From Darkness will Spring forth Light

RABBI AVRAHAM YITZCHAK HAKOHEN KOOK זצ”ל

As we grapple with the most horrific slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust, we can find comfort by turning to the great Jews who came before us. On August 24, 1929, Arab rioters massacred 69 Jews and maimed scores of others in Chevron, sending shock waves through the Jewish community worldwide. Personally shattered by the massacre, Rav Kook, the chief rabbi of the Yishuv, wrote the following powerful words of encouragement.

That holy spark of the foundations of redemption, from the holiness of the name of Mashiach, which was hidden in the depths since the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed and we were exiled from our Land, has begun to burn from under the heaps of the ashes of our bitter exile. Little by little, this holy spark began to ignite through those who established the Old Yishuv, and more recently it began to grow in strength in a practical way through the Chibbat Zion movement that preceded modern Zionism. 

And the spirit of Hashem which is true for all eternity, remembering the kindness of our forefathers and the promise to bring a redeemer to their descendants, has suffused all the physical and spiritual aspects of this holy building up of the Land, and it has spread through all the communities of Knesset Yisrael through the help of the Zionist movement. All of this is from Hashem, for the World War brought great geo-political changes, leading to Great Britain’s conquest of the Land and its assumption of the mandate for the Holy Land, whereupon Balfour’s declaration gave the political seal of approval to the return of our children to their borders.

These signs of the great times in which we live are a testimony to every believing Jew that Hashem, as a Shepherd who cares for His flock, is forming us once again into a nation in the inheritance of our fathers, as the days of old. But these great signs, which must shine with all of their brightness and clarity, have faded through sleight of hand.

The holy foundations of this great vision possess a hidden spark of the light of Mashiach, the redeemer who is revealed, then hidden, and then revealed once more. For this reason, the process of revitalizing the nation and expanding Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel goes through many ups and downs. Every yeridah, every descent in this process, is a hiding of the redeemer, and every ascent, every aliyah which follows it, is an aspect of his revelation.

And all those who have followed the trajectory of the Yishuv, from its beginning until today, can clearly see that from every descent we have suffered there sprouted afterwards a far greater ascent and development. From every crisis there springs a great leap forwards…

It is clear that in proportion to this “covering” [of the light of redemption], so will be the greatness of the light that is revealed, the light that is buried under this great pile of darkness, to freedom from imprisonment. This time we hope that the force which binds all of Israel in every corner of the exile to the building up of the Land of Israel will increase and grow stronger. The love of holiness, which binds our souls to the Land of our desire, will multiply by remembering the holy, pure and innocent blood that was spilled by evil murderers…

We are certain that from this terrible wound there will sprout a healing for the awful sickness of forgetting the name of G-d, the distraction that has plagued some of the groups working to build the Land. The foundational goal and higher purpose of gathering the people of Israel to its beloved Land is that we will once again, as in the days of old, carry the torch of holiness in all its purity before the nations of the world, to actualize the hidden holiness that lies in the inner soul of the nation in all its glory. This holiness will not be revealed unless all of our efforts are in the name of Hashem, the G-d of Israel, which is revealed by living lives of holiness in the light of His Torah which will light up the darkness of the world and through which the glory of redemption will be revealed…

In the end, the community of Israel will awaken both those who are settling the Land and those in the Diaspora who are working to build the Land to seek the soul of the rebirth of the nation, its redemptive secret, which is hidden in the depths of the present but which is the driving spirit of our people’s urge to welcome the renewal of our glorious future…

 

● Shuvu L’Vitzaron, Ma’amarei Ra’ayah, 360-362. Translated by Rabbi Elie Mischel.

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