web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


A Humbling Lesson (Part II)

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Hiram, the Phoenician king of Tyre, befriended Dovid and Shlomo HaMelech and was very magnanimous to the Jewish people. He placed his prodigious wealth at the service of the Holy Temple, and he provided a plethora of goods in voluminous quantities for the sole purpose of constructing the Temple.

Hiram’s generosity was rewarded. He was blessed with incredible longevity that is the subject of several opinions, but at the very briefest, he lived 500 years. One midrashic opinion has him living approximately 1,200 years. His financial rewards were even more astonishing.

Phoenician ships plied every sea route, capitalizing upon every market available. This resulted in a marine monopoly that translated into phenomenal riches for King Hiram and hoisted Tyre to the pinnacle of the civilized world. Untold wealth and luxury poured into its coffers from every corner of the globe and its merchants created a new aristocracy of opulence. Naturally, with the wealth came undisputed power and influence.

Initially, King Hiram’s financial success was accompanied by moral growth. But as Lord Acton famously observed, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This truism would not escape Hiram.

As Rabbi Moshe Eisemann notes in his commentary on Yechezkel: “There is a tendency for spiritually inclined people to use every gift of power and wealth as an additional stimulant toward modesty and self-abnegation. However, one who has material motivations will use every new gift as a source of pride and self-aggrandizement.”

Rav Eliyahu Dessler describes one fully obsessed by his material possessions and acquisitions to be suffering from a malady. Tyre would become a key candidate and personification of this malady because of its boundless self-infatuation. Although Rav Dessler described the symptoms in broad terms, they are a tailor-made description of Tyre. “…A rapaciousness which can never be assuaged, for the source lies not in the object of the desire but in an inner unquenchable need which cannot be harnessed. No fulfillment can ever satiate this consuming thirst, for every attainment pales next to what can yet be acquired. Hence there is an unrelenting need (not just a desire) for further gain.”

The spiritual malaise Rav Dessler portrays that can afflict every individual was manifestly present with Tyre. Its lust to always be in the limelight corrupted the friendly and constructive relationship that it had enjoyed with Israel. Hiram, Rabbi Eisemann notes wistfully, deteriorated into the complete opposite of the Torah’s vision of the fusion of the temporal and the divine.

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification. Formally, he had been inspired by the recognition of the God of Israel, and now with a destructive tunnel vision he saw only his own wealth and power. For hundreds of years, he was at the pinnacle of holiness but died degraded and tortured at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

Tyre futilely pursued might and beauty resulting in its ignoble downfall. This will motivate Yechezkel’s penetrating lament (Chapter 27), which incidentally portrays how the Jewish prophets are not only in love with their own people to the exclusion of the rest of mankind. Israel’s prophets are filled with love and mercy toward every man. This is reflected not only in their admonitions, but also in their dirges.

Hiram was given endless blessings that could have – and should have – been employed in the service of the Almighty. But his abuse of the gifts and the bounty brought about the horrific downfall of the kingdom and evoked Yechezkel’s tears. Hiram’s personal and national tragedy inspires three chapters in Yechezkel concerning Tyre’s fall.

Humble people, as we shall develop in the future columns, please God, do not see themselves as superior to others – or more deserving. Consequently, they are less apt to suffer from a sense of entitlement. Instead, they feel grateful for all that they are blessed with.

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.

2 Responses to “A Humbling Lesson (Part II)”

  1. Musa Karuma says:

    #Freepalestine #stopgazagenocide

  2. Musa Karuma says:

    #Freepalestine #stopgazagenocide

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers evacuating wounded near northern border town of Ghajar.
Northern Golan Heights Declared Closed Military Zone
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

If we are certain that God is on our side, we can easily become arrogant and even cruel

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

Thinking about how much we can do in comparison to what we have done serves as a corrective against pride and arrogance.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/a-humbling-lesson-part-ii/2014/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: