We are now left with more clarity regarding Jacob’s blessing to Judah. There would be two aspects to Judah’s role in the governance of the tribes of Israel: first, he would rule as a monarch with a scepter – with absolute authority – and second, he would serve as the leading Torah authority – the lawgiver of his people. Indeed, we know that both King David and his son King Solomon ruled in a manner that satisfied both these aspects.
Still troubling, as you point out, is Rabbi’s thought processes. By what right was Rabbi, who seems to have been a lesser authority, able to impart his views regarding the Hasmonean kings? Surely he was not the Exilarch!
(To be continued)