Ask the rabbi

Authentic Judaism and Religious Zionism


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 24, 5779
When you said Rav Kook was innovative does that mean he changed original Judaism as per what those Haredi Jews who dont serve in the army see it? In other words, what is the original Judaism? Is it Rav Kooks or non Dati Leumi Jews Judaism? How do you know?
1. The best way to see authentic Judaism is by simply opening a Tanach (Bible)! There all of our heroes whom we yearn to emulate: worked for a living, served in the army, spoke Hebrew, lived as religious Jews in the Jewish State, in the Land of Israel. In other words, they lived exactly religious Zionism. 2,000 years of exile, which everyone agrees is temporary and not the authentic, warped the original. 2. The God Who runs History has clearly decided that it’s “time to come home” to Israel [statistically, in the very near future, most (!) Jews will be living here, for the 1st time in almost 3,000 years, since the exile of the 10 tribes], and revive the original Judaism, which also encourages modernism, computers, medicine and making proper use of all the discoveries that the God of History reveals to us in every respective generation. 3. All agree that the Torah isn't just the Talmud, but includes Tanach, mussar (ethics), philosophy (like Rambam, Kuzari, Maharal, etc.), and kabbala, which all strongly point to religious Zionism. The problem is that these deep topics inevitably raise questions, which conservative people prefer to dodge. Rav Kook's major "innovation" is to study it all, and revive the original (!) and "broad" Living Torah. 4. Rav Yissachar Teichtel HY"D, one of the leaders of anti-Zionist Hungarian Jewry before the Holocaust, admitted that as soon as he was forced to objectively analyze the issue, he wrote "Aim HaBanim Smeicha", a 350 page "wake-up-call" to switch to religious Zionism. He admits that he knew all of the sources beforehand, but was blinded by the peer-pressure of his anti-Zionist surroundings and 2,000 years of "exile tradition". Rav Ari Shvat (Chwat)
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