Monday, July 03, 2006

one of Sarah Schenirer's favorite seforim

My wife reminded me over Shabbos of an interesting tidbit in the bio of Sarah Schenirer (I can't recall the title - I think it is Carry Me in Your Heart) by one of her students. If the bio is accurate, one of her favorite seforim was the Radomsker's Tiferes Shlomo, which I have been quoting on the parsha as of late. The bio (IIRC) does not say if this is simply a result of her Polish upbringing, or if there was something particular to the Radomsker's thought that made it appealing. My suspicion is that the former is true, but if anyone knows more, please comment away. My wife has always been intrigued by Sarah Schenirer - we know very little of her personal life, her husband, etc., outside her role as creator of Bais Ya'akov - it seems like there is a deliberate attempt to omit these details and focus only on her achievements, which only arouses curiosity as to the full story.


  1. Anonymous1:28 PM

    As I recall, the book itself attempt to gloss over what it reveals. For example, when it refers to Sarah S.'s learning mishnayos for her father's yartzheit, it suggests that it was Pirkei Avos, for today's Bais Yaakov's would frown on a female learing Mishna. Also it is interesnting in light of the fact that she was married (probably twice, though the book omits mention of the first divorced husband) no one refers to her by her married name.

    When I posted a query to H-Judaic to get more information about her some wrote in that their grandparents reported she used to deliver lectures to men as well as women, and that she wore tzitzis -- again and image that doesn't fit well with the fixed conception of female roles in today's Bais Yaakovs.
    But the fact that so little is passed on about her in concrete terms allows for the perpetuation of myth.

    I referred to the biography in the 4th part my One Degree posts.

  2. History vs. hagiography?

  3. Anonymous3:06 PM

    It is known that the writings of Rav Shimshon Refoel Hirsch had a special place for her.

    According to an account I saw from the Israeli Yoseid Neemon in an interview with Rav Binyomin Hamburger, she was inspired on her path re Beis Yaakov when she heard a Rav in Vienna give over from the teachings of Rav Hirsch. It was also reported that later on, BY teachers in Cracow taught Rav Hirsch's writings in German. It seems that the writings of Rav Hirsch played a very significant role. There is mention of the writings of Rabbi Dr. Markus Lehmann as well.

  4. Anonymous3:13 PM

    I just noticed a discrepancy here, in that the title of your post reads "Sarah Schenirer's favorite sefer", implying (perhaps) that the Tiferes Shlomo was that. However, in the text of the post, it backpedals and just says that it was just "one of her favorite seforim".

  5. I will change the title of the post

  6. B'shlama Hirsch, neicha, as it reflects the attempt to bridge tradition and 'modernity' through explanation and/or apologetics (lets leave that debate aside), much as Schenirer attempted to locate a place for 'modern' ideas like women's education within the traditional framework. The suprise is that she would have been mushpa from a work of polisher chassidus like tiferes shlomo. Why did that work in particular appeal to her and what effect did it have on her outlook? No answer in the bio.

  7. There is a book, published by Aronson on Sarah Schenirer, that I read ages ago entitled "And All Your Children Shall be Learned."

    I found the link on amazon:

    I remember it being an excellent book, and I believe it did not engage in historical revisionism. But, I read it a long time ago, and might not be aware.