Stories from the life of
Rav Kook


Rav Avraham Yitzchak  Hacohen Kook, zt'l

Edited and Translated by  Masha Fridman.

Book is out of print and Publisher no longer exists.

Extracts from book.

     Many years passed before the Rav went to  live in Eretz Yisrael.
    After many years of diligent study, Rav  Kook was appointed as the rabbi of Zoimel,  one of the small villages in Lithuania.
    In Zoimel, there lived a poor shoemaker  who earned a meager living from his small  shop.  The man worked very hard, from  Saturday night when Shabbat ended to Friday  afternoon, when Shabbat began.
    One Friday afternoon it was almost time  for the Shabbat to begin and he had nothing  with which to celebrate the arrival of the  Shabbat Queen: no challot, no fish and no  wine for kiddush.  He looked across the  deserted street.  All the Jews had finished their  business a while ago.  Their stores closed, one  by one, and their owners hurried home to  complete their Shabbat preparations.
    He then saw Jews dressed in their  Shabbat finery, coming out of their houses,  strolling leisurely to shul.  The shoemaker,  however, was still standing at the entrance of  his shop, in his workday clothes, his heart  heavy.
    The passersby were amazed.  "What  chutzpah!  How dare he leave his shop open  on Shabbat"
    At the shul, Rav Kook stood ready to  receive the Shabbat Queen, his face alight.  The worshippers excitedly told the Rav what  they had seen and asked Rav Kook to punish  the shoemaker for his insolence.  The Rav  tried to calm the people, "Wait a while and  let's see what happens."
    When the prayers came to a close, the  Rav, accompanied by a few members of his  congregation, went to the shoemaker's shop.  Rav Kook did not scold the man and did not  berate him for his wrongdoing.  He simply  turned to the shoemaker with a smile on his  face and greeted him,
"Shabbat Shalom, my  dear Jew!"

    Although those who accompanied the Rav were amazed by the Rav's action, they too,  continued on their way.
    The shoemaker was ashamed.  He  hurriedly locked his store and ran to Rav  Kook's home.  The Rav greeted him pleasantly  and said, "Sit down, Reb Yid, my fellow Jew.  Don't be ashamed.  Tell me what is troubling  you. "
     The man cried out bitterly and began his story:
     "I lead a hard and bitter life.  Customers have not come to my shop for a long time now. I am ashamed to go home to my wife and children empty handed.  How can I face my good children without bringing home any challot, candies, or wine for the Shabbat table?"
    "So, l stayed in my shop until now.  Maybe  someone, anyone, would come to have his  shoes repaired.  Then I could save my family  from starving!"
    The Rav listened to the bitter words of the  shoemaker.  Slowly, the wrinkles on his  forehead softened,
    "Do not be troubled any longer, Reb Yid.  From now on, every month you will receive  enough money to support your family. You  will be able to feel the same happiness and  oneg Shabbat, Shabbat joy, as every other  Jew."
    Crying out of joy and gratitude, the man  got up and kissed the hands of the Rav.
    It's been said that the Rav gave his  precious silver candlesticks to the shoemaker  after that Shabbat, and he lived on the money  from its sale for a long time.
    From that day on, no Jew kept his store  open on Shabbat in Zoimel.

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