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Shabbat Parashat Vayeira 5778

Ein Ayah: Nation before Family on the Battlefield

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 5:61)

[Both pieces deal with the approach that minimizes the apparent sins of David Hamelech in his relations with Bat Sheva and causing Uriya’s death.]


Gemara: “His [Uriya’s] wife you took as a wife” (Shmuel II, 12:9). You are capable of marrying her, as R. Shmuel bar Nachmani said in R. Yonatan’s name: Whoever went out to the wars of David’s House wrote a get for his wife.


Ein Ayah: The purpose of the existence of the nations is physical matters. They are to be viewed as guilds of partners to obtain matters they enjoy or need. Therefore, love of the nation is justified only when individuals and their families receive a return for their efforts. It is like wild animals banding together in the face of joint danger or to catch game together. For them, when one speaks of family in the time of war, it makes them more diligent. For that reason, women would come to the front and participate with their husbands.

Bnei Yisrael are different in this regard. The nation’s purpose, from the perspective of their souls and lifestyle, revolves around sanctity and the spirit of Hashem that is upon them. This is the greatest treasure of the individual and the nation as a whole, and it gives power and glory to the family. Therefore, compared to efforts for the nation, love of family is dwarfed and is not allowed to detract from love of the nation.

For this reason, when going to war, an individual’s hopes were not on private factors of success upon return from battle. One would view himself as giving up hope for his personal life and being happy to die as a brave and holy man in a divine war to raise the national banner. Therefore, he would write a get for his wife to weaken thoughts about family ties in favor of a path of interest for the higher, holy needs of the nation. This is a harsh rebuke, reminding one that when dealing with the national, he should forget his personal interests.

It was thus the will of G-d that it was possible to marry those whose husbands gave a get under these circumstances. As painful as that circumstance was, it was part of the important effort to increase the proper holy outlook of men who went out to save Hashem’s nation.


King as Commander in Chief

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 5:63)


Gemara: Uriya was deserving of death because he rebelled against the king by saying, “My master Yoav and my master’s servants are encamped in the field” (Shmuel II, 11:11). 


Ein Ayah: The foundation of a successful kingdom is that the king’s great spirit, which comes from the nation’s best attributes, will impact the entire nation. This spirit finds expression in ceremonial matters related to the kingdom, which are carried out by the nation and its army.

If the king is reduced to a mere shadow of his proper greatness, then even if decrees are made in his name and the army carries out his commands as the sovereign, the spirit of the kingdom will be led by army officers, who use their style to give orders to their subordinates. Then the king is the master of the people but not of the army. The divinely ordained House of David, was able to lead both the nation and the army, who all viewed themselves as subjects of David.

Uriya was one of the people who respected the king’s role in civilian life. However, his internal mindset was to give extra status to the army’s chief of staff, as each national element had its own leader. That is why he gave special homage to Yoav and did not include him in the “subjects of the king,” i.e., simpler soldiers. This could cause a major problem in the nation, by lowering the stature of the king, who was anointed by Hashem. In this way, Uriya rebelled against the kingdom.

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