IN HONOR OF SHAVUOT: RAV KOOK ON WHY THE CREATOR SPOKE TO ISRAEL-
“Anochi/I Am YHVH Your Elohim Who has taken you out of the narrow land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.” (Shmot 20:2)
Thus begins the most extraordinary moment in world history. The Creator of existence Is Speaking to a group of human beings. YHVH Elokim explains the foundation of existence that must be understood and the foundations of moral behavior that must be followed to live in harmony with the Divine Will and the moral dynamics that underlie human life and action.
This of course is the culmination of a process that began with Avraham and Sarah teaching their children to keep the “way of YHVH teaching tzedaka/righteousness and mishpat/justice”. (Breisheet, 18:19)
645 years after Avram receives his first Divine Directive we reach the extraordinary moment that the Divine speaks the Ten Commandments to the entire nation at Mt. Sinai.
Thus the children of Israel heard the ten Divine core directives, we received the Torah to learn how to sanctify everything in life and were given a series of Divine mitzvot that direct us to act in harmony with the Divine morality.
Why? To what purpose has Israel been learning and living according to the Torah for thousands of years? Why are we continuing to try to learn and live in line with the Torah?
Rav Kook TZ’L explains the ultimate goal of this unique Israelite way of life: “Knesset Yisrael aspires to the tikkun-repair of the world in all its fullness, to purifying original forgiveness, which comes not merely for the salvation of a human’s soul and improvement of their will…but rather a comprehensive correction of the cause of sins….
We must uplift the world from the depth of its sin…from the fall of the cosmic theory in the foundation of its existence, from the lowering of the world ideal in reality, which prepared the way for human sin and all the troubles that come from it.
All, all must be fixed; all must be purified. The aspiration of Israel for building the nation, for return to the Land, is an aspiration of the depth of good that penetrates to the root of all existence.
It is not only the ‘upraising of a brick’ of some structure, but rather a whole, in-depth turning to the foundation of the entire structure, to establish it correctly.
We are not speaking of a few trees or branches of the Tree of Life and Good, but rather uncovering the source, the spring of life from which is fed the sap of the Tree of Life, with all its roots, trunk and branches, trailers and leaves.
From it will come a spirit of life, a new spirit, and a new world will be built.
‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I am making, stand before me, says HaShem, so will stand your seed and your name.’ (Isaiah 66:22) ” (Notebook 5:5; Orot MeOfel 10)
What will then happen in the whole world?
Rav Kook explains: “The world will be refined and lit up, it will be elevated and illuminated. It will be known and revealed, after the removal of its impurities, that all that it aspires to attain, in all aspects and all ways–all is the work of HaShem.
All goes out from streams of bliss of the sublimely holy. This will start with Knesset Yisrael/Community of Israel. This is the only nation in the world whose inheritance from eternity has been HaShem.
Afterwards this will expand to all the world and all the worlds. All they aspired to and will continue to aspire to- all do HaShem’s bidding. Everything turns to the exalted, desired, ideal purpose that rests in the shade of Shaddai/the Almighty. Everything rounds out the profound plan that was entertained before the Beginning….
The entire world will be full of Kavod/Glory and the Kavod/Glory will be distinct and revealed….” (Orot MeOfel, 25).
Rav Kook is explaining to to us that we heard The Creator, received the Torah and are directed to live according to the mitzvot so that we can actively and effectively repair the entire world. Nothing less. What an extraordinary responsibility, opportunity and blessing that it is doable.
This repair will begin with Israel and then spread to all humankind.
We are bidden to uplift the entire world from the depths of its destructive wrong doings. In this way, we will repair the entire structure of our life. We will tap into the true spring of life and we will birth “a new spirit of life. A new world will be established”.
BeMhera Beyamenu-Immediately In Our Days
With thanks to Rabbi Betzalel Naor’s masterful translation of Orot. https://orot.com/