It's easy to think of life as a trip through a treasure-house of experiences. Climbing Everest. Flying around the world in eighty days, or to the edge of space. The truth is that all the pleasures, all the experiences of this world, are given to us for one reason only: that we might sense to the smallest degree, the taste of life itself.
But what is life itself if not our experiences in it?
What Should We "Take Home" from the Corona Crisis?
We obviously can't understand how God runs the world. On the other hand, the questions, ramifications, and thoughts that inevitably arise out of our Godly intelligence and curiosity, in such an extreme and rare world crisis, are surely part (!) of what is meant to preoccupy us. Rather than seeing this as a "punishment" of an angry god, which is more fitting for a childish or pagan world-view, we believe that our loving Father works through sending us "educational lessons" or challenges, which build us and help us notice problems or shortcomings in our current routine. These 20+ social, familial, religious, universal, national, and Zionist outcomes, are surely meant to be noticed, to reap the benefits of "Gam zu l'tova!", "all God does is for the best!"
Rav Kook on Why Are There So Many Wars in the Process of Geula
Appreciating the Altruism of the IDF
The young State of Israel has seen so many wars, and the question is: We would have thought that the redemptive process of Y'mot HaMashiach would include gradually having more and more peace! We shouldn't be surprised because the prophets teach us that Milchamot Gog u'Magog, where the nations try and take away the Land of Israel, is part of the plan, but why? Rav Kook relates to the Godly altruism and unity which inevitably are part of war, not only on the battle field but where all Jews especially help each other, more than usual. The class deals with the innocent and righteous who are killed in war, and the special status of the non-religious soldiers in their especially unique altruism.
Our eyes, our point of view, our leaders in believing. A Holocaust survivor's choice of faith, story of Rabbi Akiva and the foxes, the different meanings of the words for seeing in Hebrew, using Shabbat as the time to gain perspective.
Rav Kook’s Understanding of Secular Zionism - Part I
Rav Kook, Ma'amar HaDor 1
In “Ma’amar HaDor”, this most classic and eye-opening work, Rav Kook explains why the rebellion of the chalutzim (Zionist pioneers) and the secular world against religion, was not only foreseen by the prophets and Mishna, but inevitably, this rebellion is part of God’s program for national, universal and religious redemption, and even beneficial!
Rav Kook’s Understanding of Secular Zionism - Part II
Rav Kook, Ma'amar HaDor 2
Rav Kook adds important additional points regarding the eventual benefit of the rebellion against religion, mainly that it forces us to rediscover the depths and the beauty of the “broad Torah”. Since leaving the ghetto, the Torah must compete with other appealing and dynamic ideologies. Yeshivot can no longer just teach Talmud, but must rediscover Tanach, ethics, philosophy, hassidut, kabbala, and Zionism.