Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

Did You See My Alps?

A story in the brand new, sharply designed and overall very intriguing new Jewish web magazine, Tablet, describes the Jewish infatuation with the Alps. The best line, cited at the end, is the famous one from Rav Hirsch: 

Samson Raphael Hirsch, the father of modern Orthodoxy, may have best captured this sentiment: “When I shall stand before G-d,” he wrote in the 1880s, “the Eternal One will ask me: Did you see my Alps?”

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posted June 14, 2009 at 8:37 am

Another version: towards the end of his life, R. Hirsch told his students he was undertaking a walking tour of the Swiss Alps. They tried to dissuade him, but he responded, “When I come before the Almighty, I will have to answer for many things. But what will I tell Him when He asks me, ‘Shamshon, did you see my Alps?'”
It’s a twist on a dictum sometimes (mis)used to rebuke vegetarians: “In the World to Come, a person will have to give an accounting for every good thing his eyes saw, but of which he did not eat.” (Jerusalem Talmud Kiddushin 4:12)
The Alps are such a good thing that R. Hirsch feared he couldn’t give an accounting for not having seen them!

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