It’s in Christianity that we find a clear-cut differentiation between the different spheres.
Beginning with Jesus’ words to his disciples, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew ), a clear distinction is put forward between the religious realm and the political realm, which is considered secular.
Moreover, religion itself was narrowed, and became a defined and confined area of our life.
We can be members of a particular nationality, part of a specific social class or group, engage in one or another profession, jog or play chess as a hobby – and also be religious. From its status as the cornerstone of our identity, the foundation of our worldview and of our self-perception, without which we are lost and for which we will be prepared to lay down our lives, religion became a category, one issue among many in our lives.
It’s important to understand that Rav Kook reinterpreted not only secular Zionists, but also secularism itself.
To fully grasp the revolutionary depth of his theology, we need to look at the development of the secularization process and the inner logic it embodies.
At that point, the aberrant subversion of the tradition’s tenets will metamorphose into a synthesis in which the vision of the redemption will be wholly realized in the form of a state that manifests perfectly the Jewish messianic ideal.
Simply put, though the Zionists think they are establishing a secular nation-state, the cunning quality of divine wisdom guides them to actualize the prophecy of the end of days.
In the course of its existence, Gush Emunim, which was one of the largest and most important messianic movements in Jewish history, succeeded in changing completely, perhaps for many years to come, the life of all the people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The movement revitalized the religious-Zionist community, which until then had been little more than a religiously observant annex of Labor-based Zionism.