not by a Torah authority getting up to the pulpit and saying–“Did you all hear about that non-Jew who said or did something good? That’s a Torah value! We should admire it! We should emulate that!” Rather it is by a much more mundane process of socialization. We see it all around us all the time–so it becomes socially unacceptable not to behave that way. By definition, that form of influence–because it’s just not comfortable to be different– will erode the strong pride Rav Hirsch demands we have in our uniquely Jewish, often counter-cultural values.

        So I look at the lack of performance by some frum communities in those areas is a kind of badge of honor. It showcases their resolve in their refusal to be influenced–even to the point where they are ridiculed and finger-wagged for being “uncivilized”.

        Next point: I said:
        Why discourage from inculcating our children with the notion that their values and ethics are vastly inferior to ours?
        You said:
        “YA: That’s easy. 1) Because it is not true! Klal Yisrael was given a different set of goals and expectations. To achieve them, HKBH gave us more mitzvos, and a Torah through which those goals could be achieved. The umos ha-olam have the tools necessary for them to achieve their goals.”

        My Response:
        Rav Hirsch said:
        “Thus, what truths has Christianity brought to humanity to enlighten minds, refine hearts, and save nations, for which it has not been purely as a messenger of Judaism, drawing from the deep well of Jewish doctrine? And how much more is still left! All of this is only a drop of the well, a spark of the fullness of Jewish light, a partial ray of the entire Jewish sun, compared to a life that is entirely devoted to God! …”

        “Remembering his Jewishness, he again says joyfully: Yes! After all, the Jewish feeling of love for all humanity has a spirit that far surpasses Christian love and charity, never limiting Jewish philanthropy within the narrow confines of “denominations.” A spark from it [the Jewish spirit] has lit up the hearts of heathens through Christianity, and it brings joy to people through that which is known as Christian love and charity.

        Sounds like Rav Hirsch clearly sees Judaism’s values as vastly superior and expects us to take pride in that fact.
        In Rav Hirsch’s view, Christian kindness and charity is a mere leaf in our wreath. a mere drop in our well, a mere spark in our light, a mere partial ray in our entire Jewish sun!
        Need I go on?

      • Before responding I want to thank you for going the extra round in the comments instead of taking the easier route of dismiss and move on.
        NO THANKS NECESSARY. NONE OF THIS IS PERSONAL. YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE HIT UPON A CONVERSATION THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, I.E. OUR READERS OUGHT TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER BOTH SIDES

        I won’t quibble with every point– in fact, your first category of where non-Jewish sources can aid us by amplifying a value we already have in the Torah is well taken. Once at my Shabbos table I was quite stumped when my children asked me why Chazal highlight Domoh ben Nesinoh’s extreme display of kibud Eim. Isn’t he a goy? Chazal imply that we should learn from his example regardless.
        Touche.
        But in regard to your second category, where you said:
        ” At times, Klal Yisrael needs a reintroduction of a Torah value that has been lost to it… Assume, for example, that politeness and civility are laudatory. Now contrast communities that both of us know within the Orthodox orbit in terms of isolation from anything non-Jewish. Tell me with a straight face that you see no difference in general performance in those areas.”
        I hate to play the role of Chareidi apologist, but I think you would agree that a cost-benefit calculation always needs to be made when you decide to open yourself up to learning positive behaviors from non-Jewish cultures.
        INDEED. IT HAS TO BE DONE WITH GREAT CARE TO ACCEPT THE PRI AND TO DISCARD THE KELIPAH, AS CHAZAL PUT IT. BUT WE DON’T MAKE THAT DECISION. LIFE DOES. THE ISOLATIONIST ALTERNATIVE IS NO MORE ATTRACTIVE. CUTTING OURSELVES OFF FROM POSITIVE INFLUENCES FROM OUTSIDE ARGUABLY PRODUCES SOME EXTREMELY NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR. I’LL PREFER TO GO WITH THE RAMBAM’S FAMOUS INSTRUCTION OF ACCEPTING THE TRUTH FROM WHEREVER IT COMES. (INTERESTINGLY, A RECENT DAF IS ONE OF SEVERAL PLACES IN SHAS THAT DEMONSTRATE THAT CHAZAL WERE WILLING TO NOTICE THE GOOD IN SURROUNDING CULTURES THAT WERE NOT SO GOOD. SEE BERACHOS 8B FOR WHAT R AKIVA LIKED ABOUT THE PERSIANS AND THE MEDES. OF COURSE, WE COULD ALWAYS DEPLOY THE CONVENIENT “THEY COULD SAY IT; WE CANNOT” ARGUMENT TO STOP THAT LINE OF ARGUMENT DEAD IN ITS TRACKS.)

