At Rabbi Kook's grave
At Rabbi Kook's graveHezki Baruch

The battle lines have been drawn.

Ehud Barak, the eminence gris, ideological leader and major financier of Israel's recent civil riots, tweeted that "...if the coup d'etat in Israel succeeds, a messianic dictatorship will be established in the heart of the Middle East, possessing nuclear weapons, and which fanatically wishes for a confrontation with Islam centered on the Temple Mount..." [The tweet was very quickly deleted.]

Mr. Barak's tweet was uncharacteristically candid - and extremely instructive of the mindset of the post-Zionist secular left.

To which coup d'etat is he referring? What does he intend by the term 'messianic dictatorship?' To understand his words, it is first necessary to understand the traditional Jewish view of history, especially as it relates to the establishment of the third Jewish Commonwealth and ingathering of the exiles.

In the year 135 CE, after the failure of the Bar Kochba rebellion, the Romans expelled the majority of Jews from what was then known as Judea, aka the Land of Israel; Israel being our ancestral heritage, bequeathed to us by G-d Himself.

Since that time, for seventy generations, Jews the world over prayed daily, three times a day in fact, for the restoration of Jewish sovereignty and the ingathering of the exiles as foretold in the Torah. Never, in the annals of human history, had a people been exiled from their homeland for 18 centuries and yet maintained their common language, their common values, their common faith, and their common hope in the Ultimate Redemption. Judaism teaches that History has a direction, a purpose; and through the Ultimate Redemption of the Jewish People, all the Nations of the world will be blessed.

These prophecies came to be fulfilled and continue to unfold before our very eyes. In spite of the determined efforts to eliminate Jews and Judaism, the Jewish people survived the bitter and bloody exile, and in the late 19th century, began repopulating the all-but-barren Land of Israel. Barren - but for a significant population of deeply religious Jews who had come a century or more earlier precisely out of religious conviction.

Against impossible odds, the secular Zionists built a country predicated on socialism, political Zionism and pacifism. [Dare we say miraculous?]

In the 1920's a remarkable man came onto the scene in Israel: Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook. Rabbi Kook was the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, during the Mandatory period. In his time, as in ours, there were great divisions among the Jewish people. In his day, Israel was divided between the deeply religious hareidi community, and the modern, militantly anti-religious Zionists. There was nothing in the middle. Each camp deeply mistrusted the other. The hareidim were outraged by the Zionists' flagrant disregard for the Torah, for the Sabbath, for kashrut, etc., were offended by their irreverence, brashness and arrogance, and were repulsed by their blasphemous notions of socialism and communism. The hareidim were convinced that nothing good could come of an enterprise rooted in such foreign ideas.

For their part, the kibbutznikim saw the hareidim as anachronisms, as representing the very worst of the unenlightened ghetto Jew. The pioneers of the new yishuv viewed the hareidim as an annoyance, whose trifling, irrelevant concerns about antiquated Jewish rituals could be handily ignored.

It took the vision of Rav Kook, who was a deeply pious man himself, to begin to the bridge the gap between the two camps. He understood that every event in the history of Western Civilization was a step in the unfolding process of the Redemption of the Jewish People from our 1,800 year old exile.

To the hareidim he argued: the Torah teaches that we do not know the value of a mitzvah – in other words, what is considered a major mitzvah and what is a minor mitzvah. What’s bigger? The mitzvah of Shabbat or the mitzvah of shooing away a mother bird before we take the eggs? We don’t know. We just don’t know. These crazy, irreverent Jews were literally walking across Europe and the Levant to rebuild the Land of Israel, sweating over it, suffering terrible deprivations, calling forth produce from malarial swamps and greenery from land that had lain fallow for 2,000 years. Is this not a mitzvah? A

nd what is the value of that mitzvah, he continued. The Talmud in Sanhedrin 98a says that the surest sign of the Messiah’s imminent arrival is that the Land of Israel will once again be verdant and yield her fruit. While the Zionists may think they are building a socialist utopia, Rav Kook argued that with every whack of the hammer they were the unwitting instruments of G-d’s will. The anti-religious kibbutznikim were hastening the coming of the very messiah they mocked! And if the Almighty could work his will through the evil Pharaoh, is it so inconceivable that He could do so through the hands of idealistic, albeit misguided Jews?

And to the Zionists he urged and persuaded – but never coerced – the performance of mitzvot. Build Shabbat into your new society. Build kashrut into your new society. For the first time in 2,000 years, we have the opportunity to keep the mitzvot tied to agriculture in the Israel. Don’t see them as a hindrance, he counseled, rather rejoice in them! Torah is not your enemy. He taught them that without Torah at the core of their work, the work itself will never endure. He went out to the kibbutzim, taught them Torah, celebrated with them, and was beloved by them.

It was through Rav Kook’s efforts at synthesis, and through the establishment of educational institutions to develop a cadre of like-minded leaders, that the Dati-Zioni, the Religious Zionist movement took root. He was the father of modern Religious Zionism and its philosophy, which thank G-d has flourished and prospers in Israel to this day.

In the intervening years, a remarkable sociological phenomenon occurred: a good part of the population of Ehud Barak's socialist utopia became more and more religiously observant - spiritually awakened, if you will. They have rejected his vision of Israel being a "Sweden of the Middle East" and have substituted the traditional Jewish view of the People of Israel being a Light unto the Nations, elevating and ennobling the world by its very existence. This, of course, is a threat to the power of the secular, post-Zionist oligarchs, and to the Deep State which we now know controls every aspect of Israeli life.

Thus the coup d'etat to which Mr. Barak refers is that Jews who take religious faith and observance seriously now constitute the majority of the populace. In his view, the religious populace and their fantasies about a messianic age of universal peace and brotherhood can be tolerated in the minority, but they can never be trusted with the reins of power. Therefore, the democratic process must be subverted by any means to maintain power - all in the name of democracy. Elections are fine - as long as they yield the desired results.

The second, and more serious slur in his tweet, i.e., his reference to a messianic dictatorship, is particularly insulting. He assumes that religious Jews would act like ayatollahs if given the chance, imposing a Jewish theocracy, persecuting heretics, and being intolerant of dissent. Most importantly, the "messianics" [to employ his slur] would eagerly precipitate a nuclear war with Iran over the Temple Mount. Aside from being patently untrue and against the highest values of Torah, it is singularly divisive and incendiary. Barak's hubris is boundless.

The schism between our camps grows ever wider. But if Jewish history has taught us anything, it is that when we are united, great miracles are wrought for us; but when we are divided, tragedy inevitably follows. We must find a way - somehow - to bring the two camps closer together.

A century ago, Rabbi Kook was able to narrow the gap between these camps; where is the Rabbi Kook of our time?

Perhaps the Rabbi Kook of our time to would reach out to the disillusioned, cynical left and shatter the stereotypes they carry about their religious brethren. Unlike evangelical faiths, Judaism rejects religious coercion in all its forms. No Jew will ever be compelled to religious observance against their will. Such an idea goes against the very grain of Jewish law. There can be no authentic religious impulse in the heart of man without absolute freedom to choose between good and evil.

Perhaps the Rabbi Kook of our time could explain that the Jewish Mission is to agitate for a world where everyone comes to recognize on their own that all good emanates from G-d, Creator of heaven and earth, the Eternal One, G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One who wants for us only good. All G-d asks of humanity is to look up once in a while and say a simple 'thank you.' Is that so onerous?

Perhaps the Rabbi Kook of our time could explain that the Jewish Mission It is to sensitize people to the idea that the natural state of the human soul, the spark of the Divine, is to connect with its Source and be at peace with it.

Perhaps the Rabbi Kook of our time could explain that the Jewish Mission is to unite mankind in the recognition that the One True Compassionate G-d created us all, Who loves us all, has assigned each to one of us a specific task in the great and holy work - our common goal - of perfecting the world together. It is a clarion call to genuine goodness and compassion; it is the shofar's penetrating call that melts the layers of avarice, narcissism, cynicism and pain. It is a call to truth and to service and to love; a call to reflection and to self-improvement and to humility.

Perhaps the Rabbi Kook of our time could explain that the Jewish Mission proclaims the inclusive, universal message that G-d loves us all and welcomes all good people in heaven irrespective of race, religion, creed, or color.

Lastly, perhaps the Rabbi Kook of our time could explain that the rebuilding of the Third Temple - which G-d describes as "My house, the Universal House of Prayer, in which all people will be welcome" will never be built on a foundation of war, death, blood and strife. The Temple will come in G-d's time in a manner of His choosing; and cannot be precipitated by impetuous humans. Indeed, if there is any way to hasten the building of the Third Temple at all, it is to turn inward individually and work on our own moral failings, which are many.

As centrifugal forces push the camps farther and farther to the extremes, we can only ask: where is the Rabbi Kook of our time?

Rabbi Mizrachi is the author of Holististic Judaism: A Radical Rethinking of Our Service to G-d and Our Fellow Man in the Age of the Ultimate Redemption, available on The author can be reached at [email protected]