Saturday, December 15, 2007

R' Hirsch and Universalism

Welcome to our new format! (After ten years of daily emails, I'd say it's about time...)

"Judaism is not a mere adjunct to life: it comprises all of life. To be a Jew is not a mere part, it is the sum total of our task in life. To be a Jew in the synagogue and the kitchen, in the field and the warehouse, in the office and the pulpit ... with the needle and the graving-tool, with the pen and the chisel — that is what it means to be a Jew…

"The more, indeed, Judaism comprises the whole of man and extends its declared mission to the salvation of the whole of manking, the less it is possible to confine its outlook to the synagogue. [Thus] the more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will be his views and aspirations [and] the less aloof will he be from ... art or science, culture or education ... [and] the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man…

"The Jew will not want to accomplish anything that he cannot accomplish as a Jew. Any step which takes him away from Judaism is not for him a step forward, is not progress. He exercises this self-control without a pang, for he does not wish to accomplish his own will on earth but labours in the service of Gd."

(R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, Religion allied to progress)

Have a great day,

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