Former MK and icon of the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria, Rabbi Hanan Porat of Kfar Etzion, received an award for Jewish Creativity this week, in recognition of his work as an author.
The ceremony was held in Givat Shmuel, and while Rabbi Porat could not attend due to poor health, he received many words of praise and blessings from his colleagues.
“Tonight we gave the Judaica Creativity Prize, named for Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, to Hanan Porat,” said Rabbi Shmuel Yaniv, Givat Shmuel’s chief rabbi. He explained that “we wanted to imbed in the public eye his image, his books, and the big idea which stands behind redemption which he embodies.”
Rabbi Yaniv added that Rabbi Porat’s books are one of a kind, combining the love for the land of Israel with poems.
“Everything is lively, blooming, in praise of Eretz Yisrael,” he said. “The colors, the flowers, the smell, the fragrance, the love, the desire, the intensity, the holiness – everything is filled with one wonderful orchestra which is discovered in his books.”
“He was one of the first in the religious public to write with an appreciation of literature, to refer to modern poetry, to integrate poetry by Israeli poets into a drasha (sermon) on the weekly Torah portion,” said Rabbi Haim Sabato, himself a prize winning author of several best sellers. “This is something which didn’t exist before him. We wanted to point to the literary aspect of his work.”
Rabbi Yaniv recalled that when he told Rabbi Porat that he would receive the award, Rabbi Porat had asked him if he was doing it to encourage him in light of his illness.
“I told him, ‘No. I’m coming to encourage the people of Israel through your books. I’m coming to deal kindly with the people of Israel. You are a miracle for us,’” Rabbi Yaniv said. “And then I read him the reasons for the prize. He was pleased and told me: ‘Do it.’”
The rabbis expressed their hope that Rabbi Porat will recover, be strong, and will continue onward for many many years.
“Rabbi Porat himself is a great prize for the people of Israel,” explained Rabbi Chaim Druckman, head of the Or Etzion Yeshiva and formerly head of the Association of Hesder Yeshivas and the Conversion Authority. “The people of Israel need to know about it and must cherish it."
“We wish him from the bottom of our hearts refuah shlema (a full recovery),” he added. “May G-d send him refuah shlema. The people of Israel need him.”
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