In Memoriam: the teachings of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook

Called the Father of the Return to Judea and Samaria, a true Torah leader with vision and courage.

Tags: Merkaz HaRav
Tzvi Fishman

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Tzvi Fishman

Until the day of his death, 35 years ago, on Purim, at the age of 91, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook championed the principle of Jewish settlement in all of Eretz Yisrael. The only son of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, and Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem, he was the spiritual father of the renewed Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem, Gush Katif, and the Golan Heights. As a memorial, we are presenting a few of his teachings, may his memory be for a blessing. 

“The time has come to return home. Whether we want to or not; whether we recognize this truth, or whether we want to run away from it. ‘And I will bring them back to their Land.’ Hashem has decided that the time has arrived.” 

“Because of our long exile amidst the impurity of the gentile nations, we have become accustomed to think that our life of exile is normal, and we forget that Eretz Yisrael is our natural, healthy, Divinely-intended place. We need to foster the understanding, and the feeling, that we must live in Israel, that this is our normal place, in terms of religion, and in terms of our history and nationhood. If we are not here, we are unhealthy. And from time to time, the gentiles forcibly remind us that we are living in their domain, in an alien land.” 

“The wholeness of the Jewish People appears only in Eretz Yisrael. The Divine value of this great nation appears only when it is situated in its own Land, in all of its health and stature. The revelation of Hashem’s honor in the world comes through this Nation in this Land. This is the order of Creation, that ‘There is no G-d in all of the earth, except in Israel’ (Melachim 2, 5:15). When this portion of mankind is situated in this particular Land, the Torah is revealed in all of its truth.”

“The Ramban clearly establishes that this Land, which has Hashem has promised to our forefathers, must be kept under our control, and not under the control of any other nation. This is clearly meant in a national sense, for everyone understands that ruling a land means the establishment of a State in that land. The establishment of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel is a fundamental precept of the Torah.” 

“We are indivisibly attached to Judea and Samaria, and to all the expanses of our Land, through the eternal bond between the Holy Nation and the Holy Land. We must stand in defense of this to the uppermost limits of dedication and self-sacrifice, without any surrender at all. There is absolutely no room to entertain thoughts of relinquishing even a single square meter of Hashem’s inheritance to us. There is not to be any blemish in our borders, G-d forbid. We are to battle for this end with all of our strength.” 

“There isn’t any man who is permitted to make territorial concessions over this Land. Are these kilometers ours? Is someone the owner of them? These kilometers belong to the millions of Jews in Russia and America and throughout the world, no less than they belong to us. How can a person not feel ashamed by the thought of making do with a truncated state? No one has the right to relinquish lands which belong to the millions of Jews of all generations. This is a disgrace, a sorrowful shame, and a violation of the Torah.” 

“The setbacks we face are temporary. All steps backwards are transitory and passing. Advances sometimes come in hidden stages. One must look at the global upheaval involved in bringing us back to our Land, and recognize that this is the Divine unfolding of, ‘When the L-rd brings the exiles back to Zion.” Because of its staggering scale, the process naturally undergoes difficulties and problems. The greater a thing is, the more complicated it is. The unfolding of our Redemption is an historical event of colossal proportions. All of the disturbances and temporary setbacks are trivialities which have no substance in this sweeping historical pageant. The actions of the gentiles, or of superficially thinking Jews, which oppose this Divine plan, carry no weight whatsoever. They are null and void in the light of the Torah and Hashem’s promise and providence over His people.”