        Whose to judge if we are making the right choices? Who says we are permitted to trust ourselves to properly screen out the bad priorities and only let the good ones in?
        HKB”H, ACTUALLY. THAT’S WHY HE GAVE US BRAINS, AND WHY HALF OF THE RISHONIM DEFINE TZELEM ELOKIM AS SECHEL. USING THAT SECHEL IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO US BY HIS TORAH IS SUPPOSED TO EQUIP US TO MAKE THOSE DISCERNMENTS. I WON’T EASILY FORGET A CONVERSATION WITH AN ADAM GADOL OF THIS GENERATION (NO, OF COURSE HE CAN’T BE NAMED!), IN WHICH MY SON ASKED HIM HOW DAAS TORAH WANTS US TO APPROACH A CERTAIN PROBLEM. HE RESPONDED, “DAAS TORAH SAYS TO USE YOUR BRAIN!”

        It’s nice in theory, but in practice, most people’s screens have holes that are way too big.
        To address your example, not picking up the sense of priority that politeness and civility occupies in non-Jewish society also means they won’t pick up a host of other priorities from that world that are the exact opposite of Torah values.
        I BEG TO DIFFER. ISOLATION JUST DOESN’T WORK EXCEPT IN THE MOST HERMETICALLY SEALED COMMUNITIES, OF WHICH THERE ARE FEWER AND FEWER. THE MAJORITY OF WILLIAMSBURG, THEY SAY, IS CONNECTED. THE BARRIERS THAT EXIST TODAY LOOK MORE LIKE SWISS CHEESE OR CHAIN-LINK, RATHER THAN FORTRESS WALLS. THE RESULT IS THAT IT IS OFTEN THE WORST OF OUTSIDE CULTURES THAT GETS IMPORTED, RATHER THAN THE BEST. TRY TO DENY THAT WHILE PERUSING THE ADVERTISING IN ANY ISSUE OF MISHPACHA, INCLUDING THE SIYUM SUPPLEMENT. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. OHR V’CHOSHECH MISHTAMSHIM B’IRVUVIA. THE FIRST TIME I SAW A YIDDISH LIPA VIDEO WITH HIM BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A LAMBORGHINI I KNEW THAT WILLIAMSBURG ISOLATION WAS TOAST. WHY WOULD HIS AUDIENCE RESPOND TO A LAMBORGHINI?
        IF BLESSED ISOLATION COULD WORK, I WOULD STILL OPPOSE IT FOR MANY OF US, EVEN IF LESS STRIDENTLY. HERE’S A THOUGHT QUESTION. IF YOU COULD SWALLOW A PILL THAT WOULD ERASE YOUR YETZER HORA, WOULD YOU TAKE IT? WOULD YOU PRESCRIBE IT FOR ANYONE ELSE? I WOULDN’T. HKB”H PUT US HERE (AND I USE HERE TO MEAN BOTH IN THIS WORLD IN GENERAL, AND ALSO IN THE PARTICULAR TIME, PLACE, AND CULTURE THAT HE DID) FOR A REASON, AND THAT INCLUDES DEALING CORRECTLY WITH THE YETZER HORA, NOT ENGAGING IN A SPIRITUAL FRONTAL LOBOTOMY. WE HAVE TO FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE (NEVER AN EASY TASK!) OF MAINTAINING HOMES THAT ARE FORTRESSES OF TORAH, WHILE PUTTING ON THE CORRECT ARMOR WHEN VENTURING FORTH, PREPARED ALWAYS TO SLAY THE DRAGONS.

        I would further submit that the method by which the “good” non-Jewish priorities influence us is not by a Torah authority getting up to the pulpit and saying–“Did you all hear about that non-Jew who said or did something good? That’s a Torah value! We should admire it! We should emulate that!” Rather it is by a much more mundane process of socialization. We see it all around us all the time–so it becomes socially unacceptable not to behave that way. By definition, that form of influence–because it’s just not comfortable to be different– will erode the strong pride Rav Hirsch demands we have in our uniquely Jewish, often counter-cultural values.

        IRONIC, THEN, THAT RAV HIRSCH DECIDEDLY DID NOT ADVOCATE WHAT YOU CALL FOR, BUT EMBRACED A LIMITED ACCULTURATION, ACCOMPANIED BY A STRONG TORAH CHINUCH TO HELP PEOPLE REJECT WHAT THEY SHOULD.
        So I look at the lack of performance by some frum communities in those areas is a kind of badge of honor. It showcases their resolve in their refusal to be influenced–even to the point where they are ridiculed and finger-wagged for being “uncivilized”.

        IT WILL TAKE MUCH MORE THAN THAT TO GET ME TO ACCEPT UNCOUTH CHILUL HASHEM AS A BADGE OF HONOR.
        Next point: I said:
        Why discourage from inculcating our children with the notion that their values and ethics are vastly inferior to ours?
        You said:
        “YA: That’s easy. 1) Because it is not true! Klal Yisrael was given a different set of goals and expectations. To achieve them, HKBH gave us more mitzvos, and a Torah through which those goals could be achieved. The umos ha-olam have the tools necessary for them to achieve their goals.”
        My Response:
        Rav Hirsch said:
        “Thus, what truths has Christianity brought to humanity to enlighten minds, refine hearts, and save nations, for which it has not been purely as a messenger of Judaism, drawing from the deep well of Jewish doctrine? And how much more is still left! All of this is only a drop of the well, a spark of the fullness of Jewish light, a partial ray of the entire Jewish sun, compared to a life that is entirely devoted to God! …”
        “Remembering his Jewishness, he again says joyfully: Yes! After all, the Jewish feeling of love for all humanity has a spirit that far surpasses Christian love and charity, never limiting Jewish philanthropy within the narrow confines of “denominations.” A spark from it [the Jewish spirit] has lit up the hearts of heathens through Christianity, and it brings joy to people through that which is known as Christian love and charity.“
        Sounds like Rav Hirsch clearly sees Judaism’s values as vastly superior and expects us to take pride in that fact.
        In Rav Hirsch’s view, Christian kindness and charity is a mere leaf in our wreath. a mere drop in our well, a mere spark in our light, a mere partial ray in our entire Jewish sun!
        Need I go on?
        ONLY IF YOU WANT ME TO DISAGREE! NOTHING IN THOSE PARAGRAPHS THAT I DON’T STAND BEHIND. BUT I THINK YOU WANT US TO ACCEPT WHAT I FIND TO BE A NON-SEQITUR. YOU WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE THAT IT IS A ZERO-SUM GAME. IF OURS IS BETTER, THAN THEIR’S IS VALUELESS. THAT DOESN’T FOLLOW. THERE IS PLENTY TO BE GAINED FROM THE SECOND- AND THIRD-RANKED (AND EVEN THE ALSO-RANS), WHETHER IN MEDICINE, LITERATURE, ENTERTAINMENT. PRETTY MUCH IN ANY AREA OF LIFE. YES, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DAAS ELYONAH OF TORAH AND HUMAN ENDEAVORS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE PRIDE IN POSSESSING THE FORMER. IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WE SHOULD NOT PARTAKE OF THE LATTER.

    • Weaver says:

      “Maybe the Holocaust– perpetrated by the most civilized and culturally advanced nation in the West– squarely tells us Rav Hirsch made a fundamental mistake regarding the redeeming qualities of non-Jewish literature and culture? Maybe we should learn from his mistake instead of repeat it?”
      Without engaging with this simplistic and dubious assertion, I do have one question for you, though:
      Are you willing to admit that those staunchly “yeshivish” gedolim who said that establishing the State of Israel would be a horrible thing and/or that it would never happen, were simply wrong?

      • Bob Miller says:

        Our 20-20 hindsight doesn’t put us into the shoes of our great leaders who had to make judgments and decisions in the present. This applies to all parts of the genuinely Orthodox spectrum. People with any degree of “Daas Torah” are still not Neviim.

      • If you aren’t willing to engage directly with my proposition (it wasn’t an assertion) then you aren’t worth my time either.
        But to bolster credibility in other reader’s minds, I am certainly willing to admit that those who predicted that establishing the State of Israel would never happen were simply wrong. (Those who said it would be a horrible thing may or may not have been proven wrong– depending on how much pro-Zionist or anti-Zionist propaganda one has uncritically imbibed.)

        So after my admission, can we move beyond your “whataboutery” and discuss substance as Rabbi Adlerstein has?

    • Bob Miller says:

      The rotten core values of a nation can’t be redeemed by anything that doesn’t get to the root of the problem. That doesn’t make all the literature, music, etc., lose its value in general. For example, some great Jewish musicians who experienced the worst from both the Nazis and the Communists continued to find value and inspiration in the music.
      See: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/arts/music/ruzickova-harpsichordist-memoir.html
      https://forward.com/culture/13657/a-forgotten-conductor-s-triumphant-return-02091/

    • Weaver says:

      @ Dovid Kornreich
      “I am certainly willing to admit that those who predicted that establishing the State of Israel would never happen were simply wrong . . . So after my admission, can we move beyond your “whataboutery” and discuss substance as Rabbi Adlerstein has?”
      Your admission was the substance of my point; though thank you for being honest at least and not engaging in tortured “infallible da’as torah” logic.
      I will not engage your first claim because I have a feeling nothing I say would change your mind and would therefore be a waste of my time (being an internet debater is not my full-time job).

      • Your challenge of hypocrisy wasn’t actually substance. It was a diversion tactic to avoid substance.
        It’s a shame you can’t engage in it. I like to think I would be persuaded by facts and solid reasoning– as evidenced by my admission.
        Whenever you come up with some, I’ll be waiting.

    • Weaver says:

      @Dovid Kornreich It was for me to ascertain if you were being intellectually honest.
      As to the larger point, the quickest thing I can tell you is to read and actually think about R’ Adlerstein’s replies to you, and not just skim it looking to score cheap debating points.

