Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber
Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber, outstanding Israeli academic researcher of Jewish tradition and centrist orthodox rabbi, is the Milan Roven Professor of Talmudic Studies (emeritus) and former Dean of the Faculty of Jewish Studies, Bar-Ilan University. President of the Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute of Advanced Torah Studies. He is widely known as an expert in classical philology, history of Jewish customs, and Talmudic studies. In 1992, Professor Sperber was awarded the distinguished Israel Prize in Jewish Studies. He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff
Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff of Yeshiva University’s Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem, is a noted scholar, author and teacher. In 1969, following seven years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Ephraim and Maplewood Jewish Center in New Jersey, he moved with his family to Israel. Rabbi Rakeffet has written many entries for Encyclopedia Judaica, including the one on Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. His two-volume “The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik” was published in 1999 by KTAV Publishing House. Most recently, Rabbi Rakeffet’s scholarly memoir, “From Washington Avenue to Washington Street”, was published in 2011 by the OU Press in conjunction with Gefen Publishing House.
Rabbi Chaim Richman
Rabbi Chaim Richman, Torah teacher and author, directed the Temple Institute for 30 years. He has now established ‘Jerusalem Lights’ to bring ‘Torah for Everyone’ from Jerusalem. His transcendent approach to the fundamentals of Jewish thought is universal, nurturing all spiritual seekers with love and compassion. He speaks to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences who are seeking a greater understanding of the authentic Jewish paths to spiritual growth and personal development. Through his scholarship and the personal relationship he establishes with his students and the many who seek his counsel, he has touched the lives of thousands the world over.
Rav Yehuda HaKohen
Rabbi Yehuda HaKohen teaches history and Emunah at Machon Meir, weaving historical figures and events with philosophical teachings from the writings of the Ramchal, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, the Maharal of Prague and other Torah luminaries. He has worked for over ten years on North American university campuses to generate an atmosphere of acceptance for Jewish identity and national rights within pro-Palestinian circles. As a leader in the Vision movement, he works to empower students to become thought leaders and active participants in the current chapter of Jewish history. As part of Semitic Action, he organizes grassroots dialogue sessions for Palestinians and Israelis seeking to transcend competing one-sided narratives in favor of a more scientific analysis of the factors forcing both peoples into conflict.
Despite being one of the most relevant scholars of the past century, Rabbi Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi (Manitou) and his Torah have for the most part remained hidden from the English-speaking Jewish world. Dr Pinchas Polonsky is contributing significantly to correcting this by endeavoring to translate Manitou’s teachings into English for the first time. Thanks to his efforts, many Diaspora communities are suddenly gaining access to ancient secrets of our Torah that relate directly to the balance between Israel’s national identity and universal mission.
Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander
Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander is an outstanding teacher with both rabbinic and natural science university degrees. Editor of the “Easy to Read Talmud” and member of Rabbinical Forum of “Brit Olam”, Noahide World Center.
I sincerely thank Dr. Pinchas Polonsky for asking for my approbation to his commentary Bible Dynamics. Unless he had done so I probably would have missed this very valuable work.
The most important part in many books is the Introduction, or Preface, which many people ignore, wanting to get to the gist of the text. But – as in this book – often the seminal ideas are expounded in the few pages devoted to the Preface.
One of the major lessons to be learned from Dr. Polonsky’s work is: there is always room for thought – new questions, new attempts to understand –and of course the understanding that no answer is certainly final or complete, every generation has – not the right to ask new questions, but the DUTY to do so.
Often, the correct answer to the questions may be that there is a mistaken assumption which is the basis for the question. That idea in itself is so important: If something seems questionable – formulate the question and then analyze it: often you may find the answer in the analysis of the question.
In every chapter, you will find original, daring, inspiring and intriguing insights.
King David remarked about his learning, in Psalms 119, verse 92: Had your Torah not been my enjoyment, I would have perished in my [intellectual/emotional] poverty.
Join King David, learn this commentary to enjoy, to delight in, to challenge your previous notions, to broaden your understandings – of Torah, of Humanity, perhaps, also – of yourself.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi of Moscow,
President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER).
Pinchas Polonsky, a notable refusenik of the Soviet era, is today a prolific thinker and writer, introducing Jewish philosophy to the broader public.
He has been deeply influenced by the writings of Leon Ashkenazi, a leading religious philosopher of French Jewry, and creating a bridge between Western European Modern Jewish thought and the renaissance movement of Russian Jews.
The translation of his latest work to English will introduce his monumental ideas to a wider audience.
