I’m in the midst of finals and have slowed down on posting videos and blog entries. As I was googling on Isaaac Breuer towards a paper I’m writing I tripped upon the article by Zev Eleff in a previous edition of Tradition. The tone would be offensive to a WH person at first, but it must be read on its merits as you would read any scholarly paper.

I am not writing a response here and I believe there is alacrity to everything he writes here. I don’t think he has told the entire story, but the angle he has presented is presented well.

The article deals with the reluctance of both Washington heights instituions to affiliate with the other. In short YU doesn’t need us, and we were founded over 150 years ago on the principle of avoiding them.

That said, there are deeper seeded reasons, in my opinion, that the Breuers strain of Orthodoxy is inherently unappealing to YU thought (outside of an emergant “machmir” strain that have often flourished on Bennett Avenue)- and there are deeper cultural and traditionalist reasons that a Breuers person feels “out of his element” on Amsterdam Avenue.

Some Hirschian’s within YU today have made an argument that Breuers should let go of the Austritt vis-a-vis YU (Rabbi Schiller- a Breuers product himself I believe) and that view was not included in this paper.

in the link are my initial thoughts as starting points in reaction to the article.

These points need to be expanded upon, thought over and annotated. The issue that needs to be addressed in every inflammation of Hirsch- YU debate rhetoric is: The loudest proponents of TIDE today are often really promoting Torah im Parnassah. The flag of the Breuer strain of TIDE is that it is not a hora’as sha’ah. If we take this a step further this means Hirsch did not create a college for students who would attend college anyway and help them integrate their schedule. I assume that Rav Soloveitchik (the latter) didn’t see the ideal behind his college in that light, but ideals are not for the masses. Similarly, the ideal of TIDE is not swallowed by the masses and was often realized as Torah im Parnassah. There are sterling products of the Breuer strain and there are sterling products of YU. Notwithstanding, the president of YU for the past 20 years was a businessman and not an academic, as famously bemoaned on Amsterdam Avenue.

After finals maybe we can discuss at length.

Best to all!

Eleff Sums It Up?


  • Michoel Bergman

    Good observation. I am also absorbed in the final season. I’ve just completed a paper on R. Hirsch for one of my classes, and am writing another on TIDE for another class (due this Tuesday). My paper on R. Hirsch was written for my Jewish History class, given by Dr. Moshe Miller. On the off chance that you are not familiar with him, he wrote extensively about R. Hirsch and TIDE for his doctorate, and has since written a number of excellent articles on these topics for Tradition and the Jewish Press. I would speculate that he is one of the leading authorities on R. Hirsch and TIDE today. If you haven’t read his works, I’d suggest that you do so.

    • Michoel Bergman

      A quick thought regarding the observations you made here (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5SXZxHGItH_bmJ0c2w0dHVlSVU) : given the lateness of the hour, I did not have time to properly read your thoughts, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a few moments to object to your assertion that TUM/MO was founded on the precepts of Halachic leniency. I do not have the time or energy to describe TUM in detail, nor would I have the pleasure of making a contribution not already made by the extensive, readily available literature on the topic. I am not an adherent of TUM (though I am part of an institution that is based on its ideals), and I do recognize that it’s ideology, namely that there are spheres outside of the purview of Torah, which just happen to need to be engaged, can lead to a lifestyle of Halachic leniency. Nevertheless, leniency was in no way a principle of TUM, nor was it viewed as ideal by TUM’s pioneers.

  • Admin

    I think that MO, not TUM per se has the idea of assimilating extra-halakhic or meta-halakhic circumstances into the process of Psak as an ideal. There is also a different approach to the use of chumra in daily practice, but I am not the authority on this in any case.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>