Hebrew | Francais

Search


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Masei 5782

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Questions about Religious Services in Eretz Yisrael #111 part II



Date and Place: 2 Adar I 5668 (1908), Yafo

 

Recipient: Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Halevi, author of Dorot Harishonim. We have featured various letters to him in the past few months.

 

Body: I will do my best to answer your questions. First I will quote your question, and then I will answer. 

 

Question #2: “The avreichim (older, full-time Torah students) are presumed [by the wider public] to be idle people, for they have never seen any place other than Yerushalayim. Therefore, we need to know whether it is crucial to bring in avreichim of a truly exceptional level of Torah scholarship and fear of Hashem from Russia, but those who know how to interact with people with active lives, for maybe they will be able to attract the hearts of the settlers of the Land. On the other hand, is it possible to find the resources in Yerushalayim, as perhaps the welfare of Torah study of the masses in Yerushalayim demands that we take the avreichim from there?”

 

My answer: The “idleness” of Yerushalayim’s avreichim is only external idleness. Truthfully, among them there are people of exceeding talents and those who are clever in the ways of the world, in addition to their esteemed stature in Torah and fear of Heaven. The problem is that the “Eastern” mode of dress, which is strange in the eyes of the Europeans, who make up the New Yishuv, is what makes them considered idle people. I am confident that our religious brethren in Germany can rectify the situation by creating a fund with which to establish a serious financial incentive that will enable people to support their family nicely, for the future position of rabbis of the moshavot (agricultural settlements). What they then need to do is to express their opinion that the attire of the rabbi should be a mixture [between traditional rabbinic garb and modern attire], in a manner that the rabbi would be acceptable to the populace, who are used to European culture. Then there would be nothing preventing [success], and as a result, the presumption of the avreichim of Yerushalayim being idle people will be removed, and we will find from among them rabbis who can act effectively to improve the religious situation in the moshavot.

 

A comment of Rabbi Halevy: How can we fix the way Torah is studied in Yerushalayim? I am astounded that not only has the community not produced one of the greatest scholars of the generation, but it has not even produced any exceptional scholars. Certainly, the avreichim who are in the tent of Torah focus on simple inferences and do not follow the approach to scholarship that such giants as the Shach, Mishneh Lamelech, Pri Chadash, … taught.

 

My answer: The approach to Torah study in Yerushalayim does not need to be fixed. The scholars have all of the analytical skills that the most exceptional minds in the Diaspora have. They know the thought process of the great recent minds, and they are involved deeply in new ideas and analysis, in the same manner that has been learned from the works of the last centuries.

The reason that Yerushalayim has not produced some of the generation’s leading scholars, from the perspective of reputation, has to do with the situation. Someone can become known as a leading scholar if he becomes the rabbi of an important city or by publishing scholarly books. Neither of these is feasible in Eretz Yisrael and all the more so in Yerushalayim. There is no room for multiple "crowns" in one city, and in all of Eretz Yisrael there are only four known cities. Regarding books, the poverty is so great that there is no thought of publishing. Where will one get the money for it, and who will buy it if it is published? Several of the giants of scholarship in Yerushalayim do not even write down their novel ideas, and this is the way it has always been.

Next time we will continue with the state of scholarship in Yerushalayim and move on to the next question.

Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771


Rav
Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782

 

Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20

 

Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774

 

Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

&

Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780

 

R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779

&

Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778

 

R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781

 

Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781

 

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782

 

Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782

 

Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782


R' Yitzchak Eizik
ben Yehuda Leib Usdan z"l
Av 29

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by
Les
z"l  & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
& Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.