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Rabbi Chanan Morrison

After graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics from Yeshiva University (New York), Rabbi Morrison studied for several years at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav, the Jerusalem yeshiva founded by Rav Kook in 1924. He was ordained after completing rabbinical studies at the Ohr Torah Stone (Efrat) and Midrash Sephardi (Jerusalem) rabbinical seminaries.

Rabbi Morrison taught Jewish studies for several years in Harrisburg, PA, before returning to Israel. He and his family subsequently settled down in Mitzpe Yericho, an Israeli community in the Judean Desert.

In an effort to maintain contact with former students, Rabbi Morrison began emailing weekly articles on the weekly Torah portion based on the writings of Rav Kook. Over the years, this email list grew at a phenomenal rate; it now benefits thousands of readers from all over the world. (Click here to join.) He is frequently featured on the Torah section of the Arutz Sheva website.




"There is an intriguing quality about Rav Kook, that grows stronger as one studies him. I think there are several reasons for this.

"One is the profoundness and depth of his thought. Another is that the dialectic of Rabbi Kook, popularly known as the Raya, has stood the test of time, survived all the spiritual and cultural revolutions of recent generations. A third is that, compared to other schools of philosophy in the secular Zionist, religious Zionist and ultra-Orthodox worlds, the Raya emerges as an original thinker of great breadth - and the most interesting by far, at least to my mind."

Challenge and Crisis in Rabbi Kook's Circle
Prof. Dov Schwartz
Dept. of Jewish and General Philosophy, Bar-Ilan University


 
Comments and Feedback


Thank you so much for your effort to bring the light of Rav Kook to the world, and for diligently sharing a little bit each week via email. It has been a meaningful and enjoyable part of my Shabbat preparations for quite some time now.

Hatzlacha with your teaching and learning, and of course chag sameach!

Simcha
Atlanta, Georgia


Rabbi Chanan Morrison,

I have read the books — we will now savour a portion each week — and wanted to thank you for your endeavours. Unfortunately I can only speak from from a level of ignorance as to Rav Kooks actual writings, but your presentation is wonderful and helps raise one to a higher level.

You have enabled me to gain a far greater understanding of the special nature of Rav Kook as well as other matters and for that I also thank you.

It has certainly inspired me to pursue further study of Rav Kooks thoughts.

Shabbat Shalom,
Ray


Thank YOU! Every week I print a few emails from all the Torah lists I get (you, Chabad, Breslov, Litvish,...) and bring the resulting "Drash package" to the Shabbos table for all the kids to browse. And ever since my family came to Israel, I started putting Rav Kook's drash on the front!

Keep it up, and may Hashem bless you with happiness & success in this endeavor and all others as well!
Yonah


I want to tell Rav Morrison how much I enjoy his writing and how grateful I am to him for making Rav Kook so concise and accessible. Thank you so much!
Judy


Growing up non-observant, I have tried to educate myself late in life. For some reason I have been fascinated with Rav Kook.

I had this over-whelming thought about Rav Kook... so I got on your site and read your weekly Parsha. I felt so good after I had read it and felt incredibly renewed in spirit. As I laid down I couldn't help but think of his life and family but then I felt this huge connection to him.

Today I open my email and read how special this day is and was for Rav Kook and Israel....Nothing like divine inspiration.....

I want to "thank you" for your dedication and work and love so we all can receive this incredible light...

In gratitude,
Shoshanah


Many thanks for Silver From The Land of Israel which arrived in time for Yom Tov. I very much enjoy it and hope it will not be long before another volume is published.

Best wishes for a gemar chasimoh tovoh.
Jonathan (UK)


Thank you again for all your help, looking forward to your new Sefer [Silver from the Land of Israel] and the Torah of Rav Kook. I have Gold since 06 or 07 and it was something that gave me chizuk and motivation for our return to Israel in the summer of 2007.
Shai (Israel)


Yasher koach!
You always write such beautiful pieces from Rav Kook. It's great and inspiring to see!
Hashem yevarach otcha!!!
Yaakov


Dear Rav Chanan,
I love the book Gold From the Land of Israel.... It has many insights that I have discovered.

Bless you,

Reuben (Malta)


I bought this book a few months ago from a bookstore and read it every Shabbat. It is so inspiring and opens up Rav Kook's Torah to us. It can be read and reread.

I hope you work on volume 2 eventually - "More Gold..."

G-d bless you, shalom,


Shalom Rav Morrison,
I especially enjoyed your Dvar Torah for Pesach. Thanks for all the wonderful work you do to bring the teachings of Rav Kook to a level where they can be understood by so many.

Hag Kasher VeSameach,

Mark


Thanks so much for sending these e-mails my way and thanks again for the "Gold" book of Rav Kook's essays.

I try to read 2 or 3 of the essays every day, first thing. The insights are really beautiful. One of the recent essays I read talked about the importance of the "way", not just the accomplishment of the final goal. It is one of the hardest things to do in the world, but if we can appreciate the hard work and toil that we do along the way and see "the big picture," it is a revelation.

Evan (Massachussetts)


My dear Rabbi,

I bought your book and it is a true delight. I usually read it Friday, just before Shabbos. Please know that you are performing a great mitzvah to all of us who are fortunate enough to learn from you about the wisdom of R. Kook.

Peter (Westchester, NY)


Dear Rabbi,

Please let me say that I am enjoying your book on Rav Kook's divrei Torah so much. Every essay is interesting and understandable. You have made such lofty concepts accessible, even to someone like me who does not have a yeshiva education.

I really like the insights and the learning, and the tone is so relaxing; it strikes the right Shabbos mood. I am really enjoying it. Last night, I read a few chapters with my chavruta and it stimulated a lively discussion which at one point gave us goose bumps, because the truth, Hashem's truth, was palpable and tangible.
Thank you so much. Please write another book.

Barbara (Teaneck, NJ)


R. Chanan,

So wonderful to hear from you. I appreciate your comments and the weekly postings. I know how difficult it can be to present Rav Kook's teachings digestibly in English....

Yafutzu mayanecha hutza,
Schachar (Canada)


Dear Rabbi Morrison,

Thank you thank you for your pieces on Rav Kook that Ive read on Arutzsheva and on your website. Its a great gift to be able to present the beautiful profound teachings of Rav Kook in such an accessible way.

May H continue to bless you with strength, happiness and success!! Your work is a great blessing to all of Israel, amein!!

Shalom rav,
Yehoshua


I just wanted to say thank you and let you know what a huge and wonderful Mitzvah you are doing by disseminating the writings of the beloved Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook ztvk"l. I have been a reader for years and it is because of Rav Kook ztvk"l that I am a Baal Teshuva and will be making Aliyah soon (G-d willing).

Yasher Koach and Kol Hakavod!!! Keep up the good work. May HaShem bless you forever!
Sincerely,
Yossel


Thank you so much for your effort! I share your words of Torah from your site each week with many friends here in Israel and abroad.
Jay


I have tried every stripe and shade of Orthodox Judaism. From Satmar to Kahane and everything in between, including Breslov and Chabad. I spent a lot of serious time in each of these worlds, learning with the people, and buying and studying any of their books or articles that I could get my hands on ...

After all of my "spinning" in all of these different directions, I finally realize that my soul feels most at rest, healthy and shaleim when I am involved in Rav Kook's writings. And his ideas show me how to maintain a connection with all of the other groups of Jews. Rav Kook enables a person to find some point of connection with all groups of Jews and he teaches us how to integrate and harmonize the points of truth and goodness in each group with one's own unique personality. My heart always feels more open and pure when I am involved with his teachings.

Thank you. Kol tuv,

Alan (NY)


Dear Rabbi,
many thanks for your wonderful Rav Kook mailings, which I read carefully and look forward to and learn a lot from.

Matthew (Sydney, Australia)


Rav Chanan-

Thank you very much for the excellent work that you do with Rav Kook's writings. I benefit greatly from your efforts.

[Rabbi] Ari Waxman
Mashgiach Bnei Chu"l
Yeshivat Sha'alvim


Subject: What a gevaldic dvar Torah!!

Thank you so much for making these Torahs available to the public. They are so wonderful, and inspiring. My own Hebrew is really not strong enough to go through Rav Kook's writings without considerable effort; and in the end I am most likely not to get the gist of what he meant to say. But with these emails I still feel connected to his teachings. Thank you so much.

Sincerely,
Ephraim (Cleveland, OH)


Last Pessach I found myself reading sections of Orot, which I owned for years but could never understand.

This time I found understandings, or at least I could sense resonance deep inside.
And re-entered some mystical spaces that I thought were not going to be opened to me again.

Thanks again for the inspiration. You did good.

Gershon (Brooklyn, NYC - for the moment)


I just want to say that I think you are doing a wonderful job and that I can't wait for you to bless me with your sending these weekly studies!
Shalom L'Talmidim shel Ha-Torah!!

Robert


Thanks for your continuing to send those drashes!! I keep printing them for my Shabbos table...

Shabbat Shalom,
Yonah (Palo Alto, CA)


As we move toward the Chagim, I want to thank you for the richness that is added to my understanding...the deeper appreciation for all that our G-d means and desires for our lives.

Richest blessings to you... Shana tova

Diane (Israel)


Some deserved praise:

Just want you to know that you are a wonderful kiddush Hashem. Thank you for enriching the Jewish world, and for all the good you do. May your creativity and influence only continue to increase ...

rzs


Can't tell you how much I enjoy your site. I print the archives and wait each week for the new vort. You are doing a great service.

Philip


Thanks for making a big difference in my life with all your hard work.

Stephen


Chanan -

Thanks for many wonderful Torah emails....

Raya


Dear Chanan Morrison,
Thank you for continuing to send me your weekly Rav Kook piece. I used the quote from the Rav regarding Amalek in my derasha on Parshas Ki Setze.
May I wish you a kesivah v'chasima tovah,

[Rabbi] Tzvi Hersh Weinreb (Baltimore, MD)


I have thoroughly enjoyed your postings - even using them for some of my own teachings with attribution. Please keep me on the list.

Shana Tova - with blessings for Peace and Healing.

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman (MA)


THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I so appreciate you and your teachings .......... very timely ............. I pray & hope you and yours have a wonderful sweet year.

Janice


Dear Chanan,
Thanks so much for your comforting words. Knowing how much you all endure in beloved Israel, to have you take the time to offer comfort to us here in the States really means a lot. I always look forward to your weekly letters and will continue so for the rest of my days.
Love & Peace,

Jack


THANK YOU!
I realized from this that by sitting at the computer and reading holy words, I can dedicate this space too---to leemud Torah-- and thus have another holy space in my house.
Shalom,

Ayla


Dear Rabbi,

Thank you for your weekly words of Rav Kook. They are my island of serenity.

Josh (New York)


My compliments on this week's Dvar Torah! Birshutcha, I will use it in my sermon this Shabbos.

Chizku v'imtzu Levavichem.

[Rabbi] Avi Kelman (MA)


Thanks for the cool website. Your work is really excellent. I heard about it first from Rav Tzvi H. Weinreb (now at the OU) in one of his derashot. Tizkeh l'mitzvot!

Ronald


Dear Chanan,

I'm curious - how much time does it take you to write up these pieces? I have to say that I am impressed with the level of writing, and you do it week after week. It takes complicated concepts and present them clearly and concisely in understandable language. You set out the problem and present an idea that addresses it. I hope the stuff I'm PAID to write is of this quality!

Regards,

Yisrael (Israel)


I must first thank you and be makir tov for your wonderful divre Torah. Your ability to share Rav Kook's difficult and deep divre Torah with the world is a true z'chus and blessing.

Kol tuv and Tizku L'Mitzvos,

Yerachmiel Yitzchak (Woodmere, NY)


May I take this opportunity to thank you for your weekly Dvar Torah which has been a true inspiration to read.
Shana Tova to you & yours,

Gita (Israel)


Thank you very much for your wishes, and for the weekly joy of receiving Rav Kook's Divrei Torah.
I also wish you peaceful and good year, Ketiva veChatima Tova,

Michel (Clermont-Ferrand, France)


Hello Chanan,
I just wanted to let you know that I read this week's dvar Torah and I thought it one of the most beautiful divrei Torah that I've encountered.
Thank you,

Aviva (Israel)


The items you send me are very important to our Shabbos meals. They are my contribution to the sanctity of the meal (in addition to the challah, etc!)
Thank you,

Anna


Brachot on your holy work. [Rav Kook's] Torah is the best....

Itzchak (British Columbia, Canada)


If only more religious people had the ideas of Rav Kook, the world would be a better place. Thank you for opening up a portal to true idealism.

Chaim


Dear Chanan -
I so much enjoy reading this every week, esp. when I am in odd countries like Malaysia or Indonesia. Please accept my wishes for a happy and healthy shana tova.

Stephen (Bangkok, Thailand)


Dear Chanan,
I love the weekly Dvar and your thoughtful ways. May you be blessed with a year of health, peace and joy. Gemar Chatima Tova!

Vera (Connecticut)


Best wishes for a year of health and happiness. Thank you for enriching our lives with the divrei Torah of Rav Kook.

Mark S.


I appreciate this so very much. As a newborn Jew who has much to learn and apply, I cannot tell you how much this enriches my life. Thank you and Shalom,

Kim


Dear Chanan,

Just to say thanks for the divrei Torah that I have been receiving for the last few weeks. They are interesting and thought provoking. I look forward to them and I am getting a lot from them. May you and yours know a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
Regards,

Jeremy M.


Ohhh... this touches my neshama. I really do appreciate these writings. Toda and shana tova,

Rahel


The contents of your website are wonderful. Keep up the good work.

Moshe F. (Atlanta, Ga.)


I am a Japanese who esteems Judaism and would love to learn about teachings of Rav Kook. Thank you in advance,

Kazumitsu K.


I love Rav Kook, this is a fantastic site!!

Elisa


These sharings of Rav Kook's teachings are a great richness and cause God to become still greater in my understand and my heart. Thank you!

Diane


This is currently the best dvar Torah website that I have found on the web! Keep up the inspiration.

Jonathan


I envy you for being able to capsulate the lofty ideas of a Torah giant and put them down in writing.

Yehuda (Israel)


WOW! What incredible insight and understanding . . . if only I had 1/18 of [Rav Kook's] knowledge . . . Good Shabbos and thank you!

Ricki (Harrisburg, PA)


Are there any issues related to the use of Hashem's name (G-d) in your e-mails that are of concern? Can one discard the hard copies?

Howard

[Chanan responds:]
Your question concerning the kedusha of Hashem's name in other languages is a good one - the poskim discussed the issue at length. The opinion most quoted is the Shach (Yoreh Deah 179:11). He writes that God's name in other languages does not have the same sanctity as in Hebrew. Therefore, it is permitted to destroy the English word "God", if needed.

The Aruch Hashulchan (Yoreh Deah 276:24) writes that nonetheless, one should be careful with papers containing the word "God" not to use them for disrespectful purposes. They do not need to be buried, but may be simply burnt or respectfully destroyed (i.e., covered before throwing them out).

Divrei Torah or quoted verses, however, are holy in any language. Thus, a hard-copy of a Dvar Torah (in any language) must be placed in geniza, to be buried with other holy writings. Whether God's Name is mentioned or not does not affect the holiness of a Dvar Torah - its sanctity is higher than that of God's name in English!

Shabbat Shalom, Chanan


Below: sample of the original manuscript of Ein Aya