Rabbi Hirsch, leveraging his vast and deeply thoughtful mastery of Torah literature, succeeded in presenting the Torah and its mitzvos in their unadulterated, organic context as perhaps no one else before or since. Hirsch’s Judaism is unapologetic and uncompromising, but at the same time finds perfect harmony with the natural and social world within which it exists. Perhaps most critically, Rabbi Hirsch’s Judaism requires no unnatural and extreme innovations or isolation for its protection: it has the confidence to face God’s world on its own terms, free of the cynicism that can wear down some Torah models.
More than a century after his death, Rabbi Hirsch’s vision for pure Torah Judaism seems to be inspiring more individuals than ever before. But, in a strange way, the key word seems to be “individuals.” For while it may not be practical for a contemporary kehila or even yeshiva to bind itself wholeheartedly to Hirschian ideals, there’s no shortage of individual Jews and their families who attribute their success adapting to a fast-changing social landscape to the ever-youthful idealism of Rabbi Hirsch.
The modern Hirschian world is a very quiet place. There are no grand buildings or endowments; no expensive commemorative dinners or flashy conventions; not even weekend Torah retreats where Hirsch’s 21st Century talmidim can join together to warm themselves next to the eternal flame of his thoughts. All there is can be found in the sanctity of individual Jewish homes and hearts.
…And on the Internet. The private passion for the God of Rabbi Hirsch seems to spill over and find its public voice on that most democratic medium. So that those voices should be better heard, I created this page as a place where the greatest possible number of people seeking to know more of Rabbi Hirsch can find links to useful and inspiring content. If you’re aware of something I’ve missed, or perhaps just want to share some Hirschian news, please let me know.
The Hirsch Chumash in Hebrew available online for free
The AlHaTorah.org Mikraot Gedolot project now includes the complete Feldheim Hebrew Hirsch Chumash. Click “Show Additional Commentaries” within any possuk and select רש”ר הירש
Thoughts from Rabbi Hirsch’s contemporary talmidim:
- “10 minutes with Rav Hirsch” – weekly audio shiurim
- Daniel Adler’s audio series on The Nineteen Letters.
- “Rabbi Hirsch for All” blog
- Beis Midrash of Torah Im Derech Eretz
- (My own) fifteen minute video shiurim
- Legacy Hirsch – thought-provoking videos and personalities on the Hirschian legacy.
Essays by Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein:
- My own essay on Hirsch’s rejection of modern kabbalistic thought.
- What is the source of legal authority in a Jewish community (kehila)?
- Tzvi Tif’arto – Excellent contributions by leading Hirschian thinkers (Feldheim).
- Return to Basics by “Young Writer” Daniel Adler
- Hirschian Humanism After the Holocaust: An Analysis of the Approach of Rabbi Shimin Schwab
- A personal account of the permanence and absolute nature of Hirsch’s Torah Im Derech Eretz philosophy.
- Interview with Prof. Moshe Miller on Rabbi Hirsch’s consistent position on non-Jews.
- Some essays on living as a ben Torah in the modern world – not Hirsch, but probably Hirsch-inspired
- Useful links.
Links to the published seforim of Rabbi Hirsch:
(These links lead to Amazon.com pages. Most titles are also available from Feldheim.com)
- The Hirsch Chumash
- The Nineteen Letters (the outstanding Feldheim/Elias edition)
- The Nineteen Letters (free, online version of Dr. Bernard Drachman’s translation – Sefaria)
- The Collected Writings
- Tehilim back in print – yet again!
- The Hirsch Siddur
- From the Wisdom of Mishle
Closely related works:
- The Book of Yeshaya by Julius Hirsch (I waited a long time for the English translation of Rabbi Hirsch’s son’s commentary to Yeshaya!)
- Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Matityahu Clark)
- Index to The Hirsch Chumash (David H. Kerschen)
- Professor L. E. Levine’s collection of links to resources of interest to Hirschians
- Professor Levine’s links to translated writings of Rabbi Hirsch