- General Questions
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in his ספר על חומש דברים that he did not hold of גלגולים ,is that correct? are there people who do not look at his safer because of that?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. I am unaware of the comments about reincarnation by Rav Hirsch in the book of Devarim – however in Berashit (50,2) Rabbi Hirsch's words are particularly harsh describing what we call 'gilgulim' where "the soul did not remain in its personal individuality, but wandered from body to body-even to animals- in manifold metamorphosis" as a decidedly Egyptian belief in diametric contrast to Jewish ideas. (By the way he is not alone in his rejection of gilgul neshamot – Rav Sadya Gaon, Rav Yosef Albo in his Sefer Ikarim, Rav Avraham the son of the Rambam as well as the Reshah as rejected this concept. Many others though do ascribe to some for of this concept – notably the Zohar and the Ari). As to people who do not learn the works of Rav Hirsch – again I am unaware of such a practice because of his views on reincarnation. There are those who find his worldview of “Torah and Derech Eretz” (Torah together with taking part in the world) difficult to integrate with their understanding of the correct way to live a Jewish Torah life. However, Rav Hirsch needs no validation from us, after some of the greatest Rabbis of his time attested to his greatness and Torah scholarship. True Torah learning involves learning Torah even from those who hold different views (within the scope of Orthodox thought). So, even those who hold one side of the reincarnation debate will find much to gain from Rav Hirsch's Torah. Blessings.