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Shabbat Parashat Toldot 5782

Igrot Hareaya Letters of Rav Kook: Message for Municipal Responsibility


Date and Place: 29 Shevat 5667 (1907), Yafo

: The municipal council of Yafo (apparently, newly elected)

: My dear sirs and brothers – I find it to be a personal obligation to “awaken your spirits” in regard to the holy work that your honorable roles make you responsible for at this time.

The situation in the city is very lowly at this time. In your hands – only in your hands – the lot of the city is found. Our holy city, besides its public value to us as its citizens, also has a great value to the nation.

My dear sirs, do not retreat because of some obstacles, which you might encounter in your paths in the beginning of your work. If you will only choose to meet together, as the law requires the joint meetings of the council, you will succeed with Hashem’s assistance, to arrange the complicated matters of our city in a proper and desirable manner.

From my perspective (as rabbi of the city), I give you my support to carry out matters according to what your hearts see as correct, which I will view as correct for the good fortunes of the holy city. This applies as well to matters connected to the financial state of the office of the rabbinate in the city, as well as other similar matters that require solutions. Just do not weaken your resolve to lead the public. This is especially true during these days, as Pesach draws closer, as the bitterness of the lot of our brethren who are poor affects every one of us whose human heart and Jewish spirit live in his midst.

Be strong and exert yourselves, and Hashem shall be with you to set your actions in a manner that will bring respect and glory.   

Warning against Chillul Shabbat - #63

Date and Place
: 1 Adar 5667 (1907), Yafo

: The Council of Rechovot committee for the building of a winery

: I have heard that the contractors for the building of the winery want to build on Shabbat (with the work to be done by non-Jewish workers). I hereby protest against this plan with all possible vigor. There is no leniency that could possibly justify such action (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 244:1). Even after the fact, if Heaven forbid they will violate the halacha, there will be grounds for serious aspersions on the winery because of that (see ibid. 3). I am therefore raising the issue for your clear benefit, so that you should prevent the desecration of Shabbat from taking place. May Hashem give His blessing to you and in general on that which is going on in our Holy Land.

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