"Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio--I mean Rav Kook--a nation turns its lonely eyes to you...&qu
I've recently found myself doing a bit of research about Rav Kook (1865-1935), the first Ashenazi Chief Rabbi in the Holy Land in modern times, and one of those rabbis who it seems that every Jewish sect, stream, and philosophy claims to be one of their own. Rav Kook was a uniter, and in light of the current upheaval happening around the globe, and the back-and-forth dialogues/demagoguery we see on the news and in social media trying to interpret and make sense of the geo-political situation and promote certain policies of how to destroy the threat of radical Islam, I feel it's appropriate to take a step back and look at the bigger picture--one that goes even further than foresight and strategic thinking can take us. To this end, I am pasting below a snipit from an article in Tikkun Magazine written by Rabbi Yitzchak Marmorstein, which is talking about Rav Kook. But before reading this piece, do not misunderstand my motives. I am not calling for us to lay down our guns and give a giant hug to those who seek to destroy us. But I do think that Rav Kook brings here a sophisticated, thought-provoking vision, definitely worth sharing at this moment in history:
In 1908, [Rav Kook] wrote a letter calling for the reconciliation of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. He explained that the Torah records Yaakov, saying upon his emotional reunion with his twin brother/enemy, Esau, "I have seen you; it is like seeing the face of Elokim" (Genesis 33:10).
Rav Kook continued:
"The words of Yaakov shall not go down as a vain utterance. The brotherly love of Esau and Yaakov, of Itzchak and Ishmael, will rise above all the "mehumot"—disturbances ... and transform them to "or ve'chesed olam"—universal light and compassion" (Letters 1:112).
Jewish tradition explains that the feud between Yaakov and Esau is the prototype for the hostility between Jews and Christians and that the history of Itzchak and Ishmael seeded the tension between Jews and Muslims. At the beginning of our return to the land, Rav Kook called for the core of love that exists between each brother and sister to re-emerge:
"This broad understanding [that we are all actually brothers and sisters each reflecting Divinity] must be our guide in all our ways in the end of days ... turning the bitter to sweet and darkness to light" (Letters 1:112).
His entire life and thought was dedicated to tikkun, to directing life toward the light of harmony:
"When love-possessed people see the world, living creatures full of quarrels, hatred, persecution and conflicts, they yearn with all their being to share in those aspirations that move life toward wholeness and unity, peace and tranquility.... They want that every particular shall be preserved and developed and that the collective whole shall be united and abounding in peace" (Notebook1:101).