R. Shimshon Raphael Hirsch -

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Objetivo del recurso

Goals: Teach about the rise of the Reform Movement in Jewish History, and the Orthodox response, focusing on the role of Rav Hirsch.


Contenidos de los recursos

Noseh: Acharonim

Topic: R. Shimshon Raphael Hirsch

Written By: Josh Skarf

Goals: Teach about the rise of the Reform Movement in Jewish History, and the Orthodox response, focusing on the role of Rav Hirsch.

Materials: None

Background: Starting in the 1500s a number of forces in the world began to result in a modernization of Judaism that led to huge shakings in the foundations of our religion. The Enlightenment brought with it new ideas, a focus on science and logic and changes in how religion was perceived. The discovery of America and development of Democracy also changed the way people viewed people and social barriers. In an effort to modernize and be freed from the label of Jew a movement for Emancipation began, in which Jews fought for freedom and rights the same as every other citizen. Judaism was seen as irrelevant and outmoded, an obstacle to this emancipation. For Jews attempting to modernize, two options were thus available: conversion to Christianity and a new type of Judaism, Reform. The first Reform Temple was built in 1810 in Seesen, Germany. It used an organ, German sermons and songs, and church-style robes. The first strong Reform leader was Abraham Geiger. He argued against all ritual, like Brit Milah, talit, shofar, etc. They also did not try and show solidarity with Jews around the world, and instead took to calling themselves Germans of the Mosaic Faith. By 1850, Reform dominated many communities in Western and Central Europe. However, a number of Orthodox Rabbis organized responses, fighting the advancement of Reform. Rabbi Yitzchak Bamberger, Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, and the Chatam Sofer all acted as Orthodox counter-forces to Reform Judaism. In this snif, we will be concentrating on R. Hirschs contributions.

Rabbi Hirsch was the father of Neo-Orthodoxy, and much of our ideology as Modern Orthodox Jews, results from his philosophies. His motto was Torah Im Derech Eretz. Today we still use his chumashim, and his famous works: Chorev and Nineteen Letters are still popular. He joined a small Orthodox congregation in a large Reform community and strengthened it into one of the strongest congregations in the world. He organized elementary and high schools with religious and Talmudic studies as well as secular studies, while his followers participated in German society. But they were very loyal to traditional Judaism and did not veer from Halacha. He took in all the positive things Reform had to offer education, social acceptance, and Western culture and melded them with Halacha without compromising his traditional Judaism. In contrast to some other responses to Reform, R. Hirsch did not recognize any type of Judaism that did not accept God and the Torah. He saw Western Culture as a means to an end, something that could help one be a better Jew. The service of Hashem was always first, accompanied by Derech Eretz. While this philosophy is something we take for granted, it was entirely new at the time, and this is one reason why Rav Hirsch was so revolutionary and important a figure in Jewish History and such a leading figure in the ideology of Bnei Akiva. However, there are still many people who oppose these views and feel that modernizing in any way is wrong.

Game 1: Buzz[1]

Have the chanichim sit in a circle. The chanichim begin to count, each saying one number: the first says one, the second says two, etc. This continues in a circle. However, every time a number is encountered that either has a seven in it (such as seventeen) or is a multiple of seven (such as twenty-one), the player who is supposed to say that number must instead say buzz. For example, we would count: 1,2,3,4,5,6,buzz,8,9,10,11,12,13,buzz,15,16,buzz. For added difficulty, you can have the chanichim similarly replace all five numbers and multiples with the word bizz, resulting in 1,2,3,4,bizz,6,buzz,8,9,bizz,11,12,13,buzz,bizz,16,buzz,18,19,bizz,buzz,22

Game 2: Nasi, Nasi[2]

Chanichim sit in a circle. One player is chosen to be the Nasi and the player to his left becomes the Batlan. The object is to become the Nasi. Players begin by establishing a rhythm: Slap, Clap, Snap (right hand), Snap (left hand). Practice this rhythm until the kids get it. On the right snap, the Nasi says his name (the Nasi and the Batlan substitute Nasi and Batlan for their real names, and everyone else uses their real names.) On the left snap, he says another players name. For example: Slap, Clap, Nasi (snap), Fred (snap). The person who is named must then do the same thing on rhythm, going Slap, Clap, Fred (snap), and saying someone elses name on the left snap. Anyone who does not keep up the beat or fails to respond in time moves to the Batlans seat and everyone shifts over to take up the vacant seat. However, there is one catch: instead of calling a person always be his own name, the seat in which he sat in during th3e beginning of the game assumes his name. Therefore, when players shift position they also change their names to that of the person who first sat in that seat.

Discussion (Games 1 and 2): In both these games, we encountered situations in which regular orders are interrupted and altered. In the first game, numbers were taken out of the sequence, causing the challenge. In the second game, people did not keep their regular names, but rather everything got changed around as people shifted chairs. In the 1800s similar forces were at work in Judaism. Jews were looking for ways to be more modern and be accepted by society. They thought that if they started behaving like non-Jews, there would be no more anti-Semitism. Out of this feeling a new type of Judaism began, called Reform Judaism. They tried to modernize Judaism and make it more like Christianity. They did things like play an organ in the beit knesset, the rabbis dressed in church-style robes, and they took out all things considered to be ritualistic no more shofar, lulav, tefilin, talit, nerot Shabbat, etc. In addition, they changed tefila a lot. Because they felt that Israel was no longer important, they took out all references to Israel, Yerushalayim, and Tzion from tefila. If you look through Shmoneh Esrei, youll see that a lot of the brachot talk about Yerushalayim and returning to Israel. Taking out all these references left tefila much like the number in our first game lots of holes. Taking out the rituals from Judaism totally changed the religion and made it something different than it had always been just like in the second game, where names are all changed around and confusing.

Game 3: Behavior Modification[3]

Select two chanichim to be the subjects of this not-so-serious scientific pursuit. Send them outside for a bit. Meanwhile, the rest of the chanichim decide on a pose or an action for the subjects to attempt to copy. It might be standing on one leg and holding hands, or linking elbows and bending over, or performing a tandem push-up. Its important that the pose be specific enough to be identifiable, but not too difficult or detailed. Also, make sure its appropriate it might be a good idea to always pick two boys or two girls together.

Once everyone knows the exact pose, the two subjects are called back and must attempt to figure out what this pose was and replicate it. They do so by trying various moves and listening to the response of the rest of the chanichim, who clap loudly or softly depending on how close they are.

The subjects best strategy is to try all sorts of moves until they get a rise out of the group. Then they should hold everything until they can isolate which of their moves is part of the desired position. When the two subjects do hit upon the right pose, give them a standing ovation.

Present this game as a challenge for the two subjects, as it could be relatively difficult to do. If you feel additional incentive is needed to make the game exciting, time the subjects and compete to see which pair can figure it out the most quickly.

Game 4:

Yurt Circle
[4]

The name of this game derives from that ingenious Mongolian nomads tent in which the roof pushes against the walls in perfect equilibrium, keeping the structure standing. If we all work together, we can get our own yurt supporting itself in no time.

The chanichim form a circle with an even number of players (add or subtract madrichim as needed to achieve an even number.) All chanichim face the center, standing almost shoulder to shoulder and holding hands. Count off, alternating between out and in.

Once everyone knows if theyre out or in (no two of the same should be standing next to each other), count to three and have the Ins lean towards the center and the Outs lean back. Everyone must keep feet stationary and support themselves with their hands. With a bit of practice, they should be able to lean amazingly far forward and backward without falling.

Once the yurt is stable, you can try counting to three and having the Ins and Outs switch roles while continuing to hold hands.

Discussion (Games 3 and 4):

In Game #3, the chanichim had to study their poses and work to perfect and identify the right position. Investigation and research was needed to do so. In Game #4 we also worked to perfect our balance, studying the effects of gravity, force, etc. to try and balance ourselves perfectly. Both these games were, in this sense, kinds of scientific inquiries. Following the rise of Reform Jewry, there were a number of responses by the Traditional Jews, who realized that although Halacha had to be kept, there was some modernization that needed to occur. One Rabbi who did so, (an Acharon, of course), was Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, a German Jew. He taught that although Halacha must absolutely come first in our decisions, it was nonetheless crucial for Jews to learn all forms of secular subjects, such as physics, biology, chemistry, Math, Art, Music, etc. Learning these subjects does two things: they allow Jews to be knowledgeable about the world and earn a living, and they allow us to appreciate the world that God created fully. He described this lifestyle as Torah Im Derech Eretz Torah with the ways of the world. We have Torah first, but with all forms of other knowledge.

Game 5: Values clarification

Have all the chanichim line up on one end of the room. Tell them that you are going to say names of various subjects that they learn in school and that depending on how important they think each subject is, they should immediately move across the room. If they think its the most important subject, they should go all the way to the other side. If they think its not at all important, they should stay where they are. If its a little important, move a bit away from the starting room. If its mostly important, go most of the way across, etc. Some possible subjects: Math, Tanach, Halacha, Biology, History, Jewish History, Mishna, Social Studies, Drivers Ed, Gym, Art, Music.

Discussion: Ask some of the chanichim why certain subjects are or are not important. We basically believe that both Torah and secular subjects are important. Point out that we are all basically followers of Rav Hirsch and believe in Torah Im Derech Eretz.

Mifkad: Two things are good to mention during mifkad: firstly, bring a Hirsch Chumash, (Pentateuch), to show the chanichim that we still use his writings today. You could mention the names of some of his other famous works 19 Letters and Chorev. Secondly, you could emphasize that Reform Judaism was developed partially as a response to anti-Semitism but that in the century following there was just as much, if not more, anti-Semitism. As such it wasnt really an effective solution, and the problem was still around 75 years later when Zionism began to develop.



[1] Matanky, Lenny. Shabbat Games p. 74

[2] ibid, p. 86

[3] More New Games p. 63

[4] ibid, p. 123



Recursos relacionados se pueden encontrar en:
» Todo > Juegos > Juegos de grupos
» Todo > Historia > General
» Todo > Personalidades en Bnei Akiva > Ajaronim
» Todo > Judaismo > General
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