Our Rabbi as an Educator

Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

Our Rabbi did not try to imprint his personality on his students, but opened the personality of each and every student. He would therefore talk to each student in a different way based on their strengths and weaknesses. Our Rabbi refused to create photocopies of students, although many of the students desired this. Rather he wanted to bring out the blessing contained in each of them.

In order to instill within the students the fundamental ideas of the holiness of the Torah, the Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel, our Rabbi would repeat the same thoughts hundreds of times until the students knew them by heart. He would use the same story, same expression and even the same facial expression. He did not repeat these ideas because he thought the students did not know them, but he decided that there was an educational need to do so (see Rashi on Shemot 6:30). These ideas thus became an inseparable part of the students. In times of crisis, especially in communal matters, these ideas find expression.

Our Rabbi once told one student one thing and another student the exact opposite. When asked why he did this, he answered that in the past there were both Hillel and Shammai. Shammai was able to chase away with the builder's measuring stick because there was Hillel and Hillel was able to teach the entire Torah while standing on one foot because there was Shammai. But what can I do since I have to be both Hillel and Shammai. (Gadol Shimusha of Rav Avraham Remer, p. 51)