27th of Av 5767 11/8/07
From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook
“With great wisdom, with enormous valor, with deep, penetrating insight, with a longing for truth and with clear thought, we must accept the exalted content of the divine light being revealed in a sublime process through the chronicles of our wars.” (Orot 13)
Rabbi Dov Begon – Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir
Message for Today:
G-d lovingly chooses His people Israel.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook was the faithful seer and shepherd of the nation during the generation of national rebirth. This week, on the 3rd of Elul, seventy-two years ago, his lefty, illuminating soul ascended on high.
Rav Kook related to the crisis of Jews abandoning religion in our generation, and he dealt with how to unite the nation and bring them closer to their roots, as well as how to forge a direct path through the tangle of relations between the religious and irreligious. He taught that first we have to delve deeply to clarify Israel’s essence, their strengths and special points. We have to distinguish between Israel’s having chosen G-d, and Israel’s inherent specialness.
Regarding that specialness, it is an inheritance from the patriarchs, and based also on G-d’s having chose them from all the nations. As it says, “You are children of the L-rd your G-d…. You are a nation consecrated to the L-rd your G-d. G-d has chosen you from all nations on the face of the earth to be His own special nation” (Deuteronomy 14:1-2). Rashi comments, “Your own sanctity extends from your forefathers. In addition, G-d has chosen you.” Moreover, Rav Kook writes, “The living light of G-d burns and shines within every single Jew” (Orot Yisrael 9:6).
As Rabbi Meir said, “‘You are children of the L-rd your G-d’: One way or the other, you are called sons. Even when you are foolish, even when you don’t believe; even when you worship idols.” As the Prophet Hoshea said, “Instead of their being told: ‘You are not My people,” they shall be told, ‘You are the children of the living G-d’” (Hoshea 2:1; Kiddushin 36). By contrast, our choosing G-d depends on our doing good deeds and learning Torah. The situation in this regard can change from generation to generation, and from person to person. Yet it will not change in the least the fact that we are sons of the L-rd our G-d. He chooses us in every place and every time with love, as we say in our prayers, “G-d lovingly chooses His people Israel.”
Today, in our generation, the generation of rebirth, of the footsteps of the Messiah, the power of the specialness of the Jewish people is growing stronger and stronger. More and more, the covenant of the patriarchs is being revealed, and that covenant never ceases. The contents of the prayer, “G-d remembers the patriarchs’ loyalty, and he brings a redeemer to their children’s children for the sake of His name, lovingly” is being revealed for all to see, through the ingathering of the exiles, and through the rebuilding of our country, which is developing more and more at great strides.
It is true from the point of view of Israel’s choosing G-d there are some Jews who are blighted by evil deeds and views. Yet they will change and will once more choose goodness, with G-d’s help, and there is no goodness but Torah. As Rav Kook said:
“Loving our fellow Jew is a byproduct of our faith in the divine light of the Jewish people. That light is an inherent characteristic that will never leave the Jewish people. Despite all the vicissitudes of time, it will just become stronger in our midst… Most of all, this lofty love has to be aroused amongst the spiritual elite, at a time when the nation’s spiritual level is declining, when everything holy is being trampled and religion is being ridiculed. At this time, that spiritual elite must make every effort to discern that despite everything, Israel’s spiritual strengths are still enormous. They must gaze at the inner light that penetrates the spirit of the entire nation. That
inner light also abides within every individual Jewish soul openly or in secret, and even in a person who has withdrawn far from G-d’s path.” (Orot Yisrael 4:2)
Looking forward to complete salvation,
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Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
I’ve got a kippah!
I’ve got a kippah.
Day and night,
And I love it.
Lying on the grass,
Or in bed,
It’s on my head.
It’s never on the floor,
Maybe because it’s big,
Or because it’s on well.
It’s always on my head,
Even during army drills.
And, obviously, in battle.
A helmet is also a kippah.
My mother made it.
Or my wife, after the wedding.
I started with it
Practically in my crib.
It’s always there.
And I love it!
I’m proud of it.
‘Cause with it I declare
For all to hear
That there’s a G-d on Earth
And in Heaven – everywhere!
I’m not alone.
I’ve got my kippah.
And above, it, G-d.
Even when I’m – forgive me! –
In not such a good place,
There too I wear it.
‘Cause I’ve got a G-d, always.
Here’s my kippah.
I’ll never forget it.
I’ll always love it.
I’ll always wear it.
All my life!
Rabbi Yoram Eliyahu – Guest Lecturer at Machon Meir
“The Secret of Marital Bliss – Giving”
Regarding the verse, “You shall be happy, you and your household” (Deuteronomy 14:26), the Talmud expounds (Yevamot 62:2): “Rav Tanchum said in the name of Rav Chanilai, ‘Any man who has no wife will suffer a lack from unhappiness, as it says: You shall be happy, you and your household.’ ‘Your household’ connotes your wife.”
Torah Temimah further elucidates: “This implies that it is impossible for an individual truly to rejoice when he is alone.”
There are couples that do not know how to discover this simple, marvelous truth in their married life. They think that perhaps there are other ways to achieve true joy, and they complain, “Before we got married, we were free! We used to have fun!” The Torah therefore teaches that true joy can only be achieved together with one’s wife, one’s “household”.
This idea is likewise taught by the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh by way of a marvelous deduction that he derives from verses in Genesis. When the Torah sums up how long each of the patriarchs lived, it says regarding Abraham, “These are the years of the life of Abraham, who lived…” (Genesis 25:7). Regarding Jacob it says, “Jacob lived” (47:28), and likewise regarding Joseph it says, “Joseph lived” (50:22). By contrast, regarding Isaac it says, “The days of Isaac were…” (35:28). Here, the word “life” is not mentioned. Ohr HaChaim (Genesis 35:28) explains as follows:
“Perhaps it is because from the day that Isaac was born until the Akeidah [the Binding of Isaac] he did not have a wife, and our sages say, ‘One who remains without a wife remains without life’. Starting from the Akeidah, he began to lose his sight (and our sages say that the blind are considered as dead). That is why the Torah did not mention the word ‘life’ in his case.”
In other words, since Isaac’s entire life he was lacking something in the sense of “life”, the Torah did not write the word “life” when it summed up how long he had lived. Now who was as great and as unblemished as our father Isaac? Even so, the entire period in which he remained unmarried could not be defined as “life”.
It is well-known that the way to achieve joy and a quality life is through giving. This foundation is derived from Abraham, that man of kindness. The first kindness that the Torah hints he performed was precisely for his wife, as it says, “From there, he moved on to the mountains east of Bethel. He pitched his tent” (Genesis 12:8). The word “his tent” is written with a “hei” on the end, as though it is saying, “He set up HER tent”, even if it is read “ahalo”, HIS tent. Why did the Torah write it this way?
Here I customarily describe a daily reality in married life. The husband goes out to work in the morning, and after a tiring day, when he is on his way home, he thinks, “I worked so hard, and now I’m coming home. I will rest a bit and my wife will prepare me a cup of coffee,” and he is so happy at this thought.
At home, his wife, too, is finishing a full day, after working and then taking care of the children at home and doing all of the house work. Amidst all her running around to complete here tasks, she looks at her watch and she thinks, “My husband will come home soon and he will make me a cup of coffee, and I’ll be able to rest a bit. How wonderful!”
So who is going to prepare the coffee first? We learn the answer to this from Abraham. Abraham and Sarah go from Elon Moreh to Beit El. Neither of them is a youngster. They are tired, and each is waiting to arrive at the next encampment and to rest. The Torah, with its wording, is teaching us something. As Rashi comments, “first he pitched his wife’s tent and then his own.” This is Abraham’s first kindness. And from building his married life properly, he went on to build the world through kindness. (See the marvelous words of “Meshech Chochmah” on Genesis 35:1, who expands the concept of ‘her tent” to include all of a wife’s needs.)
We have to ask, if he pitched his wife’s tent first, why do we still read it as “his tent”? It would seem that the Torah wanted to hint that “her tent” was concealed within “his tent”. The wife, as well, is commanded to do her proper share towards building the “tent”, Jewish home life, in the proper manner.
Likewise, Rav Eliyahu Dessler in his Kuntress HaChessed (Michtav MeEliyahu, Part I) wrote, “This love is achieved through a couple’s complementing each other… Thus, when each fulfills the other’s needs, it leads to their loving each other… for giving leads to loving. With such love, their entire goal is to give and to increase each other’s pleasure and contentment.”
He adds, “Here is what I always tell a couple at their wedding: ‘Be careful always to strive to bring your spouse the sort of contentment that you feel right now. Moreover, be aware that the moment you start making demands of each other, your bliss will be gone.”
Translation: R. Blumberg