Would Rabbeinu Tam have taught at Gush?
And I showed him Israel Ta-Shema's article on Hassidei Ashkenaz and Talmud Torah. (In his Ritual, Custom and Reality in Franco-Germany, chapter 6; originally published in the Bar Ilan yearbook 14-15, 1977.) He was amazed. Ta-Shema had taken the words straight out of his mouth. The tensions described there between the intellectual Tosafists and the pietists of Ashkenaz seemed not to have changed one iota in 800 years. He photocopied one page and posted it in the "heder cafe".
I grew up, and learned from reading Ivan Marcus that things were not as stark as they seemed, and that the gulf between the groups was probably not so wide. And I began to wonder whether Ta-Shema's account was coloured by his familiarity with the modern yeshiva. And whether this kind of tension is not inherent to an institution dedicated to the pursuit of an intellectual religious tradition.
But I still think that, for better and worse, Har Etzion is reminiscent of a Tosafist academy. The wide range of people (both in terms of expertise and personal background), the competitiveness, the emphasis on theoretical distinctions, the huge numbers (by comparison to other places at the time), the lack of harsh hierarchy. There are, of course, serious differences. The students of the Tosafists had very close relationships with their teachers.
Anyway, I still believe Rabbeinu Tam would have felt at home there, and R Yehuda he-Hassid would have been enraged.