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Monday, December 05, 2005

The Honor of the Torah

Rael Levinsohn emailed me a letter written by the Chafetz Chaim's son-in-law to Rav Kook during Rav Kook's lifetime. We are posing it on both our blogs. See Rael's post here. I was thinking of writing a series of posts on Kavod HaTorah and thought this would be a good start (From אגרות לראי"ה, p. 566):

Rav Aharon HaKohen
Author of the book ‘Avodat HaKorbanot’
Son in law of the Gaon Israel Meir HaKohen Shlit”a author of the book Chafetz Chaim and Mishna Brura
Tel Aviv, Eretz Yisrael

With Hashem’s help, 5688 (1928)

Even though my heart was always greatly pained when people who claim to be observant of Torah and mitzvoth dare to disparage the brilliant and righteous, pious and modest, leader of the land of Israel, our teacher Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook Shlit”a – I refrained from public protest regarding the honor of the Torah. [This is because] I know that my master and teacher, the Chafetz Chaim Shlit”a – who honors and is very fond of the honorable Gaon Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Shlit”a and whose heart was greatly sickened when he heard of the persecutions against [the Rav] – did not come out with public rebuke regarding this, saying that silence regarding such matters and the reduction of their publicity is [the proper way] to repair them – [that is] to lessen and reduce their value. (nevertheless, no one dares utter words of disparagement against our teacher Rav Avaraham Yitzchak HaKohen Shlit”a in front of our master[, the Chafetz Chaim,] and he would turn his eyes with contempt from any posters [disparaging Rav Kook -ed]).

However, when I recently saw that a periodical that has appeared – which arrogantly dares to call itself “meeting place of the sages” – wrote horrible, cursed, and blasphemous words against our teacher Rav Avaraham Yitzchak HaKohen Shlit”a – [words which] are forbidden to even put in print – I find it a holy obligation in my soul not to be silent (as is explicit in the Rambam הלכות ת"ת פ"ו הל' יא-יב). [This is because] someone who disparages a Torah scholar has no portion in the world to come, and is in the category of one who “despises the Word of Hashem” (כי דבר ה' בזה), and we are obligated to banish him. [And this is especially true regarding] this brilliant and pious [rav] – that it is forbidden to remain silent [on this matter] and we must go out and rebuke this humiliation of the Torah, and join ourselves to the protest and great anger of the rabbis and sages of the Holy Land and the exile regarding these words of villainy. [Thus] we should not see [that which is] Holy destroyed, G-d Forbid.

And may Hashem, may His Name be Blessed, remove the disgrace from the children of Israel and raise the honor of our Holy Torah. These are the words [of one] who writes with a wounded and agitated heart regarding the honor of our holy Torah which is [being] given over to disgrace.

Aharon HaKohen
Son in law of the brilliant Rav, the righteous Chafetz Chaim, Shlit”a