Thousands of people will ascend today, Tuesday, and in the coming days, to the grave of spiritual leader and luminary Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, to mark 84 years since his passing.
Rabbi Kook was born in the town of Griva, now a part of Latvia, in 1865 to his parents Rabbi Shlomo Zalman and Zlata Pearl.
While still a young man, he was appointed rabbi in the town of Zaumel, Lithuania and after a few years moved to the rabbinate of Bauska. In 1904, he immigrated to Israel and was appointed rabbi of Jaffa and the agricultural communities founded during the “First Aliyah” immigration wave.
At the outbreak of World War I, Rabbi Kook was traveling in Europe on the occasion of the Agudat Yisrael Conference and could not return to Israel until the end of the war. Afterward, he was appointed chief rabbi of Jerusalem and later, from this position, he established the Chief Rabbinate, in coordination with the British government that ruled the country at the time.
During his time in Jerusalem, Rabbi Kook established Yeshivat Mercaz Harav, the foundation for the “central universal” yeshiva he envisioned as a spiritual center for the revitalization of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. At the end of his life, Rabbi Kook struggled with cancer, and passed away on September 1, 1935 (the third of Elul).
Among his most prominent successors were his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook, who also headed Yeshivat Mercaz Harav for many years, Rabbi Ya'akov Moshe Harlap, and Rabbi David Cohen, also known as “The Nazir.”