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Shabbat Parashat Korach 5781

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Encouraging Torah Writers

#27 part III

Date and Place: Undated, the holy city of Yafo

Recipient: An open letter to our young, beloved brethren, students of Torah, living in the Holy Land

Summary of previous parts: In these difficult times, it is critical for young Torah scholars to use their talents for writing with energy. The Torah that we have been given is a powerful tool that we just need to learn how to share.

Body: Especially for yeshiva students, whose whole life is set in the tent of Torah (which was often literally the case in the small Old Yishuv), who do not have the yoke of rendering halachic rulings or have to deal with the toil of the community, but their goal is just to be involved in Torah, it certainly should not make a difference which Torah discipline they are involved in. Therefore, they have a greater obligation to give honor to Hashem and to the holy city of Jerusalem by setting, as one of their subjects of study, something that touches on a broad knowledge of Hashem.

This way, when many students will join together, from the group will emerge for us authors, innovators, and thinkers of helpful thoughts for the Jewish people, its Torah, and its Land. As time goes on, then, the entire nation, who are very thirsty for the word of Hashem, will know that Torah and light emanates from Zion (see Yeshayahu 2:3). Before we get to the point of author of books, we will have writers of good, proper articles. When these people have contact with each other, they will sharpen each other’s abilities and encourage each other.

In these teachings of the matters of the heart, which include all of the disciplines of Jewish philosophy, which is now a captive in the hands of difficult masters (irreligious academics), we have an obligation to break the iron bonds and remove the discipline from its prison. We must not, Heaven forbid, lose our bearings and distance ourselves from life. We must work with life and for life, in order to sanctify life, elevate it, and make it more appealing. We must not think depressing thoughts, which make the heart coarse and the spirit dark. These only come from fleeting learning and superficial understanding, whereas serious study, with aspirations of acquiring ever-increasing knowledge, especially in the great field of Torah thought, should always encourage the spirit and bring joy to the heart.

“Such a person is called a beloved friend, one who loves Hashem, one who loves people, one who brings joy to Hashem and to people” (Avot 6:1).

Hopefully these few words, which have emanated from my churning and burning heart, will enter the heart [of those who read my words] and bear fruit. We will suffice with a small start; we will speak, invigorate, write – every day a song (Sanhedrin 99b). “Water will wear away a stone” (Iyov 14:19). Give us hearts and the hidden light, and we will say to Zion: “Arise, give your light, for your light has come, and the glory of Hashem will shine upon you” (Yeshayahu 60:1). “Those who know Your Name will rely upon You, for You have not abandoned those who seek You” (Tehillim 9:11). “Hashem desires, because of His righteousness, to increase Torah and make it great” (Yeshayahu 42:21). “For Torah will emerge from Zion and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem” (Yeshayahu 2:3). “For Hashem will not abandon His nation, because of His great Name, for Hashem has set about to make you a nation for Him” (Shmuel I, 12:22).   

 Sign Off: I am your servant, hopeful about the honor of Zion and its inhabitants, who prays for the peace of those who study the ways of Hashem, and the sons and builders of Zion,

Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, a servant to the holy nation, in the holy land ham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, a servant to the holy nation, in the holy land


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