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Rabbi Abraham Isaac Ha-Cohen Kook
Official Medal 2006/5766
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Ha-Cohen Kook (1864-1935) was the first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Israel during the British Mandate, a renowned Torah scholar, and one of the central figures in the history of Zionism and Religious Zionism. He is remembered both as a theological thinker and as a builder of bridges between groups within the population.
Rav Kook was born in Latvia in 1865. He entered the Volozhin Yeshiva at age 19. Already in his youth he was well-known as a prodigy. He assumed his first rabbinical position at age 23. Between 1901 and 1904 he published 3 articles which anticipate the philosophy which he developed later in Eretz Israel.
In 1904 Rav Kook came to the Land of Israel to assume a rabbinical post in Jaffa which included responsibility for the new secular Zionist agricultural settlements nearby. His influence on people in different walks of life was already noticeable, as he attempted to introduce Torah and Halakha, Jewish Law, into the life of the city and the settlements.
The outbreak of World War I caught him in Europe, and he remained in London and Switzerland for the remainder of the war. While there he was involved in the activities leading to the Balfour Declaration. After returning to Eretz Israel he was appointed the Rabbi of Jerusalem and in 1921 the first Chief Rabbi. In 1924 he founded the Mercaz HaRav Kook yeshiva, popularly known as “Mercaz haRav”.
Rav Kook upheld strict adherence to Halakha (Jewish religious law), while at the same time possessing an unusual openness to new ideas. This drew many religious and non-religious people to him, but also let to widespread misunderstanding of his ideas. Before his death in 1935, he wrote prolifically on both Halakha and Jewish Thought, and his books and personality continue to influence many to this day.
Image of Rabbi Kook. Below and to the left, his hand-writing, with emphasis on the titles of some of his writings, which included explanatory works on Halachah (Jewish ruling) as well as on Jewish thought.
The Rabbi Kook House entrance. To the right, two quotations from his writings on poetry, love of one's fellow people and the pursuit of happiness, goodness, integrity and truth.
Metal, Israel State Emblem, "State of Israel" in Hebrew and English, serial number.
Set of the 3 medals above
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