April 21, 2009


From Ben Zion Bokser’s translation of selections from Orot HaKodesh (“Holy Lights”), in his anthology “Abraham Isaac Kook” (Paulist Press: Classics of Western Spirituality series).

The Perception of Universality

It is the nature of a spiritual perception to embrace everything in togetherness. This is its distinctive characteristic, which differentiates it from an ordinary intellectual perception, which is always concerned with particulars, and which brings them together with difficulty into general categories.

Those souls that are especially drawn to see things in their inwardness are attached to universality with all their strength. They feel great pain when they are forced through their own habits or through the influence of their environment to particular concerns, whether spiritual or practical. But they take comfort in the realization that life imposes the necessity to concern oneself with all the conditioning factors through which ideals may be carried to realization. They are, however, moved by a great desire to reduce the conditioning factors, and, as soon as possible, to kindle the light of the ideal (Orot HaKodesh, Vol. 1, p. 41).