Departure of an Uncle to Eretz Yisrael – Vol. I, #1 , p. 1-2 – part IDate and Place: Monday of Parashat R’ei 5688 (1888), Zaumel
Recipient: The True Gaon, the Prince of Torah, the great tzaddik,
Rav Mordechai Gimpel, the Chief Rabbi of Rozhinai (Rav Kook’s great uncle)
Greeting: May your path be before Hashem, and may He look at you from His window (Shir Hashirim 2:9), to bring you in joy to the place of rest (Jerusalem), the blessed, holy city. May you be praised in the land of life (Tehillim 41:3), and soon see the comforting of Zion and Jerusalem, and raise your voice in praise of Hashem and prayer at the gateway of the heaven (Bereisheet 28:17) on behalf of the remnant that is found in the Diaspora with longing eyes. Among them, may you also mention for grace and mercy the one (speaking of himself with humility) with weak wisdom and hands that are too short to be effective, a lowly servant who aspires for and desires the day when the tidings-bearing messenger will be on the hilltops (Yeshayahu 52:7) to say “Hashem has liberated His nation, He has consoled Zion and Jerusalem” (ibid. 9).
Body: This past Friday I received a letter from my illustrious father-in-law, the chief rabbi of Ponovitz (Rav Avraham David Rabinowitz Teomim = the Aderet) shlita who was then in Warsaw. In the letter I saw a clear light that met my surprised eyes, the form of the holy handwriting of your illustrious son-in-law, the Chief Rabbi of Kapola (Rav Tzvi Hirsch Volk), whom I met a little bit as a youngster. I had been thirsty to hear more from him and I stopped my activities to facilitate this but I did not know his address. Your illustrious son-in-law wrote to me first, and I was embarrassed that I had not written to him first.
In his letter, he informed me with happiness and exaltation, intermingled with a bit of dissatisfaction, that on this coming Rosh Chodesh Elul, with the blessed Hashem’s proper grace, that my master, my great uncle shlita (Rav Gimpel) will raise up his legs in sanctity to go to the Land about which Hashem inquires (Devarim 11:12).
My heart was excited and broadened by the good news. Our Holy Land will rejoice when it sees the return of a loyal son, in whom it will find glory, and with the grandeur of your greatness and the sanctity of your piety, you will be a leader with honor and glory. You will be returning to the Land from a distant land to desire its stones and find satisfaction in its ground (Tehillim 102:15).
My true happiness banished the idle idea that had infiltrated me, to be sad because our land will miss such a great man when you move your home of honor to the Desired Land, and your aura and grandeur will have left (Rashi, Bereisheet 28:10).
But when I thought about it, I had my mind speak to my heart: Whose is all that is desirable in Israel (Shmuel I, 9:20) if not the Holy Land? It is only she who is our glory and the glorified of all of Hashem’s nation. In the Holy Land we should have our generation’s most illustrious leaders, who lighten our eyes with the light of Hashem.