Monthly Archives: January 2007

Thoughts On Love From Rav Kook – Part 2

Rav Kook had some profound, awe inspiring words to say about the theme of Ahavah. Here are some excerpts that I found while reading a fantastic sefer by HaRav David Samson “Torat Eretz Yisrael – The teachings of HaRav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook”.

Read, be inspired and spread the light (Orot)!

The Ahava of mankind requires substantial effort in order to attains its appropriate station of constantly filing every aspect of life. This comes in opposition to the superficial view which arises, at first glance, upon a cursory investigation of Torah and conventional ethics, which seem contradictory to this Ahava, or at best, apathetic to it. The most exalted level of Ahavah for mankind must encompass the love of the individual, and includes every person, regardless of all of the differences of religion and belief, race and locale. One must endeavor to understand fully the mentalities of the various peoples and communities, to study, as thoroughly as possible, their characteristics and attributes, in order to know how to base human love on practical foundations.

Only a person rich in Ahavah for mankind, and for each individual man, can attain a love for his own nation in its most noble dimension, and for its spiritual and material grandeur. The myopic vision, which views everything outside the boundaries of a particular nation, even that which is outside the boundaries of Yisrael, as ugly and impure, is a part of the awful darkness which causes the utter destruction of the universal spiritual goodness which every sensitive soul longs to see:

(Midot HaRiyah, Ahavah, 10. HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook)
{Footnote 97, Pg 86, “Torat Eretz Yisrael”- HaRav David Samson}

My father ZT”L said that since groundless hatred (Sinat Chinam), caused the destruction of the Second Temple, we must increase unconditional Ahavah (Ahavat Chinam), to bring about the Temples rebuilding. This Ahavah isn’t dependent on anything. It is like Hashem’s love for Israel, which is an eternal Brit. Ahavat Chinam doesn’t aspire to attain an added level of Divine service, or to do a good deed. Ahavat Chinam comes when there are no personal advancements to be won. This Ahavah exists regardless of any shortcomings in the beloved, and without any conditions that have to be met. Even with all of the deficiencies and imperfections in people, Ahavah must be total. And let none of your device evil in your hearts against his neighbor. There can be great differences in personalities, or disagreements in learning, or debate over the right thing to do, but, true Ahavah transcends all of this, and surrounds all of the Children of Israel. This is the eternal love of Hashem for his people.

(Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, pg 63, “Torat Eretz Yisrael")

Chok L’Yisrael

There are many different  learning cyclces that are out there whether Amud Yomi, Daf Yomi, Mishna Yomi, Rambam Yomi, etc. Which program is appropriate for you really depends on what you hope to achieve and how much time you have available. For myself, personally, I prefer breadth over depth, bekiut over biyun. For that reason I have to recommend the Chok L’Yisrael learning program for anyone who wish to achieve mastery over large portions of Torah.

What is Chok L’Yisrael?

Chok L’Yisrael is a daily learning program, with the core text being the parsha of the week along with the commentary of Rashi. The daily portion of Rashi is not structured according to aliyot, but according to a number of pesukim which varies each day. The number of pesukim learnt based on a kabbalistic number system which I do not have direct knowledge of. This is followed by a portion of Neviim, Ketuvim, A perek of Mishna, A sugya in Shas, Zohar (for those on the level), halacha (from Shulchan Aruch or Rambam’s Mishne Torah), and some mussar (taken from various seforim and ethical treatises). The accompaning sections of Torah are intented to be relavant to the portion of Chumash Rashi.