Talk:Abraham Isaac Kook

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Editor's Help Is Requested For Important Editing/Page Additions/Work[edit]

When an editor has an opportunity, the following are very important links to supporting document and pictures to be displayed in this article:

Link to this audio recording of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik of Boston describing the personality and stature of Rabbi Kook at 10:00 on this link:

Link to article of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik of Boston describing the personality and stature of Rabbi Kook:

Link to an article by Rabbi Eitam Henkin proving how a common claim regarding a position of Rabbi Kook was based on false information:

This link to an archived article which states that Rabbi Kook chose Rabbi Frank to succeed him as Chief Rabbi:

And, this link to an archived article which (like the above article) states that Rabbi Kook chose Rabbi Frank to fill his position when he went abroad:

An historic relevant letter to cite:

Another relevant article to cite

Ksavyadkodesh (talk) 22:14, 24 August 2015 (UTC)


The statement "His books and name are never mentioned in Halachic discussions" is false. Perhaps he is not mentiioned by everyone but he is quoted in Gesher HaChaim, the classic halachic work on the laws of mourning, e.g. volume 1 page 235 and volume 2 page 40. I'm sure there must be other examples of people who quoted him in halachic discussions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 24 April 2009 (UTC) Rav Kook is also mentioned often in Rav Ovadya Yosef's Shutim and his Sfarim, also mentioned in Rav Tikochinsky's famous Luach Eretz Yisrael, Mo'adei Shlomo (Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's halachic sfarim), etc. 21:21, 27 December 2009 (UTC)21:19, 27 December 2009 (UTC) Rav Kook is quoted often in Tikochinsky's Luach80.179.14.24 (talk) 00:53, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

It might be worth looking at: "Letter from Rabbi Kook to Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky (1931)". Pi314m (talk) 08:00, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

Definition of Labor[edit]

The link to labor is ambiguous. Can someone please update it? Rossami 05:14, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)

  • I've changed it to a link to Labor Zionism, which is the movement specifically being discussed.--Pharos 05:25, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Name of article[edit]

Should this article be named "Abraham Isaac Kook" if Rav Kook is more often referred to by his hebrew name, "Avraham Yitzchak Kook"? If you take a look at the Orthodox rabbis category page, ([1]), the majority are referred to by their hebrew, and not anglified names. Nevertheless, I feel that there should be a standard for this issue; nothing seems to quite cover it. Ayinyud 17:34, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

  • A google search indicates that "Abraham Isaac Kook" is much more common (25,200 pages vs. 511 pages). Of course, google results are misleading sometimes, but I dom't see a particular reason why they would be in this case. I don't think we should generally have a standard on anglicization; as popular English writing seems to have an idiosyncratic increasing acceptance of Hebrew names for later figures, we should probably just evaluate each case individually.--Pharos 18:23, 11 September 2005 (UTC)


I feel that it's important to point out a tremendous distortion of Rav Kook, that is dispalyed on this site.

The text on Wikipedia states:

"Abraham Isaac Kook a well-known proponent of Religious Zionism.....the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz Harav".

If one clicks on the link for "Religious Zionism", it is defined as follows:

"The Religious Zionist Movement, or Religious Zionism, also called Mizrachi...."

If one reads through Rav Kook's many brilliant works, one thing is very clear- he did not view himself as a leader, or part of the "Mizrachi".

For those who may beg to differ, I will include a clear example (of the many), by quoting from the text of one of Rav Kook's letter (in Zichron Rayah):

Rav Kook:

"This gave rise to the not long ago to the Mizrachi association. But this is not a complete remedy, since in the end we are still strengthening secular zionism....We can never guard ourselves from the influence of the secularists......How then are the Mizrachim protected from the evil influence of lawless Zionism on their children!"

Anonymous- if you think there's an oversimplification/conflation of Rav Kook's philosophy and Mizrachim/Religious Zionism, I suggest you try to explain the distinction in a few sentences in the article. (Or here on the talk page.) That would seem to be the best and easiest solution, particularly since many people seem to share the understanding that Kook was a major proponent of Religious Zionism, and if this is a misconception, it should be addressed as well as corrected.ShalomShlomo 20:42, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

ShalomShlomo wrote: "I suggest you try to explain the distinction"

It seems quite strange to think R' Kook was a leader or even part of Mizrachi, when he clearly wrote the shortcomings and reasons why it was not an alternative for the Jewish people.

