Bezalel Naor, “Rav Kook and Emmanuel Levinas on the “Non-Existence” of God, ” Richard Sugarman, “Questioning Levinas,” Asher Don Rabinowitz, “The Medical Aspects of Zara’at,” R. Shelomo Zalman of Kopyst, “The Curtains of the Tabernacle,” Eliyahu Zini, “A Rift in the Unity? / The Relation of Torah to the Sciences,” Shlomo Katz, “Rahav and Yehosua / Imagination and Intellect,” Shabtai Teicher, “On the Two Stages of Redemption,” Joshua Hoffman, “Rav Kook’s Mission to America,” Bezalel Naor, “Rav Kook’s Role in the Rebirth of Aggadah,” Rav A.Y. HaKohen Kook, “The Lion in the Cage” (Poem), Rivkah Hannah Beila Einhorn (Roberta Chester), “Isaac Luria” (Poem). 120 pp.
1998) by Reuven Alpert
Introduction by Bezalel Naor
A good introduction to the world of Habad hasidism. Bezalel Naor’s introduction traces the history and intellectual development of hasidism. Reuven Alpert’s stories provide a glimpse of great Lubavitcher rebbes and hasidim. For those interested in Rav Kook, the book explains both his biological and spiritual kinship to this mystical movement known as the HaBaD (Hokhmah, Binah, Da’at) or Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge School of Hasidism. 190 pp. (50 pp. introduction)
In the Desert–a Vision (Midbar Shur) is Rav Kook’s own record of his derashot or talks over a span of two years, 1894-1896. This book, which should have been the author’s literary debut, is the last of his works to appear in print. The reason for the delay, is that the manuscript disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The book may have arrived a century late; its message is uncannily timely. Beside their visionary quality, Rabbi Kook’s talks are remarkable for their encyclopedic knowledge. A typical derasha will start with a verse in the Torah or passage in the Midrash. From there, Rabbi Kook will weave a rich tapestry encompassing the breadth of Jewish literature: Bible, Talmud, philosophy, and Kabbalah.
The discipline of Kabbalah is generally subdivided into kabbalah ma’asit, practical or applied kabbalah, and kabbalah ‘iyyunit, theoretical kabbalah. In the popular imagination, the kabbalist is a practitioner of the magical arts. However, there is another sort of kabbalist whose way of relating to and interpreting the world is based on a profound system of thought.
Such a comprehensive, all-encompassing thought evidences itself in the spiritual diaries of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook (1865-1935). Gershom Scholem, Professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, wrote: “Rabbi Kook’s great work… is a veritable theologia mystica of Judaism equally distinguished by its originality and the richness of its author’s mind. It is the last example of productive kabbalistic thought of which I know.”