8)HA’OROT-THE ILLUMINATIONS OF RAV KOOK: FREEDOM-INSIDE AND OUT
“Understanding reach by our own mind is the highest expression of spiritual progress. All that is learned by study is absorbed from the outside and is of lesser significance as compared with what is thought through within the soul itself.”– Rav Kook TZ’L (Orot HaKodesh 1:178)
The highest expression of spiritual growth is our capacity to understand the nature of reality from within our own being. We are not here to mimic or conform to a truth that is imposed or expected of us from the outside. We are here to live in our original and unique relationship with creation and the Creator.
One of the foundations of Torat HaRav Kook is the integration of above and below-the material and the spiritual, the inside and the outside.
A great great focus of Jewish thought and history has been directed to achieving freedom from the outside.Freedom from Pharaohs and Egypts, Hitlers and Nazis.
One of the blessings of the Israelite return to and rebirthing in the Land of Israel is the freedom from our outside enemies. It’s not an easy battle by any means.
Rav Kook taught that the external freedom and autonomy in Israel enables our inner soul dimension to emerge. As we achieve outer freedom and independence, we are invited to also experience inner freedom and liberation.
“Whoever is endowed with the soul of a creator must create works of imagination and thought…the flame of the soul rises by itself and one cannot impede it on its course.
Scope for thought-this is the constant claim that a thinking person address to themselves.
Superficial study narrows thought. It aborts it at birth. It aggravates the sickness of narrowness of thought.
With all one’s strength, we must liberate ourselves from this, in order to free our soul from its narrow confines, to redeem it from its Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Ibid, 1:179)
Each human being on the planet Earth is a unique integration of body and soul, consciousness and being. Life is an opportunity for each of us to express our unique light-our singular contribution to the world’s unfolding.
Rav Kook discusses two aspects of this process.
First, we have to know our individual uniqueness:
“The greater we are, [and each of us is invited to be our greatest self], the more we must seek to discover ourselves. The deep levels of our soul remain concealed from us. We need to be alone frequently, to elevate our imagination, to deepen our thought, to liberate our mind. Finally our soul will reveal itself to us by radiating some of its light upon us.” (Ibid 3:270)
As we ‘liberate our mind, deepen our thoughts, elevate our imagination’ -our inner light will reveal itself to us.
This light is very very precious. It is the personal manifestation of the Divine within each of us.
It is the Light that we are each the physical expression of.
Once we are in touch with this light, our second step is to shine it-to express it freely:
“The inner essence of our soul, that reflects-that is conscious, must have absolute inner freedom. It experiences its freedom, which is life, through its originality in thought.
This inner spark can be fanned to a flame through study and investigation. It is however the basis of our imagination and thought. If our autonomous spark is not given scope to express itself-to manifest its light, then whatever we acquire from the outside is of no avail.” (Ibid 1:177)
This is our most precious contribution to human progress and fulfillment:
“The uniqueness of the inner soul, in its own authenticity, is the highest expression of the seed of divine light…from which will bud and blossom the fruit of the tree of life.” (Ibid)
And Rav Kook reassures and encourages us that world transformation will occur through each of us freely self-expressing and creating:
“Let each of us express in truth and in faithfulness whatever our soul reveals to us.
Let each of us bring forth our 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 each of our fragments of inner truth – the great truth will emerge.” (Ibid, 1:166)
BeeMhera Be’Yamenu/Soon In Our Days
The translations are in this posting adapted from Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser’s translation. I have taken the liberty of changing some passages to the first person from the third.
Your comments are invited.
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