Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
Igrot Hare’aya – Letters of Rav Kook:– #169

A Request for Turkish Protection


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

3 Tishrei 5784
Date and Place: 12 Cheshvan 5669 (1908), Yafo

Recipient: The Council (presumably of the city or region that includes Yafo) of the Young Turks. The Young Turks were a nationalistic party that overthrew the Ottoman Sultan, Abdul Hamid II.

Body: My distinguished masters, who are important in my eyes and the eyes of everyone who has a straight heart, as is your respected goal and work to bring new life to the Ottoman Kingdom for the success of everyone who lives in their lands, so that they can live lives of tranquility, security, and honor. This increases the value of your ethical standing, which is of the highest order, in the eyes of G-d, who made man, and in the eyes of the entire civilized world. The value of your honor, which sparkles in the aura of the crown of the head of your council, may G-d bless you, moves me to point out to you, distinguished men, a few things, which I hope will suffice according to your lofty wisdom of the heart and the rectitude of your distinguished souls.

A sad and terrifying event happened in our city, in the house of one of the honest and quiet citizens, Mr. Slotzkin, who was attacked by robbers, armed with deadly weapons, who shot from their rifles with the intention to kill. They wounded Mr. Slotzkin, a very old and distinguished man, and his daughter. Only with the mercy of G-d, Who put fright into the hearts of the robbers, were all the members of the household able to escape death at the hands of the evil robbers. This murderous act, which took place on a quiet night, with some degree of light, has caused fear for all of us. We are concerned about the upcoming long, dark winter nights, which are sometimes accompanied by strong rain, thunder and lightning storms, during which a homeowner’s screams will not be heard. G-d knows how many horrible things such robbers can do, if we do not come up with a good plan that will make them fear justice. This can include interrogation of suspects with clear proofs and to put in place, with the power of the proper government, a reliable security force of brave and trustworthy personnel.

I am sure that the security of the life and property of all of the members of the fortunate kingdom, in general, and the citizens of our city, specifically, is in your hearts, which are pure, along with your minds, which are full of honesty. Therefore, I hope that you will not delay in taking care of this important matter, which requires immediate diligence, and thereby see to it to do the good action of quieting things down for the people of our city, in general, and the inhabitants of the suburb of Neve Shalom (the beginnings of Tel Aviv) specifically. They are trembling in fear because of what happened to them. We need them to return to safety with great grace, which will come from your spirit of wisdom and bravery.

I sign off with hope for the best and with great feelings of deep and powerful respect.
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