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Shabbat Parashat Naso 5781

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Organizing a Prayer at the Kotel


Date and Place 13 Elul 5665 (1905), the holy city of Yafo

Recipient: My friend, the great rabbi, wise and knowledgeable, a man of desirable qualities in Torah, fear of Hashem, and everything desirable, our master Rav Michel Tukechinsky, shlita, may he be blessed with peace. 

 Body: After inquiring about your welfare with great love. I received a letter of request from Russia, that ten people should pray before the Western Wall, may it be rebuilt speedily in our days, on Tuesday of Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilech, 19 Elul, on behalf of Yitzchak the son of Yosef and his wife, Leah the daughter of Hendel. They request that Hashem grant them children, who should become fine and worthy people who serve Hashem, that they should have life and sustenance without difficulties, and that they should be blessed with all the blessings that are mentioned in the blessing of the kohanim, according to all of the explanations of the blessings.

They should also pray for his father, Yosef, who should win his court case that is scheduled for that day and be relieved of the burden they want to place upon him. Also, Yosef and all of the Jews of Ponevitch, who are being oppressed by the abusive Czar, should be saved from the evil gentile who hates them, is their enemy, and “eats their flesh.”

The requester asked that those who pray should be people connected to Torah. He said he would send 18 marks, which should be used for candles to be lit in honor of the soul of Rabbi Meir, the miracle man, and the rest should be distributed among those who come to pray. If money remains, it should go to worthy, poor people.

The letter implies that he thinks that I will be in Jerusalem on that day, but it does not seem that it will work out for me to be in the holy city of Jerusalem, may it be built firmly, on that day. Therefore, I think the requester will be happy if the ten people will be Torah scholars from the yeshiva (Etz Chaim). I am not responsible for the money, but I do know the requester, who is a wealthy and distinguished man, who is connected to Torah and is a fearer of Hashem, and I certainly expect that he will keep his word. Therefore, if your honor would send ten of the yeshiva’s students, may they live, to do what was asked and beseech Hashem for mercy on those who are asking, then when the money will come, I will G-d willing, send it to you to distribute it as you see fit.


A Dispute Including Interest – #26

Date and Place: 27 Tishrei 5666 (1905), the holy city of Yafo

Recipient: Peace and blessing to the members of the distinguished council of Rechovot. 

Body: I am requesting of your honors to finish the dispute with Mr. H.A. The way it seems to me, it is very correct to make a compromise with him. This is especially true concerning the matter of usury, about which it is very proper to be careful in the future that anytime there is a loan that involves one of our brethren from Bnei Yisrael, to attach to it a document of iska (a formulation that turns a would-be loan into a permitted type of investment). It should at least say that the matter was done based on a heter iska, which makes the matter work based on all the detailed rules of iska. This is what they do in banks here. It is proper for the council to have a stamp that says “based on heter iska” and to stamp that on the stationery that deals with such financial matters, so that the recipient will also know that it is built on iska. This should not be a trivial matter in the eyes of financial managers for our brethren in the Holy Land.

In any case, if you do not succeed in any way to reach a compromise on your own, write to me in short all of the details of the case, from the beginning of the business with H.A. until now. I will then respond according to Torah law.

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