Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What a photo of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch says

When I was a kid the Agudah had a widely disseminated series of black and white photos of gedolim. It included, obviously, people like the Chazon Ish and R. Aharon Kotler as well as Chassidim and rebbes like R. Menachem Ziemba and the Czthortkover and the Kapischnitzer. The odd man out was R. Samson Raphael Hirsch (Rav Shamshon Refoel). I say odd man out not because I knew the slightest thing about him, but because it was obvious from looking at him that he was different than the others. Nothing wrong with the Agudah including R. Hirsch in their canon of gedolei yisrael, on the contrary. But it is an interesting sociological detail about the Agudah and the society it represents (I know the idea that it represents any society is hotly contested; the Agudah isn't the American chareidi Vatican but when I was a kid there were the kids who went to Pirchei and their families and those who didn't).

By the way, of course it was this portrait and not this one.

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