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Shabbat Parashat Bo 5784

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Dreaming of Deep Ideas with a Like-minded Person #184 part II

Date and Place: 7 Shevat 5669 (1909), Yafo 

Recipient: Rav Pinchas Hakohen Lintop, the rabbi of a Chassidic community in Lithuania. He had learned Kabbala with Rav Kook when Rav Kook was in Boisk, and the two were very deep and like-minded thinkers. 

Body: [In the first installment, Rav Kook expressed pessimism of what could be gained at rabbinical conferences but optimism of what rabbis with the right approach to the depths of Torah could accomplish with their writing, especially when Eretz Yisrael is involved.]

Awaken, dear brother; let the lights of our souls, which we will draw from the source of strength and light, enlighten the world like lightning. The righteous of Eretz Yisrael and the righteous of the Diaspora will unite, in order to bring glory to the Land of the Dear and the grandeur of its strength, and there will no longer be a difference between the hearts [of the brethren in and outside of Eretz Yisrael]. The secrets will become revealed, and the hints will be explained. The deep homiletic ideas will be clarified, and the simple meanings will take on lofty meanings. All of them will fill the face of the world with bounty, which strengthen [the place of Hashem in the world].

The honor of my beloved (Rav Lintop) should speak that which he thinks and believes; your writing, upon which you have worked so much, will, on its own, bring new life to the People of Israel. Your writing is respected and dear to us. It is also one of the important “prophecies” that is becoming revealed to the spirit of the nation. Every idea is a foundation of an area of Torah. Try to spread your thoughts to the fullest extent possible. However, do it without exaggeration (overly spiritually demanding), because that causes weakness and despair within (among those who care to follow), and disbelief and scoffing among the external (those with no motivation to be inspired). Let us unite our lights, so that one light will combine with another, and the path we tread on will becoming increasingly complete with light.

It is not for us to quarrel with those who precede us but rather to add on to the light they spread. As a result, the “wrinkles will smooth out,” and the good and live form that is always submerged from our predecessors’ work, from the root of Israel, will become revealed in its full beauty. If we stray at times from out predecessors’ ways and thoughts, realize that every generation has its leaders and providers (see Avoda Zara 5a), and Hashem plans everything (see Divrei Hayamim I, 28:19). We should always appreciate the good that is accomplished at its time by a good idea that fits the moment well, even if it is not always fulfilled. “Torah that a person learns in this world is of limited value compared to the Torah of the Mashiach” (Kohelet Rabba11).

A little at a time, and with occasional jumps and breakthroughs, we will prepare the hearts for healthy [spiritual] life. Then there will be renewed interest in building the nation with a powerful spirit. We [do not spread these ideas] to be called a rabbi or be famous, nor even to receive reward and a nice situation in the Garden of Eden or have them as a merit to escape purgatory. All such thoughts, although they contain eternal truths, are small matters in comparison with the powerful idea that increases as it is “fed by the healthy diet of the bread of Torah, which is made from fine flour, mixed with oil and honey.” The greater it is, the simpler it is. To do good for the nation and make it grand and robust, to save it from destruction and elevate its honor, that is Eden, and that is the Garden with endless trees, branches, and fruit. There is no measure to the beauty of its vegetables, grasses, and flowers.

We are just preparing the means through which [the right type of] an assembly of Torah scholars can be born (by reading Torah ideas that elevate). Only then, can we speak about a physical assembly with Hashem’s help.

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