Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
Igrot Hare’aya – Letters of Rav Kook: Vol. I, #1 , p. 1-2 – part II

Departure of an Uncle to Eretz Yisrael


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

Tevet 21 5781
Date and Place: Monday of Parashat R’ei 5688 (1888), Zaumel

Recipient: The True gaon, the Prince of Torah, the great tzaddik, Rav Mordechai Gimpel, the Chief Rabbi of Rozhinai (Rav Kook’s great uncle)

[Last time we saw that Rav Kook found out from his father’s cousin that his great uncle was leaving for Eretz Yisrael. He explained that his mind would not allow his heart to be sad to lose him in their region.]

May Hashem increase your strength and have you flourish there into a ripe old age. May the air of Eretz Yisrael add on to your years of life and may you have added strength for the Torah and serving Hashem for many years. Your illustrious son-in-law’s letter awakened me to something that I should have realized myself – that I want now very much to see your holy face before you travel to the desired land. It is upsetting to me, though, that I am shackled, by necessity, to my work with Hashem’s nation here, who are my responsibility. This prevents me from traveling now because of serious community responsibilities that have arisen at this time, and if I do not take care of them, they may melt away.

Additionally, I have to work on Itturei Sofrim (a rabbinic journal, which Rav Kook founded and edited), which will apparently be finished this week, and the first issue will come off the press. This will force me not to leave my place and keep vigilant. Actually, I have an urgent need to travel to Vilna on behalf of Itturei Sofrim, but I cannot do it due to my communal work, to which my responsibility is qualitatively higher.

Therefore, I will now request the great blessing of the righteous, as if my desire to see you would have been realized, as I had prayed. May the merit of my brilliant great-grandfather (Rav Dov Ber), your father, stand by me so that you will intercede on my behalf before Hashem in the land of life (Eretz Yisrael) at the holy sites. [Please pray] that Hashem will grant me wisdom and understanding of His Torah and in how to fear Him. More than that I will not request.

As I conclude, let me point out that it might be possible that you will be able to most fully promote something for the benefit of our Holy Land, in which you will be living, by publicizing your holy thought through the medium of Itturei Sofrim.

May I bless my master, the great Torah giant, that Hashem shall lead you over peaceful water, and bring you in peace to the place of rest and inheritance (Devarim 12:9) – to see Zion, our Holy City, and the Land of the Deer (Daniel 11:16). May you rejoice when Hashem returns the captives of His nation, when you will see the whole nation of Hashem return to Zion in joyous song.

Sign off: With a feeling of one spirit between the grand master, the glory of Israel, shlita, and that of a young servant who bows from a distance with honor and awe, I end off with a blessing, Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen
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