Friday, July 03, 2009

After Yisrael Mordechai's Bris

This morning I attended the bris of my second cousin's son. He was named for my second cousin by marriage's father who was a prominent and special rabbi and man - yehi zichro baruch. They both spoke beautifully, mostly about her father. There's a phrase he liked, Yisrael Mentsch, coined - apparently - by Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, which Aliza aptly applied to her father. She also cited from Rabbi Norman Lamm's explanation that mentsch ultimately means ish -man, as in bemakom she'ein anashim hishtadel lihiyot ish - where there are no men, strive to be a man.

She cited from a talk of Rabbi Lamm, in which he explores aspects of the word ish, as used in the beginning of Moshe's story. Vayar ki ein ish. Moshe did not vacillate. He realized what had to be done, stepped up, and did it. On the other hand, he pointed out the medrash, which says that Moshe was discerning. In this latter approach the word ish applies to the man Moshe felt deserved death. He looked at this man and saw no-one of moral worth, not at present, and not in generations. Also he pointed to, "Ve'Ha'Ish Moshe Anav..." - Moshe the man was exceedingly humble. He was humble in the truest (as opposed to popular misconceptions of the characteristic) sense of the word.

As Shabbos approaches I will be thinking about the lovely Torah and words of tribute which I heard today. There's so much more, perhaps I'll write it at another time. But there's nothing like writing about something as it is still settling into your heart.


Blogger yitznewton said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 5, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger yitznewton said...

There's a phrase he liked, Yisrael Mentsch, coined - aparently - by Rabbi S.R. Hirsch

R' Hirsch's was "Mensch-Yisroel."

July 5, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Welcome Yitz and thanks for the comment.

I'm not sure how my cousin said it, but I wrote it the way Rabbi lamm did in his talk from 1964 on mentschlichkeit:

"The true answer to the Haskalah's split personality came from R. Samson Raphael Hirsch who presented his Torah concept of the Yisroel-Mensch - the integration into one personality of true Yiddishkeit,the finest of Israel, with comprehensive Menschlichkeit in the cultural and personal sense."

Could you kindly tell me where in Rav Hirsch's writings the phrase is used. I am a big fan of Rav Hirsch.

I looked around on line and found that in a reaction to a Jewish Press article from last year, someone used the phrase regarding rav Hirsch's philosophy (see below). I would love to see the primary source.


From - Comments on Controversial Moments At Rav S. R. Hirsch Memorial Celebration
Elliot Resnick, Jewish Press Staff Reporter
Posted Jun 25 2008

Best presentations of TIDE
Date 08:08, 08-13, 08

Probably the best presentations of Torah im Derech Eretz were by Rabbi Shelomo Danziger in Living Hirschian Legacy and Rabbi Shimon Schwab in Elu v'Elu.

The former, in short, says that the principal of TIDE is that a Jew is also a (hu)man - Mensch-Yisrael is first a mensch!

Mikha'el Makovi

July 5, 2009 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

In the preface to The collected writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch - Volume VIII, the editors state that Rabbi Hirsh used his ideal phrase of Mensch-Yisrael "throughout his writings, but in particular in the Horeb."

While the theme of Vol. VIII of the collected writings, the last volume in the series, is Mensch -Yisrael, I did not see that term in any of the essays in that volume (a volume which I was somewhat sad to see on sale in mint condition in Woodburn two summers ago for three dollars. That's where I bought it, one of the best investments I ever made).

I don't know if the page numbers differ in later volumes, I will cite from my edition of Horeb, the 1981, fourth edition.

At the outset, in his first chapter in his category of Torot (page 4,aragraph 4)- fundamental principles - Rav Hirsch paraphrases what G-d asks of us, "Be the instrument, the agent of my will with all that has accrued or will accrue to you; and so join freely the choir of creation as My creature, My servant, as a man and an Israelite*."

*Dayan Grunfeld explains in his footnote that, "The German original has the expression Mensch-Jisroel."

The phrase is indeed employed liberally throughout the sefer.

July 5, 2009 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

A dear librarian friend cntacted a professor firend of his who pointed out that the comment and note I cited has a long note of Dayan Grunfeld at the end of the chapter. I will post it.

July 6, 2009 at 3:52 PM  

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