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Preview: Drush and Agadata - Medrash, Parsha, Torah and Shabbos

Drush and Agadata - Medrash, Parsha, Torah and Shabbos

Welcome to a new blog, unique and innovative, expounding on the holy words of our Sages in their teachings in Agadata Gemara and Medrash. Please spread the word and may the Jewish People merit to see the words of our Sages fulfilled with the arrival of Mo

Updated: 2018-01-11T09:33:23.212-08:00


Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Tzav-Shabbos HaGadol 5770


שבת טעם החיים שופטים תש"עShabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Shoftim 5770 The True King Introductionכי תבוא אל הארץ אשר ה' אלקיך נתן לך וירשתה וישבת בה ואמרת אשימה עלי מלך ככל הגוים אשר סביבותי, when you come to the Land that HaShem, your G-d, gives you, and possess it, and settle in it, and you will say, “I will set a king over myself, like all the nations that are around me.” (Devarim 17: 14)In this week’s parasha the Torah discusses the mitzvah of appointing a king. It is said (Devarim 17: 14-15) ki savo el haaretz asher HaShem Elokecho nosein loch virishtah viyashavta bah viamarta asimah alai melech kichol hagoyim asher sivivosai som tasim alecho melech asher yivchar HaShem Elokecho bo mikerev achecho tasim alecho melech lo suchal laseis alecho ish nachri asher lo achicha hu, when you come to the Land that HaShem, your G-d, gives you, and possess it, and settle in it, and you will say, “I will set a king over myself, like all the nations that are around me.” You shall surely set over yourself a king whom HaShem, your G-d, shall choose; from among your brethren shall you set a king over yourself; you cannot place a king over yourself a foreign man, who is not your brother. The Torah then continues to list the rules that apply to a Jewish king. There are a few questions that must be raised regarding a Jewish king. While all the enumerators of the mitzvos reckon appointing a king as a mitzvah, the Torah seems to indicate that the appointment of a king only applies when the people request a king. Furthermore, in the Book of Shmuel (Chapters 8-12) it is recorded that the people asked for a king and Shmuel the Prophet rebuked them for their request. One must wonder what was wrong with asking for a king if the Torah enumerates appointing a king as a mitzvah. The Radak in the Book of Shmuel elaborates on this issue, and the commentators on the Torah here also discusses this question at length. There is another difficulty with the fact that Shmuel rebuked the people. Yaakov blessed his son Yehudah that his kingship would be perpetuated, and this was reflected in the kingship of Dovid and his descendants, and ultimately in Moshiach, who will be a descendant of Yehudah and Dovid. Was the request of the people in the time of Shmuel merely poor timing or is there a deeper explanation for Shmuel faulting them in their request?Who is the true king?In order to answer these questions, we first have to understand the definition of a king. The Ibn Ezra (Bamidbar 6:7) writes that the true king is one who is free from the blandishments of his Evil Inclination. This idea, however, requires explanation. Is the term king merely a borrowed term, and the only king is one who resists temptation? Furthermore, if this was the case, how can we understand that Dovid Hamelech was the true Jewish king, when on some level he succumbed to temptation when he took Bassheva while she was married?A true king is someone who is self effacing and resists temptationIn the time of the judges who preceded the era of kings, it is said (Shoftim 21:25) bayamim haheim ain melech biYisroel ish hayashar bieinav yaaseh, in those days there was no king in Israel; a man would do whatever seemed proper in his eyes. The simple interpretation of this verse is that since there was no Jewish king, every person acted in a carefree manner. The Chasam Sofer, however, explains this verse in a positive light. He writes that there was no king of the Jewish People, and this was appropriate, as every person knew how to act properly. Furthermore, the Sfas Emes writes that the Mishnah in Avos (3:2) states that if not for the fear of the king, every man would swallow his friends up alive. Nonetheless, if people feared HaShem there would be no need for a king. The concept of a king, writes the Sfas Emes, is because through fearing the king one will come to fear HaShem. Thus, we see that there really is no need for a king over the people, as every man should be a king over himself. This idea is ak[...]