THE RAV KOOK REVOLUTION- The Jewish, Christian, Muslim Conflict (and Resolution):


The Jewish, Christian, Muslim Conflict (and Resolution):

וְשָׁפַט֙ בֵּ֣ין הַגֹּויִ֔ם וְהֹוכִ֖יחַ לְעַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים וְכִתְּת֨וּ חַרְבֹותָ֜ם לְאִתִּ֗ים וַחֲנִיתֹֽותֵיהֶם֙

לְמַזְמֵרֹ֔ות לֹא־יִשָּׂ֨א גֹ֤וי אֶל־גֹּוי֙ חֶ֔רֶב וְלֹא־יִלְמְד֥וּ עֹ֖וד מִלְחָמָֽה׃

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

This is the day and the experience that all peace loving souls crave. And yet we seem to be so distant from that. How can we reach that mutual loving and caring state that Isaiah prophesies?

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, TZ”L addressed this in an  extraordinary letter that he wrote in 1908. He had been in Israel and serving as the Chief Rabbi of Yaffo and the new settlements for almost 4 years. The letter was written to Rabbi Pinchas HaKohen, chief of the Bet Din-Rabbinic Court of Birz in northern Lithuania.

After elaborating on the need in the Yishuv for “a new type of Yeshiva…in which the mystical aspect of the Torah…will have a prominent part”, he addresses Judaism and other religions:

“I will state to your honor my opinion, that it is not the aim of the enlightenment that emanates from Israel to absorb or destroy them, just as it is not our aim to destroy the world’s different nationalities. Our aim is to perfect and elevate them, to purge them of their dross.”

In the same way that Avraham Avinu worked to raise human consciousness beyond the blindness of idolatry and towards the clarity of a unified creation and Creator, Judaism is called upon to raise religious consciousness beyond “the conception of God (that) is crystallized among people in a particular form, going back to childish habit and imagination.”

(Orot, Essays-יסורים ממרקים-The Pangs of Cleansing)

The Torah describes the unfolding of human history in Breishit-Genesis.

The family of Avraham, Itzchak and Yaakov form the basis of the Jewish people. Avraham’s son and Itzchak’s half brother, Ishmael becomes the progenitor of the Arab people and the nation which was (forcibly) converted to Islam by Mohammed (570 c.e.-730 c.e. and his followers).

Yaakov’s twin brother, Esau was seen by Jewish theologians and historians as the spiritual forefather of Edom-Rome and then Christianity.

The Torah describes in great detail the process of Yaakov/Israel’s return to his homeland after fleeing 22 years earlier from Esau’s wrath for his deceptive ‘stealing’ of the birthright/blessing. After expressing his trepidation Yaakov divides his family into two camps so that “if Esau comes and attacks one camp, at least the other camp will survive” (Genesis 32:9).

And then the meeting occurs: Jacob “prostrated himself seven times as he approached his brother. Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, fell upon his neck, and they kissed and wept” (Genesis 33:4)  Their reconciliation continues and Yaakov says to Esau ‘seeing your face is like seeing the face of God (Elohim)” (Genesis 33:10).

Rav Kook derives a startling prophecy from this interaction and statement.

“(Jacob’s) word shall not go down as a vain utterance. The brotherly love of Esau and Yaakov, of Itzchak and Ishmael will assert itself above all the confusion that the evil brought upon us by our physicality has engendered.

It will overcome them and transform them to eternal light and compassion.”

The loving after years of enmity is a foreshadowing of the loving meeting that will occur historically between all the children of Avraham in the latter days of history. As Rav Kook says explicitly: “This broad concept, sweetened by the enlightenment of the true teaching of the Torah (perhaps a reference to Kabbala) must be our guide in all our ways in the end of days, to seal/complete our understanding of the Torah with the Messianic imprint by turning the bitter to sweet and darkness to light.” (Igrot 1:112)

Events of the past century have continued for the most part to grow the hatred between religions. These have turned to armed conflicts in numerous times and places with new potential battlegrounds looming all over the planet.

The Torah however teaches us that this is not the end of history but a turn of the wheel that is moving inexorably to reconciliation, harmony and universal love. There is much for us to do to achieve this aim, but an important beginning point is to realize that this is the goal of history and we are here to serve this divine unfolding of love and shalom.

May we be so blessed.

Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein




1) RAV KOOK TZ”L:My Journey With Ba’al Ha’Orot/The Master of the Lights

““All our endeavors must be directed toward disclosing the ‘or hashalom haclali’ – the light of universal harmony.” -Rav Kook TZ’L
It is Elul 3, 5775-the 80th Yaartzeit of Rav Kook TZL’s passing in 1935.
Please allow me to re-share this personal tribute and narrative of my journey with the Baal Ha’Orot-The Master Of The Lights.
Please feel free to share with others. The universal vision of Rav Kook TZ’L must emerge more fully into the world.



“A world of chaos stands before us, all the time that we have not yet reached the ‘tikkun elyon’-the highest level of healing, repairing, transforming-by uniting all life forces and all their diverse tendencies. As long as each one exalts himself, claiming, I am sovereign, I and no other–there cannot be peace in our midst…”
(Notebook 8:429, written in 1919)

In the early 1980s, in a sunlit cottage in Winnipeg Beach, Canada, I sat down to read from the writings of Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook, TZ’L (1865-1935). I knew well the world of chaos. I am an Israeli-born only child of Holocaust survivors whose mother was in Auschwitz. I absorbed on the cellular level the reality that a huge darkness and evil had recently occurred in the world. For some time, and in response, I had been seeking the greatest possible light.

My search brought me to serious study…

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The 28th of Av is the 46rd Yaartzeit of Rav Kook’s talmid muvhak/main student-HaRav HaNazir Rabbi David Cohen TZ’L.
Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul is the 103rd  Anniversary of the day they met in 1915.
For more on this extraordinary contemporary sage of Israel, please see


Shalom Friends all over the world.

In honor of Rav Kook TZL’s 80th Yaartzeit Year, Bet Avi Chai and Beit HaRav Kook are sponsoring an evening of HA’OROT- A Musical Journey Into The Light and Vision of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak

​ ​

HaCohen Kook TZ’L.

This concert will be live webcasted from Beit Avi Chai’s beautiful concert space. Through the magic of the internet,
you are invited to join my Israeli musical friends and I ​in Jerusalem as we honor and share the extraordinary lights of Rav Kook TZ’L. 
Shai Bachar on piano/keyboards, Ziv Harpaz on bass, Ilan Katchkeh on drums, Carmel Michaelli on VJ and yours truly on words.
This will be at Beit Avi Chai Sunday, June 28 at 8PM. It will also be live webcasted at the Beit AVi Chai site from 8 to 9:30 PM Sunday Jerusalem Time.
The link is here :

It will be a

​unique evening

Please feel free to share this invitation with your friends.  
​Shalom from Jerusalem, 
For both Hebrew and English speakers.
Sunday – 28.6.15–8 PM
יא בתמוז–ראשון — 20:00


ואנו באים לחוג את חג השבועות, יום אשר עמדנו בקומה הרוחנית הגמורה שלנו

We are celebrating the Festival of the Weeks-the day that we stood in our fullest spiritual stature. -Rav Kook TZ’L


ובכל שנה ושנה, כשהיום הגדול והקדוש הזה חוזר ומופיע – גדולת עולם מתחדשת בקרבנו, ונכונים אנחנו להקשיב שוב לקול ד’ בכח, קול ד’ בהדר (תהלים כט, ד), כאשר שמענו אז במדבר לפני בואנו לארץ…ועולמים חדשים הולכים ונפתחים לפננו

And every year when this great and holy day returns and manifests- the greatness of the world is renewed in our beings and we are prepared to again hear the ‘voice of the One in strength, the voice of the One in glory’ (Psalms 29:4) as we did in the desert….and new old world open before us.


מאמרו של רבי יהושע בן לוי: ‘בכל יום ויום בת קול יוצאת מהר חורב ומכרזת ואומרת: אוי להם לבריות מעלבונה של תורה-אבות ו:ב)

הבעל שם טוב אומר שאותה בת קול נשמעת בליבם של כל ישראל

And Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi said: “Each and every day a bat kol-heavenly voice emerges from Horeb (Mt. Sinai) and its call rings out “Woe to those who insult the Torah.”

The Baal Shem Tov added that this Bat Kol is heard in the hearts of all israel.


יעקב יוסף מפולנאה, תלמידו של הבעש”ט, תמה, אם בת הקול יוצאת בכל יום, מדוע אין שומעים אותה? והשיב, שהבעיה אינה בבת הקול, אלא במקשיבים. לו היינו מטים אזנינו היינו שומעים. -תולדות יעקב יוסף, ויקרא)

Yaakov Yosef of Polana, the student of the Baal Shem Tov asked: If this heavenly voice comes out each day, why do we not hear it? And he answered that the problem is not with the heavenly voice, but with the listeners. If we would tune our ears towards it, we would hear it.

