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Kabbalah versus Philosophy: Rabbi Avraham Itzhak Kook’s Critique of the Spiritual World of Franz Rosenzweig

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image of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

In this essay, I present a manuscript letter by R. Zvi Yehudah Kook, son of R. Avraham Itzhak Kook, that offers a primary, and perhaps exclusive, analysis of his father’s view of Franz Rosenzweig’s relationship to Kabbalah. What makes this letter so interesting is that it clarifies essential points of Kook Sr.’s critique of Rosenzweig’s spiritual world. According to Kook Sr., Rosenzweig’s understanding ignores the full, singular meaning of the divine status of Israel’s Torah, and misleadingly attributes a common origin and value to it and other religions and philosophies. The letter thus sharpens Kook Sr.’s view of the uniqueness of the Jewish religion in general and of Kabbalah specifically.

Affiliations: 1: Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard


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