Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
Igrot Hare’aya – Letters of Rav Kook #111 – part V

Which settlement is the most prepared to begin a religious school?

Which colonia (settlement) is the most prepared to begin with [regarding starting the desired new type of religious school]?


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

25 Av 5782
Date and Place: 2 Adar I 5668 (1908), Yafo

Recipient: Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Halevi, author of Dorot Harishonim.

Body: I will do my best to answer your questions. First, I will quote your question, and then I will answer.

Question #6: Which colonia (settlement) is the most prepared to begin with [regarding starting the desired new type of religious school]?

My answer: In this matter I cannot make a clear decision, for each is very much in need of it. The influence of the [secular] schools is destroying Eretz Yisrael, and the religious schools have still not reached their goals because they have not supplemented themselves with the necessary worldliness. The main reason this has not been accomplished is the limited resources of the organizers, in addition to the habit of hating everything that is new. However, if we will join together wise people who are well-entrenched in Torah and fear of Heaven, we can remedy many things, with Hashem’s help.
It would still seem to me to give precedence to those settlements that don’t have any religious school, and only later to turn to those settlements that have religious schools, just that they are not set up well. I am not familiar with the settlements of the Galilee region. But closer to the region of Judea, the settlement of Samarin (Samaria) is the one which should be saved first. There the French style of education has taken hold and the destructive forces have come along with it, and it is far away from any of the holy cities. On the other hand many of the people who live there would be interested in straightforward, accepted education with true fear of Heaven, if it is well-supplemented with matters of the ways of life.
One of the bigger remedies for the settlements is that I will humbly be making rounds from time to time in the settlements to take a look at the general religious situation and to make public addresses on matters of ethics and life lessons. However, this requires a significant outlay of money because we need to present the rabbinate in an honorable manner. All the more so, we must not degrade the rabbinate by receiving any compensation from those upon whose paths we want to shine a light of sanctity. Therefore, I need to have at my constant disposal a carriage so that I can travel among the more than 30 settlements that are scattered throughout Judea and Samaria and have no one looking after their [religious situation]. I know the extent to which these travels in an honorable manner with discussions and public addresses are highly impactful. However, this requires an appropriate budget. Perhaps, Hashem will arrange this, so that a new light will begin to shine in the Holy Land in the new Yishuv, to tie them with ropes of love for Torah and fear of Hashem, so that the righteousness of the actions will be complete and they will give hope to many future generations.
When Hashem will grant us the ability to bring the plans for the yeshiva to fruition it will be an opening of hope for all, for rabbis to ask, for teachers to ask, and for the honor of Torah and [authentic] Judaism in the new Yishuv. It will be a source of permanent and internal connection between the new and old Yishuv, and the two of them together with the entirety of the Diaspora communities.
May Hashem grace our ideas and be with us in all that we do …
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