Rabbi Yitzchak Sheilat
Rabbi Yitzchak Sheilat, a close disciple of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook in a famous Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, is an Israeli rabbi and scholar of Jewish thought, specializing in the writings of Maimonides and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. He co-founded and served as a senior faculty member at Yeshivat Birkat Moshe, the Hesder yeshiva of Maale Adumim, Israel.
Upon reading of your pamphlet “Religious Zionism of Rav Kook”, I would like to express my admiration for your writing style. Your creative interpretation is truly a refreshing piece of work. You succeeded in an endeavor in which many before you have failed, namely, to use lucid, simple (in the deepest sense of the word) language to translate Rav Abraham Yitzhak Kook’s profound philosophy in a way that accurately reflects the events that take place in reality. You were able to subtly present the reader with important concepts from Jewish mysticism that lie at the very foundation of Rav Kook’s thought, and tie them in with today’s ideological and social reality.
This pamphlet is small in quantity but great in quality, and I think it can speak to the hearts of many. For the most part, it will be of interest to open-minded, intelligent people for whom mentioning concepts such as “development of Judaism” will not deter them from delving into, and contemplating, the text.
Even I, who has somewhat been involved with the Rav’s works for many years, have gained from reading the pamphlet. I wish you much luck in your effort to spread your ideas and thereby influence the public.
Rabbi Yakov Halevi Filber
Senior faculty member at the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, foremost student of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, leading disciple of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, scholar and publisher of Rabbi Kook’s unpublished work. One of the leaders of Torah education in Israel, one of the founders of Merhavia, the Association for the Advanced Torah Education. Author of eight Torah books. Recipient “Yakir Yerushalayim” (“Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem”) award.
Among the abundant literature about the immeasurable teachings of Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, the works of the greatest significance are those which make Rav Kook’s philosophy accessible to the common reader.
R. Pinchas Polonsky’s work “Religious Zionism of Rav Kook” is one of a kind, because not only does it bring Rav Kook’s ideas closer to the general public, but also explains how Rav Kook’s philosophy can help solve some of the issues in contemporary Israeli society—he does so intelligently and uses clear explanations suitable for everyone while remaining loyal to Jewish tradition. May he be blessed for this endeavor.
Dr. Yair Barkai
Headmaster of The Lifshitz Religious Academic College for Education in Jerusalem.
I found the pamphlet “Religious Zionism of Rav Kook” to be of great interest, and I believe it should be made accessible to our BA and MA students in the Jewish Philosophy Department. Maybe it would even be a good idea to create a course encompassing the main ideas of the article.
The ideas are significant because they attempt to understand the holy texts from a modern perspective, and thus instill the concept of “The Living Torah” within our students.
I especially enjoyed reading the third chapter that deals with halacha (Jewish law) and mussar (Jewish ethics) in contemporary Jewish life. (It would also be suitable for the “Jewish People in our Times” course taught at our college.)
Thank you very much!
Rabbi Yair Dreifuss
Studied at Yeshivat Kerem BeYavne and Yeshivat Ha-Kotel, he served as the rabbi of Beit Yatir and has taught at many institutions of Torah learning. Leading scholar of philosophy and teachings of Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, author of books and articles on Rav Kook, as well as many halakhic responses in different forums. Founder and head of the Siach Yitzchak Yeshiva in Gush Etzion, Israel.
Pinchas Polonsky’s pamphlet “Religious Zionism of Rav Kook” is small in quantity but great in quality. I was lucky to study Rav Kook’s philosophy with Pinchas along with other friends on many Friday nights. The book can open a window to Rav Kook’s world for the many who have not yet experienced the Light of the Light-Seer.
May you have continued success in Torah!
Rabbi Ouri Cherki
Machon Meir Center
Chairman of Brit Olam Noahide World Center, a senior lecturer at Machon Meir Center for Jewish Studies, one of intellectual leaders of a movement for modernization of Judaism in Israel, and an author of numerous works on Jewish thought and philosophy.
I was delighted with your superb work about the development of Judaism according to Rav Kook’s philosophy. Your pamphlet spreads before the reader a dimension of novelty in Rav Kook’s school of thought, not as an apologetics of religion and not as hesitant humanistic open-mindedness, but as a complete and conscious plan meant to lend impetus to a radical change in the human vision of various cultures. You were able to emphasize the demanding sides of his teachings that do not leave any sector of the society in peace, not even the Religious Zionists. You did all this in an unbiased fashion, emanating from an authentic search for truth and a love for the Jewish People and mankind, and above all, a love of God that surges in your soul. This love elevates you to the rank of idealists, those who know how to build a new world by altering the transient world order. Your words are worthy for reflection by anyone who desires good and uprightness.