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Shabbat Parashat Teruma 5783

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: A Wrenching Appeal


Date and Place: 9 Sivan 5668 (1908), Yafo


Recipient: The Council of Rechovot


Body: I am writing this letter for the totality of the New Yishuv. I am compelled to touch on a matter I cannot ignore.  

I have already candidly told you and other moshavim who are concerned with the Yishuv’s sustainability and honor about the powerful cry of the nation, especially the Diaspora’s religious Jewish communities, about the lack of tithing of the fruit sent there – almonds, oranges, etc.

They come to me with the following complaint. Rabbis of the Holy Land, why do you allow us to stumble by eating forbidden fruit? Why aren’t you zealous that the laws of our holy Torah will be kept in the Holy Land, whose beginning of its repopulation we have merited to see? This is particularly upsetting to the majority of Jews in the Diaspora, who are careful about every detail of the Torah. Also, the religious community in the cities of Eretz Yisrael, including Yafo and Jerusalem, are screaming about this great stumbling block in our observance of our holy religion, for which we have always been willing to sacrifice our lives. It is more painful that the religious difficulties come from our brothers/our flesh, the farmers of the New Yishuv, the beginnings of our aspirations.

I am like a mute who cannot open his mouth from the great embarrassment and distress I have been feeling for some time. I lift my eyes to the Heaven, that He should place in our brothers’ hearts to understand our holy religion’s special value and the great honor we should give it. Judaism is such a tree of life for those who cling to it, both the individual and the community. It is only proper that people should start to honor our holy Torah’s laws and not treat them lightly, especially concerning stumbling blocks for the masses.

The days have passed, and, painfully, I do not see a good sign, while the great bitterness of the religious community keeps increasing. The heart of Israel is torn due to the love of the Holy Land; it causes the hope for the Yishuv and our national life to be lowered. All of the great rabbis have turned to me (see letter #142) – the great Rav Shmuel Salant, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Rav Eliyahu Panigel, Rav Chaim Berlin, and the rabbinical courts of the Perushim, Chassidim, and Sephardim. They are unified in saying it is my responsibility, the noose is around my neck. They say I am able to fix and save matters and return the honor to the Yishuv and the peace of mind to our dear, Torah-observant brothers, as well as saving the masses from the new prohibition of eating untithed produce (i.e., has begun to be an issue because of the new Jewish inhabitation of the Holy Land). They make suggestions how to bring this matter to fruition.

My beloved, I present my heart’s anguish to you. You know my burning love for the New Yishuv, into which I put all of my soul. Save me, and together we will establish something that will give us a good name and distinction, making us the pride of G-d and men.

These rabbis have made the following correct request, which I find necessary to fulfill. The council shall issue an order that no one may send out untithed produce under the moshava’s trusted kashrut certification, not to Jerusalem, Yaffo, or the Diaspora. Certainly this is appropriate according to how you value Torah observance and the Yishuv’s development and honor. If people, after you warned them, will not conform, you should inform me that you are removing responsibility for them because they will not follow your rules. That individual will need to individually arrange for rabbinical supervision, who will decide how to handle him. This will remove the disgrace from the Land of our Fathers, so that our brothers in the Diaspora will not accuse the New Yishuv of being a sword coming to destroy our religion’s foundation and the fulfillment of mitzvot in Israel.

In truth, the Torah is the drug of life for the whole nation, present and future. Dear brothers, place my words on your hearts and quickly respond to me. Try to carry out my request with your strong spirits and your hands’ salvation. May these increase with Hashem’s help regarding the Desired Land, as all of our generations have hoped for.

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Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Ori Leah bat Chaya Temima

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

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Prof. Yisrael Aharoni z"l

Kislev 14, 5783


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

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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


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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


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Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


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Tamuz 23, 5777


R' Abraham & Gita Klein z"l

Iyar 18,  /5779Av 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


Mr. Shmuel & Rivka Brandman z"l

Tevet 16 5783/ Iyar 8, 5781


Mr. Gershon (George)


Chayim HaCohen Kaplan z"l

Adar II 6

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