  12. Zach Korner says:

    I find the conclusion tough to digest. What of universalism in Orthodox Judaism? What of b’tzelem elokim?

    • Mycroft says:

      Of course there is Chochmah bagoyim . We have to be careful to take the Chachmah , but remember in a conflict between Torah and Chachmah Torah wins.

      • dr. bill says:

        In fact, it depends. If a rabbinic position implies that a linear equation has two solutions, then Torah, so to speak, loses. If a rabbinic view is based on a position provably and measurably incorrect, it gives way to science. I personally believe that such contradictions are resolvable by careful refinement/redefinition of the positions involved. As Joel rich said above, Kach mkublani mbeit Avi Abba, in this case the Halakhic Mind.

    • M.K says:

      I don’t find discussion about Rav Hirsch’s attitude to Western civilization, as important as it is, relevant to this post and the words of Rav Hirsch on which it was based.
      In this article he was not saying that we should learn form THEIR values. He said that we should should see OUR values and the impact of OUR Torah in the good things that Christians and others do.
      Same is true about non frum relatives and neighbors. Our children should be taught to appreciate that Jews that are unfortunately distanced from the Torah may do wonderful things as a result of the impact of the Torah even on “secular Jews”, and that may include their grandparents who, thought not observant, raised a wonderful child, their parent!
      In 1948, Ben Gurion came to Chicago for a huge rally in support of Israel and Israel Bonds.
      Rav Mendel Kaplan ZTL, then a Rosh Yeshiva in Skokie Yeshiva, attended , much to the surprise of his students.
      They asked him why he, far from a Zionist, attended. His response was virtually identical with the point made by Rabbi Adlerstein…
      “I wanted to watch Jews (primarily non frum) stand on line to give Tzedaka!”

      • Mycroft says:

        Dr Bill
        IIRC RAL once said no mitzvah to make conflicts between Torah and Science. However, if there were a clear belief that X that disagreed with science would have to follow our mesorah. Of course, he was not aware of any clear Mesorah from Sinai disagreeing with science. Just hypothetical. No mitzvah to look for conflicts.

      • And IIRC, R Yehuda Halevi in the Kuzari says (two or three times, I believe!) that G-d does not ask of us to believe things that our rationality tells us are false. Of course, there is wiggle room in deciding what rational thought proves to be incontrovertibly false. OTOH, he does not seem to be a fan of the position that human rationality is inherently unreliable, and must therefore always bow to something else

      • Mycroft says:

        A technical point in 1948 Ben Gurion could not have come to Chicago in support of IsrEl Bonds. The first ones were issued around Spring 1951 BG started pushing for it at most a year earlier.
        I remember having an Israeli Bond from that period my number was very small on certificate and then researched because I had owned one of first issued. Someone gave it to me as a gift. They did issue small denominations back then

    • Steve Brizel says:

      There are both universalistic and particularistic aspects within Torah but that being commanded to do Mitzvos which make us an Am Seguksh snd Am HaNivchar endow Am Yisrael with the status of being beloved and Barnim LaMakom it is important to re-evaluate and be aware that while RH has very universal aspects of Malchus RH also has Zicronos and Shofaros and YK And the Shalosh Regalim all have particularistic ideas BTW there is a wonderful video entitled Why WeLearn which all whether you learn DY or not or are attending the Siyum or not should watch

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Far too many Nazis who implemented the Final Solution had college and higher level degrees and enjoyed classical music in the death camps .The same Nazis had no reluctance to destroy shuls rip peos of Jews and attempt to render Europe Judenrein even if it meant diverting resources from the Nazi war effort . Obviously their vision of Thevthoysand YearcReich had no room for coexistence with Jewish communities of any kind

    • Bob Miller says:

      Steve, This shows that the lesser aspects of a people’s culture, or the trappings of culture, do not outweigh or cancel out huge defects in the people’s central value system.

  14. Shira Leibowitz Schmidt says:

    The poster that the editors of cross-currents added to illustrate Rabbi Adlerstein’s fine essay is from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev student union promotion of “Holiday of Holidays”
    The event is co-sponsored by Meretz, and under the aegis of BGU, albeit of their student union. Maybe we have not been proactive enough in promoting Jewish values and education.

