Sapphire from the Land of Israel brings texts from Rav Kook's writings that deepen our understanding of each Torah portion, while providing a window into Rav Kook's thought. Rabbi Morrison's explanations are clear and meaningful, offering lessons that impact our religious and practical lives. -- Rabbi Shmuel Jablon Because of their poetic and mystical nature, Rav Kook's writings are difficult even for readers who are fluent in Hebrew and rabbinic texts. Sapphire from the Land of Israel uses a clear, succinct style to provide the reader with a window into Rav Kook's original and creative insights. A companion volume to Gold from the Land of Israel, this book presents more of Rav Kook's thoughts on the weekly Torah reading (parasha). It elucidates his views on many topics, including: Why do we find different names for God in the Torah? Why are first-born donkeys holy? Why did the Torah need to give doctors permission to heal? If eye for an eye means monetary compensation, why does the Torah t say that explicitly? Why are only kohanim allowed to serve in the Temple? Why doesn't the Torah explicitly state where to build the Temple? Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), the celebrated first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, is recognized as being among the most important Jewish thinkers of all times. His writings reflect the mystic's search for underlying unity in all aspects of life and the world, and his unique personality similarly united a rare combination of talents and gifts. Rav Kook was a prominent rabbinical authority and active public leader, but at the same time, a deeply religious mystic. He was both Talmudic scholar and poet, original thinker and saintly tzaddik.
Rabbi Chanan Morrison grew up in Pennsylvania, and graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics from Yeshiva University (New York). Pursuing advanced Talmudic studies in Jerusalem, he spent the next seven years studying in Jerusalem yeshivot, including the famed Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav, founded by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook in 1924. Rabbi Morrison taught Jewish studies for several years in Harrisburg, PA, before returning to Israel. He and his family subsequently settled down in a small community in the Judean Desert. In an effort to maintain contact with former students, Rabbi Morrison began emailing articles on the weekly Torah portion based on the philosophical writings of Rabbi A. I. Kook. Over the years, this email list grew at a phenomenal rate; it now benefits thousands of readers from all over the world. He is frequently featured on the Torah section of the Israel National News website, and his work can be read on his own website at ravkooktorah.org.