Pereq Shirah – King, Prophet and Priest

King, Prophet and Priest (Based on the Exegesis of Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra to Song of Songs 7:5) For the Third of Ellul, Yahrzeit of Rav Kook zt”l פרק שירה מאת בצלאל נאור לשלושה באלול–יום השנה של רבינו הראי”ה קוק זצ”ל צוארך כמגדל השן,[1] עיניך בריכות בחשבון על שער בת רבים, אפך כמגדל הלבנון צופה […]

Mitsvat Yeshivat Erets Yisrael

בצלאל נאור   מצות ישיבת ארץ ישראל א] רבי אבא הוה קא משתמיט מיניה דרב יהודה, דהוה קא בעי למיסק לארעא דישראל, דאמר רב יהודה, כל העולה מבבל לארץ ישראל עובר בעשה, שנאמר “בבלה יובאו ושמה יהיו עד יום פקדי אותם נאום ה’ [והעליתים והשיבותים אל המקום הזה]” [ירמיה כז, כב]. אמר, איזיל ואשמע מיניה […]

First Fruits (Bikkurim) and the Talmudic View of Capital: An Essay in the Philosophy of Halakhah

The Torah commanded that the first fruits (bikkurim) be placed in a basket and brought to the site of the future Temple. There, the basket is presented to the kohen or priest and the owner recites a lengthy narrative (mikra bikkurim) which recounts the collective history of the People of Israel. The narrative commences with the tribulations […]

Messiah’s Donkey of a Thousand Colors

Messiah’s Donkey of a Thousand Colors To the State of Israel on Its Seventieth Birthday In Perek Helek, the final chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin (98a), famous for its discussions of eschatological issues, we find a focus on the speed of Messiah’s arrival (or lack thereof). Rabbi Joshua ben Levi juggles two sets of seemingly opposite prophecies. In the […]

The Universalism of Rav Kook

The Universalism of Rav Kook by Bezalel Naor Stereotypes are difficult to overcome. Until recently, the stereotype of Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook (1865-1935) was of a nationalist (perhaps even ultranationalist) who lent his rabbinic aegis to the Zionist enterprise in the first third of the twentieth century. In his seminal work Orot [Lights] (Jerusalem, […]

The Hasidism of Rav Kook

We usually associate the term “Neo-Hasidism” with thinkers such as Martin Buber, Hillel Zeitlin and Abraham Joshua Heschel. It may come to many of us as a surprise that Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook also proposed a new Hasidism, but it should not.[1] During Rav Kook’s lifetime, there were those who perceived him as the founder […]

Avodat Halevi, Rabbi Aharon Halevi Horowitz of Staroshelye

“BE-ZOT YAVO AHARON EL HA-KODESH” “WITH THIS SHALL AARON ENTER INTO THE HOLY PLACE” (LEVITICUS 16:3) A DISCOURSE OF THE STAROSHELYER REBBE Rabbi Aharon Halevi Horowitz of Staroshelye (1766-1828), was the eminent disciple of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Habad Hasidism. Rabbi Aharon studied under the master for thirty years. The Alter Rebbe […]