Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shaul's declaration: Hakimosi es dvar Hashem!

1. Shaul haMelech’s declaration to Shmuel haNavi, “Hakimosi es dvar Hashem!” sounds at first blush like either the height of chutzpah or the height of naivte. Shaul was commanded by Shmuel to kill every member of Amalek and to destroy their flocks and herds of animals. How could he possibly say that he fulfilled the dvar Hashem when Agag remained alive and all the animals were taken as booty?

The Alshich answers that the key words here are “Dvar Hashem” – not “divrei Navi.” Shaul knew that he did not do exactly what Shmuel had told him, but what Shmuel had told him to do was, in Shaul’s mind, not the dvar Hashem. Killing off the animals was an addition to the mitzvah, l'migdar milsa, but not the essence of the mitzvah of mechiyas Amalek.

So why did Shmuel think finishing the job, right down to killing the animals, was essential, but Shaul did not? And what of the mitzvah of listening to a Navi? Here the picture spills mostly outside the boundaries of what we know from the text and into the realm of more speculative thinking. I'll leave that to you (Ksav Sofer, Shem m'Shmuel, Sefas Emes all discuss; feel free to point me to other mareh mekomos).

2. On a completely different note, there are a number of Rabbonim who have written pieces on how we can enjoy a Purim after the horrific terrorist attack which occurred earlier this week -- read them; no point in me repeating the same points. Amalek is still with us, make no mistake about it. The Midrash writes that the "necheshalim" who Amalek attacked were the stragglers from sheivet Dan who were shlepping along outside the ananei hakavod, the clouds which were the visible evidence of Hashem's hashgacha. Amalek, explains R' Tzadok, preys on that feeling of being stuck outside Hashem's protection, unwanted, rejected, without hope. "Lo tishkach" -- the Koznitzer Magid writes that the word "tishkach" has the same letters as "tash koach," loss of strength. As difficult as times are, we need to respond with greater strength, greater bitachon, greater trust. Not an easy task.



  2. Anonymous1:31 PM

    On the same note as the "Tash Koach"(loss of strength)comment... maybe we can look at it a bit differently. Perhaps the fact that "lo tishkach" has the same words as "tash koach" is to teach us a lesson about what Amalek did to Bnei Yisroel. The Sefer HaToda'ah writes that the place where Amalek attacked us, Rifidim, has the same words as "ripayon yadayim" or weakness of the hands. Amalek attacked us because we became weak and asked "Hayesh Hashem b'kirbeinu" after all the miracles we had witnessed we became weak and questioned the presence of Gd and that's why Amalek attacked us. Amalek is known to jump on us when we become weak. Therefore, maybe the fact that we are told to "erase the rememberance of Amalek..lo tishkach" is not only to tell us literally "lo tishkach" but to tell us "tash koach" and don't become weak again! Don't give the modern day Amalek the opportunity to ambush us! We know they like to jump on us when we are "necheshalim" so stay as close to Hashem as possible and don't ever let what they did to us happen again.

  3. Anonymous11:02 PM

    "a completely different note"?
    nosir. after all, Shaul destroyed
    (Shmuel 1,15:9) the inferior
    livestock, "unwanted" & "rejected",
    "the stragglers" as it were, like
    Amelek such Israelites...
    to recall: "In a single utterance
    Hashem gives Bnei Yisroel all ten
    commandments at once..." (from
    hearing, all-at-once, must be our
    goal, whereupon all "Labels" will
    be reduced to one, namely "Aleph",
    as in Achdus & Anochi (Hashem...)
    & Echad...
    a freiliche babushka to everyone!!

  4. Anonymous11:40 PM

    {surely the previous comment should read "concentrated in",
    rather than "reduced to", one...?}
    while among the pages of Shaul,
    & riding in the rocking boat of
    purim, a conceivably critical
    clarification might be proffered:
    we await, we expect, we pray for
    "mashiach, mashiach, mashiach...";
    however, not only Shmuel makes it
    clear that a human king is no way to go(Shml 1, 8:10-, for example),
    there's the objection to such king-
    ship from One greater than he (see
    Shmuel 1, 8:7)! are we not lost
    down some bidi'eved sidetrack,
    looking for ben yosef or ben david
    or ben who-knows-who, rather than
    yearning for return to the main progam, l'chatchila: the resumption
    of prophecy under King Hashem alone??
    a freiliche dyedooshka to all!!

  5. Ah Freilichen Purim to you!

    I was oimed on a yesod today: to be mekayeim adloyada, you have to be yada first. in other words, you don't say "משבח אני את העצלנים" like in Sukka 27 on this mitzvbah. it's a mitzva she'yeish boh maiseh. I have people, or a person, in my shiur, that are on that madriega all the time.

  6. hey, that was me.