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Rav Kook's Journals
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The Glory of All
I love all;
I cannot but love all:
All the nations.
From my very depth, I want the glory of all,
The perfection of all.
My love to Israel burns more greatly
And is deeper,
But this inner desire spreads out in the force of its love
I have no need at all to force this feeling of love--
It wells directly from the holy depth of Wisdom
Of the Godly soul.
Arpelei Tohar 22, quoted in Mishnato Shel Harav Kook, p. 307
The Fourfold Song
There is a person who sings the song of his soul. He finds everything, his complete spiritual satisfaction, within his soul.
There is a person who sings the song of the nation. He steps forward from his private soul, which he finds narrow and uncivilized. He yearns for the heights. He clings with a sensitive love to the entirety of the Jewish nation and sings its song. He shares in its pains, is joyful in its hopes, speaks with exalted and pure thoughts regarding its past and its future, investigates its inner spiritual nature with love and a wise heart.
There is a person whose soul is so broad that it expands beyond the border of Israel. It sings the song of humanity. This soul constantly grows broader with the exalted totality of humanity and its glorious image. He yearns for humanity’s general enlightenment. He looks forward to its supernal perfection. From this source of life, he draws all of his thoughts and insights, his ideals and visions.
And there is a person who rises even higher until he unites with all existence, with all creatures, and with all worlds. And with all of them, he sings. This is the person who, engaged in the Chapter of Song every day, is assured that he is a child of the World-to-Come.
And there is a person who rises with all these songs together in one ensemble so that they all give forth their voices, they all sing their songs sweetly, each supplies its fellow with fullness and life: the voice of happiness and joy, the voice of rejoicing and tunefulness, the voice of merriment and the voice of holiness.
The song of the soul, the song of the nation, the song of humanity, the song of the world—they all mix together with this person at every moment and at all times.
And this simplicity in its fullness rises to become a song of holiness, the song of God, the song that is simple, doubled, tripled, quadrupled, the song of songs of Solomon—of the king who is characterized by completeness and peace.
Orot Hakodesh II, p. 444
The Liberated Light
From the well of kindness, your love for humanity must burst forth—not as an unreasoned commandment, for then it would lose the most clear aspect of its brilliance, but as a powerful movement of the spirit within you.
This love must withstand very difficult challenges. It must overcome many contradictions, which are scattered like boulders upon which you may stumble. These are found in isolated Torah statements, in the superficial aspect of some Torah laws, and in a multitude of points of view that stem from the constriction within the revealed aspect of the Torah and the national ethical sense.
It is clear that when the love of humanity grows remote from its divine source, its blossom withers.
And the divine source expresses its light through the conduits of Torah and mitzvah, and through the definition of the Jewish nation as unique.
All this requires the effort of a great spirit: how to maintain these conduits where they stand, and yet draw the waters of kindness in their original purity and breadth.
Again and again, we must descend to the depths of darkness in order to excavate—precisely from there—the most liberated light, the greatest and most elevated.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 318
We are Consoled for the Dust and Ashes
When we gaze at that within creation which our senses can perceive, we view it as one organic being. We see that its parts are connected and integrated: every plant and every animal.
As for humanity: we see how those highest parts within us, which carry a splendor of all-inclusive, ideal awareness, rely in their nature, being and existence on particular, primitive, mean components that we sometimes view with revulsion.
The same dynamic applies universally to inter-relationship.
When we gaze clearly, we clearly see with an individual precision. Even where our eye cannot penetrate, we discern with a clear understanding and a comprehension that is spiritual and profound: how all components of existence are interdependent.
The deepest depths and the highest mountains are inter-related. They are integrated with each other.
This awareness constantly makes us recognize that only because of the dark and unsightly lower states of being do the highest states of being, honorable and bright, come forth and climb to the zenith of their splendor.
Then integration and unity constantly increase within us.
From the world of the tangible, we move to the world of the non-material, to the thoughts and schemes of man, to the avenues of various cultures, faiths and systems.
And we are repelled, seeing how evil and foolishness have ruled and continue to rule in the paths of the human heart: in customs, opinions, beliefs, in how people live—privately and socially. We look at the abominations justified by faith, at all the sacrifices of humanity to idolatry, at all the victims of vile custom and at all the evils, degradations, weakness and darkness that have gained broad acceptance.
On the other hand, we see flashes: the crown of grace of humanity’s intelligence and virtue, the wisdom of the wise, the courage of the mighty, the flaming holy light of a pure and elevated faith, the ideals and hopes for the great future, and pillars of light that pervade the present.
Seeing both of these, we immediately realize: all of this, all this non-material vision constitutes one world. It too has an organic content. It too, with the entire splendor of its soul, with the lightning flash of its holy spirit and the might of the God of gods within it, relies upon its base, upon its cellar. If not for the trash within the spirit of man, the fruit of our understanding—which gives joy to God and man—would not blossom.
Then immediately, we are consoled for the dust and ashes. We lovingly accept the profound wisdom of the universal Architect, the Creator of all being, the God of all spirits, the Master of all souls, Who gives a soul to the people of the land and a spirit to those who walk upon it—so that from His goodness we may all draw goodness.
Ever more strongly, we are girded with holiness and might. We begin to recognize our lowliness and greatness—simultaneously.
We take pleasure in the flowers of grace and beauty that have blossomed upon the flower beds of human history. In this, we recognize something more exalted, something unendingly greater.
We are all permeated with the yearning of song, we are all filled with might: to walk upright upon the road of light, to know the greatness within the ultimate harvest of the spirit, where all goodness and virtue, all light and freedom blossom.
We take the fruit of faith in its purity, in its first-born state, to the degree that we can reach it, in accordance with our straight path of understanding. And as for whatever sparkles within us beyond the power of our mind, we know with faith that from the very heights, God guards.
We are resolved to teach our upright wisdom. We are filled with the excellence of that divine greatness which we know as an inheritance from the early masters, from the teachings of the holy assemblies.
“Who is like You, mighty God, surrounded by Your faithfulness?” (Psalms 89:9).
Orot Hakodesh II, pp. 417-18
Limiting Goodness with Goodness
Those who have great souls cannot be separated from the most encompassing inclusiveness. All of their desire and ideal is, constantly, the good of the entire universe in its full breadth, height and depth. This entirety is filled with infinite details of individuals and societies. It is crowned to the degree that it is filled with the perfection of its individual members and its groups, small and great, which complete it.
Supernal inclusiveness, which perfects all, is found within the movement toward knowledge and love of God. That movement emanates automatically from the inclusiveness, in accordance with what that movement has acquired and its wealth.
The knowledge of God that comes through great love must be filled with its own true light, in accordance with what each individual soul can bear and receive. The absolute light of that knowledge of God illumines the universal love: the love of all universes, all created beings, and the entire realm of life and its existence.
The love of all existence fills the heart of those who are good: the pious among all creatures and among humanity. They look forward to the happiness of all. They hope for the light and joy of all. They draw the love of all existence—which contains the full spectrum of the multiplicity of its creations—from the supernal love of God, from the love of the total and complete perfection of God, Who is the Cause of all, Who brings all into being and gives life to all.
Love descends from the world of Emanation to the world of Creation by being divided into many details, into contradictions and opposites. This fulfills the purpose of constriction, the compression of value and love, into individual details, each for the sake of another detail; into many details, each for the sake of many others; and to details in general because of the complete entirety that they comprise.
The shining lens of love stands at the height of the world, in the world of divinity, in a place where there are no contradictions, borders and oppositions—only satisfaction, goodness, and infinite breadth. The offspring of that shining lens of love is eternal love. When eternal love draws sustenance from the shining lens of love, it attains a great deal of its nature. In its descent, it cannot bear any stinginess or jealousy. When it is forced to constrict itself, it constricts love with love; it limits goodness with goodness.
When those who are suffused with love see the world, and in particular, when they see living beings involved in bickering, hatred, persecution and quarreling, they immediately yearn that they and their lives may be partners with desires that bring about the joining together of life and its unity, perfection and tranquility. They feel and know that the closeness of God for which they yearn with the fullness of their soul only functions to bring them to a unification with inclusiveness and for the sake of that inclusiveness.
When they come to the strata of mankind and find factions of nations, religions, sects and opposing ideals, they strive with all their strength to encompass all of it, to connect and to unify. With the healthy spiritual sense of their pure soul, which rises and flies to the Godly heights above all constrictions, they recognize that all details must be full, that the best societal forms must be elevated and must enter with all the satisfaction of their details into the light of a perfected life. They desire that every detail will be guarded and elevated, and the complete entirety united and filled with peace.
