Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook (1865–1935) was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar. He was one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century.
- The pure righteous do not complain of the dark, but increase the light; they do not complain of evil, but increase justice; they do not complain of heresy, but increase faith; they do not complain of ignorance, but increase wisdom.
- Arpilei Tohar (1914), p. 2.
- Our generation is wonderful generation, full of wonder. It's very hard to find an example of it in all our history. Composed of contradictions — light and darkness mixed.
- Ma'amar Hador.
- When the spirit shines, even foggy skies make pleasant light.
- Meged Yerachim.
- The free movement of the moral impulse to establish justice for animals generally and the claim of their rights from mankind are hidden in a natural psychic sensibility in the deeper layers of the Torah. In the ancient value system of humanity … the moral sense had risen to a point of demanding justice for animals. … Just as the democratic aspiration will reach outward through the general intellectual and moral perfection … so will the hidden yearning to act justly towards animals emerge at the proper time. What prepares the ground for this state is the commandments, those intended specifically for this area of concern. There is indeed a hidden reprimand between the lines of the Torah in the sanction to eat meat.
- "Fragments of Light: A View as to the Reasons for the Commandments," in The Lights of Penitence, The Moral Principles, Lights of Holiness, Essays, Letters, and Poems, trans. Ben Zion Bokser (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), pp. 317-318.
- Orot [Lights].
- The redemption continues. The redemption from Egypt and the complete redemption of the future are one unending action: the action of the strong hand and outstretched arm, which began in Egypt and works though all eventualities. Moses and Elijah are redeemers in a single redemption; the beginner and the ender, the opener and closer together fill the unit. The spirit of Israel hears the sound of the movements, the redemptive actions, brought about through all eventualities until the sprouting of redemption will be complete, in all its plentitude and [goodness].
- The delight of the Torah is ignited by an inner awareness. A man begins to sense the great tapestry of each letter and point. Every concept and content, every notion and idea, of every spiritual movement, of every vibration, intellectual and emotional, from the immediate and general to the distant and detailed, from matters lofty, spiritual, and ethical according to their outward profile, to matters practical, obligatory, seemingly frightening, and forceful, and at the same time complex and full of content and great mental exertion — all together become known by a supernal holy awareness.
- We are great and our faults are great and therefore our problems great and great are our consolations.
- Orot Hatchiah 5.
- A tiny remnant of a big thing is better than a whole little thing.
- Orot Hatchiah 14.
- The difference between the Jewish soul, in all its independence, inner desires, longings, character and standing, and the soul of all the Gentiles, on all of their levels, is greater and deeper than the difference between the soul of a man and the soul of an animal, for the difference in the latter case is one of quantity, while the difference in the first case is one of essential quality.
- Orot Yisrael, Ch. 5, article 10, p. 156; as quoted in "The Distinction between Jews and Gentiles in Torah" by Rabbi David Bar Chaim
- The dissimilarity between the Jewish soul, in all its independence, inner desires, longings, character and standing vis-à-vis the soul of all the Gentiles — on all of their levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between the soul of a man and the soul of an animal, for the difference in the latter case is one of quantity, while the difference in the first case is one of essential quality
- It is forbidden for religious behavior to compromise a personal, natural, moral sensibility. If it does, our fear of heaven is no longer pure. An indication of its purity is that our nature and moral sense becomes more exalted as a consequence of religious inspiration. But if these opposites occur, then the moral character of the individual or group is dismissed by religious observance, and we have certainly been mistaken in our faith.
- Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865–1935) by Prof. Eliezer Segal
- Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook at jewishvirtuallibrary.org
- Time-line of Rav Kook's life
- Rav Kook biographical video
- Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook at Ou.org
- Selected Teachings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook (and others) at orot.com
- Introduction to the Thought of Rav Kook at vbm-torah.org
- Teachings of Rav Kook on Torah, Holidays, and Psalms at ravkooktorah.org
- Rav Kook and Rav Shlomo Elyashev zt'l ("Leshem")
- Videos of Rav Kook's poetry