Does anyone know the nature of a famous argument between the Wurtzberger rov and Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch? I think it was to do with the extent a kehilah must follow thier rov or vice versa.

  • 1
    Erchin 17a may be relevant
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 0:38
  • only after we hear the details of their argument, will we be able to discuss the gemoro
    – rabbi
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


The debate well-known by historians is whether the Orthodox synagogues in Germany could belong under the same umbrella organization that contained the Reform ones. (The government recognized -- and funded -- religious organizations.) Rabbi Hirsch insisted that they disengage, even if if that meant that you couldn't be buried in the same Jewish Communal Cemetery (part of the umbrella organization) that your parents were. The Wurzberger Rov allowed Orthodox synagogues to stay under the communal organizations, even if that meant they were somehow affiliated with Reform.

From Wikipedia:

In 1876, Edward Lasker (a Jewish parliamentarian in the Prussian Landtag) introduced the "Secession Bill" (Austrittsgesetz), which would enable Jews to secede from a religious congregation without having to relinquish their religious status. The law was passed on July 28, 1876. Despite the new legislation, a conflict arose whether "Austritt" (secession) was required by Jewish law. Hirsch held this was mandatory, even though it involved a court appearance and visible disapproval of the Reform-dominated "Main Community" (Grossgemeinde). His contemporary Isaac Dov Bamberger, Rabbi of Würzburg, argued that as long as the Grossgemeinde made appropriate arrangements for the Orthodox element, secession was unnecessary. The schism caused a terrible rift and many hurt feelings

  • i am aware of that arguement. I have recently heard that there was some arguement as to what extent a rov must bend to the kehilah, do you think this is what they meant
    – rabbi
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 1:05
  • 2
    If you were aware of that argument, @rabbi, then you shouldn't have asked your question as you did. You should, rather, have referred to the argument you were already aware of, including detail sufficient to identify it, and then asked about the existence of another argument about a rabbi's bending to the will of the congregation. The way you asked the question ("does anyone know the nature of a famous argument between the wurtzberger rov and Rav shamshon Refoel hirsh? i think it was to do with the extent a kehilah must follow thier rov or visa virsa"), this answer is an excellent one.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 14:16
  • agreed the answer is indeed good however i don't think it has much to do with the relationship between the rov and his kehilllah
    – rabbi
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 21:13

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