When they come to their own nation, their heart is connected with all the depth of their life with the nation’s happiness, endurance and elevation. Yet still, they find it divided and split, divided into various parties. They cannot effect a complete unity within any particular party. Rather, they desire to unite with the entire nation, totally and entirely, in all its fullness and goodness.
Orot Hakodesh II, pp. 242-43
Each individual finds himself within himself.
Then he finds himself within his surroundings:
His friends, community and people.
The community finds itself within itself.
Then it finds itself within all humanity.
Humanity finds itself within itself—at least, at first.
Then it finds itself within the world.
The world finds itself within itself.
Then it finds itself within all the worlds surrounding it.
The entirety of universal encompassing finds itself within itself.
Then it finds itself within the all-inclusive, supernal classification of all concepts of universe.
The concept of universe finds itself within itself.
Then it finds itself within the full treasury, the supernal light, the multitude of life as well as the source of its days, and in the divine illumination.
All of these recognitions fuse together.
They become one unit, whose inclusiveness is infinitely glorious, whose particular nature is strong, flawless, whole and outstanding--
Endless and perpetual.
The flow of life flows ever more strongly
And the light of holiness grows ever more strongly.
“The singers and flute-players [proclaim] together:
All of my wellsprings are within you, [Zion]!” (Psalms 87:7).
Orot Hakodesh II, p. 447
The Superficial and the Profound
There are two ways of looking at the world: the viewpoint of unity and the viewpoint of separation.
The viewpoint of unity looks at the entire vista of individuals separated from each other as no more than an error of the senses and a lack of illumination. But the truth of reality is simply one great unity. The many, variegated beings are merely particular expressions—different limbs, various colors and hues—of that one, unified uniqueness.
In this viewpoint of unity, you look upon the whole. Then, automatically, an accounting of goodness emerges. Everything together is certainly good—with an ultimate goodness—much better because of the revelation of its evil parts than if those limbs, those means of expression, had been lacking.
To the degree that this unifying recognition grows deeper and stronger, so is its truth revealed in its penetration to the depths, in its rule over life.
All feelings proceed in accordance with the nature of that unifying recognition. Everything is felt with the feeling of goodness.
Then goodness grows stronger—goodness upon goodness. Joy rises above joy; life more glorious upon life.
The more that this unifying view strikes deep roots, the more does it bring actualized goodness into the world: life and peace.
Opposing this supernal viewpoint is the separating viewpoint, which sees a variegated reality as the true vision, and claims the foreignness of all details to each other as a true recognition.
The senses and every superficial awareness aid in this. In accordance with this, life grows progressively more corporeal. The greater its effects, so do darkness and evil increase.
There is no end to the depth of war between these two points of view: the superficial and the profound.
But all the avenues of cause in the world proceed to one point, bringing into actuality the rule of the unified viewpoint in all worlds, subjugating the viewpoint of separation to itself.
The faith in divine unity is the soul, carrying within itself all the treasure of life, all the inner possessions in which the treasure of all the worlds is stored.
Political leaders and all communal leaders are rooted in the foundation of the viewpoint of separation, in the power of illusion that displays reality in its divided state.
The world is not yet fit for a leadership from the viewpoint of unity, in its purity.
The quality of light of the Messiah, the place of the throne of God in the world—”this is his name that he will be called:
The Lord-is-our-Righteous-One (Jeremiah 23:6)”—is built upon the foundation of the viewpoint of actual unity, growing so strong that it penetrates all particulars and all causes.
It is necessary that the viewpoint of unity be hidden.
Because of all the unity in existence, because everything is in truth complete goodness from the aspect of its unity, that goodness of constant elevation is not nullified. That constant elevation is marked by the refinement of every particular matter and its elevation.
However, when this illumination of delight is revealed, the pressure and refinement that raise each particular and return every evil to goodness do not grow sufficiently strong.
Therefore, it is the hidden nature of the united light that sends forth the inner uniqueness, the essential nature of the unifying light, to the depths of separation. These are the birth pangs and torments that cause the supernal light to be revealed.
The sparks of holiness scattered in the depths of darkness join together, one by one, because of the descent of the supernal, unified light into the depths of hiddenness of the viewpoint of separation.
This miracle of the revelation of light of the life of unity in the individual and in the world, with the processes of its ethical nature and its deepest longings—which envelop and permeate everything—is alive. It is alive within Israel.
“His people Israel lives and exists forever.”
“The name of the Lord, God of the world is called upon him.”
“In the light of His countenance does he walk.”
“The Lord his God is with him, and the friendship of the king with him.”
Orot Hakodesh II, pp. 456-58
The Inclusive Path of God
A person who is connected with love to the totality of existence, desiring its rectification and goodness, is also connected to the wicked and wrongdoers within it.
This creates the possibility of damaging the holiness of his pure soul, which desires only holiness and true goodness.
Still, the spirit of the tzaddik, who loves all of existence, grows so strongly with love of all creatures, love of humanity, and, in particular, the love of Israel, that nothing repels him—not even the fear that he himself will become spiritually flawed.
At last, he refines himself so much that he connects himself to the essence of goodness of all existence—everything.
In truth, all existence is always good: “Hashem is good to all.”
By means of this love, he rises even higher.
And by means of that spiritual elevation, all of existence rises, until even the evil particulars of the entirety become progressively perfected.
They do so by means of the connection of the spirit of the tzaddik—who truly loves everything—with them.
A person whose way of service this is must refine himself a great deal.
He must be quick and careful so that his actions, thoughts and all his feelings are really given over to the good of all existence. This is really what we can understand of the description of the will of God.
Then, his spiritual thought unites with the oneness of existence, and “evil shall not come upon it.”
However, it may be that someone comes to connect himself to the love of all, but his spirit is dark within him with his own personal motives. Even though he also contains pure sparks of the love of all, his own soul is not properly centered and united.
This means that his connection with all existence is not solid.
It is possible that his connection is directed to the degraded and evil aspect of all existence. The goodness and chosen in the totality of existence will grow far from connecting with his soul.
Then, this connection is truly flawed.
That is why we find a natural sense in many people, people who fear God and learn Torah, of only wanting to connect with the love of good people and with the chosen nation.
In truth, this is a fine path for all those who have not properly refined themselves.
But this is not the path of God that is fit for those whose souls are perfected, for those who have the power to refine themselves and their motives.
Such people are obligated, in addition to the special love for the chosen people, to love all existence and to hope for its complete salvation, for the salvation of all particulars of the all with no division whatsoever.
If such people find in themselves any descent or spiritual eclipse resulting from their connection to the totality of existence because of its degraded parts, they do not turn back from the inclusive path of God that is fit for them.
Instead, they hurry to acquire the proper refinement, so that they will be able to be connected to all of existence, from the aspect of the essence of the goodness of Hashem—the true goodness, which rests in Him.
Then their exalted love will not damage them or cause them to descend.
It will allow them to ascend, and it will give them additional purity, strength and holiness.
Orot Hakodesh III, pp. 319-20
A Union of Strength and Beauty
A person stands and wonders: What need is there for the profusion of such a variety of creatures? And he fails to understand how they all constitute one great entity.
The slumbering life that exists within inanimate matter marks the beginning of a lightning flash that shines continuously within the vegetative world, splitting into tens of thousands of rays, each unique and individual. These arrive at the sanctuary of life, and there they sparkle joyously; they rise to the height of the crown of the universe’s creatures: man. The entirety of the quality of man’s life, its streaming illuminations, the constant rising of his spirit—these are merely great ocean waves flowing back and forth, impelled by all the movements of life within existence: from the smallest particle of life to the greatest, from inanimate matter to human being.
If you are astonished at how it is that you are able to speak, hear, smell, feel, see, understand and have emotions, consider that all of life, and all that precedes it, causes all of your existence to flow upon you.
Not even the smallest point is superfluous. Everything is necessary; everything serves its purpose. You [exist] in all that is below you, and you are tied to and rise with all that is higher than you.
Animals, who do not have great intellectual expression, possess an earthy, strong drive. [This drive is] somewhat weakened by its freshness and strength of existence, which is caused by the pressure of its activity. [That in turn is] due to the ideal core of will that has entered into [that drive]. [The animal] draws its complete strength from its connection with the vegetative world, which does not have even that slight disturbance of the revelation of life.
In turn, vegetation, with all its healthy, unwavering [life force], suffers from [its possession of] movement and a limited imaginative faculty. It is healed from its weakness by being connected to the inanimate world, which has a spirit of permanence and constant, solid strength.
