Sunday, February 28, 2010

For your Purim Seudah: Rav Kook on Kiddush

[This week's outstanding Haveil Havalim is here]

The following is my translation of a comment by Rav Kook in his עולת ראי"ה, brought in Mossad haRav Kook's Haggadah shel Pesach at the start of Kiddush at the Seder. It speaks to our ability to sanctify the day [קידוש היום] and to sanctify the world around us, and it charges us to create this sanctity.

I had to read through the Hebrew many times in order to render this translation, and it will likely take many reads through this English for people to get a sense of what Rav Kook is saying here. But over a long Purim Seudah, this might just begin to be comprehensible - and for those who succeed, the message could be worthwhile:

“For HaShem’s portion is His nation, Yaakov is His lot.”

This “lot” is the lot of truth. The events via which the generations will inherit this [status] via their sacred actions are events of implemented truth, which on the individual’s level never vary from their truth. Those events [the sacred actions] have the power to provide the force of life to each Jew, and so each individual action by each individual soul will add light and eternal life to itself, and to its generations, until each Jew will be able to provide individual holiness to the day, to sanctify the day.

The most active root of sanctification, the individual one, with which we influence the day, emerges with the departure from Egypt, the revelation of implemented truth which is immutable in the general radiance with which it affects each individual. This is the power of freedom, the departure from the house of slaves.

The individuals in every nation and tongue cannot become part of the spiritual philosophy of their nation unless they serve the collective, meaning that they are only influenced and activated by that collective. They cannot, as individuals, implement truths which will stand and endure and be active forces, from their national root, in the path of the freedom of decisive truth – as opposed to Israel, the children of truth. “But they are My nation, children who will not lie, and I am their Redeemer.” HaShem in His true eternal unity is their Redeemer, and they do not need a foreign god or redeemer besides Him. The strength of this Divine truth, which is the root of the national sanctity of Israel, invests strength in each private individual, to be sanctified independently, and so to be prepared to add its unique sanctity to the day.

Therefore, with holy emotion, all declare on the night of the sanctification of this holiday - the source and foundation for all of the Divine holidays preserving the national memory which illuminates all individual actions as part of a greater whole, the wealth of the points of life added on that holiday on each specific level of Israel’s holiness – this holiday which sanctifies the times, on this day it is declared to each Jew that he must recognize the worth of his actions, planting righteousness and receiving a reward of truth: Kadesh!


  1. That's a pretty good rendition. Thanks for putting it up. Was this in keeping with beginning to learn (halachot) for Pesah, 30 days in advance?

  2. R' Mordechai-
    Thanks, You're welcome, and Yes!