Is this why the Geula is delayed?

This never ceases to shake me up. I did a nice wedding last night. There were  a number of members of the local Adass Israel congregation present. Most were the modern/litvish type but a number were your run of the mill hungarian chassidim from Adass. They are unmistakeable because they stare. They stare and stare at you. Their kids stare at you. Only their wives don’t stare, but that’s because you can’t see 🙂

I went outside to have a breather during the main course (and to hear the cricket score) and two young guys, probably abut 25 years of age were standing nearby. I asked them what type of chassidim they were: the first was Satmar and the second was Munkacz. I asked the Satmar guy if he had read any of the rejoinders to ויואל משה the well-known critique of Zionism by the first Satmar Rebbe, R’ Yoel ז’ל.   He said he had heard of them but hadn’t looked. I asked him why would he not engage in Torah and delve into the item from the point of view of someone who had an alternative view, if only to make sure that one had a rounded perspective. Looking at me uncomfortably, his offsider from Muncaz, who was much more aggressive, decided to chime in and interrupt my comments.

Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook ז'ל

We spoke about a number of things. I told him some stories and then he told me some. He was more widely read than his Satmar friend. Our discussion though was about to face an abrupt end. He acquainted me with a story about “Kook”. I said,

“I beg your pardon, are you referring to Rav Kook”.

At which point he said “who gave him Smicha.” I had a mental blank and could not recall, but I told him that he should read what the Netziv said about him in Volozhin and ask himself why the Aderes chose him for an Eidem. He persisted and said, do you want to hear the story about “Kook” or not. I looked at him and said,

“you can disagree with someone, you can even completely disagree with someone, but don’t ever drop a title from a Rav who so many held and hold in the greatest esteem. This is not Kavod HaTorah. Do I call your Rebbes, “Yoel or Eloozer? God forbid. Don’t you have any simple manners. Can you just talk like a Mench?”

His response: “You either hear it the way I say it or ” … I walked off.

I was sad, very sad. Here you have 2 guys who have been fed a one tracked line all their lives. Fine. It’s their business. They have an intense feeling of Yiras Shomayim which they define as following the path of their Rebbe without deviating even one micrometer.

Rav Kook was consumed by an incredible level of אהבה.  Everyone knows that Rav Kook’s love for the Holy Land of Israel was passionate in the extreme. He saw it bound up with אהבת התורה in a vigorous symbiotic relationship. What many forget, however, is that Rav Kook’s simple love of every Jew was extraordinarily vehement. His love of Yidden stemmed from his acute spiritual sensitivity to Elokus. Rav Kook felt the Tzelem Elokim reflected in every Yid whom he saw. It wasn’t a campaign or some hachlata (decision) or a daily utterance that inspired him. His was an innate automatic attachment to anything exuding spirituality. Rav Kook would have loved those two Mevinim. He would have been Mochel his Kavod. He would never have been offended by them. He would have seen them, and their Rebbes as items of Kedusha. Yet, these miniscule proverbial warts have the temerity to show a level of disrespect that is offensive to me, in the extreme.

Imagine Hakadosh Baruch Hu looking down and observing. The estrangement of so many shpitz yidden from kedusha is astonishing. If they had any semblance of kedusha they could not ever speak in the way they did about an איש אלקי, a Gaon and Tzaddik, Rav Kook z”l? Why should he send Eliyahu HaNovi to come and announce ובה לציון גואל to us? If we continue in this path of שנאה the only way we will be redeemed is through Yisurin God forbid and through בעתה as opposed to אחישנה.

Woe to us. We have no common language of respect.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

18 thoughts on “Is this why the Geula is delayed?”

  1. I agree with you one hundred percent.
    However as followers of their gedolim this is what to be expected.
    In their eyes Rav Kook was no different (as far as beliefs are concerned) than a reform or conservative leader.
    I’m sure you havent forgotten that rav Elchonon wasserman said that Rav kook is from the desxcendants of Amalek.
    The brisker rov described rav kook as a wicked heretic.
    The satmar Rov ordered his books to be burned and that that one should say yimach shemo after his name being mentioned.

