Abraham isaac kook essays online

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According to the latest investigations, [scientific] theory does indeed tend towards determinism. Even so, it is useful and proper to understand that determinism does not contradict the Torah , except when it is limited to the mechanical laws of nature. But when this [sense of compulsion or determinism] is extended [to include all reality], such as all the rules of justice and evil and righteousness and wickedness, and all the developments that improve the moral resolve of human beings — [when it is understood ] that these, too, are [part of] the totality of universal reality, and that these, too, were established by the very same power that underpins the universal laws of the foundations of reality — then we shall fully acquire the profound understanding that, to the true Presence, the Eternal, we may attribute neither free well no compulsion, since He is above such restrictions.

And since the laws of justice are found at the source of reality, and since the laws of justice demand obligations that are incapable of being interpreted except in the presence of a general will for justice and righteousness, it must be that this law is present through compulsion [i. Therefore it is impossible for reality in general to lack that same perfection, which cannot be claimed unless there is free will attending to the welfare of all creatures.

Therefore we know with certainty that when we speak and think in accordance with the impressions that the divine design of free will must make on us by his law, may He be blessed, and we base all our actions and all the feelings of our hearts on this, then we are following the way of truth. But if we speak and think the opposite, and also set the direction of our intellects and feelings and actions so as to align with the idea of necessity [i.

Even in terms of tangible things, we comprehend colours according to the form they generate as a picture [experienced as] our sense of sight; and we comprehend the soft, the hard, the warm, the cold, the light, the heavy, according to what is sensible to us. But do we have any way of describing how all these things are in their own essence? That the Torah story of creation is not [to be understood only] according to its plain meaning, but that it has allegorical depths, has already been argued by Maimonides.

In any case, this [plain meaning] is not a fundamental principle of Torah. Yet here it should be clearly understood that the ways of the new [scientific] enquiries, whose contentions are limited to evolution [and not Torah ], do not constitute any negation whatsoever of the foundations of the Torah , nor of the writings about creation. If, for example, the critic says that since the physical stuff of the earth has evolved over myriads of years then he does not see the hand of God here; and if he further contends: why this length of time, and why did creation not come into existence instantaneously?

We would answer him regarding this with good sense and wisdom, that [the idea of] evolution and the gradual progress in the organization of reality have never problematized our knowledge of God, but that they have rather brought us closer to Him with love and an uplifted soul. We see the causes and effects [of evolution and gradual progress] in action before our eyes each day.

And since we see that they function with a marvellous order and with much wisdom and grace and compassion, we recognise [in them] the One who accomplishes, who gives life to all, and who is the living God, and the source of all wisdom and support, grace and mercy. What is the difference between the evolution of the starry spheres and the worlds over myriads of years, and the evolution of the fetus within its mother over months? All the more so if we consider the processes of evolution through which the organic parts [p. Behold, the age is long and the [evolutionary] process is slow, and it is precisely this that testifies to us the power of God, as these processes move towards a righteous goal.

And it is plain to all those with knowledge of Torah , that the time of creation has not been explained in the Torah except in relatively unimportant way. When we consider [the history of] the creation of our earth from the point where the Torah begins to recount it, we will find that it was without order, and, due to the thick profusion of heavy mists and vapours, it was full of water and darkness. And the first stage was that these mists became slightly less thick, to the extent that some light broke through, but the air was not sufficiently clear for the luminaries to be observed through it.

Therefore, only light was created, as regards our earth, and the actual luminaries are not reckoned to have been created so far as [the biblical account of] our earth is concerned; if a human being had stood on it at that time, he would not have realised that there were luminaries. And following that: the gathering of the waters of the earth to one place and the development of [plant] growth.

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And then: the refining of the air to the extent of allowing the luminaries to be seen clearly, and for human intellectual development so that they could appreciate the motion of the heavenly lights. And only then did the air become fit for living things, and there were created the flying animals that fly where the air is sufficiently fine, and the fish, for which the purity of the air was not so important. Subsequently, when the air was finally purified, it became suitable for the creation of the animals that move on the earth, and of man.

Rav Daniel Segal - Rav Kook [SHIUR #4]

What should be understood is that all was arranged according to an order and an intention and preparation that is conducive for the divine purposes of wisdom and justice, [namely], towards [the goal of] human perfection. But even if we go further in interpreting as an allegory the creation of man, his placement in the Garden of Eden, the giving of the names and the constructing of the rib, there is nothing here in opposition to the foundational truths of the Torah , if the meaning is that, after man developed his high degree of consciousness, his feelings began to develop towards goodness and justice and also towards kindness and beauty, and that he found earth to be a paradise, and that through his own nature and inner feeling, he became conscious of the relationship between himself and his Creator.

His mind found itself in accordance with his inner consciousness — which also grew most vigorously in correlation with the strength of his natural soul [ nefesh ], which had not become unclean through being preoccupied with material needs — and he rightly cleaved to the instinctive knowledge that led him not to stir up his passions too much. And, in fact, this was revealed to him, in accordance with the purity of his natural soul; this moral knowledge accorded closely with [the views of] his intellect and with the full strength of the power of his imagination — for it is in both of them [i.

Only of one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in which he discerned instinctively the power to increase the excitement of his desires and to leave behind his natural peace, [only] from this came the stumbling block of doubting peace and [doubting that] the guide pointed to the righteous way, and [a desire] to test evil to see if it might not be evil, and to turn away from evil only after becoming aware through knowledge and feeling that it was indeed evil.

And from this have followed all the historical developments that have [p. But how many evil things shall he suffer as a result, unfathomably, which were not necessary in the state of natural peace to which he was prepared, to know only goodness[? While absorbed in contemplation, a deep sleep fell over him, and he saw in a vision that the woman who was with him had been taken from his ribs. And this he grasped through the impression made upon him through the vision in his sleep. Since that point, that individual began to become conscious of the value of family life in its purity.

In the state of peace, there is need for neither toil nor the effects of suffering in order to strengthen morality, because truth, justice and the knowledge of God are self-evident and simple notions for anyone who has not breached the wall of natural peace in his soul, and thus neither illness nor death would have been required. The body might have continued to serve the soul until that time when its allotted task was completed, and would then have left it in joy [p.

There would certainly be no human overcrowding. With the abundance brought about by gradual improvement, new ways would be discovered to settle the many stars and numberless worlds. Indeed, when the state of peace was disturbed, the human powers began to break out beyond their boundaries, following the desire for pleasure rather than for natural peace. Then they recognised their nakedness, and began to feel remorse with all its anguish. And the strong feeling and the power of natural reason, which was still alive, together with the imaginative power which was not yet dimmed, meant that prophecy [or direct communication with God] was easily possible; and if, through their natural feeling, they made themselves coverings [Gen.

At that point the distance between the animals and man was established, for he [man] removed himself from them to a great distance by leaving the peace of nature in which they still exist. And it became necessary for the state of women to change, so as to restrict the increase in the disturbance of peace by the desire for ephemeral pleasure, and it became necessary for the burden of life to be very heavy, and with death — also necessary — to put an end, at any rate, to this unnatural state.

And through their increase in knowledge and consciousness, God made them coats of skins by His hand [Gen. But this road of healing was to be very long, and laden with very great suffering. Now, this transition was undertaken by one species of all the living creatures, in that it improved itself in such a manner that it became worthy of being called a human being.

Early career

While not a biography per se, when god becomes history: historical essays of rabbi abraham isaac hakohen kook kodesh press. MA Study Opportunities. Judaica Collection. However, in fact, many famous vegetarians have also been great humanitarians, concerned about improving conditions for people as well as animals. This echoes the words of our sages in the Talmudic discussion of the laws of damages: "A human being is always considered dangerous mu'ad, literally "forewarned" , whether inadvertently or intentionally, whether asleep or awake. This article possibly contains original research.

And these spiritual reasons caused a great breach to be made between him and the other living things. And this individual is historic man, whose history the Torah recounts from this point onwards with total accuracy. The essence of the Torah is only that we recognise that all the great changes — since [p. And all has been prepared in advance, [that is,] the power of the soul [ nefesh ] and the preparation for prophecy, and the possibility of miracles at their appropriate time, for every age in accordance with the need to perfect the human soul and life.

And it is only through lack of understanding that the perplexed of our generation think that the theory of evolution according to Kant, Laplace, and Darwin, and other scholars of this time, will bring with it the destruction of the Torah , God forbid. Our holy Torah , in its entirety, with all its historical traditions and teachings [ kabbalah ] will not be shaken in the slightest by any criticism. And if rational discernment confirms the truth of those [evolutionary] hypotheses, and all the more so if they produce decisive proof, it will only help in elucidating aspects of the story of creation found in the Torah in terms compatible with reason.

But the historical truth and the knowledge of God, and with it the duty to observe the entire Torah in every detail, will not be obliged to change even slightly due to the impact of the new knowledge and enquiries.

Abraham Isaac Kook Essays

On the contrary, they will widen knowledge still further, and expand the concepts of the knowledge of God and love for Him and awe of Him, and will increase the desire to follow goodness and justice which are the ways of God, with great benefit. To sum up, even though the theory of the most recent philosophers and researchers does not yet represent an unavoidable challenge, [yet,] this generation is turning towards their theories, which appear to be valid according to certain recent experiments and proofs, and they [the theories] have already succeeded in destroying the faith of Torah in the hearts of erring youngsters, and of all the people with similar weakness of understanding and lack of proper discernment.

And the ways of perfecting human righteousness are the supreme goal of reality, which is continually being built in accordance with all ways of life, and with the progress of history in general, and the history of the people of Israel in particular. Bergman, Samuel Higo. New York: Cornwall Books, Cherry, Michael Shai. Cherry, Shai. Kook, Abraham Isaac. Orot Ha-Kodesh [Lights of Holiness]. Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, , Orot Ha-Teshuvah [Lights of Penitence]. Shemonah Kevatzim [Eight Notebooks].

Abraham isaac kook essays

Jerusalem: n. London: SPCK, New York: Amity House, Letters of Rav Kook [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, Kook, Abraham Isaac, and Boaz Ofen, eds. Jerusalem: Makhon le-Hotzaat Ginzei ha-Reayah, Langton, Daniel. Ross, Tamar. Email: cjs manchester. Alex Samely. Administrator: Laura Mitchell. If you wish to be kept informed of the Centre's activities and events, please subscribe to the emailing list.

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The Centre. Staff and Fellows. Journals Melilah Journal. Journal of Semitic Studies. William T. Alistair Kee ed.

Erdiness, Rabbi M. See Ravitzky note 16 , chap.

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See Aran note 3. In contrast to them, Dov Schwartz maintains that there is a profound affinity between Rav Kook and the ideological circle that grew up around him.

Abraham Isaac Kook

On the impact of the Holocaust on R. See also R. On Gush Emunim movement and its tremendous impact on Israeli politics and society there is an extensive literature. Melamed ed. The major articles of R. The supporters of R. Tau, who objected to this move, magnified this debate to cosmic proportions. If in its early days the Merkaz world was already drawn to the metaphysical depth inherent in historical processes, now this approach was carried to the extreme. Hanan Idelstein Jerusaelm, On these changes in the conception of broad circles in the Merkaz world, of which R.

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Advanced search. Journal homepage. Pages Published online: 15 Nov Additional information Notes 1. Translated in Orot , trans. For a detailed account on Rabbi Zvi Yehuda see Aran note 3 , chap.