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Nach; Shmuel Beis 8-13 and the eyes of Chazal

Written by Anonymous

Nach Summary; Shmuel Beis 8-13

Perek 8 – David’s victories in war, and a quick mention of those in the top positions in David’s ‘cabinet.’

Perek 9 – Mefiboshes, son of Yonassan, is located by David via Tziva, servant of Shaul, and is promised to be dealt kindly with by David. He remains in Yerushalayim and dines at the King’s table. We are also told that he is lame (this bit of info will be relevant later on in the sefer).

Perek 10 – The King of Amon dies, and David sends messengers console the ex-King’s son (who took over his father’s role), Chanun. Chanun defiles David’s messengers in shaving exactly half their beards off and tore half their clothes; greatly embarrassing them. David hears, and Amon hires armies of Aram beis Rechov, Aram Tzova, and Melech Maachah to fight David. We win.

Perek 11 – David sees Bas’sheva and ‘falls for her,’ and makes her pregnant. He send her husband Uriyah off to war in a dangerous position and Uriyah is killed. David then marries Bas’sheva.

Perek 12 – HaShem tells David (via the navi) that He is unhappy at David’s actions regarding Bas’sheva and Uriyah, and the son born from Bas’sheva is stricken with an illness and dies. David has another child from Bas’sheva, called Shlomo. Amon is completely captured.

Perek 13 – Amnon (son of David) devises a plan to ‘get’ Tamar (who he is infatuated with), and it succeeds. He then immediately hates her. Avshalom (brother of Tamar and son of King David ) orders Amnon to be killed, and Avshalom flees.

Dvar Torah:

I want to just briefly mention a few words about the David and Bas’sheva episode in Perekt 12, and then go on to discuss the main dvar torah. It seems very much that David sinned with Bas’sheva; the psukim imply this, and that is the natural understanding. However, Chazal tell us (gemarra Shabbes 56a) that David did not sin here. Now, it is beyond me to explain the psukim then (see the gemarra, Rashi, an Tosfos there), but one point must be made. Often we see that psukim mean certain things in our eyes and our understanding; but Chazal with their deeper wisdom and understanding tell us that something else (sometimes the opposite) is intended. Now although the words of Chazal must be understood correctly and in context too, it is often a natural reaction for us to say ’that can’t be true’ or ’that’s a cover-up!’ [it is not a cover up by the way; many great leaders’ sins are mentioned in the Torah openly; see story on this in Rabbi Kaplan‘s ‘kiruv files’] The point is not to openly attack what Chazal say, but to delve into their depth and try and understand the full extent of what they are saying. For sure one’s own involvement and ideas are valued and integral to the continuation of life of Torah transmission, but it should be accompanied with a degree of humility in recognising that Chazal are wiser.
(At this point I decided that this will indeed be the dvar torah!)
This is a general point in life – that often our eyes might see one thing but the reality is really other than our eyes dictate. A great example is ’can you see HaShem?’ Nope. But the reality is that He is there; a ‘melech chai vekayam’ – He is real. And though are eyes are the tools for first recognition of things, they are not the sole sense; reality can be otherwise. And when one gets to a deeper understanding, one sees that what seemed a contradiction was just a lack of knowledge (chovas Hatalmidim); eg one can see trees, people, etc but not HaShem, but in delving deeper the complicated and obviously-designed make-up of a tree and people can lead one to recognising HaShem’s existence (this was “the path trodden by Avraham Avinu” – Rabbi M Miller). This is also the message of the episode in perek 13; Amnon really sought Tamar, and he was completely ruled by his eyes – once he finally got what he wanted, his ’love’ for Tamar faded instantly, and he started hating her. Why? For this hate was the product of the realisation that his eyes had made him more attached to Tamar than reality should have dictated, and the now-visible gap between reality and deceived expectation was filled with hatred.
The message; eyes are great tools, but they must be used carefully and with binah.
In short, sight goes with insight.

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