    When Rav Kook passed away a gadol of no less stature than the Chazaon Ish declared that Rav Kook would have no share in the world to come.
    That being said i as a Lubavitcher have avery different view and although I by no means in favour of Religious zionist ideals (especially the aschalta digeula theory) I reckonize Rav Kook as being a Giant of the giants who possibly made a mistake.

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    1. Yisroel,
      Two comments: I don’t have evidence the Chazon Ish said that, I do have evidence that he stood the entire time he was in the presence of R’ Kook and exclaimed that you must stand in the presence of a Sefer Torah.

      My problem is that, these people are in a time warp. This is what I tried to tell them. I mentioned that you could look at the Doros of seriously frum B’Nei Torah that sprouted from Rav Kook’s Mosad. History had shown the enormous and continuing influence of this giant. At the time, life was simpler and rather black and white. I suggested that at least now one should in retrospect behave with a modicum of respect. פוק חזי for crying out loud! The problem is that they won’t even consider anything new. Their clothes are old, their brains are stale. They are stuck in a physical and spiritual time warp.

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  2. Hi Isaac,
    Are you really surprised by the attitudes of educationally deprived people?
    Xenophobia is a fact of human society, and is discussed at length from a sociological and Darwinian perpective. Fortunately in modern civil society it is recognised, managed and minimised. However within the sub-sects of organised religion, the opposite is true. Natural xenophobia is amplified to manipulate the members of that sect into a very intolerant sectarian position. Tolerance and understanding is not within their lexicon. Below is a concise quote discussing this.
    Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia as Biologically Adaptive Traits
    For this essay, the working definition of ethnocentrism is the conscious or unconscious belief that ones own culture/community/race is truly superior to all others and the tendency to be unaware of the biases involved (Reynolds et al, 1987). One need not look far in the cultural anthropological literature for examples of delusional self-aggrandizement or what is sometimes called the ‘chosen people complex’ (Reynolds et al, 1987).

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    1. Pinchus, I hear you. What I also wanted to hear was some basic דרך ארץ. For example, let’s try this on for size:

      He could have said: “I would like to tell you a story about someone you call Rav Kook, but you’ll understand that we are vehemently opposed to that title or his status”

      I could wear that. There are too many people who are simply impolite. They don’t see the Tzelem Elokim in the person they are talking to. They only see their very narrow bias. Is this called שנאה is this why Hashem may look down and say “Yuck. Look at my creation. I’ll deal with the differences in Philosophy when these Rabonim come to me after 120, but can’t they live with each other?”

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  3. Isaac
    Very interesting observations, and something that I have pondered over the years . I also seem to think the lack of respect shown by certain sects leads to people doubting their own standing and the validity of their derech. This causes those individuals to either shift right (and join the ‘mavinim’) or worse, left (and become apathetic).
    This lack of respect also comes from those that are not frum. There have been many times where we have put up with non-frum Jews who do not respect our traditions and teachers.
    I guess that is the consequence of being more open and tolerant, and following in Rav Kook’s teachings of “simple love for every Jew”……

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    1. Yehuda, you are quite correct. I believe the shift to the right or the shift to join and identify a group is due to the lack of respect that groups have for an alternative path. Not many people like the feeling of aloneness. Eventually, they either join them or leave. They wear uniforms or choose to undress. The middle path seems to be contraindicated because there is no group and sadly not many leaders.

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  4. Hi Isaac, you mentioned that Rav Kook z”l was an ohev yisroel etc. I am wondering if you would ask the same about a Talmud Chacham that has many talmidim albeit this Talmud Chacham was known to be a very controversial figure and in the eyes of many full of hate?

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      1. Sorry for the lack of clarity. I understood your post to say two things:
        1) Not to “drop a title from a Rav who so many held and hold in the greatest esteem”.
        2) Rav Kook Z”l had a great love for the land of Israel and for every Jew.
        To me it seems that what you are saying is that just because so many people hold someone in great esteem, does not warrant any special kovod from everyone else, unless… he has the qualities that are deserving of respect from everyone. Like the great qualities that you mentioned about Rav Kook. (This is my understanding because you go on to explains Rav Kook’s great qualities in this post and not one directed to Rav Kook).
        So my question to you is: Do you think that the title “Rav” that is given to someone who is held in high esteem by many, should not be dropped even when referring to a person that taught hate and ridicule to ones hashkafah (and personal insult to ones Rav)?

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        1. Hi Mendy,
          Do I think that Rav Shach should be called “Shach?”. No, I do not. Do I think that you have a right not to be impressed by his views and utterings? Yes, you do. He’s not your flavour of the month, but he was a Torah Scholar who was held in esteem by some. In the same way, I don’t think it’s funny when people make “is he still alive” style jokes about the LR. The Munkacz guy actually started making such jokes about the LR. It seems bad manners go hand in hand with a lack of tolerance and fundamentalism.

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  5. the LR was against r kook …see the book by r shlom Dov ber volpe ,also 9 1/2 mystics by weiner
    2) r kook was not mohal those that put up posters againt him and refused to get them out of jail .( hacohen ish neged hazerem)
    3) on r kook and the CI see the new book by b braun.
    4) r kook read philosopy at y volozen which at rhe time was absoluty forbidden.( simha raz book)

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    1. Yosh,
      I guess that means that the LR was against his father-in-law. R’ Sholom Dov Ber Wolpe’s books start with an agenda at all times. This needs to be kept in mind. I read the 9 1/2 mystics about 25 years ago, and there certainly was some interesting stuff there, but I can’t recall anything about R’ Kook. It’s not surprising that the LR wasn’t in synch with R’ Kook. The LR allegedly mourned and moaned for a few days when the State of Israel was declared.
      I haven’t read Benny Braun’s book, so I can’t comment about what’s in there. As to the philosophy business at Volozhin, let’s say two things: a) Volozhin was absolutely full of that, b) R’ Kook was a favourite of the Netziv (who read outside works himself), c) Much of that chatter was just that, and finally, are you implying the LR read nothing but Torah MiSinai?

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  6. 1) philosophy at that time in volozin was worse than finding an iphone under the pillow of a sotmar yeshiva bachur.
    2) r volpe was the rebbi’s personal שליח to write these books. His agenda his the rebbi’s agenda.
    3) braun brings a letter from CI where he mentions rav kook without the customary ז״״ל.
    עיין שם for much more.

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    1. 1) It wasn’t. It was widespread. That’s also why Volozhin didn’t last; the real reason. Anyway, read some R’ Kook. You’ll find less than the Rambam quoted from Aristotle. Are you pretending you are still in the shtetl too?
      2) R’ Wolpe aggravated the LR and was castigated by him, and he also refused direct orders. Please don’t rewrite history.
      3) I guess you better start a Tosfos on Braun by trying to understand the contradictory stances of the CI. Did you know he was Mattir Chalav Stam, for example, despite the revisionists?

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  7. 1). Who learned philosophy at valozhin… R barach ber, r shimon skoph, r iser zalmen m, the beit halevi, r elya chiam meisels, only r kook and maybe bialik.
    2) where did the LR castigate r sdb volpe? When did he refuse orders?
    3) where did the CI matir halav stam?

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    1. 1) Read R’ J.J. Schacter in Torah U’Madda Journal
      2) Come now, that’s on video regarding the book that he was asked not to publish
      3) Try the Chazon Ish himself where he aligns himself with the Pri Chadash, but perhaps even more revealing (as opposed to the revisionists who “heard from someone” look at the Shevet Halevi where the Chazon Ish himself asks the Shevet Halevi what he thinks about the Chazon Ish’s Kula on Chalav Stam in that he disagreed with the Chasam Sofer.

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