The peak of life arises within man. [But it] is very much weakened by the freedom that characterizes [his] will. [In turn,] it attains its strength by being connected to the more corporeal world of life.
The various strata of mankind are linked by this law as well. The ideal side [of man] stands ready to collapse from the weakness that resides within refinement. But it attains a [firm] stance by being based on the tangible aspect of reality.
And thus, all creatures in the world constitute one entity. Nations and parties, people of different opinions and temperament, together build a world that is full: filled with a union of strength and beauty.
Orot Hakodesh II, p. 361
The Value of Equality
The value of equality is much higher and lasting than that of separation. As a result of recognizing the preciousness of equality, all the encrustations that separate nation from nation to the point of war and inherited hatred will break apart. The particular gifts of each nation will become clear. They will learn how to live at each others’ side, in a manner that perfects everything, each receiving from and giving to the other.
Loving the Wicked
Supernal holiness is filled with love, kindness and patience, because it is so suffused with perfection.
Hatred, judgementalism and severity are the consequences of forgetting God and the oppression of the light of holiness.
The stronger the search for God grows in your heart, so does the love of all grow broad in your heart. Finally, you love even the wicked and the deniers of God and desire their improvement, because you actually improve them with the greatness of your faith.
It is true that in a revealed way, it is not within human ability to show love to anyone except those in whom we find some good point. Then we can attach our love to that aspect of good in them. In that way, we will not be harmed by the aspect of evil and ugliness in these people, people whom we love because we have the good quality of loving others.
That good quality comprises being good and helpful to those who are bad and those who are good.
Orot Hakodesh, p. 317
The Thought of Unity
If you feel that the thought of unity is close to your spirit, if the image of the connectedness of all universes—in all aspects—exercises your imagination and understanding, then the root of who you are rests amidst the great ones of the world, the essence of whose spiritual work is the overall connection of all being and a true peace amidst worlds.
Do not recoil from this great thought, but lift your heart in the ways of God. It may at times appear to you that you are seeking veneration and homage; still, see to it that, to whatever extent possible, you purify your thought solely for God’s sake: to realize His will through your service, to reveal the light of His oneness in all worlds.
Then automatically a spirit will pour upon you from the height; and your actions and traits will be purified with an ultimate purification.
Arpelei Torah, p. 8
[Every day of Succos, sacrifices were brought in the Temple on behalf of the nations of the world. When this is described in the Chumash, the description of the fourth day’s sacrifices is unusual in that it lacks the letter “vav” (“and”) as a prefix to the word “their gift-offering.”]
The fourth day corresponds to the fourth sefirah, called netzach, which means “victory.” The power of netzach does not allow the accusatory forces to maintain their existence. Instead, they are decimated and uprooted (Shaarei Tzedek).
Only as long as the rectification of the world requires the existence of separate, individual nations are the nations of the world protected. This, however, is not forever, not for eternity. Therefore, their connection to “netzach” is cut off.
Only in regard to Israel does the verse state that “when there will be a new heaven...your seed and your name shall continue to exist.”
The letter “vav” is the letter of life. [Vav is in the shape of] a line. It draws out the yod, [which is in the shape of a dot. The yod] represents supernal wisdom, which “gives life to whoever has it.” The letter “vav,” [the letter that draws down life,] is missing on the fourth day (cf. Aderes Eliyahu, Emor, regarding the vav of the yod; and Shimuni, Vayera, quoting Sefer Hatemunah).
(Similarly, the lights created during the first seven days are also written without a “vav”—instead of “m’orot,” “m’arat”—plague. And this indicates that “without the ‘vav,’ there is death in the world” [Zohar, Bereishis 33b].)
The other nations [as individual nations] cling to the sacrifices of the dead. [Thus,] they have a portion in temporal life only, not in eternal life.
Therefore, [eternal life] cannot enter their sacrifices on the fourth day, which corresponds to netzach, eternity. From the aspect of eternity, the flow that comes to them destroys them as individual nations, so that they return to the level of universal humanity.
Olat Rayah, pp. 298-99
Rabbi Charlop quoted Rabbi Kook as saying:
If I wanted, I would attract certain circles to me, who would be my followers, involved in spreading my teachings and thoughts. But I do not want this, narrow groups. I want to be connected to everyone. I do not want to be separated from anyone.
Moadei Harayah, p. 170