Page 139 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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G
ew ir t z
— R
a v
A
b r a h a m
I
s a a c
K
o o k
concentrated, in the time that could be spared from his busy
Chief Rabbinate, on the three herculean intellectual tasks referred
to above.
In 1932 he completed the
Halakah Berurah,
which was begun
in 1920, and which contains sixty manuscript volumes on the
whole of the Babylonian Talmud. Only one manuscript was pub-
lished, on
Betzah
m 1941. The others still await publication. The
Rav also began the
Halakah Berurah
on the Jerusalem Talmud;
and he compiled some examples on various subjects for the
B irur
Halakah,
but could not find sufficient time to finish it. He began
work on the third project in Jaffa; he called it
Be’er Eliyahu,
and
completed the first section of the
Hoshen M ishpat.
Throughout his rabbinical career he accumulated copious re-
sponsa literature, which was published posthumously in 1937,
under the title
M ishpa t Kohen.
Special attention is given to
M itzvo t Ha -Te luyo t Ba-Aretz.
He also collected a voluminous
correspondence, the first volume of which was published in 1920.
His literary executors have also published posthumously his com-
mentary on the
S iddur
and on
P iu tim ,
a second volume of
Igro t,
and his poetry, which conveys his metaphysics, his conception of
the universe, the nature of man, his theory of nationalism, the
mystique
of Jewish history, and similar ideas. His disciples have
begun to collect, reexamine and rearrange his writings in a sys-
tematic manner, so that the student may be helped to under-
stand his teachings.
From this cursory review of the writings of Rav Kook, it is
evident that he was prodigiously creative in a variety of literary
media—pamphlets; philosophic tomes; commentaries on the Tal-
mud, the
Siddur,
the
Shulhan Aruk; halakic
and
agadic
com-
mentary; responsa; poetry; correspondence—all written in a rich,
magnificent modern Hebrew. One critic refers to him as a leading
stylist of modern Hebrew; certainly, his writings will guide the
perplexed for generations to come.