Itzchak Evan-Shayish
Dedicated to sharing Rav Kook's lights with the world.

Rav Kook on Pekudei: Sanctifying all existence



“וַיָּבֵ֣א אֶת־הָאָרֹן֮ אֶל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֒ וַיָּ֗שֶׂם אֵ֚ת פָּרֹ֣כֶת הַמָּסָ֔ךְ וַיָּ֕סֶךְ עַ֖ל אֲר֣וֹן הָעֵד֑וּת כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה׃”

And Moshe brought the ark inside the Tabernacle. Then he put up the curtain for screening, and screened off the Ark of the Pact—just as יהוה had commanded Moshe.” (Shmot 40:21)

The Mishkan/Sanctuary is now completed and the Aron/Ark with the Ten Commandments is brought into it to begin the daily services and activities.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook ZT”L (1865-1935) explains the significance of this very important moment: “There is a way of uniting the emotions of the heart with the pure intellect. This is the proper way to bring the Aron/Ark-the place of the Torah, the pure Divine Intellect- into the Mishkan/Sanctuary-which is based on feelings of generosity and purity of heart. 

The intellect aspires for the universal good, for the happiness of all of HaShem’s creations. It does not distinguish between one people or another. 

The emotion does draw a person to love a particular nationality-the love of his own people.

In Israel these two rise together. Israel’s honor and greatness in the world brings the recognition of honoring HaShem Elohei Israel-the God of Israel who is ‘called after his people’. That recognition will grow in the world and from this will emerge light and complete goodness for everyone. In this case, the emotional aspiration of the heart is fully connected to the intellectual concept.  Therefore: 

“שְׂא֤וּ שְׁעָרִ֨ים ׀ רָֽאשֵׁיכֶ֗ם וְֽ֭הִנָּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵ֣י עוֹלָ֑ם וְ֝יָב֗וֹא מֶ֣לֶךְ הַכָּבֽוֹד׃ –O gates, lift up your heads! Up high, you everlasting doors, so the King of glory may come in!” (Tehillim 24:7)

Raise your heads on a national level, you are not yet world openers, but particular national gate-openers. From this you will emerge and rise to be world-openers for the whole world.

How will the recognition of the Elohim of Israel and His Torah announce its existence in the world? Through everything that the King of glory brings upon you that will grow the honor of Israel, your strength and might, in the world.

Therefore it is necessary that our emotional national aspirations be united with the purer intellect. Thus it is proper for the Aron-Ark, the place of the pure intellect, to be placed in the home of the Holy of Holies- the foundation of pure emotional feelings. This is the way to unite in Israel the intellectual analytical Torah with the emotional heart based spiritual work.” (Eyn Aya Shabbat 2:41)

Rav Kook is teaching us that we must grow and integrate our unique emotional draw to Israel with our intellectual universalism and concern for all humankind and life. Holiness requires both of these to be fully developed.

As Rav Kook explains in a very important essay: “On reaching full maturity the human spirit aspires to rise above all conflict and opposition. It will recognize all expressions of the spiritual life as an organic whole, in which differences in states will not be erased….But these will not be in a grievous form that inspires discord and hostility….When the light of Israel will emerge and make its appearance in the world…there will at once become manifest the precious vision of unity, which integrates all forces into one complete, comprehensive phenomenon, while leaving  the particular essence of each intact….

This programmatic change, which bears within itself the assured beneficence of preparing the ground for the most perfect development, must necessarily be rooted in the graces of a national Israelite disposition in which the higher illumination of the sensibilities for the divine, the moral and the religious will be integrated well, without conflict or inner contradiction.” (From ‘Essays: Fragments of Light: A View As To The Reasons for the Commandments’)

May Israel be blessed to be agents and servants of this holy integration that will bring great light to all humankind.

BeMhera beYamenu-Immediately In Our Days.


Prepared by Rabbi Itzchak Evan-Shayish, ,

About the Author
Rabbi Itzchak Evan-Shayish (Marmorstein) is a passionate student of the teachings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (1865- 1935) He is doing pioneering work in bringing Rav Kook to the public through classes, writings and creative musical and dramatic presentations in Israel and all over the world. He is the gabbai and educator at Beit HaRav Kook Synagogue in Jerusalem. He is the chairman of Ohr LeRayah, a Jerusalem based organization dedicated to sharing the universal teachings of Rav Kook with the whole world. ( He is a musmach of Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, Z"L , Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Z’L and Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi Z'L.
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