Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Sivan was this past Tuesday. That was the yahrzeit of Yehuda the son of Yaakov Avinu. The royal line of kingship (King David, King Solomon, etc.) comes from Yehuda. The Mashiach will come from the tribe of Yehuda. The royal line comes from him because he was honest with himself, honest with the people in his life, and honest with G-d. Yehuda, a man of his word, was willing to be a guarantor and take responsibility for all of his actions on the most personal level and had the character trait of implementation. He would speak, act, and achieve; he put his money where his mouth was. Besides this, he showed strength and cool-headed leadership qualities at some of the most crucial times in the history of the family of Israel. He also displayed the highest level of personal concern for the individual. His grave is located in the small residential but highly industrialized town of Yehud, near Ben Gurion Airport.

Royalty is a concept that brings respect and awe to whoever thinks about the true essence of the word. I can picture the royal family in England, especially as they were in the news this past week. However, the concept of royalty has been around since the beginning of time. In all our prayers we address G-d as the king and we are all princes and princesses. Jewish royalty is about more than pretty clothes and fancy parties. Jewish royalty is about moral courage, strength, and nobility of character. He must have the ability to be both judgmental and compassionate. King David, the first king who descended from Yehuda, while he was engrossed in the study of Torah, the Sages described him as “adino ha’etzni” (delicate as a worm). When he fought in battle, he was “tough as wood.” The same David who was also a psalmist, declared, “I will pursue my foes and not return until they are totally vanquished.”

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King David himself lived a life full of trials and tribulations literally from birth. He was shunned by his father, pursued by King Saul, and weathered his son Absalom’s rebellion while king of Israel. Yet he never flinched or complained; instead, he wrote 150 songs of praise to the Almighty: Tehillim. He also merited the crown of royalty for all generations until the time of the future redemption.

Indeed, David lived almost his entire life on borrowed time, as the Midrash explains that Adam was originally destined to live for 1,000 years, as decreed: “Today you will die.” When Adam saw all the souls that were destined to come down to the world, he saw that King David was destined to live for only seven hours, so he gave him seventy years of his own; Adam lived therefore for 930 years, and King David lived for seventy.

A person whose own father shunned him and King Saul wanted to kill him, doesn’t seem befitting of royalty.

According to the Torah, the higher the source of the G‑dly spark an object possesses, the lower its status in this world and the harder it is to be revealed. Therefore, the line of descent of the kings of Israel came to be through apparent disrepute, though not sinful relationships.

There are many dates in the Jewish calendar marking dates of the passing away of great Torah scholars and great leaders of the people of Israel. Yet the yahrzeit of Yehuda the son of Yaakov is not a well-known date, such as that of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The evil in the world tries to cover up anything good that might help the sons of Israel come closer to their Father in Heaven.

Perhaps if as many people who go to Meron on Lag Ba’omer to celebrate the day that Rabbi Shimon passed away would go to the resting place of Yehuda and pray there all night, the full redemption might be speeded up and we would already be redeemed. However, all this goes to show, as was stated above, that the higher the source of the G-dly spark, the harder it is to be revealed. May we all merit to see the whole kingship of the house of Yehuda through King David come back once again, and may Jewish royalty reign in the world, with G-d as the King of Kings, amen.

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