web analytics
December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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
The 13th issue of Al Qaeda's 'Inspire' online English-language magazine.
Al Qaeda Urges ‘Lone Wolves’ via Magazine to Attack US Airliners
Latest Judaism Stories
Hanukiyah created world famous Venetian Glass Blower
Maestro Gianni Toso

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

Joseph Maketh Himself Known to his Brethren

What did Yehudah say that was so effective that it convinced Yosef to make himself known?


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

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

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

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

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.

Separating fun from happiness can liberate, regarding (a) time, (b) money and (c) jealousy.

People expectantly go through their lives awaiting the event that will make them happy.

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: