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The Judaism of Tomorrow
My Rav Kook
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#12 The Stormy Breakthrough to New Spirituality
8Collections 2:247; Patches of Clarity 86; Glimmerings 84

We know from the unbroken chain of secretly-transmitted wisdom1

that there will be a spiritual rebellion in the Land of Israel and within the Jewish People

in the period when the beginning of the [Jewish] national renaissance stirs into emergence.

The material ease that a part of the Nation will enjoy

– and also imagine that it means that they have already arrived at their final goal –

will trivialize the soul,

and there will come days you would not want to face.2

Aspiration towards lofty and holy ideals will completely disappear3,

and, as a result, the human spirit will decline and regress.

[This will last] until a tornado hits, swirling up revolutionary change;

and then it will become clearly evident that the strength of the Jewish People lies

in eternal holiness,

in God’s light, in His Torah;

in our desire for spiritual light,

which is the perfect power that orchestrates all worlds and all their forces.

What makes this rebellion necessary is the tendency towards the material aspect [of life]

which will necessarily emerge in the totality of the [Jewish] People in an aggressive form

after so many long epochs have passed during which the nation as a whole

was totally stripped of the need and possibility of engaging with the material world.

And when this tendency [toward materialism] gets born,

it will stomp furiously and spin off storms;

and these [storms] themselves are the birth pangs of the Messiah4,

which will perfume the whole world through the sufferings they cause.

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Footnotes

  1. Mekubalim ’anu, from Kabbala (kuf-b-l, to receive), ‘esoteric, received wisdom.’ Beginning with Medieval Hebrew, a Mekubal meant a Kabbalist. Back to text
  2. Derived from Ecc. 12:1, but lovingly amended: in the original verse the prediction is for “years about which you will say ‘I have no pleasure in them.’” The Talmud (Shabbat 151b) remarks that this verse refers to Messianic times. Back to text
  3. As the Mishna in Sota (9:15) puts it: “In the era of the Messiah’s approach, chutzpa will be exalted.” Now, chutzpa has already become an English word, but just to remind you of its original baggage, Rashi in Ketubot 60b uses chutzpa to translate ’afkaruta, which means ‘unbridled irreverence, contempt for the Torah and its teachers, licentiousness, skepticism, brazenness, gall.’ Back to text
  4. Chevlei Mashiach, the birth agonies preceding the Messianic era. A Talmudic idiom (in the form of Chevlo shel Mashiach). See, e.g., Sanhedrin 98b. Back to text
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