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Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution

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Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution

Kook.jpg
Kook.jpg

Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution

25.00

By Yehudah Mirsky
Published February 11, 2014
288 pages

“Learned, luminous and uncannily timely” —Jewish Review of Books

Rav Abraham Isaac Kook (1865–1935) was one of the most influential—and controversial—rabbis of the twentieth century. A visionary writer and outstanding rabbinic leader, Kook was a philosopher, mystic, poet, jurist, communal leader, and veritable saint. The first chief rabbi of Jewish Palestine and the founding theologian of religious Zionism, he struggled to understand and shape his revolutionary times. His life and writings resonate with the defining tensions of Jewish life and thought.

A powerfully original thinker, Rav Kook combined strict traditionalism and an embrace of modernity, Orthodoxy and tolerance, piety and audacity, scholasticism and ecstasy, and passionate nationalism with profound universalism. Though little known in the English-speaking world, his life and teachings are essential to understanding current Israeli politics, contemporary Jewish spirituality, and modern Jewish thought. This biography, the first in English in more than half a century, offers a rich and insightful portrait of the man and his complex legacy. Yehudah Mirsky clears away widespread misunderstandings of Kook’s ideas and provides fresh insights into his personality and worldview. Mirsky demonstrates how Kook's richly erudite, dazzlingly poetic writings convey a breathtaking vision in which “the old will become new, and the new will become holy.”

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About the Author

Yehudah Mirsky is Associate Professor of the Practice of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. He served in the U.S. State Department’s human rights bureau, lived in Israel for the past decade, and has contributed to the New Republic, the Economist, and many other publications.

Author photograph © David Vaaknin


Reviews

“Learned, luminous and uncannily timely” —Jewish Review of Books

“[Mirsky] skillfully and majestically tells the tragic story of this moral and intellectual genius.” —The Jerusalem Post

“A significant contribution to the history of Jewish ideas” —Leon Wieseltier

“While some books offer a good read, and others encapsulate groundbreaking scholarship, [this book] manages to do both.” —The Jewish Week


Awards

2016 Choice Award, Jewish Book Council

Finalist for the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature