Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook con Lights of Teshuvah (English Edition)
Teshuvah means “return.”
It is the return to God,
The return to health,
The return to our soul,
The return to the universe,
The return to a mended planet,
The return to happiness,
The return to home.
Lights of Teshuvah is the quintessential work of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), first Chief Rabbi of the holy land, who was a Talmudic genius, a communal leader, a saintly personality, an impassioned visionary, a fighter for social justice, a poet and–most of all–a mystic. He was also a deeply original thinker, the breadth, inclusive spirit and transcendent ecstasy of whose teachings embrace the entirety of creation.
Rabbi Kook was a poet of the soul and a spokesperson for a complete human spirit that embraces contradiction, that reconciles the poles of this-worldly and other-worldly experience. His writings celebrate the union of legalism and poetry, particularism and universalism, faith hidden in atheism and atheism hidden in faith, the spirit revealed from the flesh, and beauty revealed through ugliness.
Rabbi Kook sang of universal creativity, of an unceasing fecundity that is the natural song of all being.
He championed the poetic and creative spirit within each individual. “Every time our heart beats with a true expression of spirituality,” he wrote, “every time a new and exalted thought is born, we hear the likeness of a Godly angel’s voice at the doors of our soul asking that we allow him entry so that he may appear to us in the totality of his beauty.”
Ultimately, Rabbi Kook’s robust message is one of life and growth, hope and optimism. “Death is a false phenomenon,” he taught, and “to the degree that the quantity of movement toward wholeness grows, evil decreases and goodness is revealed.”
“Yaacov Dovid Shulman is a master translator who is able to capture the language, the poetry and the beauty of Rav Kook’s Hebrew. Since Rav Kook is often very difficult to read in the Hebrew original, even by people who are very literate in Hebrew, having access to this material in English will be very useful.”
—Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, vice president of the Orthodox Union (OU).
“Mr. Shulman’s translations are accurate and clear, forthright and poetic. Mr. Shulman displays a sensitivity to the nuances of Rabbi Kook’s often subtle teachings, and an ability to convey to the reader the passion and dialectical balance in those writings. These writings of Rabbi Kook are often difficult, confounding even the confident Hebrew reader. In such a case, the translator has an especially great challenge in determining the intent of the author and then conveying it clearly and simply, while remaining faithful to the complexity and eloquence of the original. Mr. Shulman’s translations meet that challenge.”
—Prof. Howard Schwartz, three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, author of Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Tree of Souls, etc.
“Yaacov Shulman’s translations of Rav Kook are engaging and clear. He even succeeds in conveying a sense of the poetry of the original text—no mean feat. I highly recommend his work.”
—Rabbi Chanan Morrison, author of Gold from the Land of Israel and webmaster of ravkooktorah.org.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Yaacov David Shulman is the author, translator and editor of fifty books of Jewish spiritual and literary meaning. His translations of Rav Kook are available at ravkook.net, and his latest work is available at dotletterword.com. For a full listing of his work, visit his Amazon author’s page or shulman-writer.com. You may reach him at [email protected] gmail.com.