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Israel's National Rejuvenation, Holy or Secular?

Israel's national rejuvenation, expressed practically by the existence of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel, encompasses many different levels, which we can divide into two categories: Bringing the secular to life and bringing the holy to life. Rejuvenation of the secular includes returning to all the realms we could not develop during the bitter days of exile. It has political, economic, and military existence, our culture, and arts.
In the early days of Zionism, religious people objected to having the Zionist Congress concern itself with culture and religion, fearing that this might inhibit cooperation between different sectors of the nation and interfere with achieving the desired political goal of establishing a viable country. Rav Kook opposed this approach and felt it was only possible to have an authentic national awakening with a corresponding cultural rejuvenation. It is necessary to become involved in culture despite the danger that this might force us to struggle to form its proper characteristics (Igrot Re'iyah, 158).

And what constitutes holy rejuvenation?

We might have thought that it would consist of returning to traditional religious behavior, which is concerned only with each individual's spiritual fate and happiness and not with political rejuvenation – that is, that the nonreligious sector would repent and begin to observe the mitzvot (commandments). However, while it is undoubtedly essential for every Jew to keep all of the mitzvot (commandments), that is not the main focus of the "Holy" rejuvenation!

The holy without the secular is weak and does not have the power to lift up the lives of the community and all humanity. Secular living contains a power of holiness that could not break through during the exile, including the "sanctity of nature." This will be revealed by the redemption process (see Orot, page 45, and Orot HaKodesh Section 2, 23). This leads us to conclude that secular rejuvenation is a form of renewal of sanctity and not merely a preliminary step toward the goal.

The denial by religious people of the value of the rebirth of the secular and the view of participation in the Zionist enterprise as a dangerous adventure that is liable to exact too high a price while at the same time raising the banner of religious isolation – all this will lead holiness to become weaker since it cannot stand alone without the vitality of the secular life.

Rav Kook writes:
"In religious circles on the other hand (that is: as opposed to the drying up of the holy sources by the academic secular sector), this can lead to a weakening of force, because of a lack of the secular influence… We must therefore reveal the program of unified spiritual force, since this is our unique secret which will never be revealed to any other nation." [Igrot Har’iyah, 748].

Religious holiness, which Rav Kook describes as "regular holiness," is no more than one aspect of true exalted holiness. Exposing the holy form of holiness, which operates in all realms of life and appears in all its perfection through the combination of the various identities that make up the public face of Israel – religion, nationalistic feeling, and a cosmopolitan outlook (see Orot, pages 70-72) – is the mission of the generation of rejuvenation.

For more insight into this concept, let us invite you to read Rabbi Cherki's book: "Holiness and Neture," an E-book that got a recommendation from Israel President Isak Hertzog. Be aware that it will be sold at a total price in a week after fully uploading to the site!

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Rabbi Oury Cherki's "A Bridge between Faiths: An Open Letter to Islam, Part 1" delves into the intricate dynamics between Judaism and Islam post the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel. The piece probes the philosophical and legal facets of Islam's status in Jewish literature, uncovering points of unity and contention. Cherki scrutinizes Islam's potential for spiritual progress and calls for a nuanced understanding amid the unique historical context. The article accentuates the scarcity of literature exploring Judaism's stance on Islam, presenting itself as a contribution to fostering mutual comprehension.

Cherki elucidates the shared beliefs in monotheism, rejecting God's corporeality and idolatry, while acknowledging differences in their understanding. Notably, he highlights the significance of the Seven Noahide Laws, urging Islam to embrace them more unequivocally for enhanced cooperation. Judaism's recognition of Islam as a sister religion and the potential for collaboration are explored alongside historical perspectives, celebrating the initial affinity between the two faiths.

However, the article confronts substantial disagreements, including Islam's assertion of the nullification of the Mosaic Torah and claims of corruption by Jews. It underscores the necessity for Islam to acknowledge the eternal validity of the Torah and the divine promise of the Jewish return to their homeland. Cherki posits three prerequisites for Judaism to accept Islam as a legitimate religion for all, calling for recognition, abandonment of claims of corruption, and acknowledgment of the divine promise.

Concluding with a call for peace, Rabbi Oury Cherki sets the stage for Part 2, promising an exploration of Muhammad's status, Judaism's potential contributions to Islamic faith, and more. This open letter seeks to build a bridge between the believers in the One God, urging Islamic religious leadership to engage in dialogue on critical issues for future harmony.