web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Adam, King David, And The Gift Of Giving


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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party.
Lapid Won’t Let Defense Demands Turn Into ‘Turkish Bazaar’
Latest Indepth Stories
Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

syria_stratfo

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Phyllis Chesler

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

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.

Is this something the Jewish community should be concerned with, or, should we keep our noses out of such matters – at least until it affects one of our homes or businesses?

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: