If it did it would die. Just the way the Diaspora is destined to die. The etrog tree doesn’t belong in Brooklyn. The climate isn’t right for it. It’s the same with the lulav, hadasim, and aravot. The four species which we are commanded to take for ourselves on the Festival of Sukkot are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, just as the Torah is indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, and the Jewish People are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael. We belong in Eretz Yisrael. All of the holidays are intrinsically connected to Eretz Yisrael. The Torah was designed and fashioned by the Almighty to be observed in Eretz Yisrael.
One of Rav Kook's public proclamations, sent out all over the Diaspora, years before the Holocaust, was entitled, “The Great Call”: "To the Land of Israel, gentlemen, to the Land of Israel! Let us utter this appeal in one voice, in a great and never-ending cry."
L eading up to the holiday of Sukkot, we’ll wrap up our condensed look at Rabbi Kook’s teachings on t’shuva with a few blogs on two of the holidays most important themes – Eretz Yisrael and Torah.
Inspired by the Holy Nation of Israel, mankind will abandon its vain and misguided paths, and a mighty spirit of t’shuva will be ignited throughout the world.
Rabbi Kook’s advice is to set out correcting the transgressions of the past which are within the person’s reach to correct. This will set into motion a snowball of t’shuva whose inner force will lead him to correct matters more and more difficult, until he succeeds in redressing all wrongs.
The more you learn Torah, the more t’shuva you will be inspired to do — and the more t’shuva you do, the more Torah you are able to learn.
Sudden t’shuva is different. It seems to come about all at once with superhuman energy and willpower.
Rabbi Kook has good news. If you are a loser, all is not lost. You too can be a winner. You too can succeed. How? Through t’shuva.
Simply put, to the initiate, the pain that comes with t’shuva is scary. The baal t’shuva is the man of courage. He is the true hero. He is the one prepared to set out on the greatest journey in life.
Only t’shuva can reconnect the sinner with God. Only t’shuva can restore the harmony between a man’s soul and the world. Only t’shuva can wipe away the sins which prevent a man from being a positive contributor to life.
When you are sick, do you go to the doctor, or the student of the doctor? So why go to Uman where Rebbe Nachman is buried, when you could go to the cities in Israel where his teachers are buried?
Rabbi Kook explains that this misplacing of priorities between the means and the goal stems from the sin of the earth during the days of Creation. By understanding the depth of this teaching, we can learn to be happy, not only when we finally attain our goals and ideals, but also at every moment of our lives.
Even if you haven’t yet atoned for all of your sins, Don’t worry! Be Happy! As long as you are sincerely trying, this is what really counts.
Dear Friends, the clock is ticking down to Rosh HaShanah. You can hear the shofars blasting all over the world. T’shuva may seem like a towering mountain too high to climb, but it’s really not as hard as you think.
Today, the “evil thing” in our communities and homes is the onslaught of immodest websites and images on the Internet.
The true champions of life are not the basketball players, not the Hollywood stars, not even the Prime Ministers and Presidents. The real heroes are the masters of t’shuva.
Even people who have tasted all of life’s secular pleasures insist that the experience of t’shuva is the world’s greatest joy.
How can it be that in this clear time of Redemption, when millions of Jews have returned to the Land of Israel from the four corners of the world, in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy that crises and setbacks like the evacuation of Migron still occur?
There is an old aphorism which claims that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. To this, Rabbi Kook would add a third certainty — t’shuva.
When a man understands that his personal t’shuva advances the redemption process of the world, his motivation to mend his own life is enhanced.
Rabbi Kook teaches that t’shuva encompasses man’s physical being, his moral life, religious life, and his highest, most ideal intellectual endeavor. T’shuva is man’s...
Rabbi Kook explains that t’shuva comes about in two distinct formats, either suddenly, or in a gradual, slowly developing fashion. Both of these pathways to t’shuva are readily found in the baal t’shuva world. Some people will tell you how their lives suddenly changed overnight. Others describe their experience as a long, challenging process which unfolded over years. Many factors influence the way in which t’shuva appears.
The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden describes man’s existential plight. In effect, the sum of world history is mankind’s journey to return to the Garden. Not only man, but the world itself wants to return to its original state. This yearning is one of the most powerful forces of Creation. Thus the world “roars like a mighty lioness” to return to its original, ideal closeness to God.
The Gemara teaches that t’shuva existed before the world was created. In a similar vein, Rabbi Kook writes that the spirit of t’shuva hovers over the world and gives it its basic form and the motivation to develop. It is t’shuva which gives the world its direction and its inner energy to constantly progress. The desire to refine the world and to embellish it with beauty and splendor all derive from the spirit of t’shuva.
While t’shuva is normally translated as penitence or repentance, the root of the Hebrew word t’shuva means “return.” T’shuva is a return to the source, to one’s roots, to one’s deepest inner self.