Sunday, April 15, 2007

King David is Alive!!!

The Talmud says regarding Jacob's state of living, simply, "Jacob, our father, did not die.[1]" In contrast, a popular refrain declared by the Jewish Nation for many generations, as a source of inspiration through many trying times, states, "Dovid Melech Yisrael Chai V'Kayam, meaning, "David, king of Israel, is alive and enduring.[2]" Jacob simply did not die, but King David not only remains alive, but continues to live. The Stropkover Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam, explains[3] this interpretive anomaly in the contrast between Jacob and King David. The Midrash[4] says that when King Solomon was inaugurating the First Holy Temple, he met some difficulty squeezing the Holy Ark, which was ten cubits wide into the Holy of Holies, whose entrance was also exactly ten cubits wide. In order to remedy the situation, King Solomon called upon the merit of his father, King David, so that HaShem should perform a miracle and save him from great embarrassment. He brought the coffin of his deceased father into the Holy Temple, whereupon his father, King David, arose from the dead[5]. Rabbi Halberstam reasoned that the decree that all humans are destined to die is specifically if one is alive, then he is supposed to die, but if one already died and has been resurrected, there is no decree that he should die again. Therefore, one can explain that after King David arose from the dead, he was alive and furthermore, he shall continue to live because the limits of human mortality do not apply to one who already experienced death and returned from the dead. May it be the will of HaShem that the scion of the Davidic dynasty shall save the Jewish Nation and bring about the building and inauguration of the Holy Temple, speedily and in our days: Amen.


[1] Taanis 5b, See Rashi to Genesis 49:33 who proves this based on the connotation of a scriptural verse.
[2] This phrase is not only found in popular songs, but is a liturgical part of many joyous occasions (such as Kiddush Levana and its grouping with the phrase Mazel Tov).
[3] In a speech in Los Angeles on the night of 7 Shevat, 5767
[4] Exodus Rabbah §8
[5] Although see the parallel to this Midrash at Yalkut Shimoni, Prophets, §193 which does not mention this detail.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is further proof as Christians have a belief that Jesus is still alive wondering around in Gaza or Ramallah. It must of been common Jewish thought around 1st century CE that a resurrected person does not die.

Reb Chaim HaQoton said...

Is that further proof or just another example of Christians hijacking the Jewish religion?

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