Rav Kook wrote in one of his many letters (in Zichron Rayah): "We can never guard ourselves from the influence of the secularists......How then are the Mizrachim protected from the evil influence of lawless Zionism on their children!" The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

Rav Kook described an alternative to Zionism (Zionism, being inclusive of secular and Mizrachi)--he viewed a "Grand Coalition" which all the great Torah leaders of that time would join, and show the rest of the world's Jewish population that a strong "Torah and Halacha true" alternative must be the foundation and future of the Jewish people and eventually the Jewish state. He felt that such a group of absolute and uncompromising (in halacha) Torah leaders would eventually influence and transform the Zionists into a halachic and g-d fearing body that would eventually lead to a Jewish state run according to Jewish (halacha) law, which would in turn lead to the Messiah.

Apparently that's not exactly how things played out..... The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

Thanks for correcting the article (it is now much more accurate)! The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

(now) religious Zionist[edit]

can someone please explain why Mercaz harav is described as "(now) Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz Harav" in the introduction? Was it previously not religious Zionist?

Perhaps the most simple way to prove the point (that it is NOW a "Religious Zionist" Yeshiva) is by contrasting a picture of the graduates from Yeshiva Merkaz Harav, when Rav A.I. Kook was still alive V. the current leadership. When Rav Kook was alive, all the student were wearing the traditional chareidi garb (hat,jackets,etc.). Only NOW do the students wear clothing associated with "Religious Zionism." I think that the author of this page should address this key fact about Rav Kook and his Yeshiva. Ayinyud 14:12, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Rabbi Kook "opposed Religious Zionism"???[edit]

"Under Zvi Yehuda's leadership, both his father's image and yeshiva eventually became associated with Religious Zionism, ironically conflating Kook's real ideas with those of a group he actually opposed"

Where is there a proof that he opposed Religious Zionism? It is one thing to say that he critizied Mizrachi on occasions, but to go as far as to say he opposed Religious Zionism? Please supply proof to uphold this statement.

  • Please sign your comment/s with the four tildes ~~~~ which will automatically produce your user name and time of the edit, and so that we can better know who is saying what to whom and when. Thank you. IZAK 12:59, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Answer to the question above: Do you know of any "religious zionist" students today, that dress the way the students of Rav Kook dressed? The Of course the answer is no-because they live and are lectured a different outlook and understanding in Judaism. There is no possible way to fabricate the facts on ground and say that Rav Kook and his students, have anything in common with the "religious zionists" of today.

This is a silly argument. If you look at the pictures of the students when Rav Kook was the Rosh Yeshiva of his own yeshiva the 20's until his passing, you will see that very few if any dressed like him. This distinction is completely irrelevant in terms of his seeding Religious Zionism. Which he certainly did. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Was Rabbi Kook A Zionist?[edit]

There is countless documentation to prove that Rav A I Kook was NOT a Zionist. It is very important to point out that Zionism is a secular term made popular by Herzl. No only was Rabbi Kook the opposite of secular, but he attempted to convince more secular Jews to become religious and more spiritual. As far as calling him a "religious zionist," that is also silly to anyone who is read Rabbi Kook's writings. He clearly distances himself from ant "ism," his only alliance was with the Torah and G-d's commandments. He was not a politician or a member of any movement. Koltorah (talk) 06:27, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Rabbi, not Rabbi[edit]

I noticed that at times R' Kook is called R' Kook and other times is merely called Kook. I don't want to edit anything before there's a consensus on the issue.Yossiea 19:03, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I generally write R' Kook at the beginning of a paragraph or section and otherwise use the standard biographical "surname". Other pages I've worked on reg. rabbinical figures have had every usage of the person's name changed to have an R or Rabbi in front of it, but mostly it seems to depend how much of an issue/stink the editor in question makes. I don't know if there's any formal policy regarding the issue.ShalomShlomo 23:28, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Views on Temple Mount?[edit]

This is fairly interesting and very important politically as far as sharing the Holy City. I don't know if he is considered a controlling authority. "Author's note: No less an authority than Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook, first chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, ruled that "it is a Torah commandment that until the day of the resurrection, we are not permitted to even enter the courtyard of the Temple."The fact that Jewish law can be summarily ignored or rescinded for reasons of politics and ideology does not bode well. Neither does the possibility that it can only be revamped for reasons of right-wing politics or ideology. " Bradley Burston in Haaretz If this checks out, isn't a significant enough view to be in the article?Godspeed John Glenn! Will 21:36, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Stamp Kook.jpg[edit]

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R. Kook and gentiles[edit]

Quote for Rabbi Kook[edit]

I'm deleting the anti-gentile quote again for three reasons: (1) A quote should cite a primary source, not a newspaper article (2) One quote lacking context seems odd to add to an article. (3) If Rabbi Kook & gentiles is a worthy subtopic for the article to deal with, this quote is only one piece of a broader, more complicated picture.

I think there should be a discussion by editors of how to proceed. I'd be happy to add some of my favorite Kook quotes. I suspect that there is sufficient secondary literature to create a brief, objective analysis of the broader question.

Yudel (talk) 19:01, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Your demands for a source are above the Wikipedia standard. Ha'aretz is the best Israeli newspaper and its articles are enough as a source for anything. And, the quotation was attributed.
OK, I would add some context.
OK, I agree that this section will be marked as a stub.
Guy Peters TalkContributionsEdit counter 20:13, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Another quote regarding the nations of the world: “God was charitable toward His world by not endowing all talents in one place, nor with one person, nor with one nations, nor with one country, nor with one generation, nor with one world. But the talents are diffused. The necessity of seeking perfection... causes us to seek an exalted unity..... In that day will the Lord be one, and His name one.” (The Essential Writings of Abraham Isaac Kook, Ben Zion Bosker, p.202) Yudel (talk) 01:06, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


Yair Sheleg's cite of Kook's hatred towards goyim: "[T]he difference between the Israelite soul... and the souls of all non-Jews, no matter what their level, is bigger and deeper than the difference between the human soul and the animal soul," is repeatedly deleted. Hence the NPOV template. Guy Peters TalkContributionsEdit counter 16:37, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I think this is a matter of undue weight. This is a short article and Rav Kook was known for many things, many wonderful teachings. I think it is undue weight to give this one out of context very damming quote about non-Jews. Bigglovetalk 22:04, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

No. I just wish put this information somewhere. You may know Rav Kook for other things, but Ha'aretz cites him for his hatred towards goyim. Guy Peters TalkContributionsEdit counter 16:39, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Guy Peters, your statement that "Haaretz is the best Israeli newspaper and its articles are enough as a source for anything" is truly amazing in its level of bias. Can you imagine this statement being used in a court of law to support an argument? It is shocking to think that this statement can have even the least bit of credibility to support the supposed veracity of any assertion in a Wikipedia article, or indeed anywhere. This is your opinion, pure and simple. The truth of the matter is that Haaretz, for all it analytical nature, is in general a biased publication, especially its editorials, but on many occasions its articles as well. Haaretz is not likely to have many good things to say about the likes of Rav Kook, given its bias. But, if Haaretz simply says the things that you like to hear, well, that's another story.
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:21, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Guy Peters. Leaving out the extremely controversial quote makes the article biased and incomplete. The article as a whole has a hagiographic tone ("Rabbi Kook is exalted..." etc.) and should be edited to WP style.Brmull (talk) 05:08, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Where did Haaretz reporter get the quote from? What is the context? Koakhtzvigad (talk) 09:44, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Never mind, I know.
The Haaretz journalist got the quote from Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies [Paperback ed.] South End Press, Boston, 1999 p.214
It says, in full "The rising ultra-orthodox religious groups, with a strong base in the United States, are hardly likely to object to the removal of people who are inferior to Jews in their essential nature; thus, in the words of the revered Rav Kook, Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi from 1921 to 1935, "the difference between the Israelite soul... and the soul of all non-Jews, at any level, is greater and deeper than the difference between the soul of a human and the soul of an animal, for between the latter [two categories] there is only a quantitative difference but between the former two there is a qualitative one."36"
The 36 is a note number that tells us Chomsky didn't actually read it himself, but got it from Rav Kook, quoted by Eyal Kafkafi, Davar, Between religious Zionism and forcing the End, Sept. 20, 1988
Eyal Kafkafi (1941 at Kibbutz Maoz Haim Beit She'an Valley) was (passed away in 2002) an extreme-left Senior Lecturer at Oranim Academic College, University of Haifa, Kiryat, Tivon, Israel, a college that trains educators for the kibbutz settlements. As a Labour Zionist she represented the opposition of the Religious Zionists. She was a devout follower of Dr. Michael Strauss of the Department of Philosophy at Haifa University, and Dr. Yigal Wagner of the Department of History at Haifa University.
Davar, a newspaper run by the Israeli Labour movement and eventually the Histadrut (trade unions), shut down in 1996.
Unless someone can find the issue of Davar for Sept. 26, 1988, we are never going to know which of many Rav Kook's publications it came from, and therefore what the context of the quote was.
As an aside, the kabbalistic idea of the 'soul' in Judaism is quite different to the common understanding in English. There are in fact several levels to the 'soul', each with its own name. Not surprisingly Jews also have the Nefesh (נפש): the lower part, or "animal part", of the soul. It is linked to instincts and bodily cravings. I would venture to guess that either the context in the original Hebrew (Davar article) was made to score some political point, or the translation from Hebrew was made to produce just such a derogatory impression of non-Jews by Rav Kook.
Noam Chomsky "has become known more widely as a political dissident and an anarchist, referring to himself as a libertarian socialist." and his anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and anti-Judaism views are widely known, so quote manipulation by him is not out of the question.Koakhtzvigad (talk) 12:53, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Indeed the conflict is in terms of an "animal soul" (nefesh ha-bahamit) and Divine soul (nefesh Elokit). The former literally translates as "the cattle soul" (cattle are kosher unlike 'animal' in general (baal) reflecting Modern Hebrew use as in "behave like an animal", derived from Baal being the god of Canaanites, i.e. adherents being idol worshipers). As a point related to non-Jews, the Talmud relates a story about a Roman farmer in Judea who, having bough a cow from a Jew, was unable to get it to work on Shabbat, and was so impressed by this, he converted to Judaism, assuming the name of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Torsa, in Aramaic, literally "son of cow". I dare say Rav Kook would have been aware of this story, which clearly negates the suggested interpretation of him even disparaging non-Jews, but in fact deals with spiritual exegesis on a level of understanding clearly above those that would quote him Koakhtzvigad (talk) 13:21, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The quote in question is also included in the Hebrew Wikipedia article on Kook, where it is cited as "אורות", עמ' קנ"ו, פרק ה"‎, which is Orot p 156, part 5.RolandR (talk) 11:34, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Translation of the relevant section of the Davar article

As a Rabbi the Rav Avraham Itzhak HaCohen [Kook] was considered amongst the secular as a bright (intelligent) and progressive man, however a close examination of some his writings today reveals that his teachings were the source of much of the spiritual awakening that accompanied the fervour of religious nationalism, that strengthened amongst soldiers after his passing. Israel he compared to holiness as against the secularity of the rest of the nations of the world [a bit like saying Israel is Shabbat and the nations are the weekdays - a hard sentence to translate]. The Jews were all about quality, as against the quantity, that was the sign of ([what signified]) the nations of the world (The Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen, The Lights of Holiness, Vols. 1,2,3, [part 5, page 156 ?]). He claimed that the soul of Israel, is a creative soul, as compared against the souls of the nations who are left alone. He did not back away from asserting that the difference between the Israelite soul and the souls of all the nations, at all levels, is greater and deeper than the difference between the soul of man and the soul of a beast. That between the last ones [the comparison between the people and beasts] there is only a quantitative difference to be found, but between the first ones [the comparison between the nations and Israel] there resides a significant qualitative difference (there...[source I am assuming])...

So now all that is needed is the vol 3 to see how Kook came to this conclusion :) Koakhtzvigad (talk) 03:55, 4 March 2011 (UTC)


Possibly as influential in Orthodox/Haredi Judaism as Mordecai Kaplan was in Liberal Judaism and Anan ben David was in Karaite Judaism (i.e., a major figure of one branch whose teachings were only of minor importance in others). I've rated the Kaplan and ben David biographies as mid-importance articles and what do others think of this one being mid-importance as well? --AFriedman (talk) 21:47, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

The answer to your question is here User:Koakhtzvigad (mobile) (talk) 00:05, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

He is supported in Israel today.[edit]

This Israeli site: [Ynews] shows that this Jew remains supported today in Israel.Agre22 (talk) 16:25, 1 January 2010 (UTC)agre22

In a poll commissioned for Israel's 60 anniversary, last year, Rav Kook was voted the person most influential on the shaping of the modern state of Israel.,7340,L-3540900,00.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:11, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

User editing without reason or cause[edit]

I attempted to put a link in the article that would provide neutral source documentaion for quotes written in the article. The link is to raw data, in the form of unedited documents that offers a primary source for the quotations. In spite of my multiple attempts at explaing this, a user certain has insisted on erasing the link, without giving any type of reasonable or applicable rational. As I have no interest in being part of a edit war, I have decided to list the article here, for an editor to assist in placing the link on the site- without allowing a user to erase it without basis. I assume the behaviour of the cited editing user was not malicious but simply mistaken. However, since the user is not willing and/or able to comprehend the neccessity for the link as a primary sorce document, I will leave to the Wiki editor's capable hands to do so. Thank you. Ksavyadkodesh (talk) 23:45, 26 September 2011 (UTC) Two additional points:

1) The documents posted on the specific Scribd site were quoted in multiple newspapers (citing the link for readers to view). The authenticity has been confirmed by multiple news sources. The question as to who uploaded the 80+ year old documents is not relevant under any stretch of the imagination.

2) There are no copyright issues involved- the documents are 80-100 years old that were posted with permission. Ksavyadkodesh (talk) 00:54, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

I have templated this article as needing citations, and as containing possible original research.[edit]

I am by no means an expert on the subject matter here, but after responding here [2] to a query, it has become apparent that this article may need substantial improvement to reach the necessary standards. Much of the content is entirely lacking inline citations from published secondary sources, and it seems in places to be drawing conclusions from primary sources, thus constituting original research. Can I suggest that perhaps assistance over these matters is asked for at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Judaism, as the most likely place to find knowledgeable assistance. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:55, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Two newspaper articles that would be worth adding as sources:


2) (Page 16)

Ksavyadkodesh (talk) 17:59, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

"Mercaz HaRav"[edit]

I edited the translation to reflect how Rav Kook himself translated the name of the Yeshiva--Merkaz "HaRav" meaning for "the many"--In other words, "Central Yeshiva For The Masses." Rav Kook envisioned the Yeshiva to be a central Yeshiva which would attract "HaRav" from all over the world.

Ksavyadkodesh (talk) 21:41, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Abraham Isaac Kook/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The article is in good shape but it really needs citations--at least one per paragraph is a good rule to aim for. MLilburne 08:07, 26 October 2006 (UTC) Please see talk page which has a substantial amount of new citation links for an editor to add into the article Ksavyadkodesh (talk) 22:20, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Last edited at 22:20, 24 August 2015 (UTC). Substituted at 06:31, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

In what sense is Kook Latvian?[edit]

The article says Rav Kook emigrated in 1904 to Palestine. Latvia was proclaimed a sovereign state in 1918. Prior to the Republic of Latvia, the only way someone was considered Latvian was by ethnicity. Is Rav Kook to be considered ethnic Latvian? Or did Rav Kook gain citizenship after 1918, even though he was not an inhabitant of Latvia? I really would like to know how a person can be categorized as Latvian emigrant to Israel, when there was no Latvia at the time of emigration. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 22:32, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

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Agenda Present Throughout This Page[edit]

Many parts of this page reflect an agenda of their author- I suspect one person is behind them all- to redefine Rabbi Kook as part of a different religious group and follower of a very different philosophy than what he actually was and believed. Specifically, there is an attempt to portray him as a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Jew, and one who did not believe in Zionism. I have had encounters with this author outside of Wikipedia; he believes that he is somehow "assisting" Rabbi Kook to be more widely accepted in his ultra-Orthodox community by doing so, although of course he is falsifying history (generally by seizing on out of context quotes and applying today's standards to them) to do so.

As a result, this page is actually light on actual biography while devoting an out of proportion amount of space to relatively minor details of Rabbi Kook's life and thought as well as to attempts to "prove" the above. At the very least, these sections should be removed, and the biography improved as needed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nelamm (talkcontribs) 17:39, 30 August 2017 (UTC)