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“From the World of Rav Kook”
“The whole essence of the patriarchal covenant that never ceases even when patriarchal merit ceases derives from Israel’s chosenness. In the footsteps of the Messiah, that chosenness will increase. It will be reflected in ‘G-d’s remembering the patriarchs’, loyalty, and bringing a redeemer to their children’s children, lovingly for the sake of His name.” (Igrot HaRe’iyah, 555)

Rabbi Dov Begon – Founder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “Education That Bears Fruit”

“If you follow My laws and are careful to keep My commandments, I will provide you with rain at the right time, so that the land will bear its crops and the trees of the field will provide fruit” (Leviticus 26:3-4). Rashi comments: “‘If you follow My laws’: If you study Torah diligently, then ‘the trees will provide fruit’ – even shade trees will bear fruit. Conversely, ‘if you do not listen to Me… and you instead denigrate My decrees’ (ibid., 26:14-15), then ‘your land will not yield its crops, and the trees of the land will not produce fruit’ (verse 20).”
It is well-known that man is compared to a tree. Some people are compared to the “tree of the field,” i.e., shade trees. They have little talent, intelligence or self-esteem. They are unsuccessful in life. They “bear little fruit.” Other people are compared to the “tree of the land,” i.e., the fruit tree. That type of person is blessed with talent and high potential, and seemingly should be headed for success.
The Torah informs us that even if an adult or child is a “shade tree,” if he toils diligently to study Torah, he will turn into a “tree of the land,” a fruit-bearing tree. Conversely, if someone is more the “fruit-bearing tree,” if he does not toil to study Torah, he will turn into a barren shade tree, or his fruit will fall off his tree early. The key to a person’s success is not just his natural talents, but more especially the degree to which he is privileged to toil at Torah learning.
Today, the State of Israel is investing 25 billion shekels [5.8 billion US dollars] each year in education. Yet sometimes one gets the feeling that its education system is barren, both in moral and spiritual terms, and in terms of its general intellectual achievements. The way for that education to “bear fruit,” in terms of producing a visible change in pupils’ moral behavior and the way they relate to their fellow man, their parents, their people and their land, is for those pupils to study Torah diligently. Torah is the “tree of life for those who grasp it” (Proverbs 3:18). It grants life to the whole society and to the individual.
We have to effect a major change in education in the State of Israel. We have to return to Judaism, to return to study of our holy Torah, to return to our roots. Then, through us will be fulfilled the prophet’s words: “As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says the L-rd: My spirit it is which shall be upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your children, nor from the mouth of your children’s children, says the L-rd, henceforth and forever” (Isaiah 59:20).
Shabbat Shalom!

HELP SAVE GUSH KATIF! : an excellent site for information about Gush Katif and the thousands of Jews living there, and what you can do to help. Visit the site; send a link to everyone you know!

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
“Love is the Way”

Question: You are always talking “love,” and forbidding everyone to be aggressive and violent. But why not? Why not a civil war? With them violating major Torah axioms? Was there no civil war over the concubine at Geeva? (Judges 19-20). You always say, “Without raising a fist, without mocking, without rancor, without war, without cursing, without resentment.” Certainly I am for love as well, but maybe precisely sending shockwaves and causing some trauma will bring us to love. Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, as well, would sometimes express himself very severely. “Settling in the hearts” has not proven itself. Quite the contrary, it is because of love that we are losing!
Answer: You say, “Because of love we are losing.” But who is this “we”? You classify a group and call them “we”. I always thought that “we” was the Jewish People. When there is no love, “we”, the Jewish People, lose. When there is strife between a father and mother, it doesn’t matter who wins. It doesn’t matter who is right. The family always loses. The children always lose.
Therefore, I do not want to answer your question about the concubine at Geeva. Don’t you know what a profanation of G-d’s name is? Reread Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook’s article “Leshever Bat Ami” [The Hurt of the Daughter of My People]. There he writes that the worst sacrilege is not idolatry but strife between brothers. What was happening in his times? There were quarrels between different factions that reached their climax when a gathering was disturbed by violence (Ma’amarei HaReiyah 554). Rav Kook calls this “the abominable result of a despicable civil war, so mindless and uncivilized, so wild and cruel” (Ibid., 365).
Certainly Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook would sometimes speak in a very severe manner. Yet his utterances were dipped in a sea of love, hence they were well-received by those who heard them. It is like Torah law, which is only well-received when it comes from those who are known to love the listeners (See Orach Chaim 608:1, Biur Halachah on the Rama: Entry: “Chayav Lehochicho”.)
One time Rav Tzvi Yehuda said on television: “If they come and take it by force, I don’t think that’s right. Obviously, with our army, we don’t want confrontations (“HaMe’orot HaGedolim,” a CD devoted to Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook and his son Rav Tzvi Yehuda). Here is not the place to explain in detail just what he meant, but his concern over the unity of the people is clear.
Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriah once said, in reference to the Sinai withdrawal: “We are against civil war. Stopping the withdrawal is meant to prevent Jews dying tomorrow and the day after, and it mustn’t be that it should cause the death of Jews today. Civil war is worse than all the withdrawals, and we shall do all in our power so that Jew doesn’t lift his hand against Jew. This demonstration, as well, must show full respect for the law. We must do nothing illegal; nothing without the consent of the Israeli police.” (“Chevlei Yamit,” Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriah, zt”l; “Bein Netiya La’akira, Rabbanit Tzila Bar-eli, page 21)
“Political activism? Yes. Demonstrations? Yes. Shouting, reading and writing? Yes! Violence? No. There is no forgiveness at all for someone who throws a single stone at the head of a soldier. Even to shout insults at Israeli soldiers is forbidden, let alone to raise a fist. These are illegitimate, forbidden acts of the most grave sort. Even if a soldier hurts you, you have to press your two hands hard against your body, with all your strength, and not react.” (Ibid., 23).
Yet let me be the one to reassure you: there is not going to be any civil war. That’s all just groundless talk, some of it by those who advocate the “balance of fear” approach, and some of it by those who wish to harm the settlers’ image. Thank G-d, we are a people full of love. Certainly there are exceptions, but they are not significant enough to drag us into such a tragedy. They are a small minority, and the two sides will work arm in arm to prevent this minority from sowing their evil. You, as well, my friend, must repent. Don’t confuse friends with enemies. As for your saying that “settling the hearts” has not proven itself, you are deluded and you delude others. You don’t know the reality. Yet even if you were right, loving your fellow Jew is not some trick for the sake of Yesha [Judea and Samaria], as though the Jewish People existed only for Yesha’s sake. Loving your fellow Jew has intrinsic worth. It is lofty and noble, and besides that, it brings much blessing.

