Page 206 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
form, for secular education was not the issue that separated
Orthodoxy and Reform, at least not in Germany or in western
Europe.
The friendship with Geiger ended with the publication o f
Hirsch’s
Nineteen Letters of Ben Uziel,
but the explanation prob­
ably lies more with the timing than with the event. That Geiger
could review Hirsch’s book in his own journal is but a graphic
testimony that the respective leaders were taking their positions
and that party lines were being drawn. The publication o f the
Letters
now brought Hirsch into contact with another leading
figure o f nineteenth-century German Jewry — the historian
Heinrich Graetz.
RELATIONS W ITH GRAETZ
Impressed by Hirsch’s approach to Jewish tradition and the
new opportunities o f the times, the young Graetz lived and stud­
ied with Hirsch for some three years. Graetz’s diary entries for
this period provide us with rare, close-up glimpses o f Hirsch
at home and at work. The split between the two came gradually
over the next decade. Graetz saw Hirsch move far closer to
a strictly observant Orthodoxy. Yet Graetz, treading the already
well-known path o f the Jewish intellectual without possibilities
o f employment and not himself willing or capable o f entering
the rabbinate, faced difficult financial problems. He continued
to turn to Hirsch over the course o f the 1840’s to seek employ­
ment, and this perpetuated the already strained relationship.
Graetz had been attracted to Hirsch at a time when tradi­
tionalists were somewhat unified in their aversion toward Re­
form and when Hirsch himself had projected a moderate
stance. By the time Hirsch moved to Frankfurt in 1851, the
traditionalist cause had been strengthened considerably. Even
the Reformers had temporarily reached an impasse in their pur­
suit o f change. The stalemate over Sabbath observance at the
1846 Rabbinical Conference in Breslau indicated that the ma­
jority o f the Reform rabbinate was unwilling to pursue a radical
course that would, for example, resolve economic difficulties
inherent in the Jewish Sabbath by transferring it to Sunday.
The return to tradition at mid-century was even more blatant
both in the enhanced position o f the Orthodox and in the emer­
gence o f Historical or — as we know it — Conservative Judaism.