Friday, September 12, 2008

Last week's parsha

Suppose we went 400-odd years without wearing tefillin, and then when we went to the godol hador for advice on how to wear tefillin, he replied with an terrifically angry speech about how tefillin are inconvenient and uncomfortable. Could never happen? Well, something similar is believed to have happened in the days of Samuel.

After 400-odd years of living happily with no king, the people suddenly seem willing to accept the Biblical Commandment revealed in Parshas Shoftim:

שום תשים עליך מלך אשר יבחר יהוה אלהיך
you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses.

So they went to Samuel and said: Give us a king! Instead of responding with a hearty Boruch Hashem the prophet answered with a dread (but prescient) warning: The king will tax you. He will abuse you. He will take your sons for soldiers and your daughters for concubines. Don't do it.

What kind of Godol wants the people to remain in sin? What kind of Godol turns people down when they approach him for advice on how to perform a mitzvah?

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