Page 135 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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T HE WR I T I N G S OF RAV ABRAHAM
I SAAC K OO K ל ״ צ ז
B y
L
eonard
B .
G
ew irtz
W
ITHOUT violating the essence of Rav Kook's cardinal
concept,
Ihud ,
the unification of polarities, we shall divide
his many writings into geographical-chronological periods, there-
by bringing out a thematic emphasis in the writings but not in
his thinking and living. His later writings were no doubt in a
seminal process at an earlier period. All, however, reflect the
wholeness
of his thought and the organic-dynamic inter-relation-
ship of its every aspect.
In a mystic and “whole" thinker like Rav Kook,
becoming
and
being
are metaphysically intertwined. Concern is manifested for
the individual and society, for
K la l Yisrael
and humanity, the
whole reality under God, each related to Him and to each other.
All are commented upon in one paragraph, in one essay, one
thought, one poem.
Payrud,
separation, deforms reality.
Whole-
ness is holiness.
Wholeness is reality in
being
and
becoming.
This
understanding of and response to reality in Rav Kook explains
why in style and construction he is not a systematic (Greek)
thinker but a prophetic (Hebrew) expounder of
pensee
and epi-
grams.
First European Period
— 1888 to 1904
Rav Kook was born Ellul 15, 5625 (1865), and died Ellul 3,
5695 (1935).
After a thorough traditional training in the
Yeshivot
of Griba,
Smargon (Latvia), and Wolozin (Russia) where he studied for a
year and a half, he became the rabbi of Zaimel, Lithuania, in
1888. At the age of twenty-two he began his career in writing and
in the rabbinate. He wrote
T o ldo t Ha-Netziv,
about the
Rosh
Yeshivah
of Wolozin; and
I t tu r Sofrim,
his own monthly publica-
tion which he edited. In the former he pointed out that the
N e tz iv
(Naftali Tzvi Berlin) “sustained with all his strength
the belief in
Yishuv Artzenu Ha-Kedoshah.”
In the latter he
stressed the unification of all segments and groupings of the then
existing Jewry.
Significantly, he demonstrated at the very outset the need for
a new terminology to express his ideas of unity, return and re­
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