Between the two world wars, there roamed the streets of Jerusalem a man who made a nuisance of himself, pestering the populace that he was the Messiah.
Finally the “Messiah” was brought to the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Rav Kook asked to meet with the deranged man alone. After a few moments with Rav Kook, the “Messiah” never again boasted his claim.
Sometime later Rav Kook revealed what produced such a wondrous effect. “I told him: ‘The truth is, there is a spark of Messiah in every Jew. You obviously have received an especially large endowment. But the quality of the spark is such that it works only as long as one does not speak of it to others.’”
Unlike many Orthodox thinkers, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook did not shy away from the subject of Sabbatianism. His published works reveal a more than fleeting interest in the entire Sabbatian phenomenon, from the initial impetus of Messianic activity surrounding the person of Shabbetai Zevi, to the Hayyon and Emden-Eybeschütz controversies, to that Polish offshoot of Sabbatianism, Frankism. This interest extends to both the external, historical, as well as internal, philosophical and psychological aspects. Rav Kook is even willing to rebut the author of ‘Or la-Yesharim ‘s comparison of Herzlian political Zionism to Sabbatianism.
Selected readings from Eyn Ayah, Rav Kook’s commentary to Eyn Yaakov Legends of the Talmud, (1995)
Introduction and Translation by Bezalel Naor 147 pp. Hardcover $17.50
The Perfect Society the ancient ceremony of bringing the first-fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem – pageantry in a utopian key.
The Imperfect Society Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai’s thirteen years hiding in a cave – a reflection of his grappling with Roman rule and with the human condition.
“This work dealing with Rav Kook’s view of the cosmic purpose of the individual Jew and of his general Jewish society, is an outstanding vision of greatness, hope and challenge. Rabbi Naor is to be thanked for exposing the English-reading Jewish public to this masterpiece. No one who reads this book can help but be touched by its nobility and passion.” —Rabbi Berel Wein
“Whoever reads this book will find therein precious pearls”– Rabbi Aharon Soloveichik zt”l