Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Who gave R. Samson Raphael Hirsch semicha?

There was some talk recently on the Areivim list about R. Samson Raphael Hirsch's youth and education. The question of who ordained him came up (it seems the biographies are not clear about it).

What is clear is that he was ordained. While there were and are many Jewish scholars worthy of being addressed as כבוד מורנו הרב רבי yet lacking formal ordination, Rabbi Hirsch would not have been able to serve as Chief Rabbi in Oldenburg (his first שטעלע) or elsewhere (he could have gathered an informal circle of students without ordination, but he certainly could not have been a rabbi in an official capacity).

It might not come as a big surprise that he was, in fact, ordained by Isaac Bernays (picture below):

After the death of "Chief Rabbi of the German Jews in London" R. Solomon Hirschell (pictured below), several rabbis were nominated for the post, among them R. Hirsch.

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Below is a blurb from The Voice of Jacob dated August 30, 1844:

As you can see, among the testimonials which he presented was his semicha, given by Isaac Bernays.

The profiles of the other candidates are part of that article, and I will post them soon.

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