Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook was one of the outstanding rabbinic figures of the twentieth century. Chief Rabbi of Palestine until his death in 1935, he served as a reconciling force between many battling factions and separated ideologies in the early days of the Zionist movement. Rabbi Kook had a unique ability, through his warmth, compassion, and deep sense of humanness, to make harmony out of seemingly irreconcilable differences.
One of the many remarkable things about Rabbi Kook was his close friendship with non-Orthodox communities, including young secular Zionist pioneers and struggling, idealistic kibbutz founders. His sense of Klal Yisrael (the fellowship of Jews) transcended ideological boundaries. The sainted teacher’s poetry and prayers are recited today in synagogues of all shades of opinion throughout America.
A mystic, philosopher, and deeply religious spirit of the modern age, Rabbi Kook’s best known saying is “We must renew the old and sanctify the new.” This, in essence, sums up his approach to the creative melding of past, present, and future.
Young and old alike will delight in this enthralling life of one who was scholarly and pious in unusual proportions, yet constantly active in the daily personal, social, and political problems of the first half of the twentieth century.
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