We are marching forward slowly towards the complete redemption. The purpose of that redemption is not to escape from Egypt or from the forty-ninth level of impurity, but to illuminate the whole world with the light of pure faith and to purge the Jewish People of all the alien traits whose stamp was left upon them during the dark exile.

HaRav Dov Begon, Rosh Yeshivah Machon Meir

Parshat Vayikra

The Exodus and the Future Redemption

When Rabbi Kook sets out to direct us in how we must relate to the redemption process we are undergoing in our generation, he focuses on the difference between that process and the Egyptian Exodus. The latter was carried out “bechipazon” [in haste]. (Some say that the Egyptians acted in haste, and some say that the Israelites did — Berachot 9a). All at once, the Israelites were transformed from a nation of slaves to a liberated people full of inner fortitude and nobility (Ma’amarei HaRe’iyah, page 165).

By contrast, what characterizes the future redemption, of which we are a part, is its gradualness, as in the Prophet Isaiah’s words, “You shall not leave in haste” (Isaiah 52:12).

We are marching forward slowly towards the complete redemption. The purpose of that redemption is not to escape from Egypt or from the forty-ninth level of impurity, but to illuminate the whole world with the light of pure faith and to purge the Jewish People of all the alien traits whose stamp was left upon them during the dark exile.

The future redemption requires that we polish ourselves like a fine gem, so that we can rid ourselves of all chaff and filth and light up the whole world with the precious light of our good and noble soul. As is known, polishing fine gems demands much time and patience.

Today, our generation is at the height of the redemption process. Precisely in these times we must remember that “we will not leave in haste.” We need a great deal of patience, and much faith. How fortunate we are that we have merited to see with our own eyes the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy: “I will gather you out of all the countries and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24). The day is not far off when we will merit also, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean…. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh…. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people, and I will be your G-d” (Ezekiel 36:25-28).


“Love peace and pursue it. Love people and bring them closer to Torah.”

“…We must also arouse repentance for the sake of our nation’s survival” (Rav Kook, Orot HaTeshuvah 12:11).

Who is the luminary who is going to increase the light of Israel? How do we bring near those who have become far removed from Torah and Jewish tradition? Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen’s torchbearer, his son, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, ztz”l, answered this question as follows:

“The light source that is going to increase the light of Israel is already there in the holy writings of my Father, HaRav Kook, ztz”l, and in the original instructions deriving from it. Here is the ‘Urim VeTumim’ sent by G-d and revealed to us for our great and holy age. Ponder it more and more, for it contains all. Spiritual luminaries must continue to draw on this source, and they will thus succeed in directing our people.”

What are the proper ways for influencing the Jewish People, for bringing them enlightenment and arousing them to repent? Rav Tzvi Yehuda answers this as well:

  1. “We must possess a deep spiritual and practical love of Israel, and deep faith in Israel’s holiness. The two, in fact, are connected.
  2. “We must have faith in our generation’s ability to advance the redemption and to arouse divine providence to reveal itself.
  3. We must improve ourselves and provide a virtuous example in both our private and public lives before striving to influence, improve and direct others” (from a letter by Rav Tzvi Yehuda, Sivan 1948).

Today, the spiritual weakness and moral deterioration of the individual, society and government are a result of their distancing themselves from our roots, our Torah and Jewish tradition, which constitute the Tree of Life for both the individual and society. As we set out to spread light, to return to our own selves, to our roots, our Torah and our tradition, Rav Kook’s words must serve as a lamp unto our feet.

We have to learn and teach the writings of Rav Kook, ztz”l and to follow his spiritual, educational and practical instructions. Indeed, disciples of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, and disciples of disciples, have risen up, amongst them great Torah luminaries, rabbis and heads of yeshivot, who have studied the writings of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, and who spread his energy and Torah to tens of thousands of Jews.

Yet that does not suffice. We have to influence the masses as well. The precondition for succeeding in this is improving ourselves and providing a virtuous example in both our private and our public lives. We must improve our character, behave with humility, with the fear of G-d, and the love of Torah, the people and the Land.

We must particularly strive to instill peace between our fellow men, and to engender unity and harmony amongst those bearing the torch of Rav Kook, ztz”l. In this regard Hillel the Elder used to say: “Be amongst the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing it; loving people and bringing them closer to Torah” (Avot 1:12).


Spiritual Leadership and Political Leadership

From the dawn of the history of the Jewish People in their land, already in the days of the First Temple, the national leadership was composed of both spiritual and political leadership. Sometimes, the political leader was also a spiritual person, like Joshua ben Nun or King David. At other times, the leadership was divided up between political leadership and spiritual leadership, as in the days of King Saul and the Prophet Samuel, or King Hezekiah and the Prophet Isaiah.

Right now, Israel is undergoing crystallization and rebirth after two thousand years of exile, and the national leadership is likewise changing from the religious-spiritual leadership which led the nation in the exile, when we had no state or army.

We have switched to political leadership, whose main preoccupations are the existential, military and economic aspects of the State of Israel. In years past, and most particularly in recent times, we bear witness to the renewed strengthening of the religious, spiritual leadership, with tens of thousands of Jews heeding the rabbis more and more. Also, some of the politicians understand that the way to the hearts of the masses must pass via the rabbis.

Indeed, a change has taken place in Israeli society. Vast numbers are returning to tradition, returning to the synagogue, returning to the Sabbath and to the weekly portion, returning to the sources, returning to themselves, and as a result of all this, they are returning to G-d. Also the political leadership, which desires to be elected and which takes public opinion polls in order to sense in which direction the wind is blowing, understands very well that they have to take into account the view of the spiritual leadership. The day is not far off when our nation will return to the natural, normal, state of affairs that existed in Biblical times, when the political leadership will occupy itself not just with existential, military and economic issues, but will take responsibility as well for the spiritual state of the nation. Noble leaders will rise up and will bestow upon us some of their pristine spirit. They will exalt and strengthen the spirit of the people and our eternal heartfelt request will be fulfilled: “Return us to You, O L-rd, and we will return. Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21).




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