Also about Rav Kook: a letter he wrote in 1921
March, 1924, Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook came to America as part
of a rabbinic delegation whose purpose was to raise funds for Torah
institutions in Eretz Yisrael and Europe. The other members of the
delegation were, Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, head of the Slabodka
Yeshiva, and Rav Avraham Dov Baer Kahana Shapiro, the Rav of Kovno
(Kaunas) and president of the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim of Lithuania. The
three rabbis were brought to America by the Central Committee for the
Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War, better known as the Central
Relief Committee (CRC).
The Central Relief
Committee was founded by leaders of the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim, the Union
of American Orthodox Congregations, and other Orthodox Jews on October
8, 1914, to raise funds for the assistance of the masses of Jews
overseas left homeless and impoverished as a result of the upheavals of
World War I. On October 25, 1914, the American Jewish Relief Committee
was formed by a more heterogeneous religious group1 The
committees decided to pool the funds they collected into the joint
Distribution Committee, formed on November 27,1914 to act as a
disbursing agency. In mid-1915, the labor groups formed the People's
Relief committee, which also joined the JDC. In 1922, the JDC decided
that each of its three committees take over the obligation of
supporting those overseas educational institutions which they aligned
with. Accordingly, the CRC supported all the Orthodox institutions
previously funded by the JDC2. Many European yeshivot and
talmud torahs had been exiled during World War I and were now in the
process of returning to their original homes, some of which had to be
rebuilt, or of reopening at new locations, and the cost involved in
these operations was tremendous. Funds were also needed to support the
students attending these institutions. By 1923, the CRC realized that
to continue functioning, it must launch an emergency fund-raising
campaign, and for this purpose, began plans, late that year, to bring
to America a group of the most prestigious rabbis of the time, to help
encourage Jews to contribute3. Rav Kook, being Chief Rabbi
of Palestine, was an obvious choice. Because of the many duties which
his office demanded, he requested that someone else be found, but the
CRC convinced him of the necessity of his participation, and so, in
February 1924, after a mass send-off, he sailed for America4. The major leaders of European Jewry-the Hafetz Hayyim and Rabbi Hayyim Ozer Grodzinski-were unable to come5. Instead, Rabbis Epstein and Shapiro, both outstanding figures in their own right, were asked to join the delegation.
Rabbi Epstein arrived in New York on January 30, 19246,
accompanied by Rabbi Ya'akov Lessin, a founder of the Slabodka Kollel,
and later the Mashgiah Ruhani (Spiritual Advisor) of the Rabbi Isaac
Elhanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) in New York7. Rabbi
Epstein arrived early in order to raise funds for his own yeshiva. He
spent part of his time in Chicago, where his brother, Rabbi Ephraim
Epstein, was spiritual leader of the Knesset Israel synagogue. Rabbi
Shapiro, accompanied by Rabbi Avraham Faivelson, secretary of the
Agudat Ha-Rabbanim of Lithuania8, met Rav Kook in Cherbourg,
France, from where they sailed together on the S.S. Olympic to America.
They arrived in New York on the evening of March 18, 1924.
the morning of March 19, the two rabbis were greeted by thousands of
Jews, among them hundreds of rabbis, singing HaTikvah. This being Rabbi
Kook's first trip to America, his appearance provoked great excitement.
When he stepped off the ship, the impression he made was so striking
that it led one non-Jewish reporter, not content with giving him the
title "Chief Rabbi of Palestine," to dub him, "the Jewish pope". He
was, however, quickly informed the Jews don't have such a position9.
two rabbis were met by Rabbi Epstein, and the three of them were then
driven at the head of an automobile procession to City Hall, where they
were officially received by Mayor John P. Hylan and other public
dignitaries. An enthusiastic reporter wrote that this was probably the
greatest honor given a rabbi by a public official since Rabbi Menasseh
ben Israel visited London and was greeted by Oliver Cromwell! Mayor
Hylan made a short welcoming speech, and presented the rabbis with the
"Freedom of the City". Rabbi Kook then delivered a message in Hebrew,
which was translated by Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein. In his message, he
thanked the American People for supporting the Balfour Declaration. He
was referring to a resolution passed by both houses of Congress and
signed by President Harding in 1922, recognizing the Declaration. Rabbi
Kook also told the mayor that the honor being shown the rabbinic
delegation was really an expression of honor towards the Jewish People
and its Torah, which is the light of the world. This expression of
honor, he added, was an indication that America was holding true to its
ideals of equality and brotherly love. The mayor then shook hands with
Rabbi Kook, who proceeded, to the mayor's surprise, to converse with
him in proper English. The rabbis were then taken to their quarters at
the Hotel Pennsylvania10. They stayed at that location for a
few weeks, and then relocated to a private home on West 76th Street,
which Mr. Harry Schiff had put at their disposal. That house was their
headquarters for the duration of their stay in America11.
their eight months in America, the rabbinic delegation visited ten
major cities, several smaller ones, and various neighborhoods
throughout the metropolitan New York area. The basic pattern of their
reception in New York was followed in all the cities they visited.
There was a large crowd greeting them on their arrival, followed by an
automobile procession to City Hall, where they were received by local
officials and given the key to the city. During their stay in the city,
the rabbis would visit the local talmud torahs or yeshiva and attend
rallies and banquets, where they would speak of the CRC's relief
efforts and appeal for funds. Invariably, Rav Kook received the most
attention and generated the most enthusiasm12
Kook's predominance in the delegation, despite the tremendous stature
of his two colleagues, was partially engineered by the CRC itself. The
committee had designated him as the spokesman for the group and the
other two rabbis agreed to this move. Simply as a fund-raising tactic,
the CRC felt that emphasizing the appearance of Rav Kook, the first
chief rabbi of Palestine, in America, would create a greater response
and lead to a larger contribution of funds. When the CRC asked
prominent public officials including President Coolidge, to send
greetings to the rabbinic delegation to be read at major fund-raising
events, they pointed out that it was especially important to mention
Rav Kook13. There was a great deal of Jewish pride aroused
by the phenomenon of the Chief Rabbi's visit, and the CRC tried to
utilize it to the utmost in the interest of the Torah institutions of
Europe and Palestine.
There was, however, more
behind Rav Kook's predominance, beyond the significance of his
rabbinical position. His personality and intellect were unique even
among such rabbinic giants as Rabbis Shapiro and Epstein, and this was
immediately perceived by those who came in contact with him or heard
him speak14. His reputation for demonstrating love and
appreciation for all Jews, even those estranged from tradition, was
well known. As early as 1912, a writer for the Boston Jewish Advocate
had suggested that Rav Kook, then Chief Rabbi of Jaffa, come to Boston
to serve as chief rabbi, to replace Rabbi Gavriel Ze'ev (Velvel)
Margolis, who had moved to New York in 1911. The writer felt that Rav
Kook's ability to appeal to all segments of Jewry in Palestine, would
enable him to unite the various elements of Boston Jewry15.
By 1924, many of Rav Kook's works had already been published, and he
was known as a poet and philosopher who incorporated elements of
modern, secular thought into his Jewish world-view, a rare occurrence
among Orthodox rabbis of his time16.
special attention which Rav Kook received in America was highlighted by
a reporter for the Jewish Daily Forward, who went to the Hotel
Pennsylvania to interview the rabbi. When the reporter approached the
information desk in the lobby, he was immediately asked, "Are you here
to see the rabbi?" He received the same query from members of the hotel
staff on the fifth floor, where the delegation was staying. At their
suite, it was Rav Kook who was surrounded by reporters and visitors,
although all three rabbis were staying there17. Rav Kook
himself had an ambivalent attitude towards the honor shown him. In a
letter to his son, R. Zevi Yehuda, he wrote that he was suffering from
afflictions of honor, which involve loss of time from prayer and Torah
study18. In another letter, however, he wrote that the honor
shown him by public officials as a representative of the rabbinate, was
a positive development, which could be used to advantage by the
American Jewish community in the future19.
April 2, at the Hotel Astor, a reception was held for the rabbinical
delegation, officially launching the Torah Fund campaign. All three
rabbis addressed the gathering, with Rav Kook being the last speaker.
He spoke of Zion and Jerusalem in a manner so deep, noted one observer,
that many listeners had a difficult time understanding him. He also
noted that one could ascribe to Rav Kook what the sages ascribed to
Queen Esther, namely, that he had a special appeal for each group
present. Members of Mizrahi, Agudat Yisrael, Hasidim, Zionists and
others, all felt that Rav Kook's remarks supported their particular
philosophy20. Another reporter wrote that the speech
projected an unusual, superhuman love for Eretz Yisrael, one which only
Rav Kook, the chief rabbi of the land, could display21.
April 3, Rav Kook began a series of shi'urim at RIETS. The content of
the shi'urim was not transcribed, but it was noted that he discussed
the nature of court testimony, the laws of Eretz Yisrael, and Jewish
culture. One of the concepts he developed was that of the corporate,
metaphysical entity of Israel, i.e., its "zibbur" aspect22.
One commentator was astonished by Rav Kook's ability to deliver a
traditional-style Talmudic lecture, including all the elements of
in-depth analysis, in a fluent Hebrew. He then submitted Rav Kook's
shi'ur as an argument for the use of the Ivrit be-Ivrit system in
American Hebrew schools!23 Another writer noted the fusion
of halakha and aggadah in Rav Kook's shi'ur, as well as the great love
he expressed for Jews, Torah and Eretz Yisrael. Sitting in New York,
listening to Rav Kook, he wrote, one felt he had been transported to
Jerusalem, because Rav Kook brought Jerusalem with him to New York24.
April 15, Rav Kook met with President Calvin Coolidge at the White
House. Although the President had a meeting with his cabinet that same
day, and it wasn't his usual day for receiving visitors, he considered
it a great honor to meet with the chief rabbi of the Holy Land, and
therefore broke with his usual custom and granted him an audience25.
At the meeting, Rav Kook thanked the President for his government's
support of the Balfour Declaration, and told him that the return of the
Jews to the Holy Land will benefit not only the Jews themselves, but
all mankind throughout the world. He quoted the Talmudic sages as
saying that no solemn peace can be expected unless the Jews return to
the Holy Land, and therefore their return is a blessing for all the
nations of the earth. Rav Kook also expressed the gratitude of Jews
throughout the world towards the American government for aiding in
relief work during the war. He said that America has always shown an
example of liberty and freedom to all, as written on the Liberty Bell,
and that he hoped that the country will continue to uphold these
principles and render its assistance whenever possible. The speech,
written in Hebrew, was delivered in English by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum,
executive secretary of the CRC. Rav Kook answered "Amen", and explained
that since he wasn't fluent in English, he had Rabbi Teitelbaum read
his message. By answering "Amen", he indicated that he consented to
every word that had been read. The President responded that the
American government will be glad to assist Jews whenever possible26.
Before leaving Washington, Rabbis Kook and Teitelbaum held a meeting of
local rabbis and community leaders to raise money for the Torah Fund27.
Kook's remarks to President Coolidge on the universal significance of
the Jews' return to their homeland are typical of remarks he made to
public officials throughout his stay in America. As mentioned, he told
Mayor Hylan that the Torah is the light of the world. While in
Montreal, he told the mayor of that city that "the ultimate return of
the Hebrews to Jerusalem will not only be for their good, but for the
good of the world at large28." Towards the end of his stay
in America, he met, in New York, with the President-elect of Mexico,
and expressed his hope that Jews would continue to prosper in his
country. He added that all countries which have favored Jews have
enjoyed prosperity and Mexico, by welcoming the wandering Jews, would
now also prosper29. Rav Kook's practice of publicly
expressing Jewish pride was earlier displayed in England in 1917, after
the Balfour Declaration was passed by the British Parliament. At a
public gathering celebrating the event, rather than thanking the
British government, Rav Kook congratulated it for having been privilege
to assist the Jews in returning to Palestine30. The dynamic
relation between Israel and the other nations of the world which Rav
Kook referred to in speaking to government officials, was elaborately
formulated by him in his writings31.
image of the Liberty Bell and the verse engraved upon it, evoked by Rav
Kook in his message to the President, was again referred to by him in a
speech on June 22 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the bell
is located. Rav Kook said that the bell was one which rang out the
freedom of America. He explained that the verse engraved on the bell,
"And you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land for all its
inhabitants," spoke of liberty achieved after forty-nine years of work.
Freedom is so important, he said, that one must work forty-nine years
to achieve it. This is true for the individual, to whom the verse is
addressed, and much more so for a nation. He then placed a wreath of
flowers on the bell and said that freedom can be a crown of thorns or a
crown of flowers, depending upon how it is used. In America, freedom is
used properly, and therefore, it is a crown of flowers32.
Kook's praise of American freedom may have been more than mere
rhetoric. In his philosophical writings, freedom is a central conccpt32a.
He writes that the creation of the world is grounded. in the notion of
divine freedom of action, and Man's task is to link himself to this
freedom and thereby actualize his inner essence33. Rav Kook
may have felt that the freedom enjoyed in America would enable its
citizens to realize this wider sense of the concept. As we will see,
Rav Kook, shortly before his departure from America, discussed his view
of the country's Jewish community. When he first came to the country,
he wrote to his son that it was a difficult exile for the Jews, despite
its outer amenities34. As he saw more of the country and its
Jewry, however, his views began to change. In one city, he told his
audience that America is the best exile for the Jews, because of its
concept of liberty. He added, however, that it is still better to be in
Eretz Yisrael, because, elsewhere, the Jew is ultimately a stranger,
while in Eretz Yisrael he is in his own land35.
Kook himself, as we have seen, was very reluctant to travel to America.
Besides the fact that he had many pressing matters to attend to in
Palestine, his strong attachment to the land made it very difficult to
leave. In New York, he told a reporter that Eretz Yisrael was part of
his very soul, and leaving it was akin to having part of his soul
removed36. This feeling was apparently so strong that it
projected itself onto Rav Kook's visage. One reporter, describing his
impressions of Rav Kook when he first arrived in New York, wrote that
he was a very outgoing person, very eager to meet people and involved
in the world, yet, at the same time, looked like a stranger, really
wanting to be somewhere else37.
Rav Kook's physical distance from Eretz Yisrael during his stay in
America, the land was uppermost in his thoughts. He urged American Jews
to buy land and build industry there, and, if possible, to emigrate38.
He also attended to Palestine affairs while in this country. A major
issue of importance at that time was the effort of the chief rabbinate
of Palestine to gain the right to decide on matters of constitution and
administration of wakfs, or properties donated for religious purposes
in Palestine. Rav Kook had been working on this matter before leaving
for America, but the official decision was still pending. While in
Washington, he discussed the matter with the British ambassador39.
In May, 1924, an ordinance was passed giving the chief rabbinate the
control they sought. This ordinance strengthened the power of the chief
rabbinate and was vigorously opposed by both leftist, anti-religious
factions, and by the old community of Jerusalem, led by Rabbi Hayyim
Sonnenfeld. Rabbi Sonnenfeld sent a cable to the British Colonial
Office, asking that the right of decision concerning the wakfs should
remain with the Moslem Religious Court, as it had until then, rather
than with the "Zionist Chief Rabbinate". The Colonial Office, however,
rejected the appeal, saying that the ordinance could not be annulled40.
in America, Rav Kook also spoke of the yeshiva he was in the process of
creating in Jerusalem. In 1922, a small group of young Talmudic
scholars began to study in his bet ha-midrash. From this core group, he
hoped to develop a Torah institution which, together with the
institution of the chief rabbinate, would turn Jerusalem into the
spiritual center of world Jewry. The group was referred to as "Merkaz
Ha-Rav", because Rav Kook felt it was not large enough to merit the
title of "yeshiva". He hoped to name it eventually the Central
Universal Yeshiva, to which young scholars from all parts of the world
would come to study. The physical aspect of Eretz Yisrael, Rav Kook
said, constituted Zion, while its spiritual aspect constituted
Jerusalem. He insisted that Zion has significance only if it culminates
in Jerusalem. He called his campaign to realize this goal of developing
the spiritual nature of Jerusalem, Degel Yerushalayim, "Banner of
Jerusalem", a movement which he actually started during his years in
London, from 1917 to 1919. In interviews and public addresses he gave
during his stay in America, he spoke enthusiastically of this project41.
At an OU convention, he said that he envisioned joint cooperation
between his projected yeshiva and RIETS, including exchange of faculty,
the sending of RIETS students to his yeshiva for a certain period of
time, and contributions of RIETS students and faculty to a future Torah
journal42. In a letter to his son, he wrote that his central purpose in coming to America was to gain support for the yeshiva43.
However, because of his obligations to the CRC, he did not make a
formal effort to raise funds for his own yeshiva until a few days
before he left the country, when the business of the Torah Fund had
already been concluded. At that time, he set up an American committee
to aid the yeshiva, headed by Rabbis Aaron Teitelbaum, Israel
Rosenberg, Bernard Levinthal, and others44.
the rabbinical delegation was in America primarily to raise funds for
Torah institutions overseas, they dealt with other issues, as well.
Rabbi Shapiro, for example, made an appeal-through the politically
active Rabbi Simon Glazer of New York-to Secretary of State Charles
Evan Hughes, to permit prospective haluzot entrance to America, despite
recently passed laws which severely limited foreign immigration45.
The delegation was often called upon to arbitrate conflicts between
rabbis and rabbinical organizations. Rav Kook was again the spokesman
for the group in these cases. Their efforts in this area met with mixed
success. In Pittsburgh, a peace agreement adopted through the mediation
of the delegation by two rabbis in the city, made front-page headlines
in the local Yiddish press46. In Montreal, on the other
hand, the delegation was unable to find a solution to a conflict
involving kashrut supervision, as one of the factions refused to submit
to their authority47. In Newark, Rav Kook proposed a
rapprochement between two rabbis who had been disputing the rights to
supervision of certain slaughterhouses in the city. When one of the
rabbis refused to make peace, Rav Kook in turn refused to attend his
installation as spiritual leader of a local synagogue. Rabbi Shapiro
also declined the invitation, while Rabbi Epstein, having been the
teacher of that rabbi in Slabodka, did attend. He went, however, only
as a private individual, not in his official capacity as a member of
the rabbinical delegation48. The importance of rabbinic unity was constantly stressed by the delegation while they were in America49.
Rav Kook felt that Jerusalem should serve as a unifying factor in this
area. By establishing a universal rabbinic organization there, such
unity could, he felt, be achieved50.
difficulty encountered by the CRC in its Torah Fund was its convergence
with the campaign of the Keren Hayesod, the financial arm of the World
Zionist Organization. In connection with this campaign, Hayyim Weizmann
had come to America around the same time as the rabbinical delegation.
The coincidence provoked wide-scale criticism. The Hebrew weekly
Hadoar, for example, wrote that despite the importance of the Torah
institutions of Europe and Palestine, they felt the campaigns for the
Tarbut schools overseas and for the Keren Hayesod, both already
underway, should take precedence, and that the CRC should delay the
beginning of its Torah Fund campaign until the others are completed51.
Other voices suggested that the conflict in scheduling was a deliberate
attempt by the CRC and the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim which helped coordinate
the campaign, to undermine the Keren Hayesod because of it irreligious
character52. Whether or not this allegation was true, the
conflict worked to the detriment of the Torah Fund, which fell short of
its one million dollar goal53.
irreligious nature of the Keren Hayesod was, indeed, an issue being
raised in Orthodox circles in America at the time. In 1923, Rabbi Simon
Glazer, an ardent Zionist worker, who had almost single-handedly
brought about the joint congressional resolution recognizing the
Balfour Declaration54, sharply criticized the Keren Hayesod
at the 1923 convention of the Knesset Ha-Rabbanim, a rabbinic
organization run by Rabbi G.Z. Margolis together with Rabbi Glazer. The
result of this criticism was the organization's withdrawal of support
for the Keren Hayesod, and its official alignment with the Agudat
Yisrael World Organization55. In 1924, the Morgen Journal
ran a series of articles critical of the Keren Hayesod, and at the
Agudat Ha-Rabbanim convention in May of that year, one participant
suggested a move similar to that of the Knesset Ha-Rabbanim. Rav Kook,
who was present at the convention, spoke against the proposal, and
vigorously defended the work of pioneers in Eretz Yisrael, who were
selflessly dedicated to rebuilding the land. He also warned the rabbis
not to engage in overhasty zealousness56. It is possible
that some of the rabbis present knowing of Rav Kook's recent protest
against public Sabbath violation in Palestine57, and his support of a law in Tel Aviv making such violation a civil crime58,
felt that the rabbi would approve of withdrawal of support for the
Keren Hayesod. In actuality, they totally misread Rav Kook's position.
One reporter, present at the convention, wrote that he had spoken to
many of the rabbis present there about Rav Kook, and discovered that
they really knew very little about his views59.
Kook's support of the Tel Aviv Sabbath legislation provoked quite a
different reaction from the previously cited reporter for the Forward.
He wrote with anger that Rav Kook wanted to impose religious rule in
Palestine, and that such an approach was in opposition to the ideals of
democracy, socialism and free thought60. This criticism was
echoed in other Jewish socialist papers and reflected that movement's
attitude towards religion. As spelled out in one of the papers of the
time, they were willing to tolerate religious Jews as long as they did
not attempt to impose their religion on others61. The
reporter for the Forward, in fact, also interviewed Rabbi Shapiro, and
was much more satisfied with his remarks than with Rav Kook's. Rabbi
Shapiro told him that, although he was not happy with the Jewish
cultural schools being built in Lithuania, he would never complain to
the government about them, since it was an internal Jewish issue. The
reporter felt that it was this approach, rather than Rav Kook's, which
had enabled the Jewish people to survive throughout its long period of
Because of the conflict
with the Keren Hayesod campaign, the CRC cancelled its original plan to
have the rabbis visit Chicago near Pesah time and make appeals in
synagogues during that holiday. The CRC had hoped that a generous
response in Chicago would serve as an example for the other cities
which the rabbis were to visit. However, the Keren Hayesod, which had
already designated the last day of Pesah as a day to make appeals for
their campaign in Chicago, protested the projected appearance of the
rabbis, and prevailed upon the CRC to arrange a different date for
their Chicago campaign. They decided that the rabbis would visit other
cities first, and come to Chicago for Shavuot63.
first major city visited by the rabbis as a group was Montreal. On
their arrival in the city on May 5, they were greeted by more than two
thousand Jews at the train station. From there, they were driven in an
automobile procession to City Hall, where they were greeted by Mayor
Duquette. The mayor spoke highly of the Montreal Jewish community, and
wished the rabbis success on their mission. Rav Kook, in his reply,
referred to Montreal as one of the greatest British cities outside of
England. He said that Canada was a sister country of his, since
Palestine was under British protectorate rule, and that he was,
therefore, a British subject. He praised the British government for
helping the Jews build a home of their own. He added that, "When all is
said and done, the difference of religious belief is only on the
surface, the fundamentals being, to do good to all mankind, live up to
the teachings of the Bible and carry out the precepts of the Golden
Rule." At a fund-raising banquet the next evening, Rav Kook said that
the Torah is the source of the Jew's past and future. A reporter
present wrote that the speech revealed a wealth of scholarship and
erudition, and that hearing it was like watching the flow of a placid
stream, whose source is inexhaustible. Six thousand dollars were
pledged that evening to the Torah Fund64.
next city visited by the rabbis was Pittsburgh. They were in the city
on May 18 and 19. While there, they visited the Hebrew Institute, where
Rav Kook addressed the children in Hebrew. As mentioned earlier, the
delegation was able to make peace among the local rabbis. One
Pittsburgh resident, Mr. Charles Levin, was so pleased with this
development that, in appreciation, he gave one hundred dollars to Rav
Kook, to use for the Institute for the Blind in Jerusalem65.
next stop for the rabbis was Cleveland, which they visited from May 20
to 22. Although there was a large reception for them at the train
station when they arrived in the city, there was a very poor turnout at
the banquet held the next evening, at which only $1,500 was raised for
the Torah Fund. Before leaving, the rabbis criticized the community for
its poor response, and suggested that a fund be set up in the city to
help support the CRC66. Interestingly, the Cleveland Plain
Dealer, in describing Rav Kook, noted that he had a reddish beard, wore
a squirrel cap, and spoke the Hebrew which Jews in Palestine had spoken
two thousand years before.
The rabbis next
visited Detroit, from May 27 until June 2. At a banquet on May 29, Rav
Kook spoke of the essence of Jewish nationality, and the essential
unity in moral purpose of the various elements among the Jewish People.
In discussing the significance of the galut, he said, "The past,
present and future form a constant stream of the history of our people,
and constitute one process. "The redemption of our people," he said,
"both in a physical and spiritual sense is determined by the manner in
which the Jewish will asserts itself . . . American Jewry constitutes
that phase of present Jewish life which makes possible the necessary
adjustment in life of our people as a whole. The present sufferings of
the Jewish People in Eastern Europe, on the one hand, and the Zionist
activities, on the other, are the signs of the coming Jewish rebirth67."
Detroit reporter, in describing his impressions of Rav Kook, wrote of
the importance of his rabbinic position and his impeccable scholarly
credentials. However, he wrote, the rabbi was most of all a
poet-philosopher, whose large, kind eyes contained a suggestion of the
mystic, and that his sympathy for his people and for the world,
dominates his outlook upon the problems of the Jewish People, the
strangeness of its historical evolution, its sufferings and its efforts
to achieve a more or less cohesive adjustment. Like an ancient prophet,
wrote the reporter, Rav Kook sees a final resolution of his people's
and humanity's problems on the basis of reason, justice and
enlightenment. The reporter, Abraham Caplan, concluded that, "as close
as Rav Kook is to his people, whom he loves with such a love few others
have, he moves in a lofty mental sphere and detaches himself from the
Detroit, the delegation went to Chicago, arriving there on June 2, and
remaining there for a week, through Shavuot. Chicago was their major
stop outside of New York City, and they raised over fifty thousand
dollars there, of which the local press was very proud69. While in the city, Rabbis Kook and Epstein delivered shi'urim to the students and faculty of the Hebrew Theological College.
