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Rav Kook on the Weekly Parasha



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Sapphire from the Land of Israel,  a New Light on the Weekly Torah Portion

Sapphire from the Land of Israel - Brand new volume of Rav Kook's Torah, arranged by the weekly Parasha.
Softcover, 390 pages.


Gold from the Land of Israel,  a New Light on the Weekly Torah Portion

Gold from the Land of Israel - Gain access to Rav Kook's unique world of Torah, arranged by the weekly Parasha.
Hardcover, 368 pages.


Silver from the Land of Israel, the Sabbath and Holidays based on the writings of Rav Kook

Silver from the Land of Israel - Discover Rav Kook's insights into Shabbat and holidays. Hardcover, 270 pages.


The Splendor of Tefillin

The Splendor of Tefillin - A new pamphlet presenting Rav Kook's innovative thoughts on the mitzvah of Tefillin.



Five most popular articles.

Sites about Rav Kook

Beit HaRav Museum (Hebrew)

Rav Kook's Mission to America

Documentary video on Rav Kook's life (Youtube, 36 min.)

Rare clips of Rav Kook (Youtube)


Sites on Rav Kook's Thought

The Wisdom of Rav Kook Translations of Rav Kook's writings by Yaacov David Shulman.

Orot: Translations and analyses of Rav Kook's writings.

Introductory Lectures by Rabbi Hillel Rachmani.

Introduction to Orot, from "Lights on Orot" by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman.

Art and Rav Kook - series of audio lectures from Atid.

Machon Meir audio lectures.

Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav (Hebrew)

 




Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) – the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel – was a mystic and a philosopher, a preeminent Talmudic scholar and a Lurian Cabbalist, an original thinker and a saintly tzaddik.

Due to his poetic style and abstract thought, his writings are often difficult to understand, even for those fluent in Hebrew and well-versed in traditional Jewish sources. For the English-speaking audience in particular, his books are hidden treasures whose light has not been fully revealed.

I have not attempted to translate his works. Such an undertaking is beyond my capabilities. I am doubtful if it is even possible to lucidly transmit his ideas when constrained to a literal translation. Instead, I have tried to take an idea and present it in a clear, straightforward fashion. Of course, I run the risk of over-simplifying and even misinterpreting the author's true intent. Still, this is a sincere effort that I believe to be faithful to the spirit of the Rav's thought.

"Our master [Rav Kook] does not deal with the exegesis or the uncovering of hidden meanings in verses. He rarely takes them out of their simple peshat meaning. Nonetheless, they are revealed to the reader as tremendous novelties. The innovation here is not in the elucidation of the verse per se, but in the light that he pours over them."

Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin, Sifran shel Yechidim, p. 237


Rav Kook did not write a commentary on the Torah as such. I have collected ideas from his writings – primarily from his commentaries on Talmudic Midrashim (Ein Ayah) and the prayer book (Olat Re'iyah) – and organized them according to the weekly Torah readings and holidays.

Chanan Morrison, Mitzpe Yericho




Awakening the Holiness in Every Language

(from Kovetz Alef, section 887)

In an age when we witness a powerful attraction to the study of languages and science, it is impossible to fight against all who are drawn towards them. Indeed, the times and the signs of the day indicate the necessity [for these studies]. The inner righteous, with their mystical service, come to the rescue at this hour. With nobility of spirit, they open up the blocked conduits and establish the mystical secret of God in "His studies." These studies encompass all that is in the universe, especially that which advances the world's progress.

The righteous awaken the holiness hidden in each language. They utilize the power of Joseph, who incorporated all [of the physical world] with the Hebrew letter hey.1 They apply the power of the Divine word from Sinai, which illuminates with an ever-increasing light. "Each Divine command split up into seventy languages" (Shabbat 88b).

Similarly, we find that Moses explained the Torah be'er heitev, "very clearly" (Deut. 27:8).2 Moses uncovered the essence of good in every language, the inner force that introduced it from holy Majesty. The language itself is thus clarified and refined. Then we may present a "language of clarity" to all nations, so that "all will be able to call out in the name of God" (Zephania 3:9).



1 In Psalms 81:6, Joseph's name is spelled with an extra letter, the letter hey. "As a testimony for Jehoseph... when he went forth over the land of Egypt; I understood a language that I had not known." According to the Midrash in Sotah 36b, the angel Gabriel gave Joseph the letter hey from God's Name so that Joseph would be able to learn all seventy languages.
The Sages in Menachot 29b wrote that God created this world with the letter hey.

2 The Talmud in Sotah 32a explains be'er heitev to mean that the Torah was translated to seventy languages.



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