Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Shmuel HaNavi and Yom Yerushalayim

                            The Kever of Shmuel HaNavi as seen in todays time when going inside.
Today 12 May 2010, 28  many in Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora are celebrating Yom Yerushalayim. It's an interesting idea. If we look at Tehillim, songs of Praises to G-d written by David haMelech, we read a verse "if I forget thee oh Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten" (137:5)

Quite a strong statement and in truth, if we ponder this verse of Tehillim we should be reminded that in fact we think of Yerushalayim every day, 3 times a day at least. Every Chatan remembers Yerushalayim under the Chuppah as he breaks the glass and any Jew who owns a home is supposed to leave a square block unpainted, as a reminder that Yerushalayim is not yet re-built. So why one day for our Holy City? It is rather like the modern day trend of 1 day for Mothers Day and 1 day for Fathers Day when Torah teaches we have a mitzvah of honouring our father and mother 24 hours of the day, even if they have left this world.

There is a tremendous connection between King David and Yerushalayim, as we see if visiting Yerushalayim and David's City / Tower of David. But let us deal with that in another post. Today has another significance, for the Hebrew date is the Yartzheit of Shmuel HaNavi, the prophet who anointed David as king. The prophet who anointed Shaul as king too.

It was not an easy task for Shmuel HaNavi as it marked a major turning point for the Jewish people. We are reminded that when we received the Torah at Sinai, G-d spoke to us directly. But we, the body of Am Yisrael found this experience too much for us and requested that Moshe Rabeinu receive the Torah on our behalf and then teach it to us. Moshe was the greatest prophet that ever lived or ever will live and after him came a series of prophets. These were our leaders, the specific tzaddikim who received word from G-d directly in various ways and translated these words to the Jewish people. Our ONLY King was, and should always be, G-d Himself.

But the Jewish people made a mistake in looking at the other nations and noticing that they each had kings and royalty. The Jewish people requested a king and it was the task of Shmuel haNavi to bring this news to G-d and receive the instruction to anoint Shaul as the first king of the Jewish nation as a result.

There is a fortune we can learn about, and from Shmuel HaNavi. We are reminded of the miraculous way his life began, through the direct answer to his mother's prayer and the blessing of the Cohen Gadol of the time, Eli the Cohen. Chanah, the mother of Shmuel, nursed and cared for her son until he was old enough to be weaned. When he was weaned she brought him to Eli the Cohen who was serving in the Mishkan in Shilo to raise her son, So it was that Shmuel, as Chanah had made a pact with G-d, would lead a life dedicated to the service of G-d.

When we look at the Tanach, we notice that the life of Shmuel ends towards the end of King Shaul's life and yet the book of Shmuel continues through the life of King David. Why is this? I often wondered and have not come up with an answer, but one possible thought comes to mind.

Shmuel HaNavi as we said, was the one to anoint the first and second kings of the Jewish people. It is through King David that the ultimate king of the Jewish people will come in the form of Melech HaMoshiach, our Righteous Redeemer.

So it is that on the day most are celebrating as Yom Yerushalyim, a secular festival for a holy city, perhaps we need to remember that the Jewish people are a nation whose real King is G-d. We are not supposed to look to the other nations for what they do or how they live or even how they want us to live. We are not supposed to be looking to prime ministers of Israel or of other countries but rather to the real King. To G-d. At the end of the Chumash, Moshe our Teacher leaves us with a powerful thought. If we follow the word of G-d, we will live a long life in the Land He promised us with prosperity and blessing and much, much more. We are warned not to follow the other nations or to look to any other gods.

In a sense, the last words King Shaul heard from Shmuel HaNavi was a reminder of this. When King Shaul searched out a necromancer to raise up Shmuel after he had left this world, Shmuel HaNavi was angry. He was angry to be distrubed and left Shaul with a message, which is applicable to us too. Shmuel HaNavi reminded King Shaul not to reply on or look to the prophets but rather to G-d Himself. Listen to what G-d wants of us and then we will not come to harm. But if we go against the will of G-d, we run the risk of angering Him, as is seen with King Shaul.

In the merit and memory of Shmuel HaNavi and the start of the time of the kings within Am Yisrael, if we are to have a king in human form,  let us turn our focus to the king we yearn for, our Righteous Redeemer.

May it be G-d's Will that this year we merit to truly re-build Yerushalayim, in totality, with all of Am Yisrael where we belong and our Holy Temple in its rightful place.

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