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The Haftarah for Parashat VaYechi
King David's Last Will & Testament
Read by both Sephardim and Ashkenazim, from the Book of Melachim Aleph/Kings One. Chapter 2:Verses1-12.
The Summary of This Week's Haftorah: On his deathbed Kind David who was 70 years old at the time, commanded his son Shlomo who was 12 years old, to keep the Torah. Then King David orders Shlomo to kill Yoav, David's commander in chief of the army and confidant. David ordered Solomon to kill Yoav because, Yoav betrayed King David by backing David's oldest surviving son Adoniyahu to become the next king of Israel. Afterwards David commands his son to support the sons of Barzilai, who was a supporter of King David. Next, David orders Shlomo to execute Shimi ben Gaira, who cursed David after Avshalom, David's son forced him to abandon Jerusalem. King David then passes away and Shlomo succeeds him as King of Israel. Shlomo goes on to fulfill his father's last wishes.
Background: Shlomo reigned over Israel when some would say it was at its zenith. The Nation of Israel lived in the land of Israel. Its capital city was Jerusalem. On top of Mount Zion The Bait Hamikdash/ Holy Temple was standing. Kings ruled us. Our nation was said to have over 600,000 people who had acquired the ability to experience prophecies, which meant they could predict the future with absolute certainty. All 613 mitzvoth could have been observed at that time. The Kohen Gadol presided of the services in the Kadosh Hakodeshim/ Holy of Holies on The holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur. Jews from all over the Land of Israel would observe the Shalosh Regalim, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkoth by migrating to Jerusalem 3 times a year.
The Haftorah's Connection between the Parasha and Haftorah: In the beginning of Parashat VaYechi, Yaakov Avinu called his sons to his deathbed to give them his last instructions. Similarly the Haftorah talks about the advice King David gave to his son Shlomo/Solomon before he died.
Haftorahman's Lesson of the week: Ezekiel placed two pieces of wood together that symbolically showed that the once divided nation of Israel would one day be unified again. We too must take the initiative to unite our world together. Whether it be with our spouses, siblings, workmates, friends whomever. We must go out of our way to create "achdus", or harmony in our circle of friends and family. If we show a desire for oneness, we hope that Hashem will bless us with peace and unity.
The Biography of Shlomo ben David, King Solomon: The meaning of his name is "peace" or "prosperity", which sounds like SHALOM. He had seven names, Shlomo, Yedidyah, Kohelet, Agur, Yakeh, Lemuel, and Ithiel. His father was King David. It is said that he was the smartest man to ever lived. Shlomo was made king at the age of 12. He ruled for 40 years and passed away at the age of 52. As king he led the building of the Bait Hamikdash, starting at 16 years of age, which lasted for 7 years. There were 3 books written by him 1) Kohelet or Ecclesiastes 2) Mishlay or Proverbs, which concludes with the song Aishet Chayil sung on Erev Shabbat. 3) Shir Hashirim or The Song of Songs. Solomon presided over the court where the two women who were fighting for custody over the surviving infant. As we all know he was able to reveal the true mother by asking his guards to bring a sword so that he could "split the baby in half". He was extremely wealthy. By some estimations his wealth increased by $250 million dollars a year. Solomon was famous for his stables which housed 40,000 horses and 12,000 horseman. Shlomo was able to give 3000 explanations to every Passuk in the Torah. He knew all 70 languages spoken in the world at that time as well as he was able to communicate with all the living creatures in the animal kingdom. He was the builder of 3 cities; Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer in the north of Israel. King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Once the Queen of Sheba traveled 7 years by caravan just to meet him and quiz him with regards to his wisdom. After their first meeting the Queen of Sheba remarked that King Solomon was much wiser than his reputation had suggested. Two of the mitzvoth that King Solomon instituted were the Eiruv and Nitelat Yadyim. The Eiruv, a string surrounding an outer perimeter of an area designating it as that you can carry things on Shabbat. He also made it customary for people to wash their hands before eating bread.Famous phrases: rabot achshavot belev ish, va'atzat Hashem he takum", "Many designs are in a man's heart, but the council of Hashem only will prevail. Taken from the Book of Mishlay Chapter 19, verse 21.
Timeline: Solomon became king over all of Israel in the Jewish year 2924 or about 2848 years ago.
Map: Both King David and his son King Solomon lived in Jerusalem.Dedicated in loving memory of Mr. Abraham Schwerd
Written by: The Haftorahman - Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5762-2001
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