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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Kingdom of David, or the Kingdom of Yishai?

In the haftora of the last days of Pesach, we read the Navi Yeshaya, and I was wondering about something he says.  In talking about the Mashiach, the Navi says "a shoot shall spring forth from the cut off trunk of Yishai, and a twig shall sprout from his roots."  We all know that Mashiach is a descendant of David.  Why does Yeshaya refer to him, twice, as a descendant of Yishai?


Yeshaya 11:1   ויצא חוטר מגזע ישי
Yeshaya 11:10  שורש ישי אשר עומד לנס עמים


When I brought this up, Rav ES pointed out an interesting thing.  Moshe Rabbeinu was the first king of Klal Yisrael (for example, Zevachim 102a, חמש שמחות היתה אלישבע יתירה על בנות ישראל יבמה מלך אישה כהן גדול בנה סגן בן בנה משוח מלחמה ואחיה נשיא שבטת, and Rambam 6 Beis Habechira 11- אין מוסיפין על העיר או על העזרות אלא על פי המלך וע"פ נביא ובאורים ותומים ועל פי סנהדרין של שבעים ואחד זקנים שנאמר ככל אשר אני מראה אותך וכן תעשו לדורות. ומשה רבינו מלך היה), and Moshe Rabbeinu's father shared an extremely rare trait with Yishai- they were two of the four who died only because of the Gezeira that man be mortal, but were free of sin (Bava Basra 17a, תנו רבנן ארבעה מתו בעטיו של נחש ואלו הן בנימין בן יעקב ועמרם אבי משה וישי אבי דוד וכלאב בן דוד וכולהו גמרא לבר מישי אבי דוד דמפרש ביה [קרא] דכתיב (שמואל ב יז) ואת עמשא שם אבשלום תחת יואב על הצבא ועמשא בן איש ושמו יתרא הישראלי אשר בא אל אביגיל בת נחש אחות צרויה אם יואב וכי בת נחש היא והלא בת ישי היא דכתיב (דברי הימים א ב) ואחיותיהם צרויה ואביגיל אלא בת מי שמת בעטיו של נחש:) Does this coincidence indicate that the true root of the Malchus of Dovid, and of Moshe, was their fathers' awesome tzidkus?

My son in law, Rav AL, argued that this is illogical, because on the contrary, Malchus requires some sort of shameful family history (Yoma 22b, אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מפני מה לא נמשכה מלכות בית שאול מפני שלא היה בו שום דופי דאמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יהוצדק אין מעמידין פרנס על הציבור אלא אם כן קופה של שרצים תלויה לו מאחוריו שאם תזוח דעתו עליו אומרין לו חזור לאחוריך).  I'm not impressed by the argument, because even though we require some kind of embarrassment in the background, that is only as a counterweight so that the greatness of the family does not lead to overweening conceit.

Another indication that David's royalty was a manifestation of Yishai's gadlus is that when Hashem told Shmuel to annoint the king who would supplant Shaul, it appears that the king had not yet been chosen, and the decision would be made only on the basis of how the various sons of Yishai would behave.  As the Gemara (Pesachim 66b) says, at that point, all that was known was that one of Yishai's children would be king, but which child that would be had not not yet been determined.  Shmuel I 16:  
א ויאמר ה' אל-שמואל, עד-מתיי אתה מתאבל אל-שאול, ואני מאסתיו, ממלוך על-ישראל; מלא קרנך שמן, ולך אשלחך אל-ישי בית-הלחמי--כי-ראיתי בבניו לי, מלך.  ב ויאמר שמואל איך אלך, ושמע שאול והרגני; ויאמר ה' עגלת בקר תיקח בידך, ואמרת, לזבוח לה' באתי.  ג וקראת לישי, בזבח; ואנוכי, אודיעך את אשר-תעשה, ומשחת לי, את אשר-אומר אליך.  ד ויעש שמואל, את אשר דיבר ה' ויבוא, בית לחם; ויחרדו זקני העיר, לקראתו, ויאמר, שלום בואך.  ה ויאמר שלום, לזבוח  לה' באתי, התקדשו, ובאתם איתי בזבח; ויקדש את-ישי ואת-בניו, ויקרא להם לזבח.  ו ויהי בבואם, וירא את-אליאב; ויאמר, אך נגד ה' משיחו.  

ז ויאמר ה' אל-שמואל, אל-תבט אל-מראהו ואל-גבוה קומתו--כי מאסתיהו:  כי לא, אשר יראה האדם--כי האדם יראה לעיניים, וה' יראה ללבב.  ח ויקרא ישי אל-אבינדב, ויעבירהו לפני שמואל; ויאמר, גם-בזה לא-בחר ה'.  ט ויעבר ישי, שמה; ויאמר, גם-בזה לא-בחר ה'.  י ויעבר ישי שבעת בניו, לפני שמואל; ויאמר שמואל אל-ישי, לא-בחר ה' באלה.  יא ויאמר שמואל אל-ישי, התמו הנערים, ויאמר עוד שאר הקטן, והנה רועה בצאן; ויאמר שמואל אל-ישי שלחה וקחנו, כי לא-נסוב עד-בואו פה.  יב וישלח ויביאהו והוא אדמוני, עם-יפה עיניים וטוב רואי; 
ויאמר ה' קום משחהו, כי-זה הוא
Pesachim 66b:
אמר רבי מני בר פטיש כל שכועס אפילו פוסקין עליו גדולה מן השמים מורידין אותו מנלן מאליאב שנאמר (שמואל א יז) ויחר אף אליאב בדוד ויאמר למה [זה] ירדת ועל מי נטשת מעט הצאן ההנה במדבר אני ידעתי את זדנך ואת רוע לבבך כי למען ראות המלחמה ירדת וכי אזל שמואל לממשחינהו בכלהו כתיב (שמואל א טז) לא בזה בחר ה' ובאליאב כתיב (שמואל א טז) ויאמר ה' אל שמואל אל תביט אל מראהו ואל גבה קומתו כי מאסתיהו מכלל דהוה רחים ליה עד האידנא

So there are three things that hint that the Malchus Beis David really is Malchus Beis Yishai: the passuk in Yeshaya, the coincidence of Etyo shel Nachash, and the Gemara in Pesachim 66.  This makes you wonder.... when Shaul said to Yonasan "As long as the son of Yishai lives, you will never rule...."  did Shaul call him Ben Yishai to denigrate him, or did he choose words with the subtext that David was a threat specifically because he was the son of Yishai?  Shmuel I 20:31-32:
ויחר אף שאול ביהונתן ויאמר לו בן נעות המרדות הלוא ידעתי כי בחר אתה לבן ישי, לבשתך ולבשת ערות אמך:  כי כל הימים אשר בן ישי חי על האדמה לא תכון אתה ומלכותך


What this means in a deeper sense I don't know.  But if it's true, it won't be the only time that a person is zocheh to a certain gadlus and this gadlus, the result of the merit, manifests itself not in him but rather in his son:  The same thing happened with the Hashra'as Hashechina in the Beis Hamikdash.  Shabbos 30a:
אמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב (תהלים פו, יז) עשה עמי אות לטובה ויראו שונאי ויבושו אמר דוד לפני הקב"ה רבונו של עולם מחול לי על אותו עון אמר לו מחול לך אמר לו עשה עמי אות בחיי אמר לו בחייך איני מודיע בחיי שלמה בנך אני מודיע כשבנה שלמה את בית המקדש ביקש להכניס ארון לבית קדשי הקדשים דבקו שערים זה בזה אמר שלמה עשרים וארבעה רננות ולא נענה פתח ואמר (תהלים כד, ז) שאו שערים ראשיכם והנשאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד רהטו בתריה למיבלעיה אמרו מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד אמר להו ה' עזוז וגבור חזר ואמר (תהלים כד, ט) שאו שערים ראשיכם ושאו פתחי עולם ויבא מלך הכבוד מי הוא זה מלך הכבוד ה' צבאות הוא מלך הכבוד סלה ולא נענה כיון שאמר (דברי הימים ב ו, מב) ה' אלהים אל תשב פני משיחך זכרה לחסדי דוד עבדך מיד נענה באותה שעה נהפכו פני כל שונאי דוד כשולי קדירה וידעו כל העם וכל ישראל שמחל לו הקב"ה על אותו עון ולא יפה אמר שלמה ושבח אני את המתים שכבר מתו 
Dovid Hamelech could not build the Beis Hamikdash.  His son, Shlomo, built it.  But whose Zechus was it that brought the Shechina to the Bayis?  The Zechus of David.  The Beis Hamikdash could only be built in the merit of David, and it could only have the Shechina in the merit of David, but David himself never saw it happen.  It only came to fruition through his son.  It would be interesting to think that both David's Malchus and Shlomo's Beis Hamikdash came about through their fathers.


My son in law, Rav MJ, said that it is possible that the question assumes a false premise.  I assumed that if a person earned something, it ought to come about through him.  But it could be that the greater reward is to see one's work come to fruition davka through his child, that the child takes the reins from the father's hand- because what had hitherto been an ephemeral personal achievement becomes eternal.  As Avraham Avinu said, ה' אלוקים מה תתן לי ואנכי הולך ערירי.  If one sees that what one has achieved expresses itself through his child, that the child embodies what the father fought for and earned through his hard effort, when you see your life's work resonating through your children and amplified through the ages, it becomes far more precious.

This idea may appear inconsistent with the Rambam in 1 TT 4, היה הוא רוצה ללמוד תורה ויש לו בן ללמוד תורה הוא קודם לבנו , but only superficially.


Back to Ben Yishai:
This usage is not unique.  For example, the passuk in Tehillim 132:17, says שם אצמיח קרן לדוד ערכתי נר למשיחי, and then the passuk reappears with a slight difference in Berachos 29a: 
מאי מעין שמנה עשרה רב אמר מעין כל ברכה וברכה ושמואל אמר הביננו ה' אלהינו לדעת דרכיך ומול את לבבנו ליראתך ותסלח לנו להיות גאולים ורחקנו ממכאובינו ודשננו בנאות ארצך ונפוצותינו מארבע תקבץ והתועים על דעתך ישפטו ועל הרשעים תניף ידיך וישמחו צדיקים בבנין עירך ובתקון היכלך ובצמיחת קרן לדוד עבדך ובעריכת נר לבן ישי משיחך טרם נקרא אתה תענה ברוך אתה ה' שומע תפלה 
Note that when the Gemara uses the passuk in the abbreviated Shmoneh Esrei, it changes Ner Meshichi to Ner L'Ven Yishai.  This is quoted verbatim in the Rambam in Hilchos Tefilla.

This nusach also appears in the bracha of kedusha of Shmone Esrei of Yamim Nora'im, as follows,
תן כבוד לעמך תהלה ליריאך ותקוה טובה לדורשיך שמחה לארצך  וששון לעירך וצמיחת קרן לדוד עבדך ועריכת נר לבן ישי משיחך״

So, we don't know any more than we did before, but at least we have learned that there are more things than we knew that we don't know.  We have broadened our ignorance horizon.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

related very stronly: Pachad Yitzchok Pesach 68. Which also gives an amazing interpretation of Shir Hashirim Kodshei Kodoshim.

lesser unknown said...

I would argue with Rav MJ's premise that "If one sees that what one has achieved expresses itself through his child, that the child embodies what he have fought for and earned through his hard effort, when you see your life's work resonating through your children and amplified through the ages, it becomes far more precious." On the grounds that both Amrom and David were nifter before they were able to see the respective gadlus of their children.
Instead I would suggest that this is not a reward system, rather a cause and effect. The "natural" effect of living a life of tzidkus is that one's children will have a greater potential for spiritual greatness (greater even than the parents potential), which is caused by both growing up in such a home and (perhaps) simply having the "spiritual dna" of such a tzaddik. Which is why ALL of Yishai's children were in the running for malchus. Of course, only the potential is greater, even having Yitzchak for a father and Rivka for a mother, and growing up in that home did not take away Esav bitachon to become an Esav.

Eliezer said...

Lesser, thank you for the thoughtful he'ara.

Anonymous, do I own a Pachad Yitzchak? No, I don't. So thanks for nothing.

Actually, the kollel down the block has one. I will find time to check it out, bl'n, AND TENDER A REPORT ON THE CONTENT. Oh, did my caps lock get stuck?

Barzilai said...

I was at the Kollel and saw Rav Hutner's ma'amar, number 68 in Pesach, as said. He talks about how Dovid enabled Shlomo's accomplishments through his mesiras nefesh, a mesiras nefesh that Shlomo, by his very essence, could not duplicate, although Shlomo's very essence was made possible through his father's mesiras nefesh. The same with Moshe Rabbeinu, that even though it is Toras Hashem, it is called Toras Moshe because Moshe was moser nefesh for it. He also talks of the two kinds of kiyum mitvah, kiyum per se, and kiyum of mitzvos as manifestations of limud hatorah, and he says that the latter reached its apex in the Midbar, and the former in the time of Shlomo.

He doesn't address the main issue I raised in the post, though.

Barzilai said...

And lesser- just because a guy is dead doesn't mean he doesn't know whats going on, especially when what's going on is a continuation of what he began and set into motion. Veha raya, sifsosav dovevos,

E said...

I received a communication explaining how the Pachad Yitzchak relates:

He shows that the kochos of the son in certain respects may
be so inherited/derivative from the father that they are attributed
solely to the father [habayis l'dovid, succas dovid]. Similarly,
there are kochos in moshiach which are not traced back to Dovid but to Yishai.

lesser unknown said...

Whether or not one who is niftar is able to know (or cares to know) what goes on in this world is discussed in the 3rd perek of Berachos. And if memory serves, the gemara doesn't prove one way or the other. To the extent that according to the opinion that they don't know, Moshe Rabbeinu had to tell the avos that Klal Yisroel was about to enter Eretz Yisroel. (according to the other opinion, he was commanded to tell them for his benefit).
I can maneuver out of your raya of sifsosav dovevos, however, I would like to give it more thought, since your simpler understanding is more appealing. Regardless, it would have to be reconciled with the other tzad in Berachos.

Anonymous said...

lesser unknown: the ambiguity can be resolved simply. The reason that in shamayim the neshamos [may not be/are not] aware of earthly events is that they have no kesher to the mundane. However, they are aware of torah at the level of pure ruchniyus.

Knowing you morer or lesser, I anticipate your replying that the entry into Eretz Yisroel was ruchniyus. However, for whatever reason, the avos were concerned with the fulfillment of the gashmiyus of knisa l'Aretz also. We see the same thing by bizas mitrayim to fulfill the promise of rechush gadol to AAA"H. Of course Avraham understood that it was referring to matan torah, but I am certain you are aware of mashal of the Dubner Maggid.

Again, knowing you morer or lesser, I know that you are thinking - how could the Avos be aware of the spiritual effects of knisa la'Aretz and not the gashmiyus reality thereof.

Consider the shira of the frog: Baruch Shem... As the Shiurei Da'as explains, the croaking of frogs is actually the manifestation in olam hazah of that shiras hamelochim - albeit "slightly" constricted at each descent as it reaches us in the sub-sub-basement. But it is a one-on-one mapping.

However, while every physical reality/action has mappings on the higher olamos, at the highest levels it may not be evident what the original source of a given spiritual creation was/is. Thus it would be possible for the Avos to know that the spiritual consummation of Klal Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel had occured without it affecting their awareness of the mundane issue of the fulfillment of the promise to the avos.

With torah, however, there is no distinction between the mundane and the sacred. Every physical action involved in learning is itself pure ruchniyus, and apprehended at the highest levels - even at the level of tchiyas hamaysim [dovevos ba'kever].

Of course this follows more the shita of tosafos rather than Rashi on the ma'aseh of Avuha diShmuel and the question of mina yad'a.

Anonymous said...

Re Barzilai 10:54 PM
That's not quite what the Pachad Yitzchok says, but the misunderstanding is not germane to this discussion.
I note this to assure that Rav Hutner's dovevos bakever are not too pithy and emphatic.

Anonymous said...

As much as I respect "Rav AL", I think he has it backwards. Just as it is a benefit to a Melech to have something problematic in his background to guard against conceit another guard against conceit is to have a father who was a much greater tzaddik. It is hard to be conceited when must strive hard to come anywhere near the madreiga if one's father.

lesser unknown said...

In response to the last anonymous, assuming that you are correct, why was is necessary for Moshe Rebbeinu to have the "problematic background" of his parents being a marriage which would fall under the issur of ariyos (after matan Torah)

lesser unknown said...

While I appreciate the previous anonymous' resolution to the sifsosav dovevos issue, I would rather suggest the following: The tzad of the gemara which states that the deceased don't know/care about the events of this world does state that the nishama does feel the pain of the decay of the physical body down here. Considering that schar is greater than onesh, it should be a kal v'chomer that the nishama should enjoy the pleasure of the physical guf "saying" his words of Torah. So, perhaps , the sifsosav dovevos is merely how Hashem chooses to reward the talmid chacham who has taught talmidim who continue to say over his Torah in his name.

Barzilai said...

lesser- I want to point out that at one stage the Gemara there (18) says that even if the dead have no direct knowledge of worldly events, they do understand and are interested in news that is brought to them by the more recently deceased. It may be that this is not true according to all opinions there, because if you take the passuk in Koheles (9:5) והמתים אינם יודעים מאומה literally, they know nothing at all, as the Maharsha there explains.

chaim b. said...

I noticed in the haftarah of machar chodesh that Shaul constantly refers to David as "Ben Yishai" while Yehonasan uses his name. Was Shaul just doing it distance himself from David and show that they are not on a first name basis?

Eliezer said...

Yes, pashtus it was a way to denigrate him, as we find Kalev did when referring to Moshe Rabbeinu as Ben Amram. But maybe it was a reference to what they knew was the source of his claim to malchus, the power that made him a real threat.