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Sivan 11, 5772

Rav Kook/three oaths


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Question:
Hi
I’ve been researching the three oaths.. and would like to know Rav Kooks opinion of them?
Thank You
If it is too long to write it will be useful if you could direct me to a link

Answer:
Shalom Michael,
Rav A.Y. Kook dealt briefly with the “three oaths”, in Otzrot HaReIya, II, ch. 37 in his article regarding the re-founding of the Sanhedrin, and wrote
19 years before the Balfour Declaration, that we will receive permission from the nations of the world, like we did in the time of Koresh, to build the
second Beit HaMikdash, and that will “solve” the problem of the oaths. His son, Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook writes about them in L’N’tivot Yisrael II, p. 115-
116, and it’s common knowledge that almost everything he taught or wrote is in agreement with his father. It’s even brought in Tov Ro’ee on Ktuvot
there, which is supposed to be the chidushim of Rav Kook, senior. I imagine you have seen Rav Shlomo Aviner’s very comprehensive booklet on the
topic (I believe it’s reprinted in his Sha’elat Shlomo), including some 13 answers to the Satmar Rebbe, and Rav Moshe Tzuriel wrote a kuntres on the
topic, as well. I might add that the Rambam (Hil. Mlachim 11, 2) who brings the Bar Kochba rebellion supported by R. Akiva and his many students
as the prototype for the way of the rise of mashiach, clearly feels that the oaths are not halachic. Many cite Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, the Meshech
Chochma and Or Same’ach, in his letter to the Keren Hayesod where he simply dismisses the oaths as aggada, and especially after the Balfour
Decleration ratified internationally in San Remo, “it removes all ‘fear’ of those oaths”. I might just add that Rav Ya’akov Moshe Charlap (Memaynai
HaYshua, p. 245), another major student of Rav Kook, explains that the idea of the aggada was to stress that the national revival of Israel is actually
an international event and of universal importance, and therefore we prefer for it to be in cooperation with the other nations. In addition, many don’t
realize that Rav Soloveichik’s famed article Kol Dodi Dofek is an answer to the three oaths.
In short, many people look for excuses why not to make aliya, but this surely isn’t a legitimate one! If chazal teach us that “Living in Israel is equated
with the rest of the mitzvot combined” even when there is no Beit HaMikdash (as seen in Sifre Dvarim 12, which takes place about 60 years after
the churban), and even when Israel is in exile (and the land is in gentile hands, Tosefta Avodah Zara 5, 2), than obviously the sources speak for
themselves.
We need to strengthen the priorities and courage of the Jews in exile to make the move, and it really doesn’t depend on this source or that. With Love
of Israel,
Rav Ari Shvat


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