  15. Shira Leibowitz Schmidt says:

    The optimistic weltanschauung of Rav Hirsch in the passages quoted by Rav Adlerstein is reflected in the words of RSRH on whether Esav was sincere in the kissing & weeping encounter with Yaakov. Rav Hirsch was quoted on an Israeli radio shiur given on Parashah Vayishlah 5706 (1945) by Nechama Leibowitz z”l (the aunt of my late husband). Nechama said, “The optimistic view, reflecting perhaps the overtones of nineteenth century emancipation and liberalism, is propounded by Rabbi Hirsch who wrote: ‘The allusion to weeping is a sure sign that what we have here is a revelation of genuine humanity. ..even Esav gradually relinquishes his sword and begins to feel the chords of human love. ..When Esav falls on the neck of the weak, of Yaakov, and casts his sword away, then we know that humanity and justice have prevailed.’’’ Continues Nechama, “We shall not quarrel with Hirsch who didn’t know what we know today about the ‘sword’ turning to Holocaaust and not love.” Nechama then quotes HaAmek Davat on the passage, and she says, “the head of the famed Volozhin yeshiva was not impressed by the weeping of Esav but by that of Yaakov, who, in spite of all that he had suffered at the hands of his brother, was ready to let bygones be bygones, so long as the smallest gesture of sincerity was forthcoming.” [See Nechama’s Studies in Bereshit, ‘History repeats itself’).
    She closed the radio broadcast with Benno Jacob, a liberal, non-Orthodox, commentator who comes down on the side of Esav’s insincerity. This radio broadcast sparked a harsh letter to her from Prof. Hugo Bergman who claimed Nechama was broadcasting hatred by ending with Benno Jacob’s skepticism rather than with Rav Hirsch’s admiration when he wrote about Esav’s ‘innate humanity… Esav was not merely a cruel hunter but reached such a leading position in the development of mankind.’

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-my point was that neither Chesed nor Tefilah are exclusively Jewish values. Adherence to Mitzvos and Talmud Torah because we are commanded to study and observe mitzvos as part of our being the Am HaNivchar as a part of a uniquely covenants community define us as being part of An Yisrael

  17. nt says:

    I don’t think the Holocaust in any way diminishes R’ Hirsh’s point here that much of Christian wisdom is rooted in Torah values (a point the Rambam also makes.) It is a fundamental axiom of Mussar that intellectual knowledge must be backed up by personal resolve in order for it to take effect (see Iggeres HaMussar of R’ Y. Salanter; Francis Bacon makes a similar point somewhere). Esav according to one opinion looked like a Rabbi, his head merited to be buried in Mearas Hamachpelah, etc. The Holocaust demonstrated the failure of external learning to actually improve the moral standard of people who do not apply it. That does not mean that the learning was flawed.

    Of course, much of it was. A lot of the intellectual framework for Nazi thought came from Enlightenment thinkers, not Christian ones (although the Catholic Church laid the groundwork for widespread anti-Semitism.)
    And people since Ramban have pointed out that Christians frequently fail to live up to their stated values of love. But some Christians do try to live moral lives based on Christianity’s teaching, which is very much rooted in Judaism. R’ Hirsh is correct that our children should be aware of this too. I think the real danger here is over-simplification all around, which makes conflict by erasing nuance.

  18. Bob Miller says:

    It’s interesting that Rav Hirsch and Rav Kook have made radically different impressions on different interpreters. There’s a lot of complexity and nuance in each of these Gedolim. Sometimes, the interpreter zeroes in on the aspects that most closely align with his own outlook. We also see this to some degree with RYBS.

  19. Shades of Gray says:

    In “Centrist Orthodoxy: A Spiritual Accounting”, R. Aharon Lichtenstein quotes from George Steiner who makes a similar point as quoted above from R. Shimon Schwab about the Holocaust, although R. Lichtenstein differs from R. Schwab by reiterating that “general culture can be a genuinely ennobling and enriching force” if approached correctly:

    “We come after. We know now that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, then he can play Bach and Schubert and go to his day’s work at Auschwitz in the morning. To say that he has read them without understanding, or that his ear is gross, is cant. In what way does this knowledge bear on literature and society, on the hope, grown almost axiomatic from the time of Plato to that of Matthew Arnold, that culture is a humanizing force, that the energies of the spirit are transferable to those of conduct?”

    Compare with R. Elchanon Wasserman’s speech when visiting the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Germany, where he quoted the following Malbim about Avraham’s use of the word Only (“Rak”) in the pasuk “Only… there is no Fear of G-d in this place” to show that culture alone can not reign in murder:

    הודיע לו שגם אם נראה איש או עם שהוא פילוסוף גדול וחקק לו נמוסים ישרים, והרגיל א”ע במדות טובות ע”פ עצת שכלו, והוא עושה משפט וצדקה הכל עפ”י עצת שכלו, בכ”ז לא נוכל לבטוח על האיש ההוא או העם ההוא

    • Mycroft says:

      Another drash that I once heard the Pasuk there is no fear of God…even if total compliance with actions of mitzvot but wo fear of God left with nothing and could even have murder. WO yiras elokim nothing. Yizat elokim is a necessary component but not sufficient for proper behavior but still necessary.

