In what will be one of this season’s most popular commentaries, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere has written a translation of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook’s “Orot Teshuvah.” Entitled “Song of Teshuvah Volume One” [Penina – Urim Press, 2011] this new work is the result of over seven years of a shiur that Rabbi Weinberger gave on Friday mornings at his shul.
“Our erev Shabbos adventure became the mikveh before the mikveh. Together —anywhere from forty to seventy individuals — we toveled in the stormy, yet soothing waters of Rav Kook’s seminal masterpiece,” Rabbi Weinberger said. “We marveled at how Rav Kook was able to lift us up from the weekday grind of New York life and carry us into the sweetness of Shabbos. In his light, we were able to catch a little glimpse of Yerushalayim.”
To best appreciate the importance of this work, especially at this time of year, consider these words written by one of Rav Kook’s premier students, Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria, of blessed memory. “It is pleasant and fitting for Rav Kook’s name and memory that these days of study should center round the subject of teshuvah,” Rabbi Neria wrote. “In my student years in his yeshiva, the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, I was privileged to see him in the mornings of the month of Elul, after the morning service, striding up and down in the main room of his house, studying his own book, the Orot HaTeshuvah.
“His words had been written not only for others but also for himself; and in the days set apart for teshuvah, he devoted himself to its cleansing and elevating content.”
In the years to come, the need for an English translation became ever more urgent. Finally, in 1968, Rabbi Dr. Alter Metzger published an elegant and lucid translation of this otherwise daunting work.
But as time passed, the need for a comprehensive commentary was deemed essential by most rabbis and educators. To this end Rabbi Weinberger’s efforts and skilled scholarship helped fill the void.
The timeliness of this publication can best be demonstrated by the comments of the Ramat Gan Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yehoshua Shapiro.