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The Judaism of Tomorrow
My Rav Kook
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#27 Breakthrough and Adjustment to Holy Consciousness
8Collections 2:310; Patches of Clarity 115

At first glance, it seems that Mysterythought1

which delves so deeply into the hidden secrets of existence,

[and] raises the essential value of the human being beyond heavenly height,

increases the weight of Man’s moral yoke,

strips him of the natural freedom of his life,

nullifies – through its own grandeur – all his human delights,

robs him of the Earth,

and gives him in its stead a heaven exceedingly sublime and lofty,

that no flesh-and-blood human being could ever reach.2

But this thought is only a superficial thought,

and [a person] escapes it at the first mind-flash of sudden knowings

about the magnificence and majesty of all existence in general,

and about the magnificence of mankind, and of his own soul, in particular;

which [mind-flash] keeps penetrating deeper,

until it reaches the profoundest point of life that is the Israelite Soul,

which has already emerged into actuality as the Congregation of Israel.3

A person’s first vision comes wrapped in a windstorm,

in voluminous cloud and a blazing fire;4

but after his knowing takes on form,

after his faculty of judgment gets used to these enormities

and his soul’s needs begin to get fulfilled in true measure with her deep, natural yearnings

for height, for breadth, for exaltation and majesty,

then morality grounds itself in his spirit;

the world becomes ten times more precious and beloved to him

than how he used to value it when using the ordinary scales of measurement5,

the ones used to measure physical and spiritual existence,

and Man and the entirety of his nature,

according to exoteric theories.6

[His] life becomes richly wreathed in beauty:

every big thing and every little thing in it rises, becomes exalted, and becomes holy.

All [his] feelings, inclinations, creative skills, conversations and movements [and those of others],

all [his] inner and outer listenings,

become huge, enormously valuable revelations of the light of the Enlivener of All Worlds.7

And the person becomes a participant in the story of Creation8,

strolling alongside all the worlds in a companionship of ease and serene tranquillity

and living a complete life,

[a life] filled with all the lifepowers and drenched in Edenic pleasures9,

heavenly pleasures: delights made of holiness and the hidden light.10

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Footnotes

  1. HaMachshava haRazit, literally, ‘the secret thought.’ Rav Kook means Torat haNistar, Kabbala, in all its formats, with all its names. Back to text
  2. Lehit’ached ‘imam, literally, ‘to become one with them’ (in Hebrew, shamayim, ‘heaven,’ is always plural). Back to text
  3. See Glimmering #18, “The Nature and Role of the Jewish People.” Back to text
  4. Ez. 1:4 Back to text
  5. Midah beinonit. See Glimmering #16, “New Times, New Standards,” where Rav Kook also uses this phrase to describe ordinary standards of measurement or judgment, the midsize measure of spiritual behavior and consciousness which becomes outmoded in this new era. Back to text
  6. Al pi hate’oriot haniglayot, literally, ‘revealed theories,’ theories based on knowledge of the external world; also, theories commonly available to those who are yet uninitiated into the realm of the mysteries. Back to text
  7. Chey ha‘Olamim. A name for God (based on Dan. 12:7, “chey ha‘Olam”), which appears in, e.g., the Baruch She’Amar and Yishtabach prayers and the Borei Nefashot blessing. See Radak on Is. 26:4, s.v. Ki veYah. Back to text
  8. Shutaf leMa‘asei Berei’shit, literally, ‘a partner in [God’s] acts of creation.’ Back to text
  9. uMeshukim ‘adanim. Resonant with Ps. 36:9, “…You give them to drink from the river of Your delights (literally, ‘Edens’),” i.e., things of a paradisiacal quality. Back to text
  10. uNehara, a hapax legomenon (Job 3:4) and an unusual choice if what Rav Kook meant to express was simply “light.” Ibn Ezra identifies it with Nehora (qré) in Dan. 2:22, explaining both occurrences with the phrase “He will bring the hidden thing to light” (Job 28:11). An opinion in the Midrash (Eicha Rabba 1:51, s.v. Ma‘ase beDo’eg), citing the ketiv in Dan. 2:22, suggests that Nehira is the name of the Messiah. Back to text
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