Many wonder why the redemption began with Zionism & nationalism rather than with "observing 1 Shabbat"? Rav Kook explain that humility is the most important trait, see Moshe Rabbenu and all the mussar classics. Similarly, altruism- selfless giving, is the reason for creation, that even God wants to be altruistic, although this doesn't infer that He lacks anything, for altruism is, by definition, giving without gain. The national framework of living in a Jewish State where everyone is Jewish, sacrificing 3 years in the army & even one's life if needed, obligated chessed to each & every person, saving water, giving "tremps" to eachother, etc. help us rise above our personal smallness to a life of ideals & constant giving, altruism= Godliness.
Most people don't realize the extent of self-sacrifice, both physical (financial, health, time, worry, etc.) & spiritual (e.g. their own learning, marriage, children) that rabbis, community leaders & general volunteers lose by serving their students & community. Rabbi's children especially suffer, resenting the high expectations from a very young age! Inevitably, some even rebel against religion or communal service, either consciously or sub-consciously holding "them" responsible for their lost time with their parent. Some rebel to gain their parent's attention. Rav Kook deals with these painful phenomena of literal Mesirut Nefesh (not just Mesirut "Guf"!) & the limits involved, explaining the importance of serving Am Yisrael= serving G-d.
As opposed to other types of nationalism/patriotism, which are relatively external, shallow and sometimes even racist, the Religious Zionism of Rav Kook plays an essential universal role in the moral maturation of humanity. Avraham Avinu was told to leave his land and set up a "Great Nation" in Israel who's goal is, even today & forever, to spread monotheism & morality and influence mankind. Am Yisrael as a nation, with a moral and idealistic state, economy, army & culture, plays a universal role. Rav Kook reveals his ingenious connection between monotheism & morality, & convincingly proves rationally how the Biblical "Light to the Nations" is coming true. He explains the central role of utilizing Jewish creativity for cultural influence.
Religious Zionists strive to gradually make Israel more religious. Rav Kook controversially explains why despite our aforementioned desire, it was davka beneficial that many of the early active Zionists, at the forefront: Herzl, were clearly non-religious & often even "anti". Rav Kook explains how the religious in exile tended to be passive not pragmatic. Also, in the heated debate: should we wait passively for God to redeem us, or should we hasten the redemption, the secular solved the issue by simply, not asking the rabbis! Similarly historically, most of the Jews were already beginning to assimilate, & the redemption is for all of Israel & mankind, not just for the religious. Secular Zionism was relevant even to the non-believing.
Rav Kook points out that just as most of the tree is roots, trunk, branches and leaves, despite the fact that the goal is the fruit, similarly most of life is preparations (e.g. eating, dress, work, cooking, raising children), and often one doesn't even achieve his goal. Does that mean that he wasted his life?! The basic question is, if most of life is "tree", and I want to have meaning in life, I have no choice but to find a way to have "taste" in the tree, not just in the fruit. This was the original plan in Eden, and is meant to be the ideal lifestyle, as expressed in the Etrog where the tree tastes like her fruit. Eretz Yisrael is likened to Sukkot, where even the secular/mundane/"tree" has meaning/taste/holiness, and it's all a mitzva.
There's a common scenario, where someone becomes a Ba'al Teshuva, strengthening himself religiously, & indirectly, davka becomes less Zionist! Rav Kook ironically deals with this issue way before it was common, as part of his overall & innovative understanding of Teshuva, in this classic letter to his student, R. Charlap. Explaining that the concept of Evolution is the basis of Creation, & that constant improvement is the most natural process for the individual & mankind. This central drive is what's behind most of Torah, life and goals. Zionism is the easiest way to see God today, thru how He runs processes of advancement in history, fulfills prophecies, returns Altruism and Nationalism to their proper place, reviving the "Or LaGoyim" etc.
I live in New York, but often people in Israel do work for me, which they send me via computer. How do I calculate my deadline to pay them and fulfill the mitzva to pay on time – based on my time-zone or my workers’?
An explanation of the various halachic underpinnings of the Sanhedrin, including:
What are the roles and responsibilities of the Sanhedrin?
What exactly is semicha, and why is it such a central factor in the creation of the Sanhedrin?
What attempts have been made in the last hundreds of years to reconvene a Sanhedrin and reestablish semicha?