Be sure to catch Rabbi David Samson’s weekly Torah insight on “Israeli Salad” at (produced in cooperation with Machon Meir).

Rabbi Elisha Aviner – Education Corner
“They Didn’t Treat One Another With Respect” (Part 2)

Our “not treating one another with respect” is a disease that takes different forms in each generation. Recently, there has been a sharp rise in the show of mutual disrespect thanks to the Internet. The Internet enables us to disseminate written material and to react to it. In the Internet news sites, articles and news stories are published, and whoever wishes is eligible to respond. The reactions are published beneath the article, sometimes in the dozens and sometimes in the hundreds. Some of the responses are relevant and respectable, reasoned and logical. Yet under cover of anonymity, many take advantage of the right to respond freely in order to curse and to hurl invective, to denigrate and to libel, to mock and to defame. Those responding libel the author, or the personages mentioned in the news item. If a sociologist were asked to draw a profile of Israeli society based on the responses of Internet surfers, he would quickly arrive at the startling, frightening conclusion that our society is composed of a pack of vacuous, coarse hot-heads. No phenomenon in Israeli society so expresses the psychological corruption of our “not showing one another respect” as the style of responses in the Internet. To our chagrin, religious society does not stand back, but joins in with these inferior norms.
Whose fault is this? It is very clear that the writers themselves are. Each of them bears personal responsibility for his inferior writing style. Yet they all share a senior partner: the Internet. The Internet has created a new detrimental norm. It has developed and encouraged that norm, buttressed and confirmed it. In every society there are inferior people who look for ways to belittle their fellow man and to benefit from their disgrace. Yet society at large does not view this approach approvingly and does not facilitate it. Now the Internet has come along and loosened the reins, providing legitimacy to an insulting style, and to disrespect. It has created a new, detrimental social norm.
Even when a renowned scientist, researcher or philosopher publicizes a learned article in his field of expertise on the Internet, all sorts of little foxes can come along and publicize sneering responses, as though they are his equal. Even rabbis enjoy no immunity on the Internet. Every time a rabbi publicizes his spiritual or halachic stand on an issue, even if he is amongst the greatest rabbis of the generation, and even if he is the guiding authority for thousands of disciples, it arouses that band of little foxes who are displeased by that rabbi’s position, and they attack him and bark at him as though he were the lowest scoundrel.
In Sotah 49b we are informed of the events: “In the footsteps of the Messiah, insolence will increase… youths will insult their elders. Elders will rise before children… the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog… a son will not feel ashamed before his father” (Sotah 49b). Being insolent is the opposite of showing respect. There is no respect shown for wisdom, nor for old age, nor within the family. Maharal (Chidushei Agadot) views this as the destruction of the established social order. In the footsteps of the Messiah, “there will be no order in the world.” Rather, chaos will reign. The destruction of the old order heralds a new order.
The approach of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook is different. Rav Kook finds a positive role for the insolence of the “footsteps of the Messiah”: the rehabilitation of the Jewish boldness that had been blotted out in the exile. This boldness and insolence are a reaction of the exilic fear, and their function is to make the Jewish People healthy (Orot, page 82).
Make no mistake. The insolence that Rav Kook is talking about has no connection to the inferior, corrupt norms that are accepted regarding Internet responses. Those responses are not a sign of Israeli health, but of moral corruption. They add no health or strength to the Jewish nation. Rather, they eat away at it and increase its spiritual destruction and psychological devastation.
The first to encourage these verbal outbursts were the television programs in which a number of speakers participated, debating amongst themselves before the viewers. Not much mutual respect reigned between them. Now, the Internet makes it possible for anyone to burst out against his fellow man.
It would be appropriate to halt the practice of allowing Internet surfers to respond to articles and news items. The Jewish People do not need this additional free speech. What they need is additional respect for one another. Sympathy, encouragement, generous compliments – that is what Israeli society needs – not more technological means of sparring verbally. Numerous youths are involved in writing mocking replies. An entire generation has grown up on the inferior norms of the Internet that encourage one not to show others respect. It is hard to predict how that generation will look. How will they function in civilian life? What sort of society will they succeed in building? Therefore, we should take pity on our sons and daughters and distance them from this evil style.

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