web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Q & A: ‘The Scepter Shall Not Depart From Judah’ (Part I)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: As Shavuot is fast approaching – a holiday on which we dwell on the story of Ruth and the origins of the royal house of David – I was wondering if you could help me resolve something. Some people say that Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi, the redactor of the six orders of the Mishnah and a scion of King David, purposely kept any mention of Chanukah and the Hasmonean kings out of the Mishnah because the Hasmoneans improperly crowned themselves and ignored the rule that all Jewish kings are supposed to come from the tribe of Yehudah. Is this true?

 

Menachem

(Via E-Mail)

Answer: I, too, have heard this argument. Unlike Purim – the other major rabbinical festival, which is the subject of its own tractate (Megillah) – Chanukah and its laws are not mentioned in even one mishnah. Rather, we only learn about this holiday in the Gemara, in Perek BaMeh Madlikin (Tractate Shabbos, starting on 21b).

At first glance, this argument seems strange. Weren’t the Hasmoneans the heroes of their era? Didn’t they save the Jewish people from the ever-oppressive Syrian Greek authorities?

The Torah in Parshat Vayechi records the patriarch Jacob’s blessings to each of his sons before his demise. In reference to his son Judah, Jacob says the following (49:8-10):

Yehudah ata yoducha achecha yadecha be’oref oy’vecha yishtachavu lecha bnei avicha – Judah, you, your brothers shall acknowledge, your hand will be at your enemies’ nape, your father’s sons will prostrate themselves before you.

Gur aryeh Yehudah, miteref bni alita kara ravatz k’aryeh u’che’lavi mi ye’kimenu – A lion cub is Judah, from prey, my son, you elevated yourself, he crouches, lies down like a lion, and like an awesome lion, who dares rouse him?

Lo yasur shevet mi’Yehudah, u’mechokek mibein raglav, ad ki yavo Shiloh ve’lo yikhat amim – The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a scholar from among his descendants until Shiloh arrives and his will be an assemblage of nations.”

The above blessing, as those bestowed upon the other tribes, was not only the good wishes of a father yearning to bestow good upon his son, but was also a prophecy as history would later prove. Jacob understood that, as a nation, his children would be in need of leadership. He determined that of all his sons, Judah possessed the necessary qualities to fulfill that need.

Rashi (ad loc.) explains that the “gur aryeh – the lion cub” refers to none other than King David, who in the beginning, when under the rule of King Saul, was likened to a cub, but eventually, when he was crowned, was like a lion. Rashi also notes that King David’s rule will continue with the final deliverance at the hand of Melech HaMoshiach.

Rashbam (ad loc.) expounds on the words “until Shiloh arrives.” He says this means that until the time of Rehaboam, son of Solomon, the royal scepter will rule over all of Israel; afterwards, however, the kingdom will be divided. He explains that Jacob’s prediction referred specifically to the period from David to Rehaboam.

Targum Yonatan b. Uziel (ad loc.), on the other hand, very specifically writes, “And the kings and rulers from the house of Judah [David] shall not cease, as well as the scribes [i.e., scholars, who numbered] in the thousands, who teach the Torah, from among his progeny until the time that the Messiah comes for the kingdom, will be his as well as his rule over all the nations.”

It would thus seem that the Divine right of rule over Israel belongs entirely to the House of David. If so, however, we must not only ask about the Hasmonean kings but about Israel’s very first king as well, Saul, who was from the tribe of Benjamin. Why was he allowed to serve as king?

(To be continued)

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


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 “Q & A: ‘The Scepter Shall Not Depart From Judah’ (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Facebook post from man believed to be Canadian convert to Islam who rammed soldiers with his car in possible terrorist attack, Oct. 20, 2014.
‘Radicalized’ Convert to Islam Attempted to Murder Canadian Soldiers [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Business-Halacha-logo

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-scepter-shall-not-depart-from-judah-part-i/2013/05/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: