From the Archives of Tradition

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tradition-cabinetby R. Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s classic essay, Kol Dodi Dofek, addresses three essential topics.  1) The Rav argues that Judaism does not try to explain the existence of evil; it calls for responding to it.  2) The Rav outlines how the founding of the state of Israel represents God knocking on the door in six different ways.  3)  The Rav develops the idea of two covenants, that of fate and that of destiny, which explains our complex relationship with secular Jewry.

In a fascinating Tradition symposium (Fall 2006), ten thinkers look back at this essay fifty years after the Rav first oral delivery of these ideas.  Many of them investigate the Rav’s Zionist views in the context of other approaches.   Dr. Avi Walfish situates the Rav’s approach between haredi ideology and the messianic Zionism of Rav Kook.  Prof. Dov Schwartz places this essay in a larger framework that eschews metaphysics, a stand in sharp contrast to Rav Kook’s thought.  R. Simcha Krauss sees the Rav’s essay as a response to Satmar anti-Zionism.

Several writers analyze paths not taken by the Rav.  R. Shubert Spero suggests that the Rav avoided messianic themes due to the absence of a personal messianic figure.  R. Nathaniel Helfgot notes that the Rav’s six knocks do not mention sovereignty, national existence, or living in our ancestral homeland.

Here is the link to the entire issue: link

About Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada and an Associate Editor of Tradition.

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