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Hilula of Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch

Published on Friday February 12th, 2021

On the Hilula (anniversary of death) of our master Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, the Torah-Box team is happy to share some details on his life. Whoever speaks about a Tzadik on the day of his Hilula, merits that the latter pray for him and protect him. Light a candle and recite: "Lichvod haRav Hirsch, zechuto tagen alenu". May his merit protect the entire People of Israel, Amen!

It is often believed that Orthodox Judaism originated at Mount Sinai at the time of the gift of the Torah. Likewise, there's a misconception that conservative Judaism sprung up as an attempt to reform traditional Judaism. However, this is not accurate. In fact, modern orthodoxy did not exist prior to the reforms and innovations of Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch.

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch was born in 1808 in Hamburg, Germany. He attended a German public school where he was influenced by philosophers such as Schiller and Hegel. He received his Jewish education at home. His father was an observant Jew. His grandfather, Mendel Frankfurter, founded Hamburg's Talmud Torah.

The impact of his teachers, who were considered prominent German Talmudists, and who were likewise very knowledgeable in both non-Jewish and Jewish culture, influenced Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch to apply and qualify for the rabbinate. He wished to prove that traditional Judaism and Western culture are compatible with one other.

From 1823 to 1829 he studied with Rabbi Yaakov Ettinger, a distinguished German Talmudist. He registered at the University of Bonn; one of his classmates was Abraham Geiger, who was to become the leader of the reform movement.

Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch's writings strongly advocated his understanding that various elements of modern culture could be integrated into the framework of Judaism, and established a school called "Torah Im Derech Eretz". His goals were to retaliate and disprove the tenets of Reform Judaism which was on the rise in Germany. His endeavors saved many Jews from assimilation, a phenomenon against which he fought throughout his life.

One day he got wind that a group of one hundred Jewish families were trying to create an Orthodox community; he did not hesitate to give up his position to lead and assist them. He was then appointed Rabbi of Frankfurt, a community invested in heart and soul to accomplish the Torah’s commandments with fervor.

It was known in his community that the Rabbi used to get his salary at the beginning of each quarter of the calendar year.

When the Rabbi predicted his days were coming to an end, he requested from his children that should he die before the end of the quarter for which he had been compensated, they should reimburse his salary's balance.

He died on the 27th of Tevet, precisely on the last day of the quarter. May his merit be a source of blessings for the People of Israel.

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box Account

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