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Shir HaShirim Asher LeShlomo: Rav Kook And Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

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“The great souls feel in the depths of their being their connection to all existence, to all creatures and especially to all humankind…they announce the lights of new life…The Godly song is awake in the souls of the great tzaddikim…the delight of song overwhelms all. They draw the delight of the supernal song to the world of actions and to the practical Torah…The higher a soul the more it feels the unity that is in all…and these souls are full of love and compassion and their desire is filled with good.” (Orot Hakodesh 1: 203,206,708)

Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook(1865-1935) was the spiritual revolutionary whose teachings, illumination and leadership offered the most holistic and enlightened understanding of the Torah than has ever been presented in Jewish history. Inspired by Lurianic Kabbalah, he integrated all that preceded him as he led and enabled the spiritual return to Israel and the world stage.

“The Baal Shem Tov says that whatever you think of yourself is what you think of God. What we have to do is to stop being so small. We have to have a heart as big as the world, and also a soul which is shuffling back and forth between heaven and earth, and then deeper than our heart and soul, our life has to be filled with something, so deep, so heavenly and so sweet, because there’s so much bitterness in the world. The world just needs one drop of sweetness.” (Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, in an interview in 1988)

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994) was the spiritual revolutionary whose teachings, stories, songs and activities offered a sweet taste of the Garden of Eden to a world largely wracked in suffering. He traversed the world sharing the light of Torah and its loving and hopeful song with multitudes of Jewish and non-Jewish people.

I am blessed to be a student of both.

I first met Reb Shlomo at the Kotel on a Friday night in early 1974. He began to sing Lecha Dodi and I felt my spirit rise and my heart open. From that moment, he was an important and joyful part of my life. His visits, teachings and concerts in whatever city I was living in at the time were beloved highpoints in my spiritual growth and experience. One of my great blessings (and responsibilities) in my life was receiving semicha-ordination from him in 1992. His passing was one of the saddest days of my life. His songs and teachings continue to teach and inspire me and many others profoundly.

I first met Rav Kook in the summer of 1980 in a sunlit cottage in Winnipeg Beach, Canada. I sat down to read from the ‘Kook book’-Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser’s wonderful translation. Rav Kook wrote in a state of illumination and as I read his words, I experienced an internal expansion, an inner recognition. I felt my soul stirred, touched by an extraordinary consciousness. His grasp of the brokenness and wholeness of existence and the possibilities for perfection was breathtaking and clear.

I felt I was tasting of the Torah of Eden.

Since that light-filled afternoon, I have often been deeply inspired by the writings of Rav Kook-known by some as Baal Ha’Orot-The Master Of The Lights. One of my greatest blessings is to learn and share his teachings at his historical home, Beit HaRav Kook in Yerushalayim. Advertisement

I have dedicated my life to sharing his song with the world.

As my learning of Rav Kook’s Torah deepens, I have come to the conclusion that Reb Shlomo was perhaps the most profound exemplar of Rav Kook’s teachings in our time.

His connection to Rav Kook is profound both historically and spiritually.

In 1915 when Rav Kook was exiled in Switzerland, he and his son Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda stayed at the house of Shlomo’s grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Asher Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Basel. There was consideration of arranging a shidduch between Tzvi Yehuda Kook and Rabbi Cohen’s daughter, Pessia. It did not occur and she ended up marrying Rabbi Naftali Carlebach and giving birth to Shlomo Carlebach. Advertisement

When Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Z’L first met Reb Shlomo he thus told him “I was supposed to be your father”. Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda understood and supported Reb Shlomo.

Rabbi Yochanan Fried, the Chairman of Beit HaRav Kook, was a central student of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda. He recounts: “Rav Tzvi........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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