Tuesday, November 25, 2008

R' Hirsch on the lessons we can learn from Yaakov and Esav

The following is from RSRH's essay "Lessons From
Jacob and Esau" that appears on pages 319 - 331
of his Collected Writing VII. This volume deals
with his thoughts on Jewish Education.

Down to our present day we have been able to
observe the disastrous consequences of a
one-sided approach to the unique task of being a
Jew. Many a son of a pious talmid chacham has
been totally lost to Judaism because his father
insisted on training him to become a talmid
chacham without considering whether his
personality and inclinations truly lay in that
direction. Thus he is exposed to Jewish life in
only one context: that of a quiet existence of
study and meditation for which he has neither
talent nor desire. What attracts him instead is
the busy, colorful life of the world outside. But
as a result of the narrow view of life in which
he has been trained he gets the impression that
in order to participate in the active, variegated
life for which he yearns, he must give up his
mission as a Jew. He consequently abandons his
Judaism in order to fling himself into the
maelstrom of excitement and temptations offered by the world outside.

The story of such an individual might end quite
differently if only, instead of forcing him into
the mold of a talmid chacham, his father would
raise him from the very beginning to become a man
of the world who, at the same time, is faithful
to his duties as a Jew; if only that father would
teach this son that the activities of the world
outside, too, have their place in God's plan,
that it is possible to preserve and to
demonstrate one's complete loyalty to Judaism
even as a sophisticated man of the world. He
should make his son understand that, as a matter
of fact, many, if not perhaps the most important,
aspects of Jewish living are intended primarily
to be practiced amidst the conditions and
aspirations of everyday life, in the midst of the
world and not in isolation from it. He should
make his son understand that the Taryag
Mitzvos are not meant to be observed in the
klaus [Judeo-German equivalent for a small
synagogue. (Ed.)] or in the beth hamidrash but
precisely in the practical life of the farmer or
the public-spirited citizen. If only that father
would make it clear to his son that the spirit
and the happiness of Judaism are just as
accessible to a Zevulun "in the world outside" as
they are to an Issachar "in the tents,"?who knows
whether that son might not stand by his father's
deathbed and gently close his father's eyes as a loyal, pious Jew?

Why can't the Charedi world today understand this? Why do they insist that Torah only is for everyone when it clearly isn't?

1 comment:

TFH said...

Why can't the Charedi world today understand this? Why do they insist that Torah only is for everyone when it clearly isn't?

because, 1st of all, charedi system produces people much more loyal to torah and mitzvos, just compare ave. guy from modern yeshiva to ave. guy from yesivish yeshiva. so charedi leaders see that combining torah w/parnossa seems to water down torah alot. plus i heard from many rabbonim (in america) that really r hisch approach is right, but if we give even stress to both torah and working, then people will concentrate on working to much.
so leaders stress more on torah while people naturally stress more on working - so in end it is a ballance.

2nd of all, it is not in shulchan aruch, nor any other major halachik works demand it. listen halakic works like shulchar aruch and mishnah brura and chai odom etc. do not even mention lashon horo, forget bout making a living.
chofetz chaim had to write a separate sefer because the basic laws of loshon horo r not addressed anywere by poskim. it is a big problem w/shulchan aruch and all that came after him - they left out like onr third of biblical mitzvos which r applicable today.