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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tavo 5782

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Two Complaints about Workers Chillul Shabbat - #115-116

1. Date and Place: 14 Adar I 5668 (1908), Yafo


Recipient: Mr. Zev Gluskin, chairman of Carmel Wines


Body: Today I heard that two workers from the winery are suspected, in a manner that has a strong basis, of having desecrated the holy Shabbat in an obtrusive manner. I tasked the kashrut supervisor with sending them away from the winery until the matter can be clarified before me with witnesses and until the matter can be remedied for the future.  

I will bring to your considered attention that it is proper to announce formally, in the name of the office of the winery’s administration, the great weight of the concern about chillul Shabbat, from the commercial perspective and for the reputation of the winery in general. The wound in our heart is deep and dangerous. For the soul of the life of our nation, here in the Land of our Fathers, we need strength from all sides to enforce its value to us. The echo of the “voice of Hashem” of the covenant and the sign for all of the future generations is not heard because of the coarse and disrespectful tumult of ignorance and disgusting apostasy. True, my downtrodden soul will be consoled, for the period of drunkenness will not last long, and quickly our nation, especially the young generation, will return to sanctify the Holy One of Israel and that which is sacred to Him. The spirit of Hashem will lead us, as His Face will light the way for us to plant us in the Land He set out for us, with the dew of life which comes from the sanctum.


2. Date and Place: 25 Adar I 5668 (1908), Yafo


Recipient: The Council of Rishon L’tzion


Body: Today I was shocked by the rumor that some individual workers had the gall to desecrate Shabbat openly in a painful manner in the middle of the day in town, with work done to prepare a theatre. The flame that is burning in the depths of the wound of my soul from such reports, I cannot, my dear friends, give over to you in writing. I will rightfully beseech you not to allow this deed to pass quietly without your public scolding and an official protest.

I was happy to hear that within the town, this disgusting deed caused a stirring within the population. It is a sign of a Jewish soul that lives in their midst and the light of Hashem that shines in their hearts, which will still become more elevated, to our happiness and the consolation of hope on the holy soil and the home of our lives. However, it is not enough that there just be some agitation expressed in non-impactful speech, when we need to protect the entire soul of the nation, in regard to the day of sanctity and rest. When people without feelings or wisdom stand up to destroy our nation in the midst of the town in front of our eyes, the crown of Hashem that is on our heads [requires us to do more]. 

The obligation of the council is to protect the honor of the sanctity of the Holy Land and the honor of the nation, so that the Name of Heaven not be desecrated. To the extent possible, it should take a firm stand against those who desecrated Shabbat. Please use this event, as a lesson how low a spiritual deterioration could be and how damaging it could be if we will remain quiet and not take notice of the need to make a public protest of the council against every case [of chillul Shabbat done on behalf of the community]. This is especially true regarding that which was done publicly. You are an active group, whose job it is to protect the most important matters of the nation as they relate to its heritage.

May we be strong on behalf of our nation and the honor of Hashem, who led us to the land of our fathers, in which we dwell. We are full of brave hope to be liberated in its midst with the seed of Hashem as it was in times of old.

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Tishrei 20 ,5781


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Adar II 17, 5782


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