  20. Shades of Gray says:

    “Let us admit it. Our grandparents subscribed to an illusion…The Nazis were also students of Schiller and Goethe”

    Below is the link to the above quotes, taken from Rav Schwab’s speech given on the 48th anniversary of Kristallnacht ( “Kristallnacht: A Historical Perspective”, Selected Writings; it is from page 83, which appears out of order after page 84 in the PDF, and from page 87).

    https://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/kristallnacht.pdf

    On page 84(appearing before p. 83), R. Schwab describes R. Hirsch’s speech on the Centennial celebration of the birth of Schiller, which was Nov. 9, the same day as Kristallnacht. On p. 86, R. Schwab distinguishes between “Chochmah vs. Torah” amongst the nations, that Torah im Derech Eretz does not include “philosophy, ethics, morality and humanism” , that “we do not even study a musar sefer written by a non-Jew”. R. Schwab also recalls how he and other Bar Mitzvah boys of his day would receive a set of Schiller, Goethe and other classics, but writes earlier on the page, “No longer are we going to seek our Schiller to teach us about humanity. It no longer interests us”. R. Schwab concludes, ” I am certain that the saintly neshama of Rabbiner S.R. Hirsch zt’l in Gan Eden will agree with my conclusion”(p. 87).

    Rav Schwab’s view of TIDE went through an evolution. Below is a link to a speech he gave in KAJ in 1990 (“Torah im Derech Eretz-A Second View”, Selected Speeches):

    https://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/tide_second_view.pdf

    In the linked article, R. Schwab references “Homecoming into Judaism”, a book he wrote in 1934 as a twenty-five year old rav in Germany when Hitler was in power. He then wrote that TIDE was only a “hora’as sha’ah” and that “Rav Hirsch could not have anticipated the disillusionment of the generation of the World War [I]”. In the 1990 speech, however, he concludes that R. Hirsch meant it as l’chatchilah(as he wrote in “These and Those” in 1966, also available online). There is also a speech R. Schwab gave at an Agudah convention in one of the “Selected” volumes of speeches criticizing those who reject everything that is non-Jewish. See also Prof. Marc Shapiro’s two articles “Torah im Derekh Erez in the Shadow of Hitler” where he mentions R. Schwab and “Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and Friedrich von Schiller”, available online.

  21. Shades of Gray says:

    Besides Rav Lichtenstein, there were others who differed somewhat with Rav Schwab’s statement in his Kristallnacht anniversary speech that “we do not even study a musar sefer written by a non-Jew” starting at least with the Rambam in Shemonah Perakim about accepting the truth from any source :

    In Ohr Rashaz(I think in Parshas V’eschanan), the Alter of Kelm quotes verbatim from Sefer HaMidos L’Arisṭo(Nicomachean Ethics). That quote from Aristotle, though, may border more on psychology, which R. Schwab in the referenced article includes in TIDE.

    Below is a link to a page from an article by Rav Wolbe in Laniado Hospital’s Torah and medical journal (B’shvilay Harefuah # 5, 5742). In Note 28, he quotes from Sefer HaMiddot of Naphtali Hirz Wessely, who was a Maskil (the article also contains references to Jung and to Victor Frankl’s “The Unconscious God”, among other secular sources, and can be downloaded in its entirety on the top right of the page).

    https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=28406&st=&pgnum=66&hilite=

    R. Yoel Catane’s article in Hama’ayan, April 1992, titled קבל האמת ממי שאמרה ,after the Rambam’s dictum in Shemonah Perakim, discusses Rav Dessler’s usage of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence people” in Michtav Meliyahu. Writing about Carnegie’s book, Jonathan Rosenblum describes how “Many famous Mashgichim encouraged their students to read the book.”(“Cast your bread upon the waters”, Mishpacha, 9/22/05).

    The above Hama’ayan article also mentions how Rav Yisroel Salanter encouraged the printing and distribution of “Cheshbon HaNefesh” by Menachem Mendel Lefin, a Maskil, which is based in part on the ethical program described in the writings of Benjamin Franklin.

    R. Zalman Sorotzkin’s Oznayim LeTorah(Vayikra 13:46) quotes from Robinson Crusoe to help describe a metzorah’s isolation(although it is not in the Artscroll translation, according to the “On the Main Line” blog, 10/10, “Where in the world is Robinson Crusoe? On Artscroll’s translation of Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin’s Oznayim Le-torah”). In the comments to that blog post, his granddaughter wrote, “As a granddaughter of R’ Zalman who grew up right there at his feet… He was always interested in what we were learning in school, in every subject, and found ways to ask us and make us think of the relevance of everything around us to the lessons of the Torah. It is totally pashut that he would use a commonly known story to make a Torah point more obvious and connected to human experience. ..” She also writes that Artscroll “made clear to the family that only parts of his prolific work would be translated from the source, and the selection was left in the hand of the editor/translator.”

    • Steve Brizel says:

      There is a substantial difference between acknowledging that Baalei Musar and Baalei Macshavsh incorporated secular knowledge in their writings as opposed to stating that a secular humanist can ever reach a state of Yiras Shamayim snd awareness of Mitzvos as commanded by HaShem

  22. M.K says:

    “In Note 28, he quotes from Sefer HaMiddot of Naphtali Hirz Wessely, who was a Maskil ”
    That is an over simplification of Wessely.
    His works had the approbation of the likes of Rav Yechezkel Landau, the Nodah B’Yehudah.
    Rav Hirsch quotes him in Chumash perhaps ten times and at times follows his name with “Nishmaso Eden”, that his neshama rests in Gan Eden. It is self evident to anyone familiar with Rav Hirsch that he would never quote a “non kosher” commentator , let alone show respect.

    • rkz says:

      Wessely was the subject of quite a few articles in the past two decades, some regard him as a dangerous heretic and some regard him as a tzaddik.

    • Shades of Gray says:

      “Rav Hirsch quotes him in Chumash perhaps ten times and at times follows his name with “Nishmaso Eden”

      Can you list some of these sources from RSRH with “Nishmaso Eden” ?

      Rav Wolbe, at the bottom of the page I linked above,  indeed refers to Wessley with the title “rav” (using an abbreviation), which is good enough for me.  As you(and RKZ) wrote, he was complex.  The Jewish Virtual Libray article says that  the Vilna Gaon praised one of his works on Chumash, but that his educational ideas were opposed by the Vilna Gaon and Noda B’Yehuda.  Wikipedia, FWIW, writes that “because of his energetic commitment to the cause of Jewish emancipation, Wessely may be regarded as a leader of the Maskilim”.   

      The part R. Wolbe quotes from his Sefer Hamidos(1,4), that  “There isn’t any power in the soul which is specifically evil” may be found beginning here:

      https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=52636&st=&pgnum=40&hilite= 

  23. M.K says:

    “Can you list some of these sources from RSRH with “Nishmaso Eden” ?”
    New edition of Hirsch Chumash Vayikra 1 Pages 78 and 93.

    “The Jewish Virtual Libray article says that the Vilna Gaon praised one of his works on Chumash, but that his educational ideas were opposed by the Vilna Gaon and Noda B’Yehuda. ”

    Noda B’yehuda has a glowing haskama to one of Wesley’s works, I think on Pirkei Avos.
    It was his innovations in the educational system that he may have opposed.
    We find that Rav Hirsch was, and is, revered by those who were, and are, opposed to his educational ideas.

    • Shades of Gray says:

      “New edition of Hirsch Chumash Vayikra 1 Pages 78 and 93.”

      Can you list the actual pesukim, as I only have access to the old Hirsch edition?

      In return, I will provide, with a Hirschian connection, the above-mentioned Ohr Rashaz reference, that I looked up the other day:

      Devarim 4:9-10(V’eschanan) pgs. 30-33, where the Alter of Kelm quotes from Sefer Hamidos L’Aristo 6:6(I think the quote actually corresponds to 6:8 of the English Nicomachean Ethics).

      The context, to the extent I understand it, is that R. Simcha Zisel is explaining during Elul the mussar idea of letting superficial knowledge properly affect a person, which he ties into the above pesukim, and to the words “you should know”, mentioned later in Devarim 11:2. To that end, he quotes from, and explains Aristotle, of how a young child may learn certain subjects in school in the abstract, but will not fully understand them because he lacks experience to process the superficial language in which he is taught.

      The Hirschian connection is that R. Zechariah Gelley, who was the rav of KAJ, made me aware of the sefer Ohr Rashaz. I believe it was at a sheloshim for R. Chaim Schmelczer of Telz, Chicago at Bnei Yehuda in Boro Park where R. Gelley quoted from the Alter of Kelm. I asked him afterwards for the source, and he told me about the Ohr Rashaz, which is based on the Alter of Kelm’s writings, organized by parshah. I later found this sefer in the library of a chasidishe beis midrash in Boro Park, and to my surprise, saw the Aristotle quote when browsing through it.

  24. Weaver says:

    Simple logical formula for illustrating the potential for non-Jews’ access to Torah:
    Much of the Torah is sichli – knowledge that is rational/would have known without the Torah. The last time I checked, non-Jews are also endowed with seichel/chochma, ergo they can thus easily attain those sichli parts of the Torah if they so choose. QED.

    Statements of chazal need to be understood with persective and da’as (good starting point: absolute statements of chazal almost never are), and “Yesh chochma bagoyim . . . ” is no different. An absolutist understanding of this statement would also incidentally be of great interest to the numerous rishonim who incorporated writings/ideas of Christian scholars into their works.

  25. M.K says:

    “Can you list the actual pesukim, as I only have access to the old Hirsch edition?”
    I see you’re a real traditionalist! 😉

    Vayikra, 2:11-12. At end.
    Interestingly, that reference to Wesley does not seem to be in the original English.
    It is in the Hebrew (on which the new edition is based) but absent “N.E”

    Vayikra, 3:3-5 near end. This one is in original English minus “N.E” and in the Hebrew with “N.E”

    In return, I will provide, with a Hirschian connection, the above-mentioned Ohr Rashaz reference, that I looked up the other day:

    Devarim 4:9-10(V’eschanan) pgs. 30-33, where the Alter of Kelm quotes from Sefer Hamidos L’Aristo 6:6(I think the quote actually corresponds to 6:8 of the English Nicomachean Ethics).”
    r
    Thank you for the source. The truth is that such a R. Simcha Zissel is only surprising given the distorted picture of him that has bee presented. For the real Alter of Kelm see this by Rabbi Adlerstein .
    https://cross-currents.com/2005/02/24/a-torah-rationalists-manifesto/

  26. Shades of Gray says:

    The Seforim Blog article by R. Eliezer Brodt, linked below, has a lot of information on Wessely.  Note 22 reproduces  pages from Kovets Beis Aharon ve-Yisrael which lists many Gedolim  who used the works of Wessely(R. Elyashiv, though,  is quoted by R. Brodt as being against reprinting them), and he concludes:

    “I would like to conclude with the following dream: just as R. Shlomo Dubno was vindicated in the past few years by R. Dovid Kamentsky, it is my hope that Wessely too will be vindicated from all false charges against him and people will realize there is nothing wrong with his fine writings which are filled with chochma and yirah.”

    https://seforimblog.com/2011/11/using-works-of-shadal-and-r-n-h-wessely/  

    For the suprisingly positive attitude of  R. Chaim Kanievsky(quoted in TUM Journal) and that of the Steipler(“Der Seforim zennen Gutt Oif Em iz geven Taanos”) on Wessely’s Biur on Vayikra, see here:

    http://ishimshitos.blogspot.com/2008/06/on-naftali-hertz-wessely-and-biur-to.html  

     “The Hatam Sofer’s Nuanced Attitude Towards Secular Learning, Maskilim, and Reformers” in TUMJ 11 by Prof. Aaron Schreiber(available on YU Torah),  in a long footnote #105,  has additional information on Wessely besides a direct quote from R. Chaim Kanievsky that is also mentioned on the above blog.

    The “On the Mainline”  blog  has a post reproducing the Aruch Lener’s  haskamah to Wessely’s commentary on one of the volume’s of Chumash; the comments there also discuss a 2002 controvesey regarding the republishing of Wessely’s Sefer Hamiddos(“What color was Rashi’s shirt? Who said it and why?”, 6/10).

  27. Shades of Gray says:

    It is worthwhile downloading the above-linked Bishvilei haRefu’ah journal of Laniado Hospital in its entirety. The table of contents (Hebrew p. 3, English, p. 117) show halachic and hashkafic articles by the Sanz-Klausenberg Rebbe, who was affiliated with Laniado Hospital, and by the Debreczyner Rav, among others.

    Rav Wolbe’s article in the journal which I quoted from above is called “Psychiatria ve-Dat” (Psychiatry and Religion). R. Micha Berger has translated the Mussar parts of this article ( pp. 60-70), including R. Wolbe’s concept of “A World of Yedidus” (affection), a term based on Menachos 53a, which Yaakov Shwekey has made into a song as the title track of his “Yedid” album. See link to his translation:

    http://www.aishdas.org/asp/RWolbesWorld.pdf

    R. Wolbe also discusses clearly the chinuch of teenagers as relating to sexuality on p. 82. Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin has some articles on his website which quote from this part of R. Wolbe’s article.

    Regarding Jungian psychology, R. Wolbe writes on p. 68, “the subconscious known to Torah scholars…is also not the unconscious of Jung, who believes in archetypes which reside in a collective unconscious”(as translated by R. Berger). R. Wolbe discusses further his disagreement with Jungian archetypes on pages 71-72.

    R. Simcha Feuerman has two recent articles on his blog on the Nefesh website that give readers a taste of Jung(“Book Review: Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Gustav Jung”, and “Jung’s Greatest Hits”). Rabbi Dr. David Horwitz of RIETS added the following caveat before quoting from Yehezkel Kluger’s “ A Psychological Interpretation of Ruth” in the 2013 YU Shavuot To Go(“Notes on Aspects of Hag Ha-Shavu‘ot and Megillat Ruth”) available on YU Torah :

    “His perspective was that of a follower of the theories of Carl Gustav Jung. Yehezkel Kluger’s work on Ruth was written as part of the requirements of the first graduating class of the Jung Institute in Zurich, as he investigated and interpreted the biblical book in light of Jungian psychology. Of course, as frum Jews we must reject the aspects of his book that are not in agreement with our masorah and beliefs. I only cite this book le-sabber et ha-ozen, as a source that can add a fortifying perspective to themes that can also be found, here and there, in various statements of our Sages through the centuries.”

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