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Shabbat Parashat Vayeira 5783

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: The Outlook Toward a Religious Newspaper

1. #128


Date and Place: Adar 5668 (1908), Yafo


Recipient: Editor of Hachavatzelet (religious newspaper in Eretz Yisrael)


Body: The good news that Hachavatzelet is progressing [is a sign] that the spirit of new life that is increasingly blowing in the broad Jewish community in the Holy Land is penetrating and becoming an active force within those who hold the banner of sanctity and belief in the Holy Land. This has brought me more than a little joy.

I want to hope that this progress will not just be limited to the quantitative side (i.e., frequency of publication), even though that too is important. Greater than the difference between a newspaper that comes out once a week and one that comes out three times a week is what we want to see in the qualitative level of the new Hachavatzelet, in comparison to the old Hachavatzelet. It should have a spirit of new life, lively ideas, and live things that are all sustained by the dew of the reawakening of the Land of Life. These blow in the hearts of those whose flow of life rests upon the nation from the time that it became a nation in this holy land, from which the chavatzelet (lily, a play on words) is blossoming. We are justified to hope that the new Hachavatzelet will have plentiful degrees of these characteristics.   

With this pleasant hope, I hereby come to strengthen your hand, my friend, the distinguished editor, in the name of He who had His Name dwell in Zion, that you should be filled with a spirit of wisdom and bravery, a spirit of good ideas, and a spirit of knowledge and fear of Hashem.


2. #131


Date and Place: 8 Nisan 5668 (1908), Yafo


Recipient: Shmuel Kook, Rav Kook’s brother (and helper regarding publications)


Body: Of course, I was late [in writing] because of the matters that occupy/concern me. I was surprised that I did not receive the printed column (ed. note - perhaps, for pre-publication review).

I am including [with this letter] an article [I have written] for Hachavatzelet. In the meantime, my hopes have not been realized regarding the newspaper’s progress. However, perhaps we have to support it, because at the end of the day, it is “ours.” I would think that your heart might be weak upon seeing the spirit of battle in my article. (From the footnotes of the book – The article was apparently titled “The Flame of Hashem,” and it was a very strong call for the awakening of the sanctity of Israel and the unfolding national liberation. It was written in opposition to the weakness of the religious community and the dryness of the spirit of heresy). My dear brother, the wounds of my heart surpass all boundaries. I am compelled to scream, and perhaps Hashem will have mercy, and I will be one who screams and thereby saves.

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