- R. Abraham Isaac ha-Kohen Kook and the Brenner Affair
- Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
- Purdue University Press
- Volume 35, Number 3, Spring 2017
- p. pp. 99-113
- View Citation
Much scholarly effort has been devoted to the editorial process that produced the corpus of R. Abraham Isaac ha-Kohen Kook. Understandably, the editorial techniques of R. Zvi Yehudah Kook—the only son of R. Kook—have received particular attention due the formative role he had in editing and publishing his father's writings. R. Zvi Yehudah's editorial activities with his father's works include the brief essay "La-Milhemet ha-Deot ve-ha-Emunot" (The Battle of Opinions and Beliefs), published in 1913. It has been argued that in his editing of this essay, he attempted to minimize R. Kook's legitimation of secular Zionists. I suggest a different understanding of the underlying motivation of R. Zvi Yehudah. He was attempting to provide a response of R. Kook to the most significant literary and cultural controversy that occupied the Zionist and Hebrew literary landscape, namely, the Brenner affair. R. Zvi Yehudah, through his editing of "La-Milhemet ha-Deot ve-ha-Emunot," was interested in grounding R. Kook's writings in the historical and social context in which they were composed. During the Jaffe period, R. Zvi Yehudah aggressively redacted various pages from his notebook and shaped the essay in order to relate R. Kook's work to one of the most significant cultural and ideological Zionist debates of his time and to bring his writings in conversation with his contemporaries and colleagues.