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 […]

Hallel from Heaven and Hallel from Hell: The Post-Holocaust Responses of Paul Celan, Aharon Appelfeld and Meshulam Rath

Hallel from Heaven and Hallel from Hell – “Just as the praise of the Holy One ascends to Him from Heaven, so it ascends from Hell.” – (Midrash) What do poet Paul Celan, novelist Aharon Appelfeld, and religious legalist Meshulam Rath share in common? Two things. First, they all emerged from Tchernowitz (today Chernivtsi, Ukraine), capital of […]