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

Rav Kook’s Illuminated Guide To Enlightenment: Step 1- Higher contemplation

“Radiant is the world soul, full of splendor and beauty, full of life….

Proudly I ascend to the heights of the world soul

That gives life to the universe.

How majestic the vision,

Come, enjoy,

Come find peace,

Embrace delight,

‘Taste and see that YHVH is good’ (Tehillim 34:9)…

‘Listen to me, and you will enjoy what is good,

And find delight in what is truly precious.’ (Isaiah 55:2)”  (Rav Kook, Notebook 3:329)

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook ZT’L shared an illuminated understanding of the Torah. The special circle of disciples around Rav Kook described and experienced his enlightenment.

Within his extensive writings are many teachings about how individuals can grow spiritually. They offer a contemporary guide to enlightenment based on his own experience. We will review some of these texts and their relevance to our spiritual growth process.

Let us begin with a remarkable entry in Notebook 1. This was written in Yaffo around 1910 and offers a קריאה להסתכלות’ עליונה-A Call To Higher Contemplation’:

“If you will it, human being, observe the light of the Shechina-Divine Presence that pervades all existence. Observe the harmony of the heavenly realm, how it pervades every aspect of life, the spiritual and the material, which are before your eyes of flesh and your eyes of spirit.

Contemplate the wonders of creation, the Divine dimension of their being, not as a dim configuration that is presented to you from the distance but as the reality in which you live.

Know yourself, and your world; know the meditations of your heart, and of every thinker; find the source of your own life, and of the life beyond you, around you, the glorious splendor of the life in which you have your being.

The love that is astir in you–raise it to its basic potency and its noblest beauty, extend it to all its dimensions, toward every manifestation of the soul that sustains the universe….

Look at the lights, in their inwardness. Let not the names, the words, the idiom and the letters confine your soul.

They are under your control, you are not under theirs. 

Ascend toward the heights, because you are of mighty prowess, you have wings to soar with, wings of mighty eagles. Do not fail them, lest they fail you; seek for them, and they will at once be ready for you….

We are called to share in the heavenly delight, in all the particularized perceptions, which are included in this universal whole, from which all has emerged.” (Lights of Holiness, 1:83-84)

We are invited to respond to our soul’s call to a higher contemplation and for a larger understanding.  The Torah of Rav Kook offers extensive guidance for spiritual growth and personal development. We will continue to share these illuminations.

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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