This Weeks Haftorah
Rabbi Levi Langer

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"On that day I will erect the fallen booth of David ... and I will rebuild it as in the days of old. So that they will inherit the remnants of Edom and all the other nations ... the word of Hahsem who will do all this." (Amos 9:11-12)

Radak explains that the "booth of David" refers to the Davidic dynasty, the line of kings in Israel which began with King David. It is recorded in the Book of Kings that David subjugated Edom and the other surrounding nations, and during his rule these were subservient to Israel. Thus Hashem states that "I will erect the fallen booth of David" so that it will regain the grandeur of the days of old, and "they will inherit Edom and the other nations" just as David did in his day.

Why is Edom singled out here from amongst all the nations which David conquered?

The answer is that the king of Israel is measured not merely by his military prowess, but more particularly by how he makes use of his abilities in order to further the aims and will of Hashem.

Edom, the descendents of Jacob's twin brother Esau, endeavors throughout all of history to undo all that Israel does to bring the world closer to Hashem. And it is thus of special significance that during David's reign he succeeded in conquering Edom. In doing so he demonstrated not only his superior military abilities, but also he showed that he understood the purpose for which these were meant to be used.

This, we are told, will also be the hallmark of the scion of David who will reign in time to come. He will be one who understands that the restorations of the Davidic monarchy has a larger purpose: "So that they will inherit the remnants of Edom ..." Only in these terms is the king's success measured.

Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer

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