• December 6, 2022
  • 12 5783, Kislev
  • פרשת וישלח

Rav Kook on Prayer

Rav Kook on Prayer

Prayer is an integral part of a Jew’s life. It forms the foundation of a person’s relationship to God. Join Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman as he explores some of Rav Kook’s writings on this subject.

February 2, 2022 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Kook on Prayer: Rav Kook on Prayer
Class description

Prayer is one of the fundamental constituents of Judaism. We believe that Hashem is interested in humanity and that every human may seek out and speak with Hashem.

But prayer raises a challenging question- a question that demands an answer. Just as we believe that Hashem listens to our prayers, we also believe that Hashem is not only just but merciful. So if there is something that troubles us or causes us pain, do we not believe that this challenge or pain is a manifestation of Hashem’s will? Do we not believe that we are treated justly by Hashem? And if we do believe this, then by what right can we approach Hashem and ask Him, so to speak, do give us what we want even if we do not deserve it? What else is prayer but an expression of our effrontery and chutzpah?

This is a very serious question. In these discussions on the subject of prayer we will see how this question has been answered by our great sages with an emphasis on the thoughts of Rav Kook zt”l.

February 9, 2022 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Kook on Prayer: Rav Kook on Prayer
Class description

In today’s session we will compare the ideas underlying prayer presented by Rav Sloveitchik zt”l and Rav Kook zt”l.

February 16, 2022 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rav Kook on Prayer: Rav Kook on Prayer
Class description

People who study ( or merely have an interest in) the history of Judaism in Eastern Europe eventually encounter the rise of the Hassidic movement. Many learned people have written about the Hassidic movement. They ask important questions such as, “What did its founders wish to create?”  A commonplace answer to that question is that its founders wished to establish (or perhaps reestablish) a Judaism which would embrace the unlearned masses. As a corollary to this premise, many learned people saw the Hassidic movement as being “anti-intellectual.” These learned people postulate that as opposed to the “Establishment”  which viewed Torah study and scholarship as being the highest form of serving Hashem the nascent Hassidic movement placed prayer on the pedestal because prayer is more “democratic”- everyone can pray.

This view is a gross oversimplification of a fascinating historical phenomenon. But it does contain some truth in that even in the Talmud we can find a certain tension between those scholars who emphasized prayer and those who emphasized scholarship.

In today’s final session on prayer and Rav Kook zt”l we will see what Rav Kook wrote on this subject.

Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.