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Shabbat Parashat Kedoshim 5784

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Forming a Council in Wadi Hanin #209,210,214,215

Date and Place:  23 Tamuz – 10 Menachem Av 5669 (1909), Rechovot


Background: Part of the city of Ness Tziona is situated on land that Reuven Lerer, a religious Jew from Odessa, purchased in 1882 in an area called Wadi Hanin. Over the years, others joined him and bought land from him. At the time, the community was called the Moshava of Wadi Hanin.  The letters make it clear that they were experiencing growing pains. On his trip to the moshavot, Rav Kook stopped by and took action to help them.


Letter #1: To Mr. Brill, supervisor of moshavot for the Jewish Colonization Association.

I am honored to inform you that I was in Wadi Hanin and found it necessary to call for the choosing of a council, as the moshava is in tatters, after being without a council for quite a while. A council was formed based on the vote of participants based on the announcement, according to the law and Torah rules.

I therefore request of the secretariat to recognize the council’s authority to run properly the moshava’s affairs.  


Letter #2: To the residents of Wadi Hanin.

I request of the residents of Wadi Hanin that all who agree to the council that was chosen at this past Motzaei Shabbat’s meeting, should sign the meeting minutes to confirm the council’s authority. This will enable the moshava’s proper administration, from a position of peace, for at least a month, until another two members will be added to the council, if it is deemed important, as I expressed my opinion this week, with the council’s permission.


Letter #3: To the Council of Wadi Hanin.

I received your letter and am very pained by the confusion in the moshava.

I am hereby informing publicly that I do not want to get involved in any moshava in matters that did not come to me through the council. However, that is true when the moshava acts like moshavot, with an organized council. When I found the moshava without one, I was compelled to do what I did. However, even now, if by majority decision of the moshava’s general assembly, they will choose a different council, I will not go against the will of the community’s majority. Unless the general assembly chooses a council, there is no one to whom one can give the moshava’s seal and ledgers. However, if a choice will be made based on the path of peace, I trust you that you are interested in the moshava’s welfare and you will strengthen the peace by handing the seal and books at that time to the certified council, chosen by majority.

This is what I advise you to do, for your good and the general good of the moshava.  



Letter #4: To the Moshava of Wadi Hanin.

I requesting of you honorable people to join together in unison to make order and a united leadership for the moshava. I was compelled to certify the council I arranged to be chosen at the meeting I called when I was in the moshava not because of an inclination toward asserting power over any moshava’s internal affairs. I am happy being a servant of Hashem’s nation who live in Zion, and I want only that they have honor and an improved situation. Only when I saw the moshava in ruins, without leadership, was I compelled to get involved.

I now request that if the community wants to choose a different council, they should organize a general assembly of the residents. Whatever they choose, so shall it be; may Hashem grant your efforts success.  You should also try to keep Tel Aviv (a neighborhood of laborers in the moshava) in contact with the moshava. We must show the whole nation that our interest is in unifying and connecting the members of our nation to the Holy Land, not dividing brethren. Therefore, the general assembly should incorporate members of Tel Aviv in the council. Only then, when the general assembly forms a council will the present council hand over the seal to the incoming, chosen council. Until a new council is confirmed, no individuals may take control of the books and seal without the community’s authorization. 

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