Tag Archives: freedom


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


“The core of freedom is to be…loyal to our inner essence; to the ‘Tzelem Elokeem-Divine Image’ that is within us”.

In Erev Pesach 5694/April 30, 1934 Rav Kook TZ’L wrote an impassioned call to freedom as his Pesach message to the children of Israel. He was weakened from  the disease that felled him two weeks before his 70th birthday a year and half after this was written. It was published in HaYesod, a newspaper of the time and has the special significance of being one of the last public statements we have from him.

When the Rav Kook Haggadah was collected, this piece introduced the seder. As my Korban Pesach/Offering, please allow me to share selections of it on the eve of the Pesach we are approaching. The Hebrew is included.

It is entitled- Cherutenu-Our Freedom and the Burning of Chametz:

.אלה השנים המסמנים לנו את חג הגאולה”

?  ולדורות מה אנחנו למדים מאלה שני הנושאים הללו התלויים זה בזה

Freedom and the burning of chametz symbolize for us the Chag HaGeula-Festival of Liberation. What are we to learn for all generations from these two interdependent realms?

תשובה הנצחית היא, שתנאי הגאולה שנים המה:

החירות העצמית, חירות הגוף מכל שיעבוד זר, מכל שיעבוד הכופה את צלם אלקים אשר באדם להיות משועבד לכל כח אשר הוא מוריד את ערכו, את תפארת גדולתו והדרת קדשו, והחירות הזאת אינה נקנית כי אם על ידי חירותה .של הנשמה

חירות הרוח מכל מה שהוא מטה אותו ממסילתה הישרה והאיתנה היצוקה במהותו העצמית.

אבל אלה שני סוגי החירות אינם באים, ואין האדם בתור אישיות פרטית ולא העם בתור קיבוץ שלם בעל רוח מיוחד זוכה להם, כי אם על ידי הביעור מכל גבולו את כל דבר המעכב את חירותו, שזה חמצו השאור שבעיסה שהיזקו מצוי ביותר בעת אשר אור של גאולה מתנוצץ עליו

The eternal answer is that there are two conditions necessary for liberation to occur. The first is cherut haguf/ freedom of the body [our physical experience] from any external enslavement, from any enslavement that subdues our Tzelem Elokim/Divine Image. Freedom from anything that reduces our sense of value, our splendrous greatness and glorious holiness.

This Cherut/Freedom can not be reached except through freedom of soul. This is the freedom of the spirit from anything that diverts  it away from its direct powerful path- cast of its inner essence.

These two types of freedoms do not come, to individuals or nations, except by the act of biur-excision of anything and everything that delays liberation from our midst. This is the ‘leaven in the dough’ whose damage is particularly felt at the time when the light of geula/liberation is shining upon us.

להתלמד אנו צריכים איך לסגל לנו את אותו הרוח הגדול של החירות…

We need to learn how to experience this great spirit of liberation

ההבדל שבין העבד ובן החורין, איננו רק הבדל מעמדי, מה שבמקרה זה הוא

משועבד לאחר, וזה הוא בלתי משועבד. אנו יכולים למצא עבד משכיל שרוחו הוא מלא חירות, ולהיפוך, בן חורין שרוחו הוא רוח של עבד.

The difference between a slave and a free person is not just a difference of status. This one is enslaved to another and this one is independent. We can find an enlightened slave whose is spirit is filled with freedom and a free person whose spirit is that of a slave.

החירות הצביונית היא אותה הרוח הנשאה, שהאדם וכן העם בכללו מתרומם על ידה, להיות נאמן להעצמיות הפנימית שלו, להתכונה הנפשית של צלם אלקים אשר בקרבו, ובתכונה כזאת אפשר לו להרגיש את חייו בתור חיים מגמתיים שהם שוים את ערכם

The foundational essence of freedom is that elevated spirit by which a human being and a nation rises to be loyal to their inner being-to the Tzelem Elokim-The Divine Image within. In this way we can  experience our lives as purposeful, worthy of their value.

מה שאין כן בבעל הרוח של העבדות, שלעולם אין תוכן חייו והרגשתו מעורים בתכונתו הנפשית העצמית כי אם במה שהוא יפה וטוב אצל האחר השולט עליו איזה שליטה שהיא

This is not so with the one whose spirit is enslaved.

They do not experience their lives illuminated by their inner essence. They are controlled by that which others define as tov-good and yafeh-beautiful…

נסע ונלך להבליט יותר ויותר את עצמאותנו הרעננה הפנימית, אותה שקנינו על ידי גילוי שכינה, אותה החירות שקנינו על ידי הפלא הגדול היחיד בעולם, שנעשה עמנו בעת אשר גאלנו השם יתברך, וגאל את אבותינו ממצרים לחירות עולם.

Let us go forth and express more and more our inner vibrant independence. We acquired our freedom at the singular wondrous event of Pesach: Gilui HaShechina- The Revelation of the Divine Presence.

We experienced this at the time that the Holy One liberated our ancestors from Egypt to eternal freedom…

שמרו את החירות ואת ביעור החמץ, והגאלו מהרה גאולה שלמה.

Let us protect this freedom, let us fully excise our chometz. We will be quickly and completely liberated.”

Amen ve Amen. To freedom.

Chag Kasher veSameach




“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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