MembersAbraham Isaac Kook: Israel’s First Chief Rabbi and Messianic Zionist

Modern Israel’s most fascinating rabbi was focused on Zionism as a forerunner to Messianic Redemption

By Solomon Kirsch | | Topics: Judaism, Zionism
Rabbi Kook was focused on Zionism as a forerunner to Messianic Redemption
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

At the ceremony in Jerusalem to eulogize Theodore Herzl in 1904, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the new rabbi of the Jewish community in Jaffa, shared a sermon related to Messiah son of Joseph, and Messiah son of David. Without mentioning Herzl directly, Kook was clearly alluding to the Zionist visionary. He said something along the lines of this, paraphrasing:

”Why do we even need two messiahs according to the sages? For it is clear the one will rise above all, forever, David my servant.

”Israel has a force for material strength and national power, on the one hand. But on the other hand, Israel has the drive and calling from the God of Israel to be a holy nation.

”This we see early on in the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The Kingdom of Israel, that of the tribe of Joseph, was inclined to power. The other, David, the Kingdom of Judah, was inclined to worship. Joseph represents the aspect of the universal, and David the particular, though...

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