Shabbat Parashat Noach | 5769
Excerpts from the Introduction to Ein Ayah – part VI
(from the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, z.t.l.)
[We discussed last time the importance of having the “closed statements” of the Torah (especially the instructions on practical mitzvot) and the “open statements” (the involvement in creatively expanding the texts beyond their simple meanings) complement each other.]
The matters we have discussed apply to Israel’s service on the national and individual level, through practical adherence to the Torah that is unique to them, through the crown of Torah that they merited. In this regard, the Torah says “They are a nation that dwells alone, and among the nations will not be considered” (Bamidbar 23:9). It is true that “the families of the world will be blessed through you [Avraham and his descendants]” (Bereishit 12:3). However, when things are as they should be, Israel should be contained by the walls of Jerusalem, as the pasuk says about Jerusalem, “For He has strengthened the seals of your gateways and blessed your sons in its midst” (Tehillim 147: 2-3). The psalm continues: “He told His word to Jacob, His statutes and laws to Israel; He did not do so for any nation, and did not did not let them know laws, may Hashem be praised” (ibid.: 19-20). Regarding the active mitzvot and their performance, Israel has no point to teach the nations or learn from their modes of service for these are “a statute for Israel” (ibid. 81:5), and Hashem separated us from all of the nations “to be for Me.”
This approach is a result of the closed statement. Torah observance and the sanctity of actions, when they will adorn Israel, will of necessity be a special sign and source of grandeur toward the nations. The good attributes and actions that a Torah education spawns on the individuals of the totality of our nation will glorify our nation when we return to the good path, the path of Hashem and the Torah of life that He gave us. Then the nations will say: “Only a smart and wise people, this great nation” (Devarim 4:6). They will desire that we bring the Torah down to them in a manner that it should be brought to influence all of earth’s nations. This will bring world peace for all of mankind in the end of days, fulfilling the pasuk, “for the increasing of authority and for endless peace” (Yeshaya 50:7).
However, since Israel has forsaken good, and in relation to the practical close-statement part of the Torah, they improperly want to resemble the nations, they breached the walls of the closed statement and did not strengthen the seals of the walls of Jerusalem. In our great sins, blessing and peace, which depend on the perfection of humanity, which itself is connected to the perfection of Israel, have eluded us and are being delayed. The increase in peace, which should come along with the open statement, is closed, and that part of the Torah whose light should be open to all of the inhabitants of the land, is closed in a narrow seal, while the gates of Jerusalem are breached and foxes are walking through them.
Matters are interconnected. When ideas will be expanded and the view of all of the details of ethics and belief will increase, we will be able to strengthen weak hands and fragile hearts and return those who have been distanced from Torah back to its strength through grace and healthy logic. That is why I believe that explaining the aggadic sections of Chazal along the lines of belief and the obligations of the heart is something that is particularly necessary these days. Those works that are produced in these fields should be appreciated as major steps to bring merit to the masses and return people to their Father in Heaven. This is why I have taken upon myself, according to my weak strength, to join this effort and pray that Hashem will bless me with success and the ability to sustain the effort.
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