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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.

They are pictured here:RAV TZVI YEHUDA, HARAV HANAZIR, HARAV SHLOMO GOREN-TZ

“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/Delight..as 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.

 

 

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5)ILLUMINATIONS OF RAV KOOK-HARAV HA’NAZIR AND THE SCROLL OF WAR AND PEACE .

הרב הנזיר זצל

5) HA’RAV HANAZIR TZ’L-THE SCROLL OF WAR AND PEACE

“In these difficult and awesome days, the days of the birthpangs of the Messiah, the birth of the Kingdom of Israel, the time in which our enemies have arisen surrounding us in order to destroy us-Tzur [Tyre, Lebanon], Damascus [Syria], Ammon [Amman, Jordan], Moab [Jordan, East of Dead Sea], and Egypt. At their head are Amalek and Edom [southern Jordan and Israel-in Biblical times.] They have at their disposal weapons of destruction in order to terrorize and murder. G-d did not allow them to unleash their evil wrath. Many fell by the hands  of the many, the wicked by the hands of the righteous, and they fled in fright, in eternal shame. How can we not open our eyes and see the Hand of G-d in this, The Rock of Israel and its Liberator?” (Rabbi David Cohen-HaRav HaNazir TZ’L) (1)

Rabbi David Cohen TZ’L, Rav Kook’s main student, wrote these words in a letter to the Yeshiva students in  the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 War of Independence. Sixty six years later these words continue to ring true as Israel is in the midst of another battle in this long war.

These are difficult days. The loss of lives, Israeli and innocent Palestinians is very painful. Daily funerals. Another phase  of this very long war.

The Kingdom of Israel began around 1100 BCE. The other Biblical nations that the Nazir names above as the progenitors of our current enemies were in their glory then as well. The nations surrounding Israel were at unrelenting war with Judah/Israel then and their modern equivalents are at war with Israel now. A 3114 year (approximately) war.

The Nazir names Amalek as the head of the forces.The actual identity of Amalek is an ongoing Jewish discussion with most claiming that we cannot identify Amalek with any current people or nation. “Erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens” (Deut. 25:19)  is commonly understood as physically exterminating Amalek”. But since we cannot absolutely identify Amalek, we (fortunately) do not feel the religious obligation to go out and kill anybody.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that lots of people want to kill us.

The hate, ideology and actions of Amalek are deeply embedded in parts of human civilization and are wreaking  an ongoing destruction on masses of innocent people. It is very clear that a very powerful warring energy of hatred has been directed at the Children of Israel throughout history. It is also very clear that the culture of war that Amalek represents has taken over the entire planet. The spirit of Amalek lives and thrives.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust and during the brutal battles of the 1948 Israel War of Independence, HaRav HaNazir TZ”L was moved to write a document that he called “The Scroll of War and Peace”.

It was published during the throes of the Yom Kippur War. It is a remarkable largely unknown document. It begins by quoting three sources:

“War is also the beginning of redemption! (Megilla 17b)

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Our rabbis say:

How great is the power of ‘shalom-peace’. Even in war, which a person enters with only swords and lances, the Holy One says: When you go to make war, you must begin it with a call for peace.

From where (do we see this)? From Deuteronomy 20:10:

‘When you approach a city to fight her, and call out peace to her…’

(Dvarim Rabba: 5:12)

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Rabbi Ishmael used to say:

“The Children of Ishmael are destined to make three tumultuous wars in the End of Days; as it says: “For they have fled before swords, before the whetted sword” (Isaiah 21:15); one in the ocean…one in the dry land…and one in the large city [Jerusalem]…and the Son of David will then blossom, and will see the [Ishmaelite] loss of each of these. From there he will come to Eretz Israel.” (Yalkut Shimoni; Isaiah 42:1)

This Midrash suggests that battles initiated by Yishmael will be a central part of the return of the Children of Israel to the Land of Israel.

The scroll continues with the Nazir’s own writing under the heading of  “War and Peace”:

1) “War is a crime of mass murder. All the building that living nations are engaged in, their power and essence, is rooted in war. There is no generation that has not had small or large wars. And when a war ends they immediately begin preparations for the next one.

Thus it was, and thus it is from generation to generation.

ls this also be the way it will be?

How can we be proud of any righteousness and good when the foundation of everything is mass murder, the great war.

How can a human being be content with the level of personal and general ethics at the time when he and and the whole world is being led towards slaughter.

No, do not, do not murder- this needs to be an absolute decision, an absolute imperative!

This is not easy because all the relationships between nations are of conquerors and conquered to some degree. The powerful ones  rule and enforce their will through their armies, new weapons of war, and storehouses of ammunition. They struggle to control and subdue while the smaller ones gird themselves for opposition, defense and freedom.

Oy! Shalom, shalom in the mouth of all.

And in reality there is only war, subjugation, power, the control of the mighty through their strength, weapons and armies. They publicly educate in the ways of war, murder and bloodshed, day in, day out, with the agreement of all humankind.

2) War is the great plague of humankind in our generation and in all generations. Mass general murder has killed tens of thousands of  souls, the best of humankind. It leaves multitudes of sick and wounded, handicapped for the rest of their lives. It destroys cultural creations, beautiful buildings  and elevated institutions of literature and art.  And whoever continues to kill, murder and annihilate is considered the victor, the successful one, the praiseworthy.

And from the day that they establish a so called peace treaty, they return to plans for war. The wounded heal, the ruins are rebuilt, and food is stored while they strengthen the infrastructure for creating and storing more weapons of war and treasuries of money. Until they are once again ready to fulfill to fulfill the commandment of war for the sake of murder, killing and ruination in order to destroy humankind.” (p. 11-12)

The history of the world is the history of war.

A sizeable percentage if not the majority of human resources have been and are committed to the war effort. There are currently 12 wars in the world in which more than a thousand people a year are killed in. There are 32 wars in which less than a thousand people are year are killed in.(2)

In Chapter 2, the Nazir continues to describe the planetary immersion in war:

“There is national agreement that enables the slaughter of animals and chickens and the eating of their flesh.

So too there is a general agreement to allow mass murder and the theft of the property of the murdered.

Every  nation has ministers of war, armies and supplies of weapons. Even worse than this is that war is accompanied by hatred. It needs it in order to grow and strengthen. People are taught and reminded to hate, to hate the enemy, ‘remember what Amalek did to you!’ (Deuteronomy, 25:17)” (p.13)

This is an extraordinarily relevant drash. Normally this verse is connected with the commandment to recount the Amalek story. We practice this yearly by re-reading from the Torah the story of Amalek’s attack shortly before we re-read of the attempted extermination by Amalek’s descendant Haman in 356 BCE.

The Nazir however is using it poetically to depict the ongoing and varying societal efforts to identify and demonize the enemy.The historical examples of this are endless. All over the planet human beings are defined and bound together by their common identification of an other as ‘the enemy’- “Remember what Amalek did to you!”

Every nation (except perhaps for Canada), has their Amalek  Huge human and material resources are dedicated to continuing the battle against the identified Amalek.

What are we to do?

Let us return to the Nazir:

The call has to go out to the nations, to the masses and their leadership through  essays and book, to AWAKEN THE PEACE MOVEMENT in absolute opposition to mass murder, to war.

The leaders of the nations, their ministers, advisors and parliaments must legislate that the law  ‘Do not murder” includes the prohibition of the mass murder of war. They must forbid war, not declare it…

Each human being, each writer and thinker is commanded: “Do not stand idly by as your neighbour’s blood [is being spilled]” (Leviticus 19:16).

Let us call out with all strength to the destroyer: STOP!

No!  ‘Do Not Murder’ (Exodus 20:13/Deuteronomy 5:17), do not go out to war, to commit mass murder, “nation shall not lift sword against any other nation and they will no longer learn war”. (Isaiah 2:)” (p.12-13)

“Erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.” (Deut. 25:19)

And as Rav Kook wrote:

“The harmonic call…the voice of peace is much greater than the voices of war that is heard from all the places of emptiness…

Among all the calls of the world,the supernal call, the call that unites, raises and equalizes goes forth and penetrates. From the fullness of life this call goes forth to each creature, to each spirit and soul, to the inside of each being, to each individual, to each group, to each nation.

Inside the unifying souls, who are drenched in the dew of life of the harmonic call, is burning a holy fire thirsty for peace. They are the angels of peace in the world.” (Lights of Holiness, 4:493)

In this time of war-in this epoch of world wars-may we be blessed to hear and truly manifest the call of shalom.

[Note- the square brackets contain my  comments/clarifications within the quote.]

(1) The Nations of the Biblical times:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moab#Biblical_narrative

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edom#Biblical_Edom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel#Antiquity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalek

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

Your comments and questions are invited.

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