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Shabbat Parashat Chayei Sarah 5783

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: How Not to Combat Secularism #132



Date and Place: 22 Nisan 5668 (1908), Yafo

 

Recipient: Rabbi Chaim Eliezer Bichovsky, a prominent Chabad rabbi, serving as a rosh yeshiva and rav in Europe, who later moved to Eretz Yisrael.

 

Body: I received your dear letter, written with the internal fire of Israel. On one hand, I am always ready to join a G-d-fearer, in whatever way they turn, in the quest to strengthen the sanctity of our holy Torah, especially in the Holy Land. On the other hand, I feel an obligation to point out to those who are involved in Hashem’s work that they should make wisdom a guiding light, as “wisdom is great, as it was written between two Names of Hashem” (Berachot 33a). You should know, honorable Torah scholar, that only a very small part of what you want to fix can possibly be accomplished by means of the steps you suggest, namely, with government help.

However, the main point is more fundamental. The religious deterioration did not come because the rabbis did not protest against the institutions of the blasphemers, who destroy the Holy Land in spirituality and physicality. Rather, it is because the rabbis only protested and did not do other things.

There are not enough scrolls to write upon them even a small part of what the heart thinks on this matter. However, I will present a small part of the many things before a pure heart like yours.

The way I see it, the main reason for the lack of success in our efforts to strengthen Judaism and the standing of the Jewish People in everything is that we have neglected the divine light in the heart and the mind. Everyone now turns just to fix simple frumkeit (practical religiosity), as if it will be possible to bring life to the world with a soulless body.

I am compelled to tell your honor that even Chassidut, the whole foundation of whose existence was to shine divine light generously and brightly into every heart and mind, has now changed its flavor. It now follows the path of simple Charedism, to the point that there is no difference between Chassidim and Mitnagdim. Indeed, the light of kindness has been removed from the heart, and people’s internal parts are full of anger and strict judgments. They are hard and agitated; everything has fallen.

All of the practical things that your honor thinks we may possibly use to forcefully protect ourselves from the worst impurities that have appeared in our times, the days of ikv’ta d’meshicha (the period before the coming of Mashiach) are not the way to attain victory. The main thing is to join together as one unit to shine the divine light onto the world with wisdom and insight. We must strengthen the yeshivot, in the Diaspora and especially in the Holy Land, so that G-dly matters are studied regularly and with a broad intellect, purity and clarity.

We also must be involved actively in the practical settling of the Holy Land. We must found organizations, not only of international donations, but businesses and professions, run by people who know Hashem and who truly love His Name. As soon as we raise this banner, the strength of evil in the Holy Land will be weakened, and Hashem will be praised. The more we act in this manner the more light will appear, and many of those who act with impunity will repent, and the deep impurities will be removed and disappear.

Regarding the distribution of donations, I will help to the extent I am able to ensure that no irreligious person will receive them, and it seems that this principle has not changed. However, this is not the basis of our service of Hashem. We are suffering from those who despise those who receive the distributions entirely too much. The main thing is to shine the inner light, whether by an increase in the study of Chassidut or of other hidden parts of the Torah. By thereby serving Hashem and growing intellectually, the light of Hashem will be clear to the world, and then we will have the ability to fix things.   

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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

 

George Weinstein z"l

Gershon ben Yehudah Mayer

 a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land.

 

Jack Levin z"l

 Chaim Yaakov ben Shlomo Yitzchak HaLevi

 

Tamar Lichtenstadt z”l.

May her memory be a blessing.

 

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in loving memory of
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