Friday, December 1, 2006

Yes, I Know. We're Not Supposed to Be Jealous

I've been rather busy. Last night I wrote my "next article" for VOICES, instead of blogging. I couldn't believe it was already "that time" of the month. Actually it's December today. Even though it looked like we would have an undeserved wet winter, now it looks like a drought. The sky is as blue as the summer, which may look good in pictures and make things easier for some. But it's bad for the country. It's bad for our Holy Land.

You'll have to wait a bit to see what I wrote last night, but now I can post what I wrote last month. It's the article which appeared in the November, 2006 issue.

Have a Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach, a Peaceful and Blessed Sabbath



The Voice from Shiloh #7
By Batya Medad


Yes, I Know. We're Not Supposed to Be Jealous

10. "You shall not covet your fellow's house. You shall not covet your fellow's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your fellow!" (Shemot 20:14)
The Shiloh bus leaves from the same area in the Jerusalem Bus Station as the ones to Kever Rachel and Ma'arat HaMachpela. During certain times of the year there are crowds of hundreds at a time, and thousands each day, fighting for places on those buses. You'd think it the 1960's when teenagers fought to get close to The Beatles.

For whatever reasons, Shiloh, which is for certain, equally rich in ancient Jewish History, never attracts masses of visitors. What is it in the Shiloh persona, so modest and humble, that we have never succeeded in marketing the first Capital of the Jewish Nation? Why is it that even though Shiloh's location is the most convenient in the Land of Israel that we still have a relatively small population?

As Shlomo HaMelech wrote in Kohelet, "ain chadash tachat hashemesh," "there is nothing new under the sun." Even during the 369 years when Shiloh was capital, masses of Jews didn't come. That's why Elkanah trekked the long way around to Shiloh, reminding people of the address.

But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, to the north of Bethel, and east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of Lebonah.", Judges 21:19

Masses of Jews didn't go to Shiloh then, either, but Elkanah and Chana did. Chana knew that G-d's spirit was focused on Shiloh, where the Mishkan was. She knew that it was in Shiloh where G-d would hear her prayers for a son, the son who would dedicate his life to G-d and the Jewish People. When her son, Shmuel, was old enough to be brought to Eli the High Priest, she reminded Eli that "this child is the one" she had prayed for. There was nothing selfish in her desire for a son, since raised him to dedicate his life for our People.

Today there still are people who come to Shiloh to pray to G-d to request His help. Many of these people aren't even Jewish. In the days when I was very involved with groups, diplomats and media who visited Shiloh, I heard many beautiful stories.

A Christian female preacher used to bring her flock every year, and they'd always have a prayer session at the Tel, where Biblical Shiloh once stood. One year a woman with a child and infant came up to me. "Do you remember me? I was here over a year ago. Ever since my son was little, the doctors told me that I wouldn't be able to have any more children. So, finally, I came to Shiloh and prayed. Here is my new baby."

No, I can't guarantee that G-d will grant every request prayed for in Shiloh. We all know it doesn't work that way.

I feel that there's an added significance to Shiloh today. In Biblical Times, the Mishkan in Shiloh was the stage before the Beit Hamikdash. Chazal say that some of the Ketoret, fragrance of the "shechina," remains in Shiloh. I find prayers in Shiloh to be very strengthening and spiritually invigorating. Our troubled People must gather in Shiloh to prepare for the Geula, Redemption.

Today we are being plagued and persecuted by government policies just like King Saul went after David. King Saul was our first king, the one chosen by the people, because he looked the way they felt a king should look, tall and noble. Unfortunately, it proved to be a superficial decision, and he ended up being a very bad king. King David did not look like he fit the kingly role, but he had the qualities needed. That's why the same Shmuel Hanavi whose mother, Chana, brought him to serve the Jewish People from Shiloh, chose David.

Shiloh is the place we must go to for our prayers to G-d for the right leadership. אין חדש תחת השמש.



5 comments:

Robin Ticker said...

Thanks Batya, amv"sh

This week our weekly Shabbos Navi chabura for women on my block in Flatbush is in my house. We just completed learning Perek 9 in Shmuel Aleph. Shmuel annoints Shaul in Mitzpeh. I will show your post to my friends. Your post will make the Navi relevant and alive. I also read ahead to Perek 10. Even though annointing a king for the wrong reasons was a bad thing, Shaul uses his strength and position and acts wisely and courageously to get the entire Nation to unite and fight the enemy.

Batya said...

Thank you
Yes, he does start well, but then he becomes too enamored in the trappings of power. And then he doesn't do his job as a national leader, so he had to be replaced. That's when he began persecuting David.
Saul's final scene is one of the most dramatic in the Tanach.

Rabbi Seinfeld said...

Why do you say he was chosen by the people? Wasn't he chosen by God?

Batya said...

yes, though to please the people, since the people had asked for a king for the wrong reasons.

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