– 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
"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