web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’

Raise the Banner in 5774

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The name of this blog comes from Psalm 60:6:

To those who fear You, You gave a banner to be raised high, for truth’s sake, Selah!

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch zt”l observes on that verse in his commentary to Sefer Tehillim:

“It has been our experience throughout our history that, whenever the nation, influenced by godly men, returned to the path prescribed by duty to God and His Law, Israel would also find political deliverance from the hostile neighboring states. On the other hand, whenever Israel has loosened its bonds of loyalty and flagged in its adherence to the path of duty, it would find itself shackled once more by political defeat and slavery. Each one of these experience was a nes le’hitnoses, a ‘banner’ calling upon Israel to rise to its height, symbolizing the fact that the only way in which Israel could attain permanent political independence and freedom would be by koshet, ‘adorning’ or shaping every aspect of its life, both material and spiritual, so as to be in conformity with the goal set by God.”

The previous year saw so many antitheses to this Divinely ordained path. As just a few examples:

When a Jew is shot to death in Eretz Yisrael and the murderer plea bargains to a twelve-year sentence, Israel’s banner is low.

When the state frees murderers without even informing bereaved families, Israel’s banner is low.

When elderly women suffer chronic harassment in cities like Jerusalem and Lod, Israel’s banner is low.

When numerous citizens drive in fear of terrorism, Israel’s banner is low.

When patriotic Israelis suffer police brutality and persecution, Israel’s banner is low.

When soldiers feel humiliated by orders that forbid them self-defense and endanger their lives, Israel’s banner is low.

When a synagogue in the holiest city on earth is desecrated, Israel’s banner is low.

When the burial site of our patriarchs and matriarchs is vandalized, Israel’s banner is low.

When the Jewish People’s holiest site becomes a staging ground for riots and neo-Nazism, Israel’s banner is low.

May 5774 be the end of this wretched pattern. May this year see a shift from passive awareness to the application of consciousness, to paraphrase Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein. May 5774 be the year the Jewish People raises its banner in fulfillment of destiny and duty.

Buses on Shabbat: What Would Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch Say?

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

So, Yair Lapid wants public transportation on Shabbat.

For even a casual observer of the finance minister, this comes as no surprise. After all, it was Lapid who wrote about the destruction of Gush Katif, “The Israelis merely felt that the settlers should be taught a lesson in humility and perhaps in democracy too.”

Note the implicit denial of Israeli identity to “the settlers,” who apparently for Lapid were/are something other than real citizens. And it takes more than chutzpah to talk about democracy vis-a-vis mass expulsion by a regime with a districtless electoral system that criminalizes “insulting a public official.” (Don’t worry, though: advocating the murder of traditional Jews is ok.) As for humility, given Lapid’s arrogant tendencies, this is like a compulsive gambler lecturing an alcoholic on self-restraint.

What does Lapid’s current pursuit of public transportation on Shabbat represent? A profound and forceful examination of the relevant themes can be found in the writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch zt”l (1808-1888). Rabbi Hirsch observes in his commentary to Bereshit 14:1:

“Only if they devote themselves to the Torah with all their might will the people of Israel enjoy freedom and independence in this land…Everywhere, and at all times, let this warning be heard: Only on the basis of the Torah will Israel flourish; if it throws off the yoke of the Torah, Israel will go to physical and social ruin.”

Rabbi Hirsch likewise remarks on Pirkei Avot 5:11:

“The Lord conferred statehood upon His people so that they might defend the enforcement of justice and preserve the truth contained in our Law as handed down by transmission. If the Jewish State will carry out this mission, it can be sure of Divine support against all enemy powers, and no other nation will dare attack it. But if the Jewish State should cast off its task and destiny or put it to wrongful use, it will thereby become a nation at the mercy of fate just like all the other states of the world, and God will withdraw His protection from it.”

Specific to Shabbat, Rabbi Hirsch writes in Horeb:

“…even the smallest work done on the Sabbath is a denial of the fact that God is the Creator and Master of the world. It is an arrogant setting-up of man as his own master. It is a denial of the whole task of the Jew as man and as Israelite, which is nothing but the management of the earth according to the will of God.”

Rabbi Hirsch’s commentary to Vayikra 12:3 expands on this point:

“…Israel is the eighth work of creation, joining the seven works of the creation of the world. Moreover, Shabbos is a sign and reminder of the Creator, and Israel is the herald of Shabbos, bearing its message to all of mankind. Israel, as the ‘eighth,’ exists for the ‘seventh.’ The significance of Israel is essentially in its observance of Shabbos on the seventh day.”

Considered in these contexts, Yair Lapid’s objective is a brazen attack on national security, national duty, and national identity. (Yes, public transportation on Shabbat already exists in Haifa and Eilat, and who knows what damage that has caused?) May this malignant agenda share the fate of Lapid’s foray into kickboxing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/buses-on-shabbat-what-would-rabbi-samson-raphael-hirsch-say/2013/06/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: