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- Torah and the Academic WorldFrom the Biography Series3 Lectures
Torah and the Academic World
Item #: S353
From the Biography Series
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To this day, Jews of the modern world struggle to balance Torah wisdom and secular knowledge. Achieving that balance was even a greater challenge in previous generations, when secular knowledge was regarded with outright suspicion. Yet some exceptional individuals reached phenomenal heights in both spheres: the pioneer educator Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer; his student and successor Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffman; and the little-known Rambam scholar Rabbi Chaim Heller. Their biographies, narrated in vivid detail by Rabbi Berel Wein, bring their extraordinary accomplishments to life.
Rabbi Chaim Heller - Rabbi Heller tried evading the spotlight in his lifetime, but with his breadth of scholarship in Torah and in secular subjects, he was offered speaking engagements, university posts, and even the possibility of succeeding Rav Kook. History complied with his wish for anonymity – today his name is hardly known. With this authoritative lecture, Rabbi Wein restores Rabbi Heller to the spotlight with the story of his life, a sampling of his works, and a look at the extraordinary following of people who considered him their mentor.
Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer - Rabbi Hildesheimer was a pioneer in Jewish education, but pioneers subject themselves to attack. His institutions, which included Talmud as well as Latin, Greek, and German on the curriculum, were criticized on both sides – by the Reform and the Orthodox, though for opposite reasons. But as an individual, Rabbi Hildesheimer was above reproach, as Rabbi Wein proves in this detailed portrait of his integrity, erudition, and simplicity.
Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffman - Bible criticism got its start in “enlightened” academic Germany, but it found a devastating opponent in Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffman, student and successor to Rabbi Hildesheimer. Both a Talmudic scholar and a master of secular knowledge, his polemics were as scathing as they were extensive. But for all his intellectual prowess, his true legacy was the personal example of the life he led.