Daily Israel Report

Israel's Photo History: Rav Kook, Pesach 1928

Rabbi Kook addressing a crowd on Passover.
By Lenny Ben-David
First Publish: 4/13/2014, 12:57 PM

Honoring Rabbi Kook Today
Honoring Rabbi Kook Today
Israel news photo: Hezki Ezra

On the main page and to the right, we see crowds at Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook zts"l's grave on the Mount of Olives. Rabbi Kook, Torah genius, halakhic arbiter, poet and philosopher, religious Zionist ideologue, was the iconic first Chief Rabbi of Israel.

His charisma and leadership abilities were legendary, and his books are studied intensively today. He founded Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Interestingly, Harvard's team did not recognize him in the pictures shown here.

In fact, the original caption of the picture below is: "Jewish Pilgrims Celebrate Passover in Jerusalem, 1928." (Harvard Library/ Central Zionist Archives)

The Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives collection provides a whole series of pictures from 1928, all captioned "Jewish Pilgrims Celebrate Passover in Jerusalem."

No other information is provided, but we can deduce quite a bit.

The picture shows the Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Abraham Isaac Kook, delivering a Torah discourse to a large audience.  Where? Quite possibly near his home between Jerusalem's Prophets Street and Jaffa Road. 

While women are sitting separately from the men, the audience is most certainly not an ultra-Orthodox crowd.  With their heads covered, they are more likely a religious Zionist grouping.  Their holiday dress suggest that it either the Passover holiday or the Sabbath of Passover.

Original caption: "Jewish Pilgrims Celebrate Passover in Jerusalem, 1928." (Harvard Library/ Central Zionist Archives)



Where are the pilgrims heading?  They appear to be walking in the area of Prophets Street.  There seems to be a commotion in the back of the march, with men turning to see what happened. We welcome suggestions from readers. (Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives)

The next picture shows the pilgrims' destination -- the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.  The crowd entered the Old City through Jaffa Gate and is streaming into the shuk at the end of David Street on the way to the Kotel.  The Thomas Cook travel office was a prominent landmark already prior to 1898 and could be seen in the last picture on this page.
 

The crowd entering the Arab shuk of Jerusalem's Old City. (Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives)

David Street, inside the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem's Old City. The picture appears to have been taken prior to 1898 when the moat on the right was filled in and the road widened to allow entry of the German emperor.  (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)