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Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Enemies Always Attack Us When We're Weak, Haughty and Overconfident

In my Tanach, Bible studies in Matan's Al HaPerek, we have just learned about Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon's reign.  I must admit that as I study the Bible, and this is the second year of the program, I'm always seeing parallels to modern politics and history.  I certainly agree with the refrain in King Solomon's most important IMHO book, Kohelet, Ecclesiastes,
ט מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה, הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה, וּמַה-שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה, הוּא שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה; וְאֵין כָּל-חָדָשׁ, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ. 9 That which hath been is that which shall be, and that which hath been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.

The more I learn, the more I agree what King Solomon wrote in Kohelet at some point after major failures and tragedy, when he finally repented, admitted his sins and mistakes.

King Solomon, Son of King David and Batsheva inherited the throne, the Kingdom, the united People of Israel, all twelve tribes and all the Land that David had conquered and unified.  There was peace, and Solomon's job, assigned by G-d, was to build the Holy Temple and rule according to G-d's Mitzvot Laws.

This was a time of great potential, very much like post-1967 Six Days War Israel euphoria, on the day that Egypt, Syria and Jordan surrendered. 1 Kings Chapter 8 מְלָכִים א
טז מִן-הַיּוֹם, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶת-עַמִּי אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרַיִם, לֹא-בָחַרְתִּי בְעִיר מִכֹּל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לִבְנוֹת בַּיִת לִהְיוֹת שְׁמִי שָׁם; וָאֶבְחַר בְּדָוִד, לִהְיוֹת עַל-עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 16 Since the day that I brought forth My people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house, that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel.
יז וַיְהִי, עִם-לְבַב דָּוִד אָבִי--לִבְנוֹת בַּיִת, לְשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 17 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
יח וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-דָּוִד אָבִי, יַעַן אֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִם-לְבָבְךָ, לִבְנוֹת בַּיִת לִשְׁמִי--הֱטִיבֹתָ, כִּי הָיָה עִם-לְבָבֶךָ. 18 But the LORD said unto David my father: Whereas it was in thy heart to build a house for My name, thou didst well that it was in thy heart;
יט רַק אַתָּה, לֹא תִבְנֶה הַבָּיִת: כִּי אִם-בִּנְךָ הַיֹּצֵא מֵחֲלָצֶיךָ, הוּא-יִבְנֶה הַבַּיִת לִשְׁמִי. 19 nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for My name.
כ וַיָּקֶם יְהוָה, אֶת-דְּבָרוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר; וָאָקֻם תַּחַת דָּוִד אָבִי וָאֵשֵׁב עַל-כִּסֵּא יִשְׂרָאֵל, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה, וָאֶבְנֶה הַבַּיִת, לְשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 20 And the LORD hath established His word that He spoke; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.

After the Six Days War, signs were posted all over Israel thanking the IDF for the victory, even though, we only won because of G-d's help, G-d's miracles.

Unfortunately after all those beautiful words, King Solomon was haughty and overconfident.  He considered himself above G-d's Law and sinned.
טז דִּבַּרְתִּי אֲנִי עִם-לִבִּי, לֵאמֹר--אֲנִי הִנֵּה הִגְדַּלְתִּי וְהוֹסַפְתִּי חָכְמָה, עַל כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-הָיָה לְפָנַי עַל-יְרוּשָׁלִָם; וְלִבִּי רָאָה הַרְבֵּה, חָכְמָה וָדָעַת. 16 I spoke with my own heart, saying: 'Lo, I have gotten great wisdom, more also than all that were before me over Jerusalem'; yea, my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
Not only did he take too many wives, but he took non-Jewish ones. He also purchased too many horses, and davka from Egypt, definitely against G-d's Laws, Deuteronomy Chapter 17 דְּבָרִים.
טז רַק, לֹא-יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ סוּסִים, וְלֹא-יָשִׁיב אֶת-הָעָם מִצְרַיְמָה, לְמַעַן הַרְבּוֹת סוּס; וַיהוָה, אָמַר לָכֶם, לֹא תֹסִפוּן לָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה, עוֹד. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.'
יז וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ נָשִׁים, וְלֹא יָסוּר לְבָבוֹ; וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב, לֹא יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ מְאֹד. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
King Solomon disobeyed both Laws. He bought horses from Egypt and married and made alliances with a total of a thousand women.

Even worse than that, just like then (1967) Prime Minister Levi Eshkol's Government, immediately after the Six Days War, gave the key to the Temple Mount to the Arabs, King Solomon soon gave away twenty cities to King Hiram, 1 Kings Chapter 9 מְלָכִים א
יא חִירָם מֶלֶךְ-צֹר נִשָּׂא אֶת-שְׁלֹמֹה בַּעֲצֵי אֲרָזִים וּבַעֲצֵי בְרוֹשִׁים, וּבַזָּהָב--לְכָל-חֶפְצוֹ; אָז יִתֵּן הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה לְחִירָם, עֶשְׂרִים עִיר, בְּאֶרֶץ, הַגָּלִיל. 11 now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar-trees and cypress-trees, and with gold, according to all his desire--that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
And just like all of the "peace gestures" Israel gives our enemies, Hiram wasn't pleased and just wanted more.

Read through the Bible and you'll see how G-d punished King Solomon and not only divided the Kingdom, he also sent in foreign enemies that had been biding their time, waiting for the Jewish King to weaken, 1 Kings Chapter 11 מְלָכִים א.
יד וַיָּקֶם יְהוָה שָׂטָן לִשְׁלֹמֹה, אֵת הֲדַד הָאֲדֹמִי: מִזֶּרַע הַמֶּלֶךְ הוּא, בֶּאֱדוֹם. 14 And the LORD raised up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the king's seed in Edom.
And today, too, our enemies get strong, because we as a nation sin.  Our security is dependent on our obedience to G-d as a Nation.  We pray in the plural, not in singular.  It's not enough to say or think that just our personal Torah-Mitzvah observance is enough.  We're all on the same boat together.  We're all One People.  And when our leadership is faulty, we're all in danger.  Those Jews who think they're safer abroad, in Chutz la'Aretz, out of the HolyLand, are sadly mistaken.

Last night at Matan, David Sabato reminded us that the Jewish Nation hasn't been united since the days of King Solomon's rule.  G-d orchestrated the division as punishment for his sins.

We have a long way to go, so let's get started.


Miriam's Words said...

WOW! Outstanding blog. The title says it all. Nothing else is needed.
May the Hand of Hashem guide our politicians when they are making life decisions regarding our holy land and may HE always guide and protect our brave chayalim and chayalot. I am going to repost.


Batya said...

Miriam, thanks so much. I felt so rushed to get out the message that I just couldn't hunt my brain for a snappy-catchy title. I'm glad that you davka find this long one good.

Hadassa said...

One of the things I really like about website headlines is that unlike on printed newspapers, space is limited by good taste only.

Anonymous said...

I think about the parallels of our ancient history and current events. How what is happening now can someday be looked on in hindsight and read like Tanach. How the kings were wicked and the judges did what was right in their own eyes. How we've blundered from bringing the PLO back, leaving Lebanon, the Disengagement, the fact that we don't seem to be learning from our mistakes, allowing our enemies to prosper and thrive, the idol worship, the permissiveness, the persecution of the Torah observant and so much more. Some will ask, "Where was G-d?"

Anonymous said...

no one commits yeridah just because of "safety".

I would give my life for the Jewish People. That is not the same as wanting to live amongst Israelis all the time.

Batya said...

Hadassa, so true, but snappy titles bring more readers.

a, G-d gave the world to us, to people, and we must do the right thing. Thanks to G-d's goodness, He sometimes rescues us, but the evil comes from men and men have to stop them.

And there are many Jews who justify their living abroad, because they don't want their children to serve in the army.

Hadassa said...

The people commenting on this article agree with you: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/149951#.Tst14obnafg

Three people used "arrogance" and two used "complacency" - and that was just in their titles - to describe Israel's behavior before losing wars.

Batya said...

Hadassa, I couldn't find the article. the link didn't work. what's the title? Rav Michael Brom of Yeshivat Hesder Shiloh has spoken many times of the signs after the 6 days War thanking the IDF and forgetting G-d.

Shy Guy said...

Hadassa is referring to this article:

Steinitz: Arabs 'Too Disorganized, Too Broke' to Start a War

Batya said...

Shy thanks
How dumb, always the same dangerous mistakes.

Hadassa said...

Thanks, Shy Guy. Next time I'll include a title. Do I have to be a blogger to embed links?

Batya said...

Hadassa, there's a code you can use.