Tag Archive: rav hirsch

Lessons from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch & Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki, the legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist and co-founder of AllTop.com, recently wrote, “As a follow-up to the beating heart, researchers at the University of Minnesota have used a similar technique to create breathing lungs in the lab. Lead researcher Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, associate professor of pediatrics and pulmonary medicine, believes the ‘possibilities are endless’ for using the approach to increase the number of lungs needed for transplant into people with lung cancer and irreversible lung diseases.”

Now, when I see things of this sort or watch these “Lungs” function, the first thing that comes to my head along with the word “awesome” are the words of Tehillim 104:24: “Mah Rabu Masecha Hashem!” I also recall the famous story involving Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch zt”l (for more on his real name see here) and how Rav Hirsch towards the end of his life, made it a point to visit the beautiful French Alps. When asked why he had done so, Rav Hirsch reportedly responded, “after 120 years, when I appear before the Creator of the World and  He asks, ‘Samson have you seen the magnificent French Alps?’ I want  to be able to answer in the affirmative!” This also goes in line with the words of Rabbi Yitzchak Menachem Mendel Danziger, who in his sefer, Yismach Yisrael (Chanukah #2) relays to us that the Almighty is so gracious that he designed the world in such a matter that from the dust of the Earth or other aspects of nature, we can acquire high levels of Yiras Shomayim and fulfill the words of Mishlie 22:4!

In light of the above, it is only fitting to share that Rav Hirsch did not translate the words, “Mah Rabu Masecha Hashem, Kulam Bechochma Asisa, Malah Ha’aretz Kinyanecha,” in its typical fashion of:  How manifold are Your creations, Hashem, You’ve made them all with wisdom, the earth is filled with Your creations.

Instead, he places a comma between Haaretz and Kinyanecha and translate kinyanecha in the imperative. Hence, the verse of Tehillim will read:

How manifold are Your creations, Hashem, You’ve made them all with wisdom, the earth is filled with them, (you/man) acquire it! In other words, that one should increase his awe of Hashem and his appreciation for His world by taking the time to observe and appreciate nature and the way in which every detail is designed.

While I have never visited the Alps, nor do I know when I will have such a chance, I believe that we can still fulfill this insight of Rav Hirsch through viewing Video clips such as this one and appreciate the fact that we have breathing lungs created for us not for use strictly in the lab, but for life! Thank you Hashem!

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