Rabbi A. I. Kook

Jewish History

Elul 3 is the yahrtzeit of the first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi (in modern times) of the Religious Zionist Jewish community in the Holy Land, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who assumed his position upon the formation of the British Mandate in 1920. A leading philosopher and mystic, Rabbi Kook authored many books and letters, and is a founding father of the “Religious Zionist” movement.

“In a typical elevation of sociology to theol­ogy, Kook argued that the Jewish imagination outside the Land had become stunted and even deformed. The cause was not merely assimilation to Gen­tile cultures possessed of far less light and holiness than Israel. In addition, the Jews had depleted over two millennia the store of creativity carried away with them into exile. During their absence, the flow of spirit had ceased; its gradual diminishing was responsible for the character of galut [Diaspora] life. Realizing these facts, the Jews had grasped the urgency of return. Moreover, since the entire world was poor in holiness and sunk in wicked­ness, it was utterly dependent upon the Jews for a renewal of light and spirit. Israel’s return to the Land would thus mark the end of a worldwide era of darkness and initiate the redemption of all humanity.”

Source: My Jewish Learning

Famous Quotes from Rav Kook:

“The purest righteous do not complain about evil; rather, they increase justice.
They do not complain about godlessness, but increase faith.
They do not complain about ignorance, but increase wisdom.”

“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.”

“The old shall be renewed, and the new shall be made holy.”

Source: Rav Kook Torah <http://www.ravkooktorah.org/&gt;

Rav Kook cautioned regarding the moral and spiritual dangers inherent in political life:

“We must not allow the tendency toward factionalism, which threatens most strongly at the inception of a political movement, to deter us from seeking justice and truth, from loving all of humanity, both the collective and the individual, from love for the Jewish people, and from the holy obligations that are unique to Israel. We are commanded not only to be holy individuals, but also, and especially, to be ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’”

(Silver from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah, pp. 173-174.)


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