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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tavo 5781

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Letter to the Family of Shlomo Buber

Letter #49

Date and Place: 27 Tevet 5667 (1907)


Recipient: Bereaved family of Shlomo Buber. Shlomo Buber was an Orthodox scholar, who studied Torah and especially Midrashim with a modern, scholarly approach. Although he worked as a banker, he put out several volumes of Midrashim, annotated and edited in a scholarly manner. He was also active in the Jewish community of Lemberg (L’vov). Many know him as the grandfather of Martin Buber.


Opening: May He Who consoles Zion and Jerusalem console the respected and illustrious family, the family of the honorable, great man in Israel, the rabbi and great scholar, a giant and the glory of our nation and our literature, Mr. Shlomo Buber, zt”l, may his soul be bound in the bundle of life.


Body: Exalted and glorious family, it was like experiencing a frightening thunder clap when we heard recently the great tragedy that befell you, when the crown of your glory and the glory of the House of Israel was taken from you.

Your loss, dear masters, is the loss of the masses. The pain in your hearts has touched the entire community. When the great rabbi in our nation, of blessed memory, died, we lost a tremendous, dynamic force for the special elements of our holy [texts] and the beloved storehouses that have been hidden from ancient times. Woe, who will provide for us a replacement, such a great writer in Israel, who “counts letters” in the words of our early Torah giants, shining such a special light on their works and presenting them in a pure vessel, pleasant and adorned, for all those who love Torah and wisdom, ethics, and knowledge in Israel. Our pain is as great as the sea.

Only in the following matter will we all find consolation, and you too should be comforted, respected mourners. Whatever the power of a human being could accomplish, with diligence, throughout the years of his life, the great deceased one did in a trustworthy manner and with self-sacrifice. His achievements will stand for many generations. The words of the wise are like embedded nails (see Kohelet 12:11). They are stronger than all the grand pillars and monuments. The wisdom of Shlomo (double entendre on King Solomon, the wisest of all men, and of course, the deceased being eulogized) lives, and it will live forever in Israel. His memory will be like the wine of Lebanon (Hoshea 14:8) until those who lie in the earth will get up and give praise (see Yeshayahu 26:19).

May Hashem grant you and all of Israel consolation along with the consolation of Zion and Jerusalem. I write from a connection between your honored spirits and the spirit of one who greatly values the work, name, and memory of your respected, deceased father, of blessed memory. I am writing with a broken heart, as one waiting for salvation and comfort,

Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, a servant to the holy nation in the Holy Land, here in the holy city of Yafo and the settlements.  

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Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
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Tishrei 9 ,5776


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Av 4


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Adar 28, 5781

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