Zvi Yehuda Kook

Zvi Yehuda Kook (1891-1982) was a rabbi, leader of Religious Zionism (usually associated with the Hardal movement in Israel) and Rosh Yeshiva of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva. He was the son of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and named in honor of his father's mentor, Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, also known as the Netziv. [cite book|title=The Jewish State: A Century Later |author= Alan Dowty|year=1997|publisher=University of CaliforniaPress|url= http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0520229118&id=Ybih_F1OgNMC&pg=RA2-PA228&lpg=RA2-PA228&ots=jC9ll2F-sy&dq=%22Zvi+Yehuda+Kook%22&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&sig=INbyr3f1vF0ajcr44xoQihMl0WM|id=ISBN 0520229118] [cite book|title=Jewish Settler Violence: Deviance as Social Reaction |author= David Weisburd|year= 1985|publisher=Penn State Press|url= http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0271026731&id=LX0VTbAghOEC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&ots=T2RqppOVsq&dq=%22Zvi+Yehuda+Kook%22&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&sig=68CrpH_g81op5rxw7mJKUK5jWDs|id=ISBN 0271026731]

His teachings are partially responsible for the modern religious settlement movement in Judea and Samaria. Many of his ideological followers in the Religious Zionist movement settled there.

Under the leadership of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, with its center in the yeshiva founded by his father, Jerusalem's Mercaz HaRav, thousands of religious Jews campaigned actively against territorial compromise, and established numerous settlements throughout Judea, Samaria and also Gaza. Many of these settlements were subsequently granted official recognition by Israeli governments, both right and left.


Rabbi Zvi Yehuda was born in Zaumel, Kovno Governorate of the Russian Empire (now Žeimelis in Northern Lithuania), where his father was a rabbi. His mother is his father's second wife Reiza Rivka, niece of R.Eliyahu David Rabinovich-Teomim(Aderet), Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem along with R.Shmuel Salant. In 1896 his father with his entire family moved to Bauska, Latvia to be the rabbi there.

In 1904 upon receiving nomination as Chief Rabbi of Jaffa, then Turkish controlled Palestine, he went there as well with his father. He studied Gemara under guidance of Rabbi Reuven Gotfreud, the son-in-law of Rabbi Yoel Moshe Salomon, the founder of Petakh Tiqwa, then under R. Noshe Zeidel and Benjamin Levin, however his main teacher remained his father throughout his life. In 1906 he went to one of the most prominent yeshivas in Jerusalem of that time Torath Khayim, in the future building of Ateret Kohanim. There he befriended with R.Zerakh Epstein. His studies there did not last for a long time. In 1910 he was already preoccupied with edition of his father's writings in Jaffa. There he published three of his books: Tzvi latzadik, Shevet Haaretz and in 1913 Hatarbut haisraelit(The Israeli Culture). One of his main colleagues in that activity was R.Yaakov Moshe Kharlap, a future head of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva together with R. Zvi Yehuda.Seeing his lack of time to truly study Torah as most of people his age, he decided to distance himself from public activity for some time. At first he went to Porat Yoseph, the main Sephardic yeshiva of Jerusalem and then he left to Halberstadt, Germany and studied there in the local yeshiva. He also attended the local university philosophy lectures.

With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he was arrested as a citizen of the Russian empire, the enemy country, but was soon released and joined his father in Switzerland, where he was stuck too due to the war. In 1920 he returned to the then British Palestine and began teaching at Netzakh Israel school. A year later, he went to Europe to promote his father's new movement "Degel Yerushalayim" amongst European great rabbis.

In 1922 he married Khava Lea Hutner in Warsaw. Khava Lea died childless in 1944, and R. Tzvi Yehuda remained a widower until his death nearly 40 years later. From 1923 he served as the administrative director of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, and then after R.Kharlap died in 1952 he became Rosh Yeshiva until his own death. After the Six Day War in 1967 he induced the Israeli government to approve the building of settlements in Judea Samaria and Gaza and sent his students to that mission. He tried to strengthen the Chief Rabbinate, which he saw as the beginning of the future Sanhedrin. He passed away in 1982.


Prominent Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook was the leader of the settler movement, Gush Emunim. Their beliefs are based heavily on the teachings of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda's father, Rabbi Abraham Kook. The two rabbis taught that secular Zionists, through their conquests of the Land of Israel ("Eretz Yisrael"), had unwittingly brought about the beginning of the "final redemption", which would end in the coming of the Jewish messiah. [citebook |title=Torat Eretz Yisrael|first=David|last=Samson|coauthors=Tzvi Fishman|publisher=Torat Eretz Yisrael Publications| location=Jerusalem |year=1991] Gush Emunim supporters believe that building Jewish settlement on land God has allotted to the Jewish people as outlined in the Hebrew Bible, is an important step in the process of redemption.

This, and other aspects of his teachings, are being preached by his many students. The most well known among them are rabbis Moshe Levinger, Shlomo Aviner, Zvi Tau, Avihu Schwartz, Dov Lior, Zephaniah Drori, Issar Klonsky, Haim Steiner, Yoel Bin-Nun, David Samson, Haim Drukman and Yaakov Ariel. Numerous Yeshivas in Israel claim to be following his teachings.


External links

* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/Flash3.jhtml?itemNo=572826&contrassID=100&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0 HaAretz: The 10 who Made Israel What It Is]

* [http://www.zehut.net/tarbut.htm The Culture of Israel] Full text

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