We are Already Free
BY SIVAN RAHAV-MEIR
“Twenty years ago, I was seriously injured in a terrorist attack in the village of Otniel (in Judea, south of Hebron),” Asaf Fasi said during a Zoom meeting of the Mitchadshot (Women’s Renewal) community. “During my rehabilitation, my friends presented me with a poem of Rav Kook which I will never forget:
,וְאִם אֲנִי חַלָּשׁ בְּגוּפִי
?הַאִם תִּסְבֹּל מִזֶּה גַּם כֵּן נִשְׁמָתִי
,וְאִם אֶלֶף פְּעָמִים יְדַכְּאֵנִי בְּשָׂרִי
?הֲיְדֻכָּא מִזֶּה רוּחִי
,הַלּא מְלֵא חֹפֶשׁ אֲנִי, שׁוֹאֵף אוֹר וּדְרוֹר
,וְעִם שְׁאִיפָתִי לְחֵרוּת – כְּבָר הִנְנִי מְשֻׁחְרָר
.וּבִמְלאֹ קוֹמָתִי הִנְנִי בֶּן חוֹרִין
If my body is weak,
Should my soul also suffer?
If my flesh brings me misery a thousand times,
Should my spirit also be miserable?
I am filled with freedom, I inhale light and liberty.
And with my aspiration to be free, I am already liberated.
When I rise to my full stature, I am truly free.
“These words of Rav Kook gave me much strength. I began collecting short quotes from him that have now been turned into a book: Mishpatei HaRav Kook (Thoughts of Rav Kook).”
What is the secret of his “I am Filled with Freedom” poem? The idea that having a broken body does not mean the soul must be broken too. On the contrary. The spirit of a human being is incredibly strong. It can lift up the body and heal it. Rav Kook writes that the soul determines who we are to the extent that if we only aspire to freedom, we are already free.
Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Yedidya, and their five children, and serves as World Mizrachi’s Scholar-in-Residence. She is a primetime anchor on Channel 2 News, has a column in Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Acharonot, and has a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio).