Post election tribute to Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook zts"l

As votes are counted, we should recall Rav Tzvi Yehuda's words: 'The building of Eretz Yisrael is accomplished by every segment of the Nation.' Op-ed.

Tzvi Fishman ,

Hiking the Land of Israel
Hiking the Land of Israel
Israelnews photo: a7

While all of the votes in the latest election have not yet been counted, the Religious Zionist (Dati Leumi or Dati Tzioni in Hebrew) community in Israel has reason to be pleased with the results. Since many Religious Zionists vote for the Likud, Shas, Blue and White, United Torah, and other parties, the fourteen-or-so seats garnered by Smotrich and Bennett don’t reveal the true size and strength of the Dati-Leumi community, whose ideology is based on the spiritual inspirations of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook and his son, HaRav Tzvi Yehuda, who was born on Seder Night.

After the Six-Day War, it was the students of HaRav Tzvi Yehuda who founded the Jewish communities (aka "settlements) in Judea and Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan. His students also established the myriad of yeshivot, ulpanot, and the Dati-Leumi educational system which produces the ideological and spirited young people who adhere to the foundations of Torat Eretz Yisrael, which HaRav Tzvi Yehuda termed, “HaTorah HaGoelet” – the Torah of Redemption. And it was his students, Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed and Yaacov Katz (“Ketzele”) who founded Arutz 7, an important beacon of Religious Zionism.

In honor of HaRav Tzvi Yehuda, here are just a few of his teachings, taken from my soon-to-be-published book, “Like Father, Like Son.”

*“My Father said that since groundless hatred caused the destruction of the Second Temple, to bring about the Temple’s rebuilding, we have to increase unlimited love. This love is not dependent on anything. It is like God’s unconditional love for Israel. This love exists regardless of any shortcomings in the beloved, or without any conditions that have to be met. Even with all of the deficiencies and imperfections in people, love must be total. There can be great differences in personalities, or disagreements in learning, or debates over the right thing to do, but true Ahavah (love) transcends all of this and surrounds all of the Jewish People, like the eternal love of God for His people.”

*“The Geula (Redemption) stands in contrast to the Galut, our exile from the Land of Israel. Geula is the opposite of Galut. What is Galut? An aberration. For instance, in our normal state, we need to be here, the entire Nation of Israel in the Land of Israel. And all of Eretz Yisrael needs to be in our possession. Baruch Hashem, the Lord’s blessing is now shining upon us, increasing, little by little, in gradual stages: immigration, Statehood, victory in wars, more Aliyah, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, economic boom, and the like. The process unfolds in natural stages. Just as Hashem can bring the Redemption through miracles, He can do it without miracles, in a simpler way, through a natural process, via the conquest, settlement, and development of Eretz Yisrael. The Redemption which is unfolding before us now, which we can clearly see with our eyes, appears in stages – not all at once.”

*“The Jerusalem Talmud teaches that the Redemption comes about, ‘Little by little, like the dawning of the day,’ (Berachot 1:1). The Redemption unfolds in gradual stages. As major step in the process is the establishment of Jewish sovereignty of Eretz Yisrael. Until our time, it was not clear how this would occur. Now, thank God, it is crystallizing and progressing before our eyes. The days of Mashiach encompass a great number of stages, as our Sages reveal in the expression, ‘Two thousand years of Mashiach’ (Sanhedrin 97A and B). This is also implied in the expression which we say toward the end of the Shacharit prayer, ‘The years of Mashiach.’

"The ingathering of the exiles, and the restoration of Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael – Medinat Yisrael – are clear steps in the process and revelations of Mashiach. The revelation of the Exile’s end began to appear with the settlement of the early moshavim, as our Sages teach, ‘There is nothing more revealing of the end of the Exile than this, as the Prophet says, ‘But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My People Israel, for they will soon be coming’ (Ezekiel, 36:8). Rashi explains, ‘When Eretz Yisrael gives forth her fruits in abundance, the end of the Exile is near, and there is no surer sign of the end of the Exile than this’ (Sanhedrin 98A).

"This is clearly happening today. We see the blessing on the Land and on her fruits – grapes, bananas, oranges – each day we hear of greater agricultural success. Just yesterday, the Land was a desert, and today we export fruits to all the world! This is a quiet miracle of the days of Mashiach. We have to accustom ourselves to see this as the work of Hashem. Likewise, with the great immigration of our People and the restoration of Jewish sovereignty over our Land – these are all aspects of Mashiach orchestrated by the Master of the World, the Causes of Causes. The restoration unfolds every day. The Master of the Universe is not idle, God forbid. Today, we are in the middle of the road, in spite of all the complications which will all be worked out over time.

"Medinat Yisrael is the statehood of the days of Mashiach, which begins with revealed events and concludes with hidden matters like the revival of the dead. There is no contradiction between these two facets of our Redemption, the revealed and the secret. For we are dealing with our unique Divine Nation, with the Statehood of Am Yisrael, a normal State which must weather the all sorts of trials, and with this, a State where prophets will once again roam. The Redemption doesn’t only evolve through obvious miracles. We also experience the quiet miracles of a desert land yielding bushels and bushels of fruit, of cities built on sand dunes and swamps, and of a Nation reborn in the ancient Land. All of this is a part of Mashiach. And it is happening now.”

*“The time has come to return home. Whether we want to or not; whether we recognize this truth, or whether we want to run away from it. ‘And I will bring them back to their Land,’ (Ezekiel, 36:22). Hashem has decided that the time has arrived. Even if this requires the most unpleasant means, Heaven forbid, with Hashem’s anger poured out, the time has come to return to our country, and to our special air. However, when we return, we must realize that our restoration is not happenstance. This is not a coincidental shaping of history. Rather, we must see Hashem’s guiding Hand and His Divine ordering of events, for what they are – the fulfillment of, ‘When the Lord brings back the captivity of Zion,’” (Tehillim, 126:1).

*“Because of our long Exile amidst the impurity of the Gentile nations, we have become accustomed to think that our life of Exile is normal, and we forget that Eretz Yisrael is our natural, healthy, Divinely-intended place. We need to foster the understanding, and the feeling, that we must live in Israel, that this is our normal place, in terms of religion, and in terms of our Nationhood. If we are not here, we are unhealthy. And from time to time, the Gentiles forcibly remind us that we are living in their domain, in an alien land.”

*“We must not forget that the Gentile nations do us a favor by allowing us to stay in their lands – until they expel us. One must realize that we are on foreign soil there. It is not our society, nor culture, nor government. Nothing is ours. Only in Israel are we at home, with family, living according to our own customs, and our uniquely Jewish year; living in the holy place designed for our Kedusha, for our psychological health, and even for our physical wellbeing. We must return to health, and turn away from unhealthy, polluted places, from environments which are sometimes so polluted and disorientating that one forgets who he truly is, and thinks that it is normal to live among the Gentiles.”

*“Today, the first obligation before us is the ingathering of the exiles, from all of the lands of the Diaspora, and the ingathering of every Jew, whether he is healthy or ill, whether he believes in the Torah or denies it. Being a Jew today comes with the basic requirement to be in Eretz Yisrael. Every Jew who makes Aliyah brings back to Zion a part of the exiled Shechinah. Every additional Jew who comes to Israel to live, and every additional tree which is planted in the soil of Eretz Yisrael, is another spiritual stage and step of the Geula – in the very same way that every additional piece of Torah which is learned, and every new yeshiva that is built, is another stage in the returning of Hashem’s Divine Presence to Zion.”

*“Just as the stones used in building the Beit HaMikdash were not sanctified until after the building was complete, so too the building of Eretz Yisrael is accomplished by every segment of the Nation, by the righteous and the less righteous. We build with the non-holy, with all of the complications and difficulties inherent in this, and little by little, all of the assorted problems shall vanish, and the Sanctification of Hashem shall appear in stronger and stronger light.”

Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."

Tzvi Fishman books
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