Ever since the dawn of history, material possessions and wealth have been seen as posing basic ethical and spiritual problems. All religions, therefore, have had to offer some perspective regarding the scope and legitimacy of economic activity. Judaism is no exception in this respect, though it differs radically from all other religions in the answers it provides to the relevant questions.
To our members and friends,
Rabbi Kook’s writings are generally, but not always very mystical and difficult to understand. However, Rabbi Ari Ze’ev Schwartz’s book “The Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook” unravels the writings with a new translation, with each chapter being divided into clearly stated topic headings added by Rabbi Schwartz, such as the individual, Torah, God, teshuvah, prayer, creativity, Zionism, science, and vegetarianism.
Religion produces the very best type of people: saintly, humble, compassionate, and genuinely pious. But we cannot help but notice that religion also produces—or at least harbors—the very worst type of people: terrorists, bigoted zealots, and self-righteous egotists. So religion has two faces: one that is righteous and compassionate; and one that is self-righteous and hate-filled.
One of the remarkable features of the Jewish People is our incredible diversity. As we appreciate the "wholeness" of the Jewish People, we provide ourselves and our new generations with a sense of sharing in the grandness of the Jewish experience.
Our communities will grow stronger in Torah observance and vibrancy with the introduction of mixed-gender communal and spiritual leadership models. We are fully aware that this is only the beginning of the conversation. We look forward to being in partnership with our larger community in thinking about these issues.
To our members and friends,
The institution of yeshiva, or metivta, is a national Jewish treasure in which the soul of the nation resides, a source of living waters for the preservation of the Jewish nation in the form and character unique to it alone. It behooves us therefore to delve into the inner essence of the yeshiva (or metivta) in order to understand its nature and composition, thus enabling us to promote its further development and perpetuation in that unique form that has no analogue among any other nation…..
Some years ago, I read about a German Jew who established a "Jewish Nazi Society" during the 1930s. While Jews throughout Germany (and Europe in general) were facing horrible anti-Jewish persecutions, this Jewish man internalized the vicious anti-Semitic propaganda to such an extent that he also became a Jew-hater. Perhaps he thought that by identifying as a Nazi, he would be spared personally from the anti-Jewish persecutions. He wanted to be considered as "a good Jew" in the eyes of the Nazis, rather than be accounted among the "bad" Jews whom the Nazis were tormenting.
There is a way to respect the sanctity of life of a goses, while withholding or removing impediments to a peaceful death. But this requires physicians with wisdom, expert clinical judgment, skills of communication, and sensitivity to the value of life and the concerns of families. It also requires sensitive guidance from spiritual leaders, who sometimes view death as an enemy, rather than inevitable.