Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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99
G
r u n f e l d
— S
a m s o n
R
a ph a e l
H
ir s c h
God, the world, the mission of humanity and of Israel;
Mish-
pa t im:
declarations of justice towards human beings;
Huk im:
declarations of justice towards subordinate creatures—towards
the earth, plants and animals, and our own body and soul;
Mi t zvo t :
precepts of love towards all creatures without distinc-
tion;
Edot:
symbolic observances bearing a lesson for the indi-
vidual Jew, for collective Israel or for mankind in general;
Avodah:
divine worship as the preparation for active service in
daily life.
Of special importance is Hirsch’s pamphlet
Remarks of a Jew
on the Confessions of a Protestant
(1841), which refutes the
charge of alleged particularism against Judaism and the alleged
conception of the Deity as a “tribal God.” When God speaks of
Israel as His “first-born son” the underlying meaning is that
“through Israel the generative powers of humanity are opened;
through Israel the march is started in which all nations shall
step forth as His sons.” Judaism is in reality a world historic
institution. The soil of its origin lies in the development of
mankind, and the ultimate goal of all mankind is also Judaism’s
goal. It is the truths Israel contributed to the thought symposium
of mankind which made possible the conception of a universal
history.
Hirsch’s next writings, published under the title
First and Sec-
ond Communicat ions on the Latest Jewish Li terature
(1838 and
1844) contain polemical essays against Abraham Geiger and
Samuel Holdheim, the intellectual fathers of the Jewish Reform
movement initiated at that time.
In December, 1846, Samson Raphael Hirsch, who meanwhile
had become a figure of world renown, was called to the Chief
Rabbinate of Moravia and Austrian Silesia, with his residence
in Nikolsburg. Contemporary records (see
Orient ,
1847, Nos.
4, 17 and 26) show that he was accorded almost royal honours
at his entry into Nikolsburg and was received with torch-light
processions and public acclamation. Hebrew and German poems
of praise were printed in his honour in the Jewish and general
press. From 1848 to 1851, because of political events in Austria,
Hirsch published mainly pamphlets and manifestoes purposing
to improve the civil and political rights of the Jews in Moravia.
The February revolution in France was followed by the March
1848 revolution in Austria. Metternich, the powerful reactionary
minister, had to flee. Hirsch was unanimously elected to rep-
resent Austrian Jewry as their leader and representative in the
new movement for political freedom. He became a member of
Parliament and chairman of the Committee for the Civil and
Political Rights of the Jews in Moravia. The pamphlets and
manifestoes he wrote in those days are of great historical im-
portance. One of them, demanding equal rights for Jewish citi­