Our Rabbi & Tzahal - Part 1

Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

Our Rabbi related: "A student of our Yeshiva approached me. I said to him: 'At first I did not recognize you.' He was wearing the army uniform. You know that I relate to this uniform in holiness. A lovely and precious man, full of G-d-fearing and holiness was approaching, and he was wearing an army uniform. At that occurrence I mentioned what I said at one wedding [of Ha-Rav She’ar Yashuv Cohain], when the groom came dressed in an army uniform. There were some who were pointing one that it is inappropriate for a groom to stand under the chuppah with an army uniform. In Yerushalayim, the Holy City, it was customary that they came with Shabbat clothing, holy clothing, like a streimel. I will tell you the truth. The holiness of the streimel - I do not know if it is one-hundred percent clear. It was made holy after the fact. Many righteous and holy Geonim (great rabbis) certainly wore it. There is certainly so much trembling of holiness before them, and we are dirt under the souls of their feet, and on account of this fact, the streimel was made holy. Also Yiddish, the language of Exile, was made holy because of its great use in words of holiness. But from the outset - it is not so certain. In comparison, the holiness of the army uniform in Israel is fundamental, essentially holiness. This is the holiness of accessories of a mitzvah, from every perspective, of all of the tanks, the holiness of our tanks will appear tomorrow [in the military parade of Yom Ha-Atzmaut]." (Sichot Rabbenu, Yom Ha-Atzmaut 5727, Mizmor 19 of Medinat Yisrael, pg. 76 #11).

It once happened that our Rabbi sat next to a taxi driver who was wearing a Tzahal uniform, and our Rabbi was tapping on his leg during the entire trip. Before he got out the driver turned in surprise to the student who was escorting Ha-Rav and asked why the Rabbi was acting this way. The student responded that this was on account of our Rabbi's great love of the holy Tzahal uniform.

Our Rabbi was teaching a class and a student, who was on leave from the army, was standing next to him. During the entire time, our Rabbi rested his hand on the student's arm. At the end of the class, another student asked about this. Our Rabbi explained: "It is simple. He was wearing a Tzahal uniform and I was touching holiness the entire time." (Ha-Rav Yehoshua Zuckerman – Iturei Yeryshalayim #6)