Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
What do we need the most? Words of comfort. Today marks 85 years since the passing of Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, the great comforter. After two thousand years of exile, after being crushed, degraded, and banished throughout our history, he claimed that our generation needed to hear words of comfort and encouragement regarding the greatness of our potential, the greatness of our Torah learning, and the greatness of our common mission. It seems to me that we are still thirsty for this today – for encouragement and empowerment, for words of comfort – in the words we say to each other, in the words we say at home and within our families, in the words spoken in public, in the press, on radio and on television. And these comforting words are especially needed during this time of corona.
Here is an excerpt from the words of Rav Kook:
“Comforting Israel is our greatest and holiest obligation. It’s an obligation of our scholars, our tzadikim, and our inspired ones, and all who feel in their hearts a desire to walk in their holy ways — until the gift of real consolation will cover all of Israel like dew. We are very accustomed to speaking words of harsh rebuke alone. . . But we are obligated to comfort Israel . . . To praise our fellow Jews, to speak positively of them and to them, to always find the good and glorious within them and, by doing so, raise their spirits.”
Even when we feel the need to comment and criticize, we should try to do so in a constructive and uplifting way.
In his memory.