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Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Purim, but Havel Havelim is No Joke

To Kiss a Mezzuzah has posted the 309th Havel Havelim this Purim Day.  She has become one of the regular hosts.  I haven't hosted one for a very long time.  So I really appreciate that she manages to find the time.  Please visit it and check out the links.

This edition of Havel Havelim is a bit "heavier" than the usual Purim ones.  That's because so many of the posts deal with the massacre of the Fogel Family of Itamar.  Few of us were in the mood for comdey last week.  The reality of Shabbat Zachor hit us very hard.  G-d commanded us to remember Amalek, what he did to us, how he attacked us.  And the drash of it is the Haftara,  Shmuel I 15:2,  which relates King Saul's most serious sin.  He didn't execute every member of Amalek's descendants.

ב כֹּה אָמַר, יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, פָּקַדְתִּי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה עֲמָלֵק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל--אֲשֶׁר-שָׂם לוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בַּעֲלֹתוֹ מִמִּצְרָיִם. 2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts: I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way, when he came up out of Egypt.
ג עַתָּה לֵךְ וְהִכִּיתָה אֶת-עֲמָלֵק, וְהַחֲרַמְתֶּם אֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ, וְלֹא תַחְמֹל, עָלָיו; וְהֵמַתָּה מֵאִישׁ עַד-אִשָּׁה, מֵעֹלֵל וְעַד-יוֹנֵק, מִשּׁוֹר וְעַד-שֶׂה, מִגָּמָל וְעַד-חֲמוֹר. {ס} 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.' {S}

King Saul and the Jewish People were victorious. The Amalek, Agag and his tribe were in King Saul's hand.  And then...
ח וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת-אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ-עֲמָלֵק, חָי; וְאֶת-כָּל-הָעָם, הֶחֱרִים לְפִי-חָרֶב. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
ט וַיַּחְמֹל שָׁאוּל וְהָעָם עַל-אֲגָג, וְעַל-מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר וְהַמִּשְׁנִים וְעַל-הַכָּרִים וְעַל-כָּל-הַטּוֹב, וְלֹא אָבוּ, הַחֲרִימָם; וְכָל-הַמְּלָאכָה נְמִבְזָה וְנָמֵס, אֹתָהּ הֶחֱרִימוּ. {פ} 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, even the young of the second birth, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; but every thing that was of no account and feeble, that they destroyed utterly. {P}
G-d sees everything.  What had King Saul been thinking?  How was he punished?
יג וַיָּבֹא שְׁמוּאֵל, אֶל-שָׁאוּל; וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ שָׁאוּל, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה לַיהוָה--הֲקִימֹתִי, אֶת-דְּבַר יְהוָה. 13 And Samuel came to Saul; and Saul said unto him: 'Blessed be thou of the LORD; I have performed the commandment of the LORD.'
יד וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל, וּמֶה קוֹל-הַצֹּאן הַזֶּה בְּאָזְנָי, וְקוֹל הַבָּקָר, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי שֹׁמֵעַ. 14 And Samuel said: 'What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?'
טו וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל מֵעֲמָלֵקִי הֱבִיאוּם, אֲשֶׁר חָמַל הָעָם עַל-מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר, לְמַעַן זְבֹחַ, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; וְאֶת-הַיּוֹתֵר, הֶחֱרַמְנוּ. {פ} 15 And Saul said: 'They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.' {P}
טז וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל, אֶל-שָׁאוּל, הֶרֶף וְאַגִּידָה לְּךָ, אֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֵלַי הַלָּיְלָה; ויאמרו (וַיֹּאמֶר) לוֹ, דַּבֵּר. {ס} 16 Then Samuel said unto Saul: 'Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night.' And he said unto him: 'Say on.' {S}
יז וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל--הֲלוֹא אִם-קָטֹן אַתָּה בְּעֵינֶיךָ, רֹאשׁ שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָתָּה; וַיִּמְשָׁחֲךָ יְהוָה לְמֶלֶךְ, עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. 17 And Samuel said: 'Though thou be little in thine own sight, art thou not head of the tribes of Israel? And the LORD anointed thee king over Israel;
יח וַיִּשְׁלָחֲךָ יְהוָה, בְּדָרֶךְ; וַיֹּאמֶר, לֵךְ וְהַחֲרַמְתָּה אֶת-הַחַטָּאִים אֶת-עֲמָלֵק, וְנִלְחַמְתָּ בוֹ, עַד כַּלּוֹתָם אֹתָם. 18 and the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said: Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
יט וְלָמָּה לֹא-שָׁמַעְתָּ, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה; וַתַּעַט, אֶל-הַשָּׁלָל, וַתַּעַשׂ הָרַע, בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה. {ס} 19 Wherefore then didst thou not hearken to the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst that which was evil in the sight of the LORD?' {S}
How did King Saul react?
כא וַיִּקַּח הָעָם מֵהַשָּׁלָל צֹאן וּבָקָר, רֵאשִׁית הַחֵרֶם, לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בַּגִּלְגָּל. {ס} 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the devoted things, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.'{S}
King Saul blamed his people. We expect a king, a prime minister, rabbi, president to lead us, not to make excuses.  This past Shabbat there was a very interesting shiur, Torah Class by our Shiloh rabbi, Rav Elchanan Bin-Nun.  He said that the leaders get their strength and determination and idealism from the people. The stronger we are, the better our leaders will be.

King Saul was the first King of the Jewish People.  The People were still mired in the mindset of Shoftim, Judges.  Judges was a time...
כה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל: אִישׁ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו, יַעֲשֶׂה. {ש} 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.{P}
The Jewish People didn't know how to push their king in the right direction. G-d willing, we'll be strong and determined enough to have a true king (or Prime Minister) who follows G-d and helps lead us to Redemption.

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