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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Gedolim Redux, part II

One of the main revisions of history attempted by the chareidi world is to write Rav Kook out of the history books. Where this is impossible, they would like to portray him as a daat yachid who went against the vast majority of gedolim of the age. This can be proven as false in many ways and their are letters from both Rav Zvi Pesach Frank and the Gerrer Rebbe testifying to the fact that the majority of chareidi rabbis in the Land of Israel supported Rav Kook and his positions. I would like to point out one form of a more subtle form of revision that might not be noticed at first glance.

R. Aharon Sorsky wrote an extensive biography called "Pe'er Yisrael" on the 4th Gerrer Rebbe, the Beis Yisrael, the son and successor of the Imrei Emet. In page 317 he writes:

בראשית ימי הנהגתו נהג הרבי להסתגר שעות שלמות בכל יום ששי ללמוד סתרי תורה ביחידות עם הגרי"מ חרל"פ זצ"ל. ... הגרי"מ חרל"פ קיבל את תורת הקבלה מפי רבו, הגאון הצדיק רבי הירש מיכל שפירא זצ"ל מירושלים

In the beginning of his leadership, the Rebbe would isolate himself for hours every Friday in order to learn secrets of the Torah privately with HaGaon, Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap Zt"l. ... HaGaon, Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap Zt"l received the Torah of the Kabbalah from his Rav, HaGaon HaTzaddik Rav Hirsh Michel Shapiro Zt"l of Yerushalaim.

Rav Charlap was the talmid muvhak of Rav Kook. It is true that he was a student of Rav Shapiro in his youth but after he met Rav Kook, he became completely attached to Maran HaRav and saw him as the greatest of his generation. When the Beis Yisrael became Rebbe (apparently through the encouragement of Rav Charlap, see pg. 270-71), Rav Charlap was the Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz HaRav and was considered the successor of Maran HaRav's whole derech in Torah. It is fair to say that since Rav Charlap's whole approach to Kabbalah was based on Rav Kook's teachings that much of what came up in their chavrusa was based on the Torah of Rav Kook.

What we have here is horribly misleading and is basically an attempt to revise the history of one of the greatest leaders of Aggudat Yisrael by removing him ideologically from Rav Kook. To call Rav Charlap a talmid muvhak of Rav Shapiro akin to calling Rav Chaim Volozhiner a talmid muvhak of the Shaagas Aryeh, technically not a lie but serves to hide the truth.