Rav Kook TZ”L explains how this voice is hearable each and every day:

כל פעם שהלב דופק דפיקה רוחנית באמת, כל פעם שרעיון חדש ואצילי נולד, הרינו מקשיבים, כמו קול מלאך ד’ דופק, נוקש על דלתי נשמתנו, מבקש שנפתח לו את פתחנו, למען יופיע אלינו בכליל הדרו.

וכל מה שנפגשהו ברוח יותר משוחררה, בלב יותר טהור, ברגש יותר איתן ונערץ, בחשק יותר פנימי ורציני לאהבת היותד נשגב, היותר מכובד ומרומם, ככה המון נשמות מאוצלות אלינו יופיע, ויזריח בנגהו את חשכתנו. ג-שלט

“Each time that the heart feels a truly spiritual stirring, each time that a new and noble thought is born, we as though listening to the voice of an angel of God who is knocking, pressings on the doors of our soul-asking that we open our door to him that he might appear in its full majesty.”

יצייר לו כל אחד באמת ובתמים מה שנשמתו מראה לו, יוציא את תנובתו הרוחנית מן הכח אל הפועל, בלא שפתי רמיה. ומניצוצות כאלה אבוקות אור יתקבצו. ויאירו את כל העולם מכבודם, מחלקי אמת פנימית כאלה האמת הגדולה תופיע

“Let everyone express in truth and in faithfulness whatever their soul reveals to them, let him bring forth his spiritual creativity from potentiality to actuality, without any deception. Out of such sparks torches of light will be assembled and they will illuminate the whole world out of their glory. Out of such fragments of inner truth will the great truth emerge.”

The Holy One is speaking with us always. ‘May this great truth emerge’.

Chag Sameach-a Joyous Shavuot

20) HA’OROT- RAV KOOK ON YERUSHALAYIM-In Honor of Jerusalem Day

ירושלים, ונקודת ציון ביחוד, תורה על שיבת המין האנושי למרומי מצבו ביחש להעמים שכבר נתפלגו, שישובו לחטיבה טובה וטהורה

Yerushalayim, and Zion in particular, is a teaching about the return of humankind to its highest status -to the point that all the nations who divided into many streams in the past will return to form one pure and good unit”. -Rav Kook, TZ”L    

Rav Kook wrote this in 1904, soon after he arrived in Israel to be the Chief Rabbi of Yaffo and the new settlements.      

He knew about Yerushalayim. In 1888, at the age of  23, his mentor, the Chafetz Chayim, directed him to learn the laws related to the the Temple Mount and its service. “The Temple may not be rebuilt in my lifetime, but hopefully it will be in yours. We Cohanim will have to know what to do” the elder sage of Europe told him. This was the seed for the unfolding Temple Mount movement.

From the moment he stepped foot in the Land of Israel on the 28th of Iyar, 5664 (May 13, 1904) his entire being was dedicated to the rebuilding and rededication of Yerushalayim. His family continued to celebrate the 28th of Iyar as the day that the Kook family returned to Israel.

We now celebrate it as Yom Yerushalayim.

For it was on the 28th of Iyar in 1967-the third day of the Six Day War-that the Israeli Defence Forces recaptured the Temple Mount and its environs. Appropriately, the first people brought to the Kotel on June 7, 1967 were Rav Kook’s son-Rav Tzvi Yehuda, TZ’L, Rav Kook’s primary student HaRav David Cohen-HaRav HaNazir TZ’L and HaRav HaNazir’s son-in-law, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, TZ’L.


“A righteous one decrees and the Holy One fulfills.”(Talmud) Rav Kook was the Kohen Gadol-High Priest of the return to and the rededication of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

Soon after his arrival, he wrote:

כשאנו באים לדבר על ירושלים… פה גאון ישראל עומד בכל הדר גאותו…..נשמת אלהים חיים ההולכת ומתגברת בתוכנו ומקיצה אותנו לתחיה. מבשרת ציון העומדת על הר גבוה. האומרת לערי יהודה: הנה אלהיכם.

וזהו העד היותר נאמן על שלמות נשמת אלהים חיים המפעמת במסתרים בתוך תנועת התחיה שלנו…כי אם דבר ד’ הוא וזרם אור אל אלהי ישראל הוא המתגלה בכל תנועותינו הקטנות עם הגדולות….והנה היא עומדת לפנינו… ואומר גדול בפיה : “לעשות את ירושלים תהלה בארץ,לבנות את ירושלים

“When we come to speak of Jerusalem…here the genius of Israel stands in all its splendor…the Soul of the Living Elokim is unfolding and growing within us-awakening us to renewal. The ‘announcer of Tzion’ standing on the high mountain. Speaking to the cities of Yehuda-here is your Elokim. [based on Isaiah 40:9)  This is the most faithful witness to the wholeness of the Living God Soul mysteriously inspiring our movement of national return…The word of God and the  stream of Light of the God of Israel  is revealed in all our movements, large and small…Behold it is standing before us…proclaiming loudly: “Make Jerusalem splendrous in the land, build Jerusalem!”  (Maamarei HaRayah:Yerushalayim-p.298)

Rav Kook gives free reign to his prophetic capacity as he heralds:

התור הגיע, מאורעות הימים כולם קוראים לנו בקול גדול: ישראל, בנה את עיר קדשך..

“The turtledove has arrived, the events of the days are calling out to us loudly-Build your holy city…” (Maamarei HaRayah-Chibat Yerushalayim-p. 329)

And building, we have been. I sometimes walk around Yerushalayim and Israel and imagine how Rav Kook would see it.  It is clear to me that he would see his vision confirmed and unfolding. Challenges and all.

And his vision went even further. In the continuation of the opening quote describing the role of Jerusalem and Zion in bringing the world together, he continues:

אמנם גדול ממנה הוא גן עדן, שישוב המין האנושי לגבה מעלתו בפרטיו, עד שלא יהיה צריך שום לימוד והדרכה, ולא עזרת קיבוץ, כי אם לחיות בגן עדן, לעבדה ולשמרה, בתור טיול ועונג מורחב הממלא את החומר והרוח עדנים.”

Even greater than this is Gan Eden-the Garden of Eden/Delight in which all parts of the human race will return to their highest and there will be no need for learning, guidance and help from the group. We will be living in the Garden of Eden/Delight, cultivating and safe-keeping, as a delightful expanded journey that will fill the material and the spiritual realms with delights.” (Pinkas HaDapim Bet:8)

The process of building Yerushalayim as a model of the possibilities for planetary human unification will lead us to the reality of the Garden of Eden. The Torah is explicit that this is the goal of history and that the Creator’s loving desire for good to be manifested is the most powerful force in existence.                          

We will be living in the Garden of Eden/ a delightful expanded journey that will fill the material and the spiritual realms with delights.”

במהרב בימינו-Speedily in our days.                                              

יום ירושלים שמח- A joyous Jerusalem Day to all.




“מדינתנו, מדינת ישראל, יסוד כסא ד’ בעולם, שכל חפצה הוא שיהיה ד’ אחד ושמו אחד”

“Our state, the State of Israel, foundation of God’s throne in the world- her whole desire is that God will be one and God’s Name one.”  (Rav Kook, Notebook 1:186)

The sweep of history.


Last week, the State of Israel marked-יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה-Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day.

We remembered, we listened to the ever fewer survivors. 

Some wept.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday  , the State of Israel marks –יום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל ולנפגעי פעולות האיבה-Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism.

We remember and honor the more than 23,741 soldiers and 2,609civilians that have fallen in the ongoing battle for Israel’s survival. Many mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters cry.  It is the saddest day of the Israeli year.

Most associate it with  the fallen of the Israel Defence Forces since 1948 but the actual counting is for all those who fell since 1860 when Moses Montefiore built ‘Mishkenot Sha’ananim-Peaceful Habitations’ outside the walls of the Jerusalem old city.(1) This was the first new settlement in the rebuilding of Israel.

And then we reach a day of huge celebration.

The fifth of Iyar (this year marked on the fourth of Iyar to avoid Shabbat desecration)-the day in 1948 that the modern State of Israel was declared. This occurred on Friday, May 14- eight hours before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, which was due to finish on May 15 1948.

The operative paragraph of the Declaration of the Establishment of -מדינת ישראל- the State of Israel of 14 May 1948 says:

By virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as מדינת ישראל– the State of Israel.”

 The new state was quickly recognised by the Soviet Union, the United States de facto, and many other countries, but not by the surrounding Arab states, who immediately marched with their troops into the area of the former British Mandate.  The rest is modern Jewish history or ‘our story’- often referred to as ‘the Arab-Israeli conflict’.

How did we get the name מדינת ישראל-Medinat Israel-The State of Israel? In the days leading up to Iyar 5/May 14 a committee was debating the name of the about to be announced country. ‘Zion’, ‘Yehuda’, ‘Eretz Israel-The Land of Israel’ were all rejected and at the last moment, Ben Gurion decided to call it מדינת  ישראל-Medinat Israel.

It was however not the first time this phrase was used in the 20th century. Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook TZ’L is known by his acronym רב הראי”ה. It literally means ‘the rabbi of vision’.Quite appropriate-not only was he ahead of his time, he is also ahead of our time.

This world is currently divided into nation-states. For the most part, they are in military or economic competition with each other. Pockets of cooperation based on mutual self interest exist.

Nationalism is not human kind at its best. In entry 186 of Notebook Aleph (probably written late 1904/early 1905), Rav Kook wrote:

אין המדינה האושר היותר עליון של האדם. זה ניתן להאמר במדינה רגילה, שאינה עולה לערך יותר גדול מחברת אחריות גדולה, שנשארו המון האידיאות, שהם עטרת החיים של האנושיות, מרחפים ממעל לה, ואינם נוגעים בה.

The nation is not the highest level of happiness for humankind. This can certainly be said about most regular countries whose value is not more than a large mutual insurance pact.  Ideals, which are the crown of human life are irrelevant and beyond their purview.

מה שאין כן מדינה שהיא ביסודה אידיאלית, שחקוק בהוייתה תוכן האידיאלי היותר עליון, שהוא באמת האושר היותר גדול של היחיד. מדינה זו היא באמת היותר עליונה בסולם האושר.

This is not the case with a nation whose foundation is idealistic. A nation in which the highest content is embedded into its very being. This type of nation offers the highest happiness for the individual and it is the highest level in the ladder of satisfaction.

ומדינה זו היא מדינתנו, מדינת ישראל

And this nation is our nation, the State of Israel.

Let us remember that this is being in written around 1905 and is perhaps the first use of the name מדינת ישראל -MEDINAT ISRAEL in modern history.

What is special about Medinat Israel? He continues:

יסוד כסא ד’ בעולם, שכל חפצה הוא שיהיה ד’ אחד ושמו אחד, שזהו באמת האושר היותר עליון.

It is the foundation of G-d’s Throne in the world, and all its desire is that HaShem will be one and His Name one-this is truly the highest happiness.

The reason for Israel’s existence is to reflect the Divine Oneness in the world. While most nations are devoted to their material existence and survival, Israel’s raison d’etre is linked to helping humankind realize it’s highest ideals.

To bring this potential into actuality is an extraordinary challenge. Rav Kook explains this  as the ongoing task that began with Abraham and continues to this very day:

“Abraham heard the vast realm of the divine calling to existence: Be illuminated; calling to every living being: Fill yourself with happiness, greatness, loftiness, peace, good strength, love and delight…

The Jewish people took this aspiration as the basis of its national existence, as condition by its historic destiny…

Our strong commitment to assure the continuity of Judaism with its ideas and patterns of behavior, together with its corporate self on its own land, stems from the widespread recognition that we still have a long to distance to travel in order to complete what we began.

We began to say something of immense importance among ourselves and to the world, but we have not yet completed it. We are in the midst of our discourse, and we do not wish-we are unable-to stop…” (ErechHaTechiya-Significance of the Revival,-Boktzer translation, p. 283/284)

The State of Israel is about to celebrate its 71st year of independence. It is in an ongoing process of learning, trial and error, accomplishment and discovery. It is by many parameters becoming one of the most successful countries in the world. Two years ago it was ranked as the 11th happiest country in world-out of 150. The number of simchas-celebrations per capita is probably the highest in the world. It is certainly a place of great idealism and many people and organizations are devoted to bettering life in all sorts of ways.

When was the second time the phrase “מדינת ישראל -MEDINAT ISRAEL” is used?

In 1921, Rav Kook wrote a manifesto “דגל ירושלים-The Flag of Jerusalem” calling on all to join the idealistic spiritual work of rebuilding and revivifying the Land of Israel. Towards its conclusion he invites:

“באו ונרים את דגלה של מדינת ישראל כארץ ישראל במלא מובנה….

Let us raise the flag of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel in its full meaning…” 

-במהרה בימינו- Quickly in our days.

 יום העצמאות שמח -Happiest Israel Independence Day



1)The first ‘counted’ fallen of the ongoing war is Aharon Hershler, Z’L, who on January 1, 1873 was killed by a gang of Arabs in Mishkenot Shaananim after he tried to stop them from attacking this first settlement.