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Shabbat Parashat Miketz 5782

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Spread the Tzaddiks Teachings, Not His Asceticism

#73 part III

Date and Place: Iyar 5667, Yafo


Recipient: Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlop, the illustrious talmid chacham and a close confidante of Rav Kook, later to be rabbi of Sha’arei Chesed and Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz Harav. Rav Charlop was one of the closest disciples of Rav Tzvi Michal Shapira, a saintly scholar and ascetic. Rav Charlop was involved in the posthumous publishing of letters and teachings of Rav Shapira.  


Body: [We have seen that while Rav Kook revered Rav Shapiro and welcomed Rav Charlop’s publishing of his writings, he thought that real asceticism is appropriate only for a tiny number of tzaddikim. Now Rav Kook focuses on what is appropriate for the rest of those who are ambitious religiously.]


The goal of our actions must always be to have the light of wisdom shine upon us, so that we will be set in the holy halls of the study of fear and service of Hashem. This must be studied from teachers and books and include an attempt to elevate ourselves step by step, with common sense and the pleasantness of good, accepted characteristics, so that we can find favor in the eyes of Hashem and our fellow man. This will heal our weak, afflicted bodies and give new life to our dark, depressed spirit with the light of the joy of the divine graciousness, which is embedded in the light of Torah. It is especially revealed in the internal glow of the esoteric Torah teachings and those relating to the fear and service of Hashem. This is achieved by the teachings in these spiritual works as understood intellectually, written by the generation’s greatest people. However, it is also and especially achieved through concealed elements of study, which can be revealed, by “looking through the cracks” (Shir Hashirim 2:9) for all whose heart desires to draw close to sanctity and seek Hashem and His might.

Haphazard study is insufficient. It must be done on a regular, daily basis, until a spirit from Above will shine upon us, and internal serenity and a true joy of Torah and pure service will light our hearts. This will fill us with strength and vigor, and we might reach the point at which we may incorporate, in a thought-out manner, an element of asceticism and self-affliction. We should weigh the steps as one would weigh precious coins, so that it has only a positive impact on both our physical and spiritual well-being. Thereby, a divine charm and the grandeur of the light of Torah will illuminate all the dark places in our lives, and we will succeed in whatever we do. It will open wellsprings of pure water of true Torah teachings in different types of analysis of halachic and philosophical elements, as well as interpersonal matters, bringing peace and love toward our people and our beloved Land, upon which Hashem’s eyes and Israel’s attention are always focused. It will penetrate through the walls of the heart and through the stream of wisdom and divine sanctity, taught to us by early scholars and recent ones. From the great teachings of your holy rebbe, we will drink until satiation to revive our soul. Then we can bring merit to the masses and return the glory of the perfect Torah of Hashem and the honor of those who toil in its study in purity in the Holy Land for all to see. This will give us a part in sanctifying Hashem’s great Name from His holy mountain.

The merit of the saintly author, whose work you want to publish, should accompany you and all who assist in spreading the light of his Torah and sanctity. May this bring you additional years of productive life and the light of the joy of Hashem and His pleasantness. May you have great success and see the light of salvation and eternal redemption and the light of Hashem’s return to Zion, as her children return to her in joy. May the “horns of the righteous” be raised in Jerusalem, and let all who seek Hashem see salvation, which will bring eternal life to their hearts.

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