June 2 to 24, the rabbis visited Philadelphia. Speaking at Independence
Hall on June 22, Rav Kook expressed his hope that the freedom and
equality of humanity, which the Liberty Bell proclaimed, might continue
to be the inspiring message of America70. At a mass rally
held at the Academy of Music on June 24, Rav Kook said that the Jewish
religion is the hope of the world, and Jerusalem the hope of the Jewish
People. "We do not forget our bond with Zion," he said, "and we do not
permit the world to forget it71."
Philadelphia, the delegation proceeded, on June 25, to St. Louis, and
from there to Boston, where they arrived on July 1. A local Boston
reporter, writing on Rav Kook's speech at a banquet held in the city,
noted that when he spoke of Zion and Jerusalem, one felt that he really
meant what he said, and even those who couldn't understand the speech
itself sensed the holiness of his words72.
rabbis next visited Baltimore, from July 6 to 8. The local Jewish press
wrote enthusiastically of their cause, and urged the city's Jews to
contribute73. Rabbi Israel Miller of Yeshiva University,
recalled Rav Kook's visit to the local talmud torah which he was then
attending. After he addressed the student body in Yiddish, the students
filed past him individually to receive his blessing. Rabbi Miller
particularly remembered the kindness projected through Rav Kook's eyes74, a feature also mentioned as we have seen by Abraham Caplan of Detroit.
July 8, the rabbis returned to Chicago, where they remained for a few
more days, and then finally returned to New York, in anticipation of
their departure from America. They did not personally travel to cities
further west, but representatives of the CRC went to cities such as
Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles and San Francisco to raise money for
the Torah Fund75. In addition, the Agudat HaRabbanim had its
members pledge to spend two weeks each, traveling to smaller cities
which did not have rabbis, in order to raise funds76.
their stay in New York, special receptions were held for the rabbinical
delegation in various communities of the city, including Brownsville,
East New York, Harlem, Boro Park, and others. They also occasionally
visited private individuals. For example, the delegation visited the
home of Rabbi Israel Rosenberg, a leader of the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim and
the CRC, where a special meal was prepared in their honor77.
This was one of the few places where Rav Kook ate anything other than
what was prepared for him by his private cook, or by his son-in-law,
Rabbi Israel Rabinowitz Teomim, who had accompanied him on his trip to
America78. Another home in which Rav Kook consented to eat,
was that of Dr. Samuel Friedman, popularly known as "Shabbos" Friedman,
because of his rare status as a Sabbath-observing physician. Dr.
Friedman's son, in his biography of his father, described an
interesting incident that occurred while Rav Kook was visiting his
parents' home in Edgemere, New York. A distraught man interrupted a
conversation between Rabbi Kook and Dr. Friedman, and told the doctor
that his ailing daughter had no chance to live, and that, therefore,
Dr. Friedman was her only hope for survival. Rav Kook told the man to
pray, but the man said he couldn't, because he was a Sabbath-violator.
Rav Kook told him that if he wanted his child to live, he must repent
and decide to observe the Sabbath. He then told Dr. Friedman to tend to
the child, who, in the end, survived79.
The rabbis had originally planned to stay in America for about three months80.
However, because their fund-raising efforts were not as successful as
had been hoped, they remained for eight months. In the end, they raised
a little over $300,000, far short of the one million dollar goal which
the CRC had set. Before leaving, the rabbis helped set up a membership
drive for the CRC, which it was hoped, would bring in more funds81.
In any case, in May, 1925, the executive committee of the JDC decided
to reorganize its work for all spheres of relief, and thus, the CRC
rejoined the organization, thereby considerably relieving themselves of
fund-raising burdens. The money raised by the rabbis, therefore, proved
to be quite helpful for the short period of time during which it was
The rabbinical delegation
left America on November 12,1924. During their last few days in the
country, farewell receptions were given them by various organizations.
At a banquet held on Sunday evening, November 9, by the CRC, the rabbis
thanked American Jewry for its help in saving the Torah centers in
Europe and Palestine. Rav Kook, in his speech, said that the CRC
campaign should not be taken in isolation from other campaigns, because
all Jewish spiritual efforts are interconnected, and lead to Israel's
afternoon, November 11, a special farewell ceremony for Rav Kook was
held by the Zionist Organization and the Keren Hayesod. The event was
attended by about five hundred of the leading Zionist and Keren Hayesod
workers of Greater New York. The famed orator, Reverend Zevi Hirsch
Masliansky, opened the ceremonies by praising Rav Kook for his spirit
of tolerance towards people with whose religious views and practices he
differed most radically. Another speaker Gedaliah Bublick, editor of
the Yiddish daily, the Tageblatt, declared that Rav Kook represented
the inseparable union of the Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. In
his farewell address, Rav Kook spoke of recent events in Jewish
history, of the first steps in the great redemption, and predicted that
"in the final structure, the material and the spiritual will be
harmoniously blended in truth to the fundamental character of the
Jewish People." He also spoke of the haluzim, the Jewish pioneers in
Palestine, and predicted that the workers for the spiritual redemption
of Palestine and they will ultimately say "Amen" to each other, united
in common purpose84.
On November 12,
at 9:00 A.M., the rabbinical delegation was met at Pier 59 by thousands
of Jews, wishing them a safe journey. The rabbis issued a letter of
farewell to American Jewry, wishing them the blessings of the Torah,
and asking them to become members of the CRC and thereby continue to
support Torah institutions over-seas. Their ship, the Mauretania,
departed at 11:00 that morning85.
were very interested in the impression the rabbis had of America, and
especially in those of Rav Kook. In an exclusive interview he had with
the Morgen Journal, Rav Kook referred to American Jewry as a hidden
treasure, and enumerated three qualities they had which, if developed,
could make them one of the most important Jewries in history. These
qualities were a deep feeling for religiosity, a sense of Jewish
nationalism, and a sense of social responsibility. He attributed the
last quality to the excellent human material of which the Jewish
communities consist, as well as to the civil liberties enjoyed by
American Jews as free citizens of a republic under a generous and
democratic government. He also noted the importance of the civic
education which American Jews receive through their unhampered
participation in their country's political affairs. In order for
American Jews to develop their potential, Rav Kook said, it is
necessary for them to provide a proper Jewish education for their
youth. To this end, he felt that parochial schools should be built by
the Jewish community. He felt that American Jewry would eventually
surpass Jewries in other lands of the diaspora and serve as an example
for them, and ultimately, would be able to transfer its talents to
Palestine to help rebuild the Jewish homeland86. These last
remarks echoed those he made at an OU convention in June, where he said
that, just as in the past, there were two great centers of Jewry,
Palestine and Babylonia, so today, there are two great centers of
Jewry, Palestine and America87.
Kook maintained contact with the American Jewish community after
returning to Eretz Yisrael, largely in connection with the committee he
had set up in New York to aid his yeshiva. He planned a return trip to
this country to raise funds for the yeshiva, but was never able to make
it88. He was occasionally asked for his opinion of events on the American Jewish scene89,
and one of his last acts before he died, was to send a telegram to the
Agudat HaRabbanim of America expressing his opposition to proposed
changes in the ketubah sponsored by the Conservative movement90.
Kook's trip to America came at a watershed period in Jewish history.
Immigration laws passed in 1921 and 1924 had in effect put an end to
the mass influx of Eastern European Jews to America, a process which
had begun in the 1880's. A time for consolidation had come, and Rav
Kook's visit with his two colleagues gave American Jewry an opportunity
to take stock of itself, and consider its strengths and weaknesses. The
appearance of the rabbinic delegation in America helped bolster the
community's self-image, and the honor shown the rabbis by public
officials greatly strengthened Jewish pride. The message received from
the rabbis, and especially Rav Kook, was that America, which had been
considered earlier a "treife medinah", was now beginning to emerge as a
major center of Jewish religious life. It was widely felt that the
rabbis' visit did more for American Jewry than for anyone else91.
Rav Kook's unique contribution was his promotion of love for Eretz
Yisrael and support for its physical upbuilding, especially at a time
when voices of opposition were beginning to be heard in the religious
What follows are the impressions a
writer for the English section of the Tageblatt, Jean Jaffen had of Rav
Kook upon meeting him at the Hotel Pennsylvania.
"It is impossible to speak of Chief Rabbi A. I. Kook without becoming sentimental, at times even maudlin.
witnessed the hardy reception tendered to the rabbi by Mayor Hylan of
New York. I was moved by the occasion for, literally speaking, his
patriarchal countenance and prophetic mien brought tears not only to
the eyes of his fellow rabbis present, but to the eyes of many a
transient street gamin as well as the municipal officials.
read of Rav Kook's versatility. I heard of his rare spirit. I knew of
his literary work. I heard of the numerous titles conferred upon him. I
was familiar with the rabbi's achievements in the spiritual and
physical development of Palestine. When I went to meet him I therefore
awaited a spiritual bulwark, a gigantic mind. And I found much more.
was admitted into an attractive reception room at the Hotel
Pennsylvania where a host of people, from indifferent newspapermen to
rabid enthusiasts and disciples of the rabbi, were eagerly awaiting
him. I admit that my short knowledge of Hebrew, to which I immediately
resorted, made me feel more at ease (I was the only woman present) and
made my presence more desirable.
was ushered in from the adjacent room. I sincerely hoped that it were
possible for me to remain silent throughout. I wanted to sit, look and
"I managed to be the last one
confronted, so that I might have time to stay. I looked at the calm,
celestial face illuminated by the large, Semitic eyes, which spoke of
sorrow and impression, of poetry and hope-and of wisdom. I noticed his
white, well-kept hands as he removed his massive headgear to the
surface of a skullcap. I looked at his beautiful, immaculate garb,
black velvet and white. I followed up closely his consistent resort to
the Talmud which he brought in under his arm and from which he would
raise his eyes only to answer questions, which were provoked by his own
"It is quite a revelation to hear a
well-constructed, well-modulated English come from so aged a man (Rabbi
Kook is about sixty) who has spent his life in Russia and Palestine. He
later accounted for it by saying that frequent meetings with Herbert
Samuel led him to make a study of the language. He did it by a thorough
study of an English translation of the Bible92. Rabbi Kook speaks German, Russian, French and Chaldean, besides Hebrew and English.
tone was quite jovial for he mostly answered questions about the things
nearest to him, the Torah and Palestine. But when putting questions,
his tone was grave, for he asked of the galut, of the desecration of
the Bible, of the violation of the Sabbath. He would often abandon the
topic under discussion and with the intellect of a father would ask
personal questions of each respective guest. He was able to discuss
freely modern phenomena and types and phases of modern life.
Kook was most impressive when he struck the lyric chords. He turned
poet in expression and ardor when he spoke of the great number of
Jewish colonies springing up in Palestine, of the development of
industry and natural resources. Then his face beamed all the more as he
told of a railroad between Tel-Aviv and Lod, which is not operated on
"The words 'enthusiasm' and
'inspiration' constantly echo in his conversation. "Jewish children
must be inspired to the Bible and by the Bible," was one of his
frequent remarks. Another was, "The building up of Palestine must be
with dignity and religion."
"I came away from
this venerable man with a vision of all that I ever knew and heard of
the Jewish race, with an intense feeling for the things he conveyed and
with a feeling of annoyance against all the pettiness of everyday life
which surrounded me upon my departure93."
The Sefer Ha-Yavel shel Agudat Ha-Rabbanim: 1902-1927 (New York; Agudat
Ha-Rabbanim, 1928), p.125, states that the AJRC was started by
"reformed Jews" who called for a general meeting, led by bankers and
leaders of the American Jewish Committee. This group asked the CRC to
join with them to form one united relief committee; The CRC, however,
insisted on retaining its separate existence, in order to assure that
the needs of the Orthodox world would be attended to. Oscar Hardlin, in
The Continuing Task (New York, 1964), p.25, writes that the American
Jewish Committee had asked forty national organizations to meet in
October, 1914. At that meeting, Oscar S. Strauss, Julian V. Mack, Louis
D. Brandeis, Harry Fischel and Meyer London were charged to select one
hundred people to act as the AIRC, with Louis Marshall serving as
president and Felix M. Warburg as treasurer. Harry Fischel also served
as treasurer of the CRC, while Louis Kamicky, publisher of the Yiddish
daily, the Tageblatt (Jewish Daily News), served as its President. See
also Aaron Rothkoff's article, "The 1924 Visit of the Rabbinical
Delegation to the United States of America," in Ha-Masmid (New York,
1959), p.122. Rothkoff incorrectly identifies Kamicky as publisher of
the daily, Morgen Journal.
2 Yeshiva University Archives, records of the Central Relief Committee, 198/8.
3 Ibid. 140/1.
4 Iggerot Rayah, vol.4, p.177, no.1212, and CRC, 140/2.
The Hafetz Hayyim was in his eighties, and too ill to travel, while Rav
Hayyim Ozer had recently lost his wife. Rav Kook wrote R. Hayyim Ozer a
letter of condolence shortly before leaving for America. See Iggerot
Rayah, vol.4, p.185, no.1222. Until then, he had tried to convince R.
Hayyim Ozer to join him in the trip. See, for example, Iggerot Rayah,
vol.4, p.175, no.1207. The Morgen Journal, April 16,1924, published a
letter from R. Hayyim Ozer, expressing his regret that he couldn't
come, and referring to the members of the delegation as being the
greatest geonim of the generation.
6 Morgen Journal, Jan.31, 1924, p.1. That paper reported that 150 rabbis attended a reception for Rabbi Epstein.
7 Rothkoff, op. cit., p.123.
9 Morgen Journal, March 21, 1924, p.9.
Ibid, March 20, 1924, pp.1 and 2, and Tageblatt, March 20, p.1. The
Tageblatt article included a Yiddish translation of Rav Kook's Hebrew
11 Rothkoff, op. cit., p.124.
12 See, for example, Der Tag, April 3, 1924.
13 Y. U. Archives, CRC, 140/6.
14 See, for example, the report in the Tageblatt, March 20, 1924, p.1.
15 Boston Jewish Advocate, March 1, 1912, p.6.
Tageblatt, March 20,1924, p.1. See also The Jewish Forum, March, 1924,
pp.173-176 (and also June, 1924, p.367, for corrections of errata in
the March article).
17 Forward, March 26, 1924, p.7.
Iggrerot Rayah. vol. 4, p.189, no.1229. Rav Kook was referring to the
passage in Talmud Bavli, Berakhot 5a which states that afflictions can
be identified as "chastisements of love", if they do not cause loss of
time from prayer or Torah study. See also the quotation in Rothkoff,
op. cit., p.125. Rabbi Israel Tabak, who came to America on the Olympic
at the same time as Rabbis Kook and Shapiro, related his impressions of
these rabbis in his memoirs. Of Rav Kook he wrote, "Rav Kook impressed
me as particularly serious, steadfast of purpose, and always deep in
thought; he invariably held a sefer close to him, and was constantly
engaged in study or contemplation. His face reflected his strong
character, his determination to get things done, to make every day
count. In spite of his fame and his important position as Chief Rabbi,
he was modest and reserved and never assumed an air of superiority."
(Three Worlds, A Jewish Odyssey, by Rabbi Israel Tabak, Jerusalem,
1988, p.93). Rabbi Tabak erroneously states (ibid.) that Rabbi Epstein
was on the Olympic together with the other two rabbis.
19 Ibid, pp.195-196, no.1241.
20 Das Yiddishe Licht, April 18, 1924, p.19.
21 Tageblatt, April 3, 1924, p: i
22 Ibid, April 6, 1924, p.7
23 Das Yiddishe Licht, May 2 1924 pp.4-5
24 Tageblatt, April 3, 1924 p 1
25 Morgen Journal, April 16 '924 p 1
26 CRC, 140/7. The CRC records contain an English translation of Rav
Kook's entire speech, and fragments of President Coolidge's speech.
27 Morgen Journal, April 16 1924 p 2
28 Canadian Jewish Chronicle, May 9, 1924, p.5.
29 Jewish Daily Bulletin, Oct. 30,1924.
30 Alexander Carlebach, Men and Ideas (Jerusalem, 1982), p.109.
31 See, for example, Orot. pp.15-17.
32 The Philadelphia Jewish World (Yiddish), June 23, 1924.
See e.g. Eder Ha-Yeqar, p.28; Iggerot Rayah, vol.1, p.53; no.44; Orot
ha-Qodesh, vol.3, p. 40; vol.4, p.423; Arpiley Tohar, bot. p.57; Eretz:
Tzvi [Tzvi Glatt Memorial Volume] (Jerusalem, 1989) p.183, par. 2;
Rabbi M.Z. Neriyah, Sihot ha-Rayah (Tel -Aviv, 5739) note bottom p.342.
33 Orot Ha-Qodesh, vol.3, p.26.
34 Iggerot Rayah, vol.4. p.190, no.1231: "Galut kevedah hi, ela
she-me'uteret bi-zehuvim" ("It is a heavy exile, but adorned with gold
35 Philadelphia Jewish World, June 23, 1924, and Baltimore Jewish Times, May 23, 1924. See also, Orot, p.11(6).
36 St. Louis Jewish Record (Yiddish), June 13,1924.
37 Morgen Journal, March 23, 1924, p.4
38 Ibid, March 20, 1924, p.2.
39 Ibid, April 16, 1924, and CRC, 140/6.
Chicago Chronicle, June 13, 1924, and Morgen Journal, June 10,1924,
p.9, which carries a report from Jerusalem, dated May 10. See also
Iggerot LaRayah (Jerusalem, 5750) p.257.
41 Morgen Journal, April 29,1924, p.6; Das Yiddishe Licht, July 25 and August 8,1924.
Das Yiddishe Licht, May 30,1924, English section, p.12, and sources in
note 40. See also Iggerot La-Rayah (second, enlarged edition,
Jerusalem, 5750) pp. 325-326, no.215.
43 Iggerot Rayah, vol.4 p.190, no.1231.
44 YU Archives, CRC, 124/1 and 5.
The Glazer Papers, American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. The
prospective haluzot were widows whose husbands had died childless, and
were survived by a brother. The woman could not remarry unless halizah
was performed with the surviving brother. Often, the brother was in
America and the widow overseas.
46 The Jewish Indicator (Yiddish), May 11, 1924, and Der Tag, May 23.
The Canadian Eagle (Yiddish), May 11, 1924, and Der Tag, May 23. On the
entire controversy, see Ira Robinson, "The Kosher Meat War and the
Jewish Community Council of Montreal, 1922-1925," in Canadian Ethnic
Studies, Vol. XXII, No.2, November 30, 1990.
Mendelssohn, Mishnat Yavetz (Newark, 1925), p. 72. Rav Kook is referred
to as "rosh ha-medabrim'; the spokesman of the group.
See, for example, Morgen Journal, May 14, 1924 and Nov. 10,1924, p.1.
Rav Shapiro attributed the failure to reach the CRC's one million
dollar goal to the lack of unity among American Jewry.
50 See sources in note 40.
Hadoar, March 21,1924, p.2, and March 28, p.1. In its Nov.14 issue, the
journal further criticized the delegation for not having rebuked
American Jewry on account of its low level of religious observance.
Newspaper article by B.Z. Goldberg, dated March 24, 1924. The article
is included in a collection of press clippings in CRC, 206. The
newspaper is not identified, but appears to be Der Tag.
In a letter to the Chief Rabbi of South Africa (CRC, 124/5) Rav Kook
wrote, that despite all the honor shown him in America, he was unable
to raise enough money to establish a firm foundation for the yeshivot.
See his work, The Palestine Resolution (Kansas City, Mo., 1922). He
sent a copy of it to Rav Kook. See Iggerot Rayah, vol.4, pp.155-156,
55 Das Yiddishe Licht, July 27, 1923, p.8
56 Der Tag, May 20,1924 (in CRC, 205).
57 Das Yiddishe Licht, April 4, 1924, English section. p.10.
58 Forward, March 26, 1924, p.7, and Iggerot Rayah, vol.4, p.160, no.1179.
Der Tag, May 20, 1924. Also, see Ha-Doar, May 30 and June 6. The
article in the May 30 issue gave the impression that many members of
the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim backed the proposal in question. In a letter to
the editor in the June 6 edition, R. Hayyim Hirschenson explained that
it was the proposal of only one person, who himself was an outsider,
and not a member of the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim. The article in Der Tag
seems to corroborate the May 30 Ha-Doar version. Later, in the winter
of 5686 (1925-1926), Rav Kook was criticized by a group of Hasidic
rabbinic leaders for his support of the Keren Ha-Yesod. See article by
R. Ya'akov Filber in Ha-Zofeh, 3 Ellul, 5750, p. 8 and Iggerot La-Rayah
(Jerusalem, 5750) pp.303-306, no.199.
60 Forward, March 26, 1924, p.7.
61 Der Wecker, April 12, 1924 (in CRC, 206).
62 Op. cit.
63 CRC, 140/9 and 11.
64 Canadian Jewish Chronicle, May 9,1924, pp.5 and 9.
65 The Jewish Indicator, May 27, 1924.
66 The Cleveland Jewish World (Yiddish), May 23, 1924.
67 Detroit Jewish Chronicle, June 6, 1924.
Chicago Jewish Courier, June 11,1924. In an article on June 4, the
Courier suggested that the rabbinic delegation meet with the directors
of Chicago's Hebrew Theological College (now located in Skokie) to
determine the direction the institute should take, and what balance
should exist in the curriculum between Talmud and other Jewish studies.
70 The Philadelphia Jewish World (Yiddish), June 23, 1924.
71 Ibid. June 25, 1924.
Clipping from a Boston Yiddish newspaper, in CRC, 206, dated July
3,1924. Rav Kook was accompanied on his trip to Boston by Rabbi Yehiel
Mikhel Charlop, who had come to New York to deliver the money collected
during a Shavuot appeal for the Torah Fund in four synagogues in Omaha,
Nebraska, which he served as rabbi. See the Omaha Jewish Press, July
10, 1924, and Mikhtevei Marom (Jerusalem, 5748) p.63. That work
contains letters sent to Rabbi Charlop by his father, R. Ya'akov Moshe,
who was a very devoted student of Rav Kook. In a conversation (Nov.14,
1990) Rabbi Zevulun Charlop of RIETS, a son of R. Yehiel Mikhel,
related that in an unpublished letter, his grandfather prompted R.
Yehiel Mikhel to make the trip from Omaha to New York. In other
unpublished letters, R. Ya'akov Moshe wrote to his son of his attempts
to dissuade Rav Kook from traveling to America, and of Rav Kook's
attempts to persuade Rav Charlop to accompany him on the trip.
73 Baltimore Jewish Times, July 4, 1924, p.10.
74 Conversation, September, 1990.
75 Denver Jewish Times, August 14, 1924.
76 Sefer Ha-Yovel shel Agudat Ha-Rabbanim, p.62.
Conversation with J. Mitchell Rosenberg (Rabbi Rosenberg's son) on
December 17, 1989. Mr. Rosenberg recalled that Rav Kook told him of a
meeting he once had with President Wilson (sic). Rav Kook said that he
had explained to the President the Jewish concept of the Messiah, and
that the President had understood what he was told.
Leonard Seymour Friedman, in The Angel Cometh (New York, 1986), p.136,
mentions this precaution taken by Rav Kook. The other members of the
rabbinic delegation also seem to have acted in this manner. See CRC,
140/11, telegram from Rabbi Teitelbaum to B. Horwich, dated April 17,
79 Ibid. pp.113-115.
80 Morgen Journal, March 21, 1924, p.9.
81 CRC, 124.
82 CRC, 198/8.
83 Morgen Journal, Nov.10, 1924, p. 1
84 The New Palestine, Nov.14, 1924, p.323. See also Ma'amrey Ha-Rayah Jerusalem, 5744) pp.94-99.
85 Morgen Journal, Nov.13, 1924.
Ibid, Nov. 12, 1924, p.2, and Jewish Daily Bulletin, Nov. 13, 1924,
p.2. See also The Jewish Forum, September, 1924, p.558, and Iggerot
Rayah, vol.4, p.201, no.1149.
87 Das Yiddishe Licht, May 30, 1924, English section. p.12.
88 CRC, 124/6.
See London Jewish Chronicle, Sept. 6, 1935, p.12, and Hayyim Karlinsky,
Divrei Yosef (New York, 1947), introduction, p.39. The proposal
provided for an authorization by the husband, at the time of marriage,
to allow his wife to appoint an agent to write a get and another agent
to deliver it. This authorization was to be spelled out in the text of
the ketubah. The proposal was made by Rabbi L. Epstein, who claimed
that Rav Kook approved it, In his telegram, Rav Kook expressed his
opposition to the proposal. In a letter to R. Hayyim Ozer Grodzinski,
also cited by Karlinsky, Rav Kook wrote that he had never heard of
Epstein. An account of the proposal and the Agudat Ha-Rabbanim's
campaign against it, is given in Karlinsky's work, introduction,
pp.31-44, and in the work Le-Dor Aharon, published by the Agudat
Ha-Rabbanim in New York, 1937.
91 Editorials in newspapers at the time of the delegations' departure.
Rav Kook received English instruction while a resident of London. In a
letter to the London Jewish Chronicle, Sept. 13,1935, p.12, Rabbi Dr.
S. M. Lehrman writes: "It was my never-to-be-forgotten privilege to be
his disciple in Talmud and Poskim and also to become his first English
tutor. A more brilliant pupil could not be imagined. Together we read
also the classics of other European languages, of which he possessed
such an excellent knowledge."
93 Tageblatt, March 28, 1924, English section.