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Hirsch, Samson Raphael

Samson Raphael Hirsch, 1808–88, German rabbi and chief exponent of Neo-Orthodoxy. As rabbi in Frankfurt-am-Main, he advocated the organization of autonomous Orthodox congregations outside the state-recognized Jewish communal structure because of the latter's failure to support traditional ideals and practices. He was not an isolationist, however; he sought to combine traditional Jewish studies with secular learning. He first promoted that notion in his Nineteen Letters (1836, tr. 1899). He maintained in Horeb (1837, tr. 1962) that the reason for the Jews' existence was—in keeping with biblical teachings—to exemplify the righteous life for all the world as revealed by God. He further saw Judaism as an organic institution and condemned the breaks in tradition advocated by the Reform movement.

See I. Grunfeld, Three Generations: The Influence of Samson Raphael Hirsch on Jewish Life and Thought (1958); J. L. Blau, Modern Varieties of Judaism (1966).

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Hirsch, Samson Raphael

Hirsch, Samson Raphael (1808–88). Prominent exponent of Jewish orthodoxy in 19th-cent. Germany. His most important works, Neunzehn Briefe ueber Judentum (Nineteen Letters on Judaism) (1836; Eng. 1899) and Choreb, oder Versuche ueber Jissroels Pflichten in der Zerstreuung (Hobab-Essays on Israel's Duties in the Diaspora) (1837; Eng. 1962), were designed for young adults as a defence of traditional Judaism. He strongly opposed the emergent Reform movement, defending, both Hebrew as the proper language for prayer, and also the traditional synagogue organization.

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