In August 2022, I visited the historical home of Rabbi Abraham Isaac ha-Kohen Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine and a major 20th-century Jewish mystic, philosopher, and religious leader, known commonly as Rav Kook. This modest 2-story house in Jerusalem’s Beit David neighborhood served as Rav Kook’s office, synagogue, yeshiva, and living quarters. I was lucky to have a personal tour given by a volunteer docent, who told me so much about the house, and the rabbi’s life there. Today it’s a museum (Beit Ha-Rav Kook), but it also hosts religious services and public activities.
Sharing below some photos from the visit.
L-R: entrance gate; Rav Kook’s office where he received visitors; his glasses and mezuzah; his office chair and desk; entrance into the house (2nd floor); the on-site synagogue – back in the day and now (still used); standing with the tour guide before the cabinet containing the Torah scrolls (aron ha-kodesh); the dining/study/meeting room: front and back (with the Russian samovar); the Chief Rabbi’s official seals; the office mezuzah. © Lane Igoudin, 2022
Reading Suggestions on Rav Kook
Here are some books in English from and about this charismatic teacher and writer that I personally recommend. The covers are linked to Amazon listings.
A comprehensive biography from Yale University Press, part of its Jewish Lives series. I recently reviewed it for the Applied Jewish Spirituality institute (Jerusalem).
A themed compilation of Rav Kook’s teachings with topics such as Ethics, Meaning of Lilfe, Science, Animal Rights, and so on, grouped into 4 ‘Songs’ espoused by the rabbi – those of the individual, the nation, humanity, and creation.
Rav Kook’s commentaries on the weekly portions of the Torah
Rav Kook’s commentaries on specific Jewish holidays
Essentially, the standard Koren Sacks (Modern Orthodox) prayerbook in English and Hebrew, with an additional 100 pages of Rav Kook’s commentaries dispersed throughout the text