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Shabbat Parashat Ki Teitzei 5777

Ein Ayah: Perfection Near Leaders, Not of Leaders

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 5:41)

Gemara: Four people died due to the plot of the [biblical] snake (i.e., without sin), and these are the people: Binyamin, the son of Yaakov; Amram, the father of Moshe; Yishai, the father of David; and Kilav, the son of David.


Ein Ayah: The internal power of the historical developments of Israel and its historical completion certainly are without sin and flaw. This is as the pasuk says: “All of you is beautiful, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you” (Shir Hashirim 4:7). When the national “life” is being lived in actuality, there must be some involvement with sin, because that is the state of actual life, which cannot remain in “sterile laboratory conditions.” However, the foundation of the activity and its general completing piece can represent absolute righteousness. For this reason, the last of the Tribes of Israel, “the tribes of Hashem, who give testament to Israel” (Tehillim 122:4), Binyanim, the son of Yaakov, could be without sin. As the one who completed the unit that formed the nation, Binyamin did not sin and was affected by sin only in order to set boundaries for the extent of righteousness.

The source for the situation of an actual nation that has special innate characteristics cannot be typified by absolute spiritual cleanliness. To the contrary, the good needs to come from the depth of the evil. “On the other side of the river did your forefathers live for a long time … and they worshipped other gods” (Yehoshua 24:2). “From a distant place, Hashem drew you close” (Zohar, Emor 98:2). However, at a later stage, when it comes to the internal workings of the Torah, we have to make a distinction. In the actual world of activity, there will always be some element of sin lurking around, even taking hold on the transmitter of the Torah, Moshe Rabbeinu, as the pasuk says: “They became agitated at The Waters of Discord, and bad happened to Moshe because of them” (Tehillim 106:32). However, at the source from which Moshe came, before he came into being, there was absolute goodness in Moshe’s father, Amram. Amram’s only limitation was that he was affected by the universal impact of the snake.

The same is true of the Household of David, which gives the complete character to the nation. There is a perfect goodness that is embedded in the household’s essence. Even though when the kingdom operated, it was not possible to exclude elements of evil in the energies that surround the post of the king, its root was totally good. This came about through Yishai, the father of David.

As we have discussed, while the goal of the Kingdom of the House of David was certainly to embrace the highest possible goodness, this goal cannot be reached until the time of the End of Days. This eventual perfection was hinted to us by the sapling that emerged from David, who reached a level of perfection in action and thought. Kilav, the son of David, was able to overcome all the shortcomings that must exist when a kingdom operates in a world of activity that is full of pitfalls. About Kilav, it was said: “My son, you are wise, and it makes my heart happy, and I will be able to respond to those who curse me” (Mishlei 27:11). Kilav had the spiritual form of the House of David in a complete theoretical manner, one which will take over in practice only in the Days to Come. This is the complete image of David, which Hashem is destined to establish, as it says: “And David, my servant, will be the leader forever” (Yechezkel 37:25).

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Lillian bat Fortune

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