web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Adam, King David, And The Gift Of Giving


Share Button

Time: 12:18 a.m.

Place: Abba’s bedroom

Date: October 4, 2006

Just a month after being diagnosed with cancer, and now practically confined to a bed as a method of pain control, I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up the Maharal’s Drush Na’eh l’Shabbos T’shuvah, which I had been hoping to read prior to Yom Kippur.

Soon after I picked up the book (it is included in the Maharal’s Be’er ha’Golah), my daughter, Yael, age ten, came out of her bedroom, complaining of a cough that was keeping her awake. I managed to get her some cough medicine and was about to send her back to bed, but then remembered a midrash that Yael had heard a few months earlier but was puzzled over, one that – and I don’t think it was coincidence – was the very same one that the Maharal just analyzed toward the beginning of the derash I was presently learning.

I asked Yael if she could spare a few minutes before going back to sleep to see if we could learn a little more about the meaning of that midrash, and she responded in the affirmative. I don’t think there could have been a better moment of propinquity.

The midrash concerns Adam, who was to live for a thousand years, but gives seventy of those years to King David, who was originally to live for only a few hours. The actual text comes from the Yalkut Shimoni, Beresheis, chapter 5, remez 41, and runs as follows:

God passed all the forthcoming generations before Adam, and Adam saw that King David was only allotted three hours to live.

Adam: Master of the World, is there a remedy for this?

God: This is indeed what I had in mind.

Adam: How many years of life have I been allotted?

God: One thousand years.

Adam: May I give a gift?

God: Yes.

Adam: Give seventy of my years to him.

What did Adam do? He brought a parchment and wrote the terms of his gift on it, and it was sealed by God, [the angel] Metatron, and Adam.

Adam: Master of the World, great will be [David's] kingdom and the songs that will be given in this seventy-year gift that [David] should live [for these seventy years] and make music before You.

Essential to understanding the meaning of this midrash is the expression of the idea of “perfection” numerically, in both the numbers 7 and 1,000. Seven, of course, is the more famous number, as Shabbos, the holiest day of the week, is the seventh day of the week, and the holiest year of the agricultural cycle is the seventh year, or sh’mitta, during which the land lies fallow.

But the number 1,000 is also significant, as in Tehillim 90, in which 1,000 years are described as a bygone yesterday – in other words, 1,000 years are like a day to God. Indeed, the significance of the number 1,000 is explored further in the Talmud in Sanhedrin 97a, Perek Cheilik, in which it is contended that the physical world is composed of seven one-thousand-year periods.

Thus, Adam, living 1,000 minus seventy years – a multiple of 7 – was almost a perfect individual.

And that stature gave Adam certain responsibilities.

While we, as ordinary people, might not have that same stature as an Adam, much can be learned from Adam’s generous example of giving away seventy years of his own life to another individual.

The Maharal explains that God created Adam in such a way that Adam could father living beings like himself – only, the lifespan of these beings would diminish as the generations went on, until we reach David, who would only have three hours to live. (The Maharal explains elsewhere why the number 3 represents the minimum in regards to concept of rabbim, or plural.)

Brilliantly, the Maharal argues that Adam was indeed given a great responsibility: the power of life itself over future generations! Adam, as the first of all generations, was found worthy by God of living 1,000 years – and then being the cause of life for generations after himself. From this flow of life Adam gave the gift of life to David, which in turn, by the very existence of David himself and the Davidic dynasty, gave the gift of life to future generations.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Adam, King David, And The Gift Of Giving”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Michael R. Paley

In the fall of 1993, I had the wonderful experience of interviewing Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Both a controversial personality and a dynamic presence, Reb Shlomo never lost his unqualified love for his fellow Jew, though he was well aware the feeling was not always reciprocal.

Just a month after being diagnosed with cancer, and now practically confined to a bed as a method of pain control, I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up the Maharal’s Drush Na’eh l’Shabbos T’shuvah, which I had been hoping to read prior to Yom Kippur.

The singer and political activist Bono recently caused a stir when word got out that his California-based venture capital firm, Elevation Partners, invested around $300 million in Forbes magazine, and, more significantly, that his band’s company, U2 Unlimited, which holds the rights to U2′s master tapes, moved to the Netherlands to pay a lower corporate tax rate.

In 2001, Mexican president Vicente Fox made something of a splash when he, contrary to his campaign rhetoric, came out in support of the decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use. Fox noted that, despite the number of people imprisoned for drug trafficking, and despite the legal penalties for the possession and use of substances, drug use was going up, not down.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/adam-king-david-and-the-gift-of-giving/2006/11/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: