web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 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 II)

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: Last week we mentioned that Jacob prophetically blessed each of his 12 sons. Since Judah possessed the necessary qualities to lead his brothers, Jacob blessed him with the words (49:8-10), “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.”

Rashi explains that King David’s rule will continue until the arrival of Mashiach. Rashbam derives from the words “until Shiloh arrives” that the kingdom will be divided and writes that Jacob’s prediction only referred to the time of David until Rehaboam. However, Targum Yonatan b. Uziel states that the divine right of rule over Israel belongs exclusively to the House of David. We concluded with the question: If so, how could the first king of Israel, Saul, have come from the tribe of Benjamin?

* * * * *

Another question concerning Judah’s divine right to rule: In Parshat Vayechi (Genesis 49:16), Jacob blessed Dan as follows: “Dan yadin amo k’achad shivtei Yisrael – Dan shall judge his people like the one tribe of Israel.” Both the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 98:18) and Gemara (Sotah 10a) explain that Jacob was referring to Samson who judged (i.e., ruled over) his people. Jacob assumed that Samson would be the ultimate redeemer, Melech HaMoshiach – the King, the Messiah. Thus, the Midrash explains, when he foresaw Samson’s unfortunate downfall, he cried out, “Lishuatecha kiviti Hashem – I await your salvation, O L-rd” (ibid. 49:18).

Apparently, then, Jacob intended that the last monarch of the Jewish people come from Dan, not Judah. But what about Jacob’s earlier words, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah”?

Interestingly, while Targum Yonatan b. Uziel, Rashi, Ramban, and Klei Yakar all explain that Jacob was referring to Samson in the above-quoted verses, the Rashbam is sharply dismissive of their interpretation. He interprets the blessing as referring to the task of Dan. Due to their unusual strength, tribesmen of Dan (during the times of Moses and Joshua) would not only hold up the rear of the nation’s encampment, but also would defend their brethren from attackers.

Even if we follow the Rashbam’s explanation, problems with Jacob’s blessing to Judah remain. In Parshat Shemot (Exodus 3:16) G-d tells Moses to gather the elders of the Jewish people and say: “Hashem Elokei Avoteichem nir’ah ei’lay, Elokei Avraham Yitzchak v’Yaakov lemor pakod pakadeti etchem v’eit he’asuy lachem b’Mitzrayim – Hashem the G-d of your fathers appeared to me, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob said: I have surely remembered you and what is being done to you in Egypt.”

The phrase “pakod pakadeti etchem” defies an exact translation, but due to the doubling of the word pakod, which is translated as “remember” by Targum Onkelos, the phrase means something to the effect of surely remembered or truly remembered.

Rashi quotes a Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 5) that states: This hidden sign (the words “pakod yifkod”) was handed down as a tradition from Jacob to Joseph. Joseph, in turn, handed it to his brothers, and Asher, the son of Jacob, in turn, handed it to his daughter Serach who was still living at the time of the exodus (another Midrash relates that Jacob promised Serach eternal life – i.e., living a long life and eventually ascending to heaven without dying). The tradition was that anyone who comes and says to the Jewish people, “Pakod pakadeti etchem” is the true redeemer of the Jewish people. When Moses, therefore, came to the sages and used these exact words in introducing himself and his divine mission, they sought out Serach who confirmed that Moses was undoubtedly the redeemer sent by G-d.

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 II)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abbas and the Temple Mount: "It's mine, all mine. No Jews allowed.
Abbas Declares Closure of Al Aqsa Mosque a ‘Declaration of War’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Having herself been victimized by Pharoah, Sarah should have been more sensitive to Hagar.

The-Shmuz

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Lech Lecha Thumbnail

How do the stories in Lech Lecha help us understand the central tension of Abraham’s life, legacy?

Abraham did not govern society but instead was the representative of God’s kingdom on earth.

Hagar grossly miscalculated her own merits and demonstrated a serious lack of gratitude for Sarai.

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

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

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

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-ii/2013/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: