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Shabbat Parashat Matot Masei 5775

Ein Ayah: The Eternal King as a Positive Influence

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:47)

Gemara: [When the gates of the Beit Hamikdash opened after Shlomo invoked David’s merit], the whole nation and all of Israel knew that Hashem forgave him for that sin [of Batsheva].


Ein Ayah: The Nation of Israel is so elevated that it is fit to be an eternal nation. This elevation must be in a manner that even every individual has a respectable level. The nation’s impact should not be only by means of the nation as a whole but even by means of its individuals. This element is hinted at in the pasuk: “Hashem will count when the nations are written, this one was born there” (Tehillim 87:6).

Therefore, the one who merited being the cornerstone of the Kingdom of Israel for all generations must have an influence of sanctity, full of ethics and justice forever, whether for the individual or the nation as a whole. This point was stressed at the time that the eternity of the nation was connected to the sanctity of the Torah. This found expression in the Holy of Holies [where the ark was kept] and showed the eternity of the Kingdom of the House of David. Therefore, it is important that at the time this became known, the people should know that the anointed king had been purified from his sin. It is not only that David’s repentance had a positive impact upon him in that his internal essence had been rectified and the bad elements had been turned into good. Additionally, his influence on others, whether individuals or the collective, had to be complete, including that he was able to serve as a role model for the power of repentance.

That is why it says that the “whole nation,” i.e., all the individuals, and “all of Israel,” i.e., the nation as a unit, should be influenced in their essence as a holy nation by the king who was anointed with the holy anointing oil. Thus, people should realize on all levels that David’s sin was forgiven.    



Only the Dead Are Eternal          

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:48)


Gemara: [About the fact that David was recognized as having been forgiven, it is said:] Isn’t it correct that which Shlomo said: “I praise the dead who already died.”


Ein Ayah: There is a wonderful lesson here. The past, when it is wonderful and holy, impacts on the flow of time in the present and the future to a degree that the present could not reach had they not drawn great value from the past. As history extends over time, treasures “hidden” by the great past, through the actions of great people who were sent by Divine Providence to be cherished by all generations, are uncovered.

We see with our own eyes the extent to which the short reign (in historical terms) of King David impacted on the nation by means of the sanctity of the anointed of the G-d of Yaakov. It is specifically with the perspective of the eras after David, as a person, was gone that we became able to see the great eternal value of his actions and his standing as “David the King of Israel is alive and remaining.” The longevity of his specific kingdom’s impact, well after the practical impact of the person’s actions were gone, is part of what makes it clear how important he is to the nation. During his lifetime it was harder to sense that his standing was eternal.

That is what his son Shlomo meant by praising the dead, for only when they are dead do